Rancho Santa Fe Association board approves collections policy

By Karen Billing

The Rancho Santa Fe Association board approved a formal collections policy for past-due assessments at its March 7 meeting. RSF Association Manager Pete Smith said for years they never had an issue with past-due assessments but it has been an increasing problem in recent years because of the economic downturn. The policy gets into more detail about the timeline and the powers of the board, according to Steve Comstock, Association chief financial officer.

In the past it took two consecutive delinquencies before a lien could be placed, meaning upward of 18 months could go by before the Association identified a financial hardship. Comstock said last year they switched the policy to help staff identify a delinquency earlier; a lien can be placed after each delinquent assessment.

“It helps out substantially with the collections process,” said Comstock

According to the policy, the first assessment is due to the RSF Association on Nov. 1 and is delinquent as of Dec. 5. The second installment is due on April 20 and is delinquent if not paid by April 20.

Penalties are 8 percent of the first installment if not paid by Dec. 5, and 3 percent of the first installment if not paid before April 20.

The second installment penalty is 3 percent if not paid on or before April 20.

Any outstanding unpaid assessment is assessed an interest rate of 1 percent beginning on July 1.

Notices of delinquency are mailed out with at least 15 days notice of the board hearing to determine the violation and suspend membership privileges. Once a membership is suspended, the Association can begin the process of filing the lien.