Maine Alliance for Road Associations
Attorneys Mary A. Denison, Lake and Denison, Winthrop, and John A. Cunningham, EatonPeabody, Brunswick, have recently responded to a question asked of them by the MARA Board. Their answer was prepared and submitted by Mary Denison. The Question and Answer follow:
MARA Board Question:
If an owner has been issued a Notice of Claim (NOC) on a delinquent assessment and the NOC has expired for lack of recording a timely Notice of Extension (NOE), can a new NOC be issued to the same owner?
a. If so, is it necessary to issue a second “20-Day Notice” before recording another NOC on that assessment?
b. If an NOE is allowed to expire, is it possible to issue a new NOC on the original delinquent assessment?
c. What are the circumstances (change of ownership, the time elapsed, etc.) that would prevent extension of the NOC?
For the answer to parts (a) and (b) above, I have consulted with John Cunningham and we agree that once a Notice of Claim that was filed due to delinquency of a particular assessment has expired and has not been renewed within 18 months of recording, you cannot resuscitate that particular assessment by simply filing a new NOC. It does not mean that the debt has evaporated however. It simply means that you cannot use one of the methods available to a Statutory Road Association to try to collect that debt, namely by filing a Notice of Claim at the Registry of Deeds. The Association may still collect on the debt by filing a Small Claims action in the local District Court.
For part (c) above, it is our opinion that the only thing preventing the extension of an NOC is the passage of more than 18 months since the date of the original recording. Change of ownership should have triggered a review of the property title and payment of the delinquent assessment, but if the title has transferred without adequate review (perhaps by a Will or in a cash sale with no due diligence), an Association should still keep filing its NOC extensions every 18 months to protect the claim. Someday when the new owner sells or applies for a mortgage, it will likely get paid.
Can someone please cite the statute title/chapter and section of the Maine law that requires the 18 month extension? Thank you.
23 Title, Section 3104, Penalties and Process.
Thank you very much. I knew I had seen it before but couldn't seem to find my way back to that section of the statute.
The Maine Alliance for Road Associations