Should I Buy A House On A Private Road?
Posted on 7th April 2020
Most people have a dream home in mind, and as much as some people get on with their neighbours, it is likely that your dream home is detached and ideally set away from other people. MG Legal, your Property Solicitors in Garstang, help dozens of people move into their new home every month and so we understand it is important for you to know your new home is everything you want it to be.
People mean noise, obligation, co-existing and some form of interaction when all we want is peace, quiet and to shut out the outside world when we’re in our home.
So, it only makes sense that some of the ideal properties for those who to keep themselves to themselves are on a private road, rather than a public one.
Public road vs Private one, what’s the difference?
A Public Road is one that is maintained by the local authority, usually your local Borough or County Council. You are permitted to use these roads provided you do so within the bounds of the Law and any defects can be reported to the local authority and they are, when it reaches a certain level, liable to repair it.
The local authority will have responsibility to clean, grit and periodically resurface the road.
The local authority will also have a duty to look at what borders the road including trees, kerbs and walls to ensure that these are also in reasonable condition and so not endanger users of the road.
A Private road is, as the name suggests, is private and so is not accessible to anyone but owners and permitted visitors.
Why is owning a house on a Private Road preferable?
This has a number of advantages in that it reduces traffic noise, means you likely always have somewhere to park and do not have strangers parking outside your house, increases security as criminals are discouraged from going to areas where they will stand out and most importantly for many people, you have increased privacy from the lack of public through-traffic.
Why is it not so desirable?
With a Private Road comes the responsibility for the road itself. In this situation, you have all of the duties that normally fall to the local authority, but with none of the economies of scale that go with maintaining a massive network of Public Roads. Our property solicitors in Lancaster and Preston can advise that more problems than you would imagine, arise when selling a property, affronted by an unadopted road.
For example, any conveyancer will tell you that when selling a property, you will be asked by the buyer’s solicitors if the road fronting the property is adopted by the Local Authority. An unadopted road is not maintained by the Highway Authority under the Highways Act 1980.
In the event that the road is unadopted, then a duty to maintain the road will still exist for the property owners in the vicinity of, surrounding the road, and those who have use of the road.
You will have a responsibility under the Highways Act 1980 to carry out all reasonable maintenance normally done by the local authority, as well as having to inspect, sweep or clean, grit and maintain the roadside areas. If it is icy, you must grit the road, if a tree begins to grow over or causes a danger, you might need to foot the bill for a tree surgeon. You will be required to have public liability insurance in place. This becomes problematic when the owner is not known or the title may not be registered at Land Registry.
If you share the Private Road with a number of other property or landowners, you might also hit issues when discussing if something needs doing and how you are to share the cost. This can, of course, be a particular issue when it comes to larger repairs such as resurfacing the road or repairing potholes.
Finally, you are as legally responsible for the road as the local authority is for theirs and so, if you do not repair the road, or maintain it to a reasonable standard, if someone uses the road and sustains an injury or damage, you can be liable for this. So, you will also most likely have the cost of a Public Liability insurance policy to deal with also.
How to decide what to do with a property on a Private Road
When looking at buying a property, MG Legal, your Property Solicitors in Garstang will provide all the advice that you need. We can’t make the decision for you, but what our expert Property Solicitors will do is provide you with all of the information and advice to make sure that when you buy that dream home, it doesn’t become a nightmare.
Many of the obligations and joint duties that come with any property are detailed in a Lease or similar document and so, by raising the proper enquiries, MG Legal, your Property Solicitors in Garstang can ensure that when you move into your new home, you are not surprised by any bills before you have unpacked.
How to instruct MG Legal
You can contact MG Legal by phone, email, web-contact form or at any of our offices in Garstang, Longridge and Lancaster. We will put you directly in touch with a member of the Property Team who will provide you with a same-day comprehensive, fixed-price quote via email, phone or post, including all necessary expenses such as Land Registry Fees and Stamp Duty to ensure that you know the bottom-line figure before you instruct us. There are no hidden extras and our fees are clearly detailed so that when you accept our quote, you know what you will pay. We deal with sales, purchases and transfers and we have the facilities to be able to deal with transactions from any lender.
Get in touch with MG Legal, your Property Solicitors in Garstang and we will get the ball rolling on your dream house purchase today.
MG Legal – Your Local Solicitors
Share this post: