When you are thinking of purchasing a property, one of the things that you might consider is the road that it is situated on and whether it has been adopted by the Local Authority. Any property buyer should be made fully aware of all the legal complications that come with purchasing property along or near an unadopted road.
What is an Unadopted Road?
Unadopted roads are roads which may offer the public access but do not actually belong to the public road network. Unadopted roads are not maintained by a highway authority as defined by Highways Act 1980 and so as the Local Highway Authority has not agreed to maintain the road at the public expense, the road remains “unadopted”. There are approximately 40,000 unadopted roads in the UK.
How to Find Out If a Road is Unadopted
During the course of purchasing a property, a local authority search should be obtained as they are an essential part of the buying process. It is the second part of this search, known as the CON29, that will supply any information relating to public highways or planning decisions that could affect the property.
You can also obtain something called a “Highways Search” from the Local Authority, this provides further information on the road according to the local Council’s records, including if it is unadopted.
Who Is Responsible for Maintaining Unadopted Roads?
The condition of an unadopted road will vary depending on how well-maintained it is and the legal duty of this falls on the owner or owners of the highway. Responsibility for the cost of maintaining an unadopted road usually rests with the owners of properties which front onto such roads.
Some of the worst unadopted roads are filled with potholes, are unevenly unsurfaced, offer no drainage and have no street lighting. The Local Authority is under no obligation to pay the cost for the maintenance of an unadopted road. This can leave the owners facing a financial obligation to rectifying any issues. So, if you are thinking of purchasing a property on an unadopted road, you will need to consider any potential future financial contributions.
You can request that the Local Authority “adopt” the road, but their decision will depend on the condition of the road and any cost of bringing the road up to a suitable standard must be met by owners.
This has become an increasing issue for local authorities as they have faced cuts to their budgets and so have to ensure that they are not taking on new liabilities. It is also something which has become increasingly important with property developers failing to build new roads on housing developments to the required standard.
Who Can Use an Unadopted Road?
An unadopted road typically allows the public a right to pass, but it may also be a private street over which only some people, usually the owners, have a private right of access. Waiting to use the road to pass may be permitted, but long-term parking may be considered a “trespass” against the owner, or owners, of the road.
Residents of properties fronting an unadopted road often think, that as they own the road and pay for the maintenance, that they have some right to obstruct access. However, this is an offence, just as it would be on a public highway.
Unadopted Road Insurance
If you are thinking about purchasing a property on an unadopted road you should fully inform yourself of all the potential costs and issues that could arise. Though Unadopted Road Insurance is not a legal requirement, if your unadopted road is open for public access then it should be seriously considered as a way to financially protect yourself should the worst come to the worst. If there are multiple residents on the road, it is common for the residents to share the Unadopted Road Insurance policy.
You can call Ashburnham Insurance FREE ON 0800 1696137 and one of our helpful staff will be able to give you an instant quote for Unadopted Road Insurance over the phone.