H.P. 1235 - L.D. 1659
An Act To Streamline the Time-share Rate Collection Process
Emergency preamble. Whereas, Acts of the Legislature do not become effective until 90 days after adjournment unless enacted as emergencies; and
Whereas, utilities that provide service to time-share estates on a property-wide basis and not on an individual-owner basis confront great practical difficulties if required by the managing entity to bill individual time-share owners, and some utilities are currently being required to confront such difficulties; and
Whereas, in the judgment of the Legislature, these facts create an emergency within the meaning of the Constitution of Maine and require the following legislation as immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety; now, therefore,
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:
Sec. 1. 33 MRSA §593-A is enacted to read:
§593-A. Utility billing for time-share estates
1. Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms have the following meanings.
A. "Assessment" means any rate, fee or charge assessed or imposed by a utility for the provision of its service to time-share units, other than service that is metered or otherwise measured and billed on an individual time-share owner basis.
B. "Utility" means a public utility as defined in Title 35-A, section 102, sanitary district established under Title 38, chapter 11 or sewer district as defined in Title 38, section 1251.
2. Authority of managing entities. Notwithstanding section 593, subsection 2, when a utility provides services to time-share units, the managing entity may collect and receive money from the time-share owners for the purpose of paying the assessment.
3. Authority of utility to require assessment collection. Notwithstanding section 593, subsection 2, on written request of a utility, a managing entity shall collect and receive money from the time-share owners in accordance with this subsection for the purpose of paying assessments.
A. The utility shall provide the managing entity a combined or total utility bill and any additional information that may be reasonably useful for the managing entity to allocate the cost of utility service to the time-share owners.
B. The managing entity shall maintain an escrow account with a financial institution licensed by the State and deposit any money collected or received for the utility's assessments in the escrow account within 10 days after collection or receipt. The escrow account must be established in the names of both the managing entity and the utility. A withdrawal may not be made from the escrow account without the written agreement of the utility.
C. Prior to the delinquency date established by the utility, the managing entity shall pay to the utility all money deposited in the escrow account under paragraph B for the purpose of paying the assessment. If the amount paid from the escrow account is not sufficient to discharge all assessments due and owing:
(1) The managing entity shall pay the difference and, in accordance with section 594, place a lien on those time-share estates whose owners have not contributed their apportioned share to the escrow account; or
(2) At the request of the utility, the managing entity shall provide a list identifying the delinquent owners and their interests, including periods of ownership, and the utility may proceed to collect the assessments from those interests as allowed by law. If the utility uses any lien procedure available to it under law to collect delinquent assessments on time-share estates, any required notice of the lien that the utility sends to a time-share estate owner must also be given to the managing entity or left at the managing entity's last and usual place of abode or the utility must send to the managing entity by certified mail, return receipt requested, either a copy of the notice sent to the time-share estate owner or a notice that lists all time-share estate owners to whom notices have been delivered. For sending the notice or notices to the managing entity, the utility may receive $5 plus all certified mail, return receipt requested fees and the cost of any photocopying.
4. Exercise of other utility authority not precluded. Nothing in this section limits the authority of a utility and a managing entity to make other mutually acceptable arrangements for collection of assessments. Nothing in this section limits the authority of a utility to take any other action available under law to collect and recover assessments.
Emergency clause. In view of the emergency cited in the preamble, this Act takes effect when approved.
Effective March 3, 2004.
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