Buying or Selling a House on a Private Road

Author:
Hayley Carter-Steele
Licensed Conveyancer, Residential Conveyancing Manager
Date:
27/02/2020

If you’re looking to buy or sell a property on a private road, make sure you get specialist legal advice from a Conveyancing Solicitor so you’re clear on what your rights and responsibilities are.

If you live on a private road, you will probably have to contribute to its maintenance.

This is because the Local Authority is not responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the road. They’re not responsible for it because it’s a private road’.

The laws around private roads can be complex, and questions about who is responsible for them often come up during a property transaction.  

For free initial advice get in touch with our Conveyancing Solicitors.

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Private Roads

Upkeep of Private Roads

The Highways Act 1980 defines a private road as a highway not maintained at public expense.

This means the Local Authority is not responsible for fixing potholes, gritting or resurfacing the road.

The people who have properties which front a private road are usually responsible for the cost of maintenance. The term ‘Frontagers’ is sometimes used to refer to people who live on a private road.

The Highways Act also says that property owners must carry out repairs to the road if it poses a danger to traffic. If you live on the road and you don’t fulfil this responsibility, the Local Authority could complete the repairs and bill everyone who lives on the road.

Pros and Cons of Private Roads

Private Roads do come with their advantages, including:

  • Privacy
  • Less traffic
  • More parking
  • Less noise
  • More security
  • Increased community spirit.

Disadvantages can include:

  • Cost of repairs and maintenance
  • Disagreements with neighbours over who pays these costs
  • Problems if repairs are not agreed or carried out
  • Insurance cover (private road insurance, public liability insurance, responsibility and cost).

Contribution to Repairs

If you live on a private road, you might find that you have to pay towards the cost of things like:

  • Potholes
  • Resurfacing
  • Tree surgeons
  • Costs of insurance
  • Gritting and sweeping costs
  • Road collapse.

How a Conveyancing Solicitor Can Help You

Buying a property on a private road will increase your maintenance costs long term. You will need to decide if the benefits outweigh the drawbacks of living on a private road.

Your Solicitor can also check what type of access you have, such as ‘use of an agricultural vehicle’ or ‘on foot only’, and can make further enquiries about this if necessary.

Ask your Conveyancing Solicitor if there are additional enquiries they can make such as what have been the maintenance costs per year so far and if there is planned work due to take place on the road in the next twelve months. This will help you to have a clearer picture before you commit to buying the property.

For free initial advice call our Conveyancing Solicitors

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