In the state of New Hampshire, a bill has continuously been introduced to require residential real estate owners to contribute towards the maintenance of a private road. Every year this bill was introduced, it failed. That is, until August of 2019 when it finally passed.
Prior to the passage of this bill, realtors spent hours sharing their reasons as to why a private road maintenance bill was necessary. The main reason was the fact Fannie Mae would not buy loans that were secured by houses on private roads because there was no maintenance agreement in place. Fannie Mae would buy those loans if there was a state law in place stating the maintenance requirements.
Some people didn’t see this as an issue. However, many people realized the number of available buyers dropped significantly when the lower rates offered by Fannie Mae were not available. Those people understood the result would be lower real estate prices, due to the lower demand.
Of course, there were always people opposing this bill. They had their reasons, which included:
- How would the expense be determined? (Acreage? Frontage? Usage?)
- Who would decide the level of maintenance required?
- How difficult would it be to determine who would be defined as a residential owner?
- The basic unknown when it came down to the actual amount of the expenses.
Over the years, the Senate tried to address many of those concerns in the most recent bill. However, the House never allowed the bill to be introduced every year. The lack of passage of this bill for so many years really appeared to fit the state’s, “Live Free or Die” mentality. It fit with the general attitude of only passing legislation unless it was absolutely necessary because an unnecessary law can have unintended consequences. That is why it is so surprising that this bill finally passed as SB 39 and was signed by the governor in August of 2019. The verbiage of this bill is unremarkable, but it basically states the bill is not designed to restrict the common laws that are applied to the residences on private roads. Instead, the maintenance of the private road must be shared equitably amongst all the residential owners who benefit from the road.
It may have taken New Hampshire a while to get on board with this bill, but now that it has passed, more people have the flexibility of applying for a low-interest Fannie Mae loan once again.
If you have any questions about private road maintenance, contact me today and I will try to answer the questions you have.