Rancho Santa Fe Association taking a stronger stance over late assessment payments

By Karen Billing

The Rancho Santa Fe Association is being more aggressive about late assessment payments. At its Feb. 16 meeting, the Rancho Santa Fe Association Board of Directors suspended membership privileges for delinquent members and moved to place liens on properties when members are only one payment late rather than two. The stronger stance is a reflection of the number of people who are late on their assessment payments for 2011-12. As of last week, 39 property owners are delinquent on their first payment.

“It’s a larger number than experienced in the years past,” said Steve Comstock, chief financial officer. “We’re still maintaining a nice approach but we’re being very firm.”

Comstock credits the accounting department staff with bringing that number down in the last month; three weeks ago, 114 members were delinquent.

Assessments for the first installment of 2011-12 were due on Nov. 1 and considered delinquent on Dec. 5, 2011.

Twelve of the 39 delinquent members are members at the RSF Golf and Tennis Clubs and will have their privileges revoked. All delinquent members lose the right to vote in Association elections, serve on committees, lose dining privileges at the club and will incur late charges and interest.

At the RSF Association’s April 5 board meeting, liens will be placed if the 39 delinquent property owners have not yet paid.

“We’ve found it’s a very effective collection tool,” RSF Association Manager Pete Smith said.

Historically, the board has opted not to release the names of delinquent homeowners, although the board has the ability to do so. Board director Ann Boon said that maybe they should consider posting names at the post office.

Director Roxana Foxx said she wasn’t sure they have to be that “punitive,” but director Eamon Callahan said that it might be something to consider if payments are still not being made after liens are placed.

In 2011, liens were placed on 12 homes, down from 17 in 2010.

Comstock said that they are hopeful that this year’s 39 delinquent assessments will diminish before the liens have to be placed.

The second installment of assessments is due on March 1 and a notification is posted at the post office. Members will be considered delinquent if payment is not received by April 20.

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