I live in a New Hampshire community with gravel roads accessing all 101 properties on 79 acres. Until 2006, the original owner of the land, who sold the lots, maintained the roads. As he became aged and costs precluded his continuing to maintain the roads, he deeded the roads to a Lot Owners Association with Articles of Agreement and By-Laws registered with the county. A meeting was held (not everyone attended), officers were voted in, and fees were decided upon. Fee structures were created based on homes and lots. Now 6 years later, only 50% of the home owners have paid anything and only 64% of the lots owners are up to date. Some say they didn't sign anything to be a part of the association (they are correct) but the bylaws list all lots established as part of the community as being part of the association. I have been involved with condo associations before and these documents appear to be boilerplate. What grounds is the association on if thinking about taking the non-payers to court. I can provide the AoA and the Bylaws if requested. We are now without sufficient funds to plow and sand during this coming winter. What are our options?
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): New Hampshire
Appealing to non-payers sense of fairness. Ya-right. I am not on the board of directors now, but our board has just resigned enmass and I am going to try to pull another board together to take over. We have no funds to continue to maintain the roads through this coming winter.
I am familiar with similar road associations, and if someone gets too far behind, the Association sends a series of demand letters escalating to a letter that says the association can file a case in small claims court to collect past due assessments, plus interest at the legal rate on overdue amounts. If the person still does not pay, an officer of the road association files a small claims action.If the small claims judgment is not paid, the association records the judgment so it becomes a lien on the property, and will eventually be paid out of Escrow the next time the parcel sells.Small claims information and forms are linked fromhttp://www.courts.state.nh.us/district/claims/index.htmSome road associations give the members the option to work off their bills by cutting brush, clearing culverts, etc. for a reasonable hourly credit against their road bill. I am convinced that that has been a good option for some people. Some of them also hold fundraisers such as barbecues to supplement their budgets. Getting people to kick in $20 for a BBQ and get the chance to meet their neighbors and talk about the road might motivate some of the hold outs to pony up at least some of what they owe, Or to schedule a work day.I hope this information is helpful.N Cal Attorney41129.3634608449
You didn't answer the question about whether persons are included in the association whether they signed or not. You mention chasing the non-payers through court and then placing liens on their property. Our current board has been placing liens on unpaid fees after 1 year (I think) without the court chase. Is this legal? We also charge 12 percent interest on unpaid fees. The current board is afraid to take anyone to court fearing that a loss would allow everyone to not pay. If the roads are not maintained for access to emergency vehicles, can the state take over the association and force people to pay?
Does each person have an Easement to use the roads mentioned in his or her deed?
I'm going to be out most of the day and will open this to other Experts.
Can anyone answer the question about the state forcing payment if this association fails to maintain the road for emergency access (such as plowing in the winter). A member of the association has suggested that this will happen.
No. Deeds do not mention any easements for access to the road.
I responded to your question about easements in the deeds. I assume you were trying to respond to my question but needed additional information to respond. I also had the question about the state forcing road maintenance on private roads to ensure access for emergency vehicles.
Thank you for posting your question to JA/Pearl. Legal questions often take time for research or I may be offline so please be patient, I will reply.Your previous expert opted out since he provided a very complete and correct answer to your question and you gave him a negative rating. The state will not get involved. You may be able to petition the county to take over maintenance. Talk to your local county councilman.
Practicing attorney with expertise in easements
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