Feb 172016

The following notice came today via the Real Estate Commission Listserve:

OPOR Header

Beginning on March 1, 2016, Real Estate Commission licenses will be delivered via email.

Active licenses will be delivered to affiliated licensees’ designated broker at the agency email address on file with the Commission.

Agency licenses will also be emailed to the agency email address.

Inactive licenses will be delivered to licensees’ email address on file with the Commission.

The email sender is displayed as “noreply@maine.gov” and the subject as “YOUR OFFICIAL (license type) LICENSE IS ATTACHED”. Paper licenses will NOT be mailed for licensees with an email address on file.

Individual and agency contact information, including email address, may be updated here.

If it is not apparent, this does not mean everyone’s license will be emailed on March 1, 2016–this refers to new and renewal licenses. In the past, paper copies of licenses were delivered to the designated broker via U.S.P.S. This change means only that electronic copies will be now be emailed to the designated broker. (Designated Brokers would be wise to make certain their agency contact information is correctly listed with the Commission.)

The exception is inactive licenses. Since inactive licenses do not have an agency affiliation, those are sent directly to the licensee. The default method is email.

As a reminder, note that “The license of each broker, associate broker, and sales agent must be delivered or mailed to the designated broker and be kept in the custody and control of the designated broker.” (MRS 32 §13181)

Feb 102016
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

A recent accident in Harrison, Maine involving a fire truck raises more questions regarding private roads, a complex topic that has always affected those dealing in real estate. In spite of recent efforts to clear up issues surrounding abandoned and discontinued roads, the legal and practical aspects of going over the river and through the woods can be daunting.

As reported in The Sun Journal, a Harrison Fire Department truck slid down a hill while responding to a carbon monoxide alarm, suffering major front end damage. Fortunately, the driver escaped with only a few scratches.

As a former volunteer firefighter, I can recall some heartbreaking calls when we found ourselves unable to reach a home on a private road that was poorly maintained–or not maintained at all. Those were simpler times and a call to the road superintendent would bring a plow, sander, or in some cases the town grader, even if the road wasn’t officially maintained by the town. But precious minutes were lost. Difficult judgments had to be made quickly–is this road passable? Am I going to risk people and equipment if I proceed?

Those decisions are no less simple today. If anything, they have become more difficult as entities and individuals must consider liability and legality. Some towns are adopting ordinances and policies to deal with these issues.

Property purchasers need to be aware of the potential issues and problems if access to the property is anything other than a public road. Since this is truly a local issue, research and diligence are required. Happily, buyers do not need to make split second decisions, but they do need to be aware that purchasing property on private roads always means assuming risks.

Reading the entire article will heighten awareness, certainly. And if you read all the way to the end, you’ll discover an interesting story of how some homeowners “solved” a problem with access to their properties.