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Maine Alliance for Road Associations

Recording By Laws and By Laws vs Deed

  • 03 Jul 2022 11:04 PM
    Message # 12837159

    We are an incorporated non profit road association.  What is the effect of by laws not recorded with the registry?  And a follow up question, Do by-laws trump what is written in our deeds?

  • 04 Jul 2022 9:31 AM
    Reply # 12837501 on 12837159
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I am not an attorney. I have experience with running my unincorporated statutory road association, following our Discussion Forum, and replying to posts on the Forum.

    Unrecorded by-laws, duly approved by the owners, do not lose any effect in court. I believe I have heard Attorney Mary Denison say recording of by-laws in the County Registry is unnecessary and adds a layer of responsibility for recording any subsequent amendments.

    I also have heard, I believe from attorneys at a MARA Private Road Conference, that anything recorded in a deed trumps anything in road association by-laws. 

    I am interested in hearing other opinions.

    Last modified: 04 Jul 2022 10:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 04 Jul 2022 4:52 PM
    Reply # 12837904 on 12837159
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I believe you are correct on both counts.  The law (23 MRS 3101-3106) does not require filing the bylaws in the Registry of Deeds, and filing them would make them no more valid or enforceable.  It might make it easier for a member or a prospective buyer to learn about the road association, but they should be able to get a copy of the bylaws just by asking the road association's officers.

    I do know of one association that drew up bylaws that conflict with something that is in the deeds, and it has caused a great deal of turmoil.  From the member's point of view, there seems to be no way of enforcing what is in the deeds short of costly court action, and usually the amount of money at stake doesn't justify a member paying an attorney thousands of dollars to prove the point.  From the road association's point of view, on the other hand, a conflict between the deeds and the bylaws could make it impossible to collect unpaid dues, and could put the association at risk of being sued if they try.  But even if it doesn't end up in court it can build dissention.  Better to follow the advice of the attorneys that speak at our conference, and make sure you avoid doing anything that would leave a loophole for an attorney to latch onto.

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