Private Roads in NH Series – Part II
What Terms Should Your Private Road Maintenance Agreement Include?
When creating a private road maintenance agreement in New Hampshire, it is essential to include specific terms to ensure clarity while addressing the rights and obligations of the parties involved. Here are some important terms that should be considered when creating such an agreement:
Parties: Clearly identify the parties involved in the agreement, including the names and addresses of the property owners who share the private road. It is important to accurately list all the parties to ensure that their rights and obligations are properly addressed in the agreement. This section should also make clear that all parties are vested with the requisite capacity and authority to enter into the agreement.
Purpose: State the purpose of the agreement, which is typically to establish the obligations, rights, and responsibilities related to the maintenance, repair, and use of the private road. This section should clearly outline the intention of the parties to maintain and manage the private road in question.
Consideration: The agreement should include a statement indicating that the parties have received consideration sufficient to support the agreement.
Scope: Clearly define the boundaries and limits of the private road to avoid any ambiguity about the area covered by the agreement. In this section, it is prudent to include a detailed legal description or plat map that accurately depicts the extent of the private road.
Maintenance Responsibilities: Specify the maintenance obligations of each property owner, including routine maintenance, repairs, snow removal, grading, landscaping, and any other necessary upkeep. This section should outline the frequency of maintenance activities and the standards to be followed.
Sharing of Costs: Determine how the costs of maintenance and repairs will be shared among the property owners. This can be based on equal shares, the length of road frontage each property enjoys, or any other agreed-upon formula. Clearly outline the method of cost allocation and provide clarity on how expenses for major repairs or improvements will be handled.
Assessments and Fees: If the agreement includes assessments or fees to cover the ongoing expenses of road maintenance, outline the process for determining the amount, frequency of payment, and the consequences for non-payment. Specify the due dates for assessments and fees and provide a mechanism for enforcing payment if necessary.
Decision-Making Procedures: Establish a procedure for making decisions related to road maintenance, such as the appointment of a road maintenance committee, voting rights, and meeting requirements. This section should outline the process for reaching consensus on important decisions, including any voting requirements or thresholds.
Dispute Resolution Mechanisms: Include a clause outlining the process for resolving any disputes that may arise among the parties involved in the agreement. This could involve mediation, arbitration, or litigation.
Right of Entry: Define the rights of property owners and their guests to use the private road and any restrictions on commercial or public use. Clearly state the allowed uses of the private road and address issues related to parking, speed limits, signage, and any other relevant regulations.
Liability and Insurance: Address liability issues and insurance requirements for the private road. Specify whether individual property owners or a collective entity (e.g., a homeowners’ association) will be responsible for maintaining liability insurance to cover potential accidents or damage.
Termination: Specify the conditions under which the agreement can be terminated, including procedures for amending or modifying the agreement, and the process for dissolving the road maintenance association if applicable. Outline the steps that must be followed to terminate or modify the agreement and any obligations that may persist after termination occurs.
Governing Law: Include a provision stating that the agreement is governed by and interpreted according to the laws of the state of New Hampshire.
Successors and Assigns: Specify that the agreement is binding not just on the signing parties, but on each party’s heirs, successors, and assigns.
Signatures: Ensure that all necessary parties sign and date the agreement to make it legally binding. It is also wise to include an effective date. Once the date is included, the parties can tie maintenance and payment obligations to time periods that run from the effective date.
Once you have created a private road maintenance agreement, it is best to have it recorded in the appropriate registry of deeds. Finally, it is important to consult with a qualified attorney familiar with New Hampshire law to ensure that your private road maintenance agreement complies with all relevant legal requirements and covers the specific needs and circumstances of the parties involved. An attorney can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation and ensure that the agreement adequately protects your rights and interests.
You can contact Alfano Law by calling (603) 856-8411 or at this link.