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Maine Alliance for Road Associations

Voluntary Road Assoc

  • 15 Sep 2021 6:52 AM
    Message # 11090221

    There are several places in A Guide to Forming Road Associations that state that there is “no legal mechanism” for collection of assessments with a voluntary road association.

    Would small claims court be an avenue  for collection?

    If so, why wouldn’t a statutory road association that thought following the “statutes” was just too onerous, just be a voluntary association and rely on small claims court for collection?. (I’m not one of those that thinks statutes too onerous,but there some that do.)

  • 16 Sep 2021 1:35 PM
    Reply # 11094271 on 11090221
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I'm not an attorney, so you might want to ask someone who is.  I think you're correct that small claims court would be an option a voluntary road association could try.  But personally, I would find small claims court to be more onerous than following the statutes!  Moreover, there's no guarantee that the Court will find in your favor, particularly if participation in the road association is "voluntary."  How could you say the person had an obligation to pay if participation is voluntary?  If the person had signed an agreement to join the road association as a paying member, that might be binding, but I wouldn't count on it.  In the infamous case of Sunshine v Brett, (see the Resources page of this website,) the person who objected to paying had initially agreed to the terms of the statutory road association (which included not charging for undeveloped land.)  But then he changed his mind, and because the association had not followed the legal requirement to notify owners of ALL benefited property, the Court found in his favor even though he had agreed to those terms.  So while I think a voluntary road association COULD take the matter of unpaid dues to small claims court, I'm not at all sure the Court would find the terms of the association enforceable.  

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