Unpaid condominium assessments can add up and cause financial difficulty for the association. When owners don't pay their assessments, the board has a right to take legal collection action against the owner and the unit to recover what is owed.

The cost of legal collections can climb very high, depending on a number of variables. Often, the total legal fees and costs exceed the amount of the original unpaid balance, and they are all chargeable back to the unit's account per IL condo law. This can make it difficult for an owner to get caught up.

Before diving into legal collections, the board should communicate with the owner about the delinquency and attempt to get an agreed payment plan in place. The agreement should be written and signed by both the owner(s) and the board, with clear consequences for failure to uphold the plan, including the right of the board to take legal collection action and, if possible, detail on what that action will cost the owner. An owner who understands that the balance may increase sharply if the account is sent to an attorney will be more motivated to stick to the agreement.

The board should allow owners an opportunity to get caught up before saddling them with additional debt. For owners who have broken payment plan promises, however, legal collection action may be necessary to protect the association's financial well-being. 

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