Maine Alliance for Road Associations
One of our members has not paid for road improvements, and now says he won't pay for plowing. He does not care about the threat of a lien. Can a Statutory Road Association take him to Small Claims Court?
If not, what are some other options besides the lien?
Yes, you can take him to small claims court. I haven't done it, so I can't tell you the details of the process, but it's supposed to be fairly simple and it can be done without an attorney.
As for the "lien," just to be clear, what a statutory road association allows is not a true lien, but a notice of claim. The difference, as I understand it, is that a true lien has a required timetable ending in taking the land. It can be a rather complicated undertaking. A notice of claim simply goes on record in the registry of deeds, and remains there until it is settled. That means that if the person goes to sell his land, he will have to settle the claim first. It also will pop up on his credit rating, which means if he wants to take out a loan, he'll have problems. Many people find that to be a powerful incentive for settling.
We are a nonprofit who just filed a lien on a nonpayer. It took the summer of BOD meetings with much confusion interpreting our by-laws and covenants before we finally sought legal help. I highly recommend a meeting with a lawyer to give guidance and budgeting reserves or a working capital account for future needs. Get over the lawyer criticism. We found a good lawyer in Mary Denison from Winthrop who is experienced in road association management.
Thank you for your replies. Yes, we are aware of the filing Claim process. Our sense is that he does not care about a Claim because he doesn't plan to sell.
That is why we are looking at other options. I.e. small claims court. Does anyone else have any info about the viability of doing this as a road association?
Are Statutory road associations allowed to sue, or is filing a Claim with the Registry our only legal recourse?
The Maine Alliance for Road Associations