This month in Collection's Corner, we are focusing on deferred billing. Our office offers two different billing options with respect to collection cases: contemporaneous billing (i.e. "pay as you go") or deferred billing. Unlike contemporaneous billing where you receive an invoice for all actions completed on a collection matter and costs incurred during the prior month, with deferred billing, the legal fees are incurred but not invoiced until a "triggering event" occurs. Triggering events include, but are not limited to, bankruptcy filing by the delinquent owner, sale, or other transfer of ownership of the property including foreclosure, writ of execution, death, obtaining a personal judgment against the owner, or if management accepts and processes a payment from the delinquent owner. Once a triggering event occurs, all deferred legal fees will be "brought forward" meaning you will receive an invoice for the deferred amounts in the next month's invoice. Also, while our legal fees will be deferred, the community will still be billed contemporaneously for any actual costs incurred, such as filing fees, private process server fees, title work and the like, because those costs are paid upfront on behalf of the community by our firm.
Two new laws directly affecting community associations were passed during the 2019 Maryland Legislative Session. First, Residents of 55 plus communities in Carroll County can now conduct a bingo game on the common areas of their community in addition to Mahjong and card games for a small wager (HB 1127/SB 786). Boards may want to consider adopting reasonable rules regulating the location and/or times when a resident may use the common areas for such games. We are happy to discuss whether your community would benefit from additional rules and regulations address gaming on the common areas.
On July 31, 2019, the Maryland Attorney General announced that the Office of Consumer Protection Division reached a settlement with Evergreen Management, LLC ("Evergreen") and its owner, Jason Barry Oseroff ("Oseroff") for misappropriation of community association funds. Charges were brought against Evergreen and Oseroff in April of this year, alleging the management company and its owner used community association funds for their own benefit, refused to provide bank statements, falsified, balance, expense and income reports, and transferred funds from one association's account to a different association's account in order to hide any shortfall that resulted from the improper use of the funds. In addition, Oseroff and Evergreen liquidated clients' reserve funds and investment accounts without authorization. As part of the settlement agreement, Oseroff is no longer permitted to manage any condominium or homeowners' associations. In addition, Oseroff and Evergreen must repay all of the monies they owe to consumer and pay penalties; approximately $2.5 Million Dollars.
On May 8, 2018, Brian Fellner, Esq. and Craig Zaller attended the CAI Advocacy Summit in Washington D.C., along with approximately 50 other CAI Members from across the Country. At the Summit, CAI representatives met with various politicians and/or their Legislative Correspondents to address three issues that affect our communities at the federal level.
District of Columbia Foreclosure
We all know that drinking alcohol behind the wheel is extremely dangerous. Likewise, we’ve all heard about the risks associated with texting while driving. But have you ever stopped to think about the hazards of eating on the road? Like other types of distractions, eating can take a driver’s attention away from what is most important.
According to Maryland Department of Transportation, over 500 people died as a result of a traffic accident in 2016. Many people would agree that losing one person is one too many. Traffic accidents are often preventable when drivers are sober, free of distractions, mindful and courteous of traffic laws and have safe vehicles not at risk of malfunctioning.