Q: March statements?
A: GOOD NEWS – we believe statements will be released the week of February 16th – with luck Wednesday or Thursday. We’ve gotten all charges and adjustments entered. We are completing the last few batches of payments. Late Fees WILL BE PROCESSED, Monday February 17th. After that, we will do a final review of all accounts, and then release them for printing.
A new question – Regarding Direct Debits…
Q: I turned in my Direct Debit form in January – why didn’t it process for the February payment?
A: Our team has generally always advised it takes about 30 days to process Direct Debit apps, and if you refer to the FAQ item below,”Can I sign up for a Direct Debit program through Habitat?“, there is indeed such a warning.
The procedure for Direct Debit authorization has not changed much from the days of our prior Management Company, Draper and Kramer. The managing agent takes your application and voided check, processes the information, sends a test authorization, then awaits the following months statement to advise you of the debit and begin processing them. So, it generally should ALWAYS take about one full pay period to process.
But there was one other big reason. FOR JANUARY 2020 – our team had dozens of these to process. On top of all the checks, charges, adjustments and other processing required for transition, this took time to accomplish.
FOR FEBRUARY 2020 – we’ve made a concerted effort to get all the applications in that we’ve received to date – including some stragglers recently submitted. We believe the vast majority will be processed in time to take effect for the March assessments. But we encourage everyone who put in an app to check back with us to confirm, and watch your bank on the 5th of March to see if the debit went through.
The February statements were issued, and all Owners should have received theirs now either by mail or by e-mail. A couple additional questions –
Q: Why was I charged twice for assessments with the February statements.
A: No one was charged twice. There was an error with the printing of the statements – they believe a coding error of some type – which caused the February charges to print twice. However, owners actual accounts were not charged twice. Obviously, owners can ignore the additional charge and pay only what is owed. If you would like a copy of your account ledger, to confirm your account was not charged twice – or just for your records – please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: I am still having trouble logging in to pay online, despite following the instructions below?
A: FIRST – Don’t hesitate to join us at the Habitat Payment and Statements Workshop, Monday February 10th at 5pm in the Party Room. Reps from The Habitat Company will be here to help address any questions and provide assistance in person. However, the single biggest problem we continue to run into are folks using the “Registration ID” from their statements, to set up their account, instead of their Account number. SEE BELOW “How do I sign up for online payments?”
Another question that came up is related to the “Apartment ID” that is needed for registering online for payments. This is the Unit #, as explained below. However, four (4) digits are needed for the Apartment ID. So Unit Owners from the 3rd to 9th floor will need to add a zero (0) at the beginning of their unit number. So, Unit 301 would need to enter “0301”. Unit 915 would need to enter “0915”.
Q: When will things be back to normal?! When will statements start being printed on a more reasonable schedule?
A: This transition has been a challenge, and we understand the frustration. We do believe March statements will print earlier this month – we hope the week of February 17th. In both January and February, checks have had to be manually entered, applied to accounts and physically deposited at the bank. This is a very time consuming process. On top of that, as we expected, throughout January and thankfully to a lesser extent February now, we have had lot of problems to address. FirstService did not apply any one-time charges to accounts in November and December; work orders, holiday fund donations, health club membership dues, and more. This took a massive amount of time to correct on top of normal January balance, and sadly created a lot of confusion and questions when Owners received their February statements and did not necessarily recall such business from months ago.
We are getting through it, and going forward each month should be more back to normal than the last.
To help with questions about the new payment system, and the accounting transition to The Habitat Company, we have put together a Q&A with frequently asked questions:
Q: I’m totally lost and just need help…what do I do?
A: Contact us! We are happy to set up an appointment, meet, chat about any issues and help you however we reasonably can. Most importantly, we want an opportunity to correct any errors and help you understand your options for making payments. If you need any assistance at all, e-mail us at email@example.com.
ALSO – we are pleased to announce we’ve arranged a Town Hall Meeting with representatives of Habitat. This is actually specifically to address accounting and payment issues. Reps will be available to walk Owners through logging in, making online payments, setting up e-statements, and answering any questions you have. This is scheduled for the evening of Monday February 10th. The time is to be determined, but we hope to have a formal announcement out within the next week.
Q: Where is my January statement?
A: Statements were printed and mailed two weeks ago. Unless they were lost in the mail, there could be a problem such as an error with the mailing address or a setting in the system. We’ve heard in some cases, renters have received a statement instead of it going to the Owner at an off site address – this is easy to correct. IF YOU DID NOT GET A JANUARY STATEMENT – please let us know by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We have access to a statement archive and can forward them to you.
Q: I did not get a statement, and therefore have not paid. Will I get a late fee?
A: Whether a statement is printed or received, assessments are due on the 1st every month. So, if you depend on a statement for a balance and don’t get one, you should contact the office. Late fees will not be processed for November and December 2019, and January 2020. However, beginning in February, we will be assessing late fees. If you need an account balance, please contact the office at email@example.com.
Beginning in February, we will be returning to the procedures specified by the Association’s Rules and Regulations. Payment is due by the 1st; payment can be made directly to the office by the 5th; the grace period is through the 10th, which is the date by which all payments for a given month should be in the bank.
Q: Can we continue paying directly to the Management Office?
A: Yes – up until the 5th each month! We will continue accepting payments in the office as we did in the past, just to avoid a late fee it needs to be dropped off by the 5th. Otherwise payment needs to be made online or mailed with the stub so that it’s received by the 10th.
Q: WHY does payment need to be dropped off by the 5th – if paid to the office – to avoid a late fee?
A: The office compiles one batch of payments per month, which are sent via FedEx to the Association’s bank. This is done either the 5th of each month at the end of business, or if that day is an a weekend, the first business day after. We will not send multiple FedEx batches. Any other payments dropped off, or shoved under the door after hours are mailed thereafter, and may not arrive by the 10th.
Q: I have a balance due on my January statement, but I already gave the office a check?
A: For most if not all Owners, January statements had balances as you would have otherwise seen them if you received it in December. Our goal was to work with Habitat to get all Owners set up with their accounts as quickly as we were able with the hand over of files from First Service. Charges were assessed as they should have been, with any previous balance added. Of course, the holidays seriously complicated timing. But, with accounts and balances in place we then had something to apply the payments to. Habitat has been slowly applying payments one at a time, account by account. And, we’ve used the opportunity to audit the accounts in the process to help identify and correct problems.
Q: The check I gave the office hasn’t cleared my bank?
A: We very purposefully held checks and payments since mid-December. First, the bank accounts under the control of First Service were being closed, and obviously The Habitat Company had to open new ones. Of course, all this working around the holidays. Second, we had to set up Unit Owner accounts and apply charges. With accounts and charges in place, January statements were issued. Now, Habitat has spent the last 2 weeks, applying those payments one by one, and auditing every account as they go. This has been painstaking, but in the long run we believe it to be the most efficient and productive approach. We believe so much so, once we have February statements printed, they will be the cleanest collectively that Park Tower’s seen since October.
Q: When will February statements be printed?
A: Our goal is next week – the week of January 27th. VERY UNFORTUNATELY, it appears First Service did not process about 2 months (November and December) worth of one time charges, adjustments and fees. Our team is reconstructing these months and getting business entered into the new accounting system. This includes work order charges, Holiday Fund donations, fines, lock out fees, parking fees and other charges related to Association business. With January business, this means we are entering charges and adjustments for 3 months of activity.
Once we expect February statements to get printed and distributed, we will spread the word.
Q: How do I sign up for online payments?
A: The Habitat online portal is now available for Park Tower Condominium! Through this portal, you’ll be able to:
• Make one-time payments
• Set up recurring payments
• Review your ledger
• Submit service requests
• Review condominium documents
The first time you login, anyone with an e-mail in our database, your username will start out as your email address. You can choose to change it after activating your account. You will need your Account # from your statement, and your Unit #. On the attached form, these are Circled and noted. On the online payment platform, your Account # is the “Registration Code”, and the Unit # is the “Apartment Code”.
Click on the link below to login, register and those with e-mails in the system already will be asked to chose a password to formally activate your account on the system. That’s it – walk step by step through the prompts and you’ll be registered.
Click here: Register With Habitat Online
Going forward, finding this link is easy. Here on the PTCondo Website, just click the “Payment” option on the menu bar, and it will take you to Habitat’s Online payment portal for Park Tower.
Q: How do I register for E-statements?
A: Toward the upper right hand corner of the attached form you will see a message, “To receive future statements electronically visit https://www.estmt.net.” Just below that is says “Your Registration ID: ####-####-####”. The link takes you to the online app Habitat has for Owners to set up and manage e-statements. Once you are there the first time, toward the lower half of the page you will see where it indicates you can “Create An Account”. Here you will enter the “Registration ID” and follow the prompts to set up your e-statement account.
Q: Are there any fees for Bank Payments?
A: NO! If you sign up for Direct Debit through the Habitat Company OR if you register online and setup an ACH Bank Payment, THERE WILL BE NO FEE! Some Owners who already registered online, saw a message about a fee being charged for bank payments, however this was an error and was corrected. Only credit or debit card payments will result in a service charge. And those charges are pretty much equal to the fees being paid to process the transactions.
These are the most frequent questions we’ve had so far, as the transition has unfolded.
Q: Can I sign up for a Direct Debit program through Habitat?
A: YES. Just print and fill out the form, Click Here, or you can get a form from the office. Provide it to the Management office with a voided check. We will set you up for automatic bank payments the The Habitat Company. Funds for the TOTAL BALANCE DUE will be taken out each month on the 5th or first business day thereafter. HOWEVER – it does take about 30 days for these to process and get set up. So you should still plan to either pay by check or make a payment online until you’ve confirmed the debits are going through successfully.
Direct Debit applications put in this month, January 2020, will be processed in February and should begin debiting the March assessments, on March 5th.
Do not hesitate to contact us for any help or questions you have: firstname.lastname@example.org