Emily Ecker wrote:
We send out our bills on a quarterly basis. We will be filing a Notice of Claim on Bill #1. In April Bill #2 will be come outstanding. What is the amount that we should claim- the accumulation of Bill #1 and #2? or Only Bill #2 plus of course the other costs?
It sounds to me as if you are considering recording a second Notice of Claim (NOC) on the next quarter bill, Bill #2, that will be 90 days delinquent in April. You may be planning to record a NOC as necessary with each bill on a quarterly basis. If this is your plan, then you would be recording multiple NOCs on the total maintenance fees to be paid by each owner approved by the owners at a single meeting of your association. I believe this would indeed be stretching the limits of the Private Ways Statute.
Section 3101 details the call of meeting with 30 day advance notice to owners of the "meeting's agenda and all items to be voted on, including, ... all proposed budget items ... that will determine the amount of money to be paid by each owner". Regarding Penalties and Process, section 3104, "the commissioner or board may cause to be recorded in the county's registry of deeds a notice of claim for money owed pursuant to section 3101, 3102 or 3103 that is more than 90 days delinquent and may add to the amount owed the recording costs..." These three sections emphasize the importance of manner of calling a meeting and the powers given the commissioner or board to authorize collection of monies approved for maintenance by the owners.
If I may restate the above: After fees approved by the owners at a duly called meeting are 90 days delinquent, a commissioner or board may place in the registry a NOC for said fees and recording costs against the property of the delinquent owner on behalf of a road association.
One NOC per meeting for each delinquent owner.
I doubt that the statutes would allow recovery of the recording costs for quarterly recordings of NOCs against the property of an owner on the fees approved at a single meeting. This would not be fair to the delinquent owner, not to mention the work involved in preparing and mailing four 20-day collection notices and recording four NOCs.
If possible, once all approved fees have entered required delinquency, I suggest that you target the total maintenance fee to be paid by each owner for the recording of a NOC, being sure to give the delinquent owner 20-day collection notice, waiting then 30 days after serving such notice before recording the NOC, and recording all necessary extensions within 18 months from the date of recording of the NOC or last extension.
If the total fees involved are just too large or unwieldy for the membership, then I would recommend recording two NOCs, lumping 2 quarters, once both quarters' fees have entered required delinquency, keeping the amounts separate for follow-up recording of extensions. An owner majority vote accepting this policy would be a good indication that the policy is fair and equitable.