Maine Alliance for Road Associations
Our Road Association (RA) has 32 property owners as "members". Luckily for me, as Road Commissioner, all but two have been prompt in paying the road maintenance fee. The RA requires, by an affirmative vote at a past annual meeting, to have the fees due on or before January 1st of the [calendar] maintenance year.
Based upon our reading of and the authority granted in 23MRSA Sections 3101 - 3104 liens were placed on property of the two delinquent "members". One was delinquent for one year, the other for three years. The "one year" delinquent property had one lien recorded and the "three year" delinquent property had three liens recorded. The liens were each prepared using the suggested format as shown in Appendix E of the APPENDICES to "A GUIDE to FORMING ROAD ASSOCIATIONS". Prior to the recording of the liens a LIEN CLAIM & DEMAND letter form was mailed (certified with return receipt requested) giving the delinquent property owner thirty days to pay. This form was prepared using the same format that our town uses for delinquent property taxes.
Both properties were "For Sale" so the Association was anticipating a settlement of the liens upon closing of a sale, that is if the title company did/does its job thoroughly. A prospective buyer became interested in the property with one lien and by telephone I asked the Real Estate agent listing the sale to please make sure the lien was addressed in the "settlement/closing statement". They were essentially silent to my request since they replied that privacy laws prevented any comment. I then emailed a copy of the lien to them which likely went into a black hole although I had an indication that it did cause some discussion. As luck would have it I had a chance to meet the prospective buyers and, not wanting them to get charged for the cost of settling the lien, I gave the buyers a copy who provided it to the title company. I believe the out-of-state title company would have missed the lien had it not been provided. We first received payment of the basic unpaid road fee but not what I call the "penalty" costs, i.e., interest, mailing, preparation, notary and recording costs. Upon notification of this fact the title company immediately paid the remainder. Our RA was made whole.
The "three year" property is still For Sale with no buyer in sight so I have mailed copies of the three liens to the bank holding the mortgage and asked them to contact me regarding settlement options. I understand from our town that this procedure often results in settlement of the lien. As of this writing I have not been contacted by the bank. A telephone call is likely in order, stay tuned!
I urge any Road Commissioner or Board anticipating use of the lien option to meet with your town tax collector or staff and get educated as to the procedure they use; I found it valuable.
No additional letter is sent but of course is optional; the Lien Claim and Demand document says it all. I use a slightly edited version of the document my town uses.
The Notice of Non-payment of Road Association Assessment document is the "lien". This document has a format as suggested in Appendix E of the Guide to Forming Road Associations. The Appendices are only available on-line.
The Notice of Non-payment of Road Association Assessment can be filed/recorded at the County Registry of Deeds after the thirty (30) day period has expired if no payment was received.
I suggest discussing this procedure with your town tax collector as the process is very similar. To follow the municipal procedure I suggest waiting eight (8) months after the annual road maintenance fee is voted upon and approved prior to sending the Lien Claim and Demand document. I believe this follows the law which guides the town. Typically the fee is due and payable within the eight (8) month period. The date the annual road fee is voted upon and approved is a proxy for the date the town tax rate is set aften called the "commitment" date. This whole procedure attempts to follow the town tax collection process as close as practical.
The Maine Alliance for Road Associations