When buying a property, the local authority search will reveal whether the road the property is in is a public or private road.

A public road means that the local authority maintain it through local taxation.

A private road means that the road is owned either by the people who live along it or a developer in new estates.  If you are buying a property along a private road, you need to be aware that you may be approached for payments towards the costs of maintenance.

If the property is in an estate with private roads, there may be a firm of managing agents or a residents association who have the responsibility to maintain the roads.

Maintenance costs of private roads could be obtained either:

  • by an annual “service charge” which builds up a fund contributed to by all the owners so that the roads can be maintained and kept to a good standard; or
  • by asking for payment from the owners when the roads need to be mended or renewed.

These costs should be pointed out to any purchaser during the conveyancing transaction by the seller.

Rights of way should be granted to all the owners of private roads (and footpaths) on an estate in the title documents.  These would have been granted at the time the properties were built.  A conveyancer should check that adequate rights of way have been granted for the use of the roads and pathways to the owners of the properties and their visitors.

If you would like more information, please contact us on 01795 533337