Private roads can be simple to maintain when only one person utilizes that road. However, what happens when a dozen different property owners live on a private road? Who is responsible for maintaining the road? Who pays for snow removal and repairs? All of these questions are why private road maintenance agreements are necessary in these situations. They alleviate the stress of homeowners by outlining who is responsible for everything.
What Should Be Included in All Private Road Maintenance Agreements?
If you live on a private road and are in need of a private road maintenance agreement, you should know which items you must include. Each agreement may look slightly different, depending on the situation, but certain items are always non-negotiable.
There are five things you must address when you have a private road maintenance agreement drawn up. Those five things include:
- Who is bound by the agreement?
- What types of maintenance work should be performed?
- Who makes the decisions?
- How much money should each homeowner contribute?
- What are the consequences for non-payment?
Let’s dive into these five items a little more closely.
Who is Bound by the Agreement?
Every homeowner that uses the private road should sign the private road maintenance agreement. The signature must be the full legal name that is used on the deed of the property. This way there is no option for a person to say they are not responsible.
What Types of Maintenance Work Should Be Performed?
All the homeowners that use the private road should have a general idea of what types of maintenance they want for the road. Dirt roads and asphalt roads will require different types of maintenance, just like roads with more traffic will require more maintenance than roads with fewer cars.
It is best to place general maintenance descriptions in the agreement to create guidelines for potential conflicts in the future.
Who Makes the Decisions?
For smaller groups of homeowners, it may make sense to give all owners a voice when making decisions on road maintenance. However, this can create issues with larger groups of homeowners. In this situation, it may make more sense to appoint one person or an executive committee.
How Much Money Should Each Homeowner Contribute?
The amount of money needed to maintain a private road can change from year to year. Some years may require more maintenance than others. You can choose to have a set amount every year to build up a reserve or you can all contribute according to what maintenance is necessary for that year.
What are the Consequences for Non-Payment?
There must be consequences for any homeowner who chooses not to pay their fair share for road maintenance. Agreements should include a clause where a homeowner can sue another who defaults on their payments.
Once you have created a private road maintenance agreement, it is best to have it recorded in the registry of deeds. This binds future lot owners to the agreement.
Do you have questions about creating a private road maintenance agreement? Or do you need help creating one for your private road? Contact us today to schedule a consultation.