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How to Determine Who Owns a Private Road

January 19, 2024

how to determine who owns a private road

Private roads can be found throughout some rural and gated communities, providing residents with easy access. Unlike public roads, however, private ones do not receive funding from their respective local governments and may limit who can use them - these roads include driveways, farm roads, logging roads and mining roads.

Buyers need to understand whether their property can only be reached via a private road and what its implications could be for future changes - from maintenance agreements to showsdowns over who has the right of way.

Real estate experts advise buyers who intend to acquire land accessed by private roads to conduct extensive due diligence before purchasing the parcels of land that connect to these roads. In addition to learning their history, this requires knowledge of surrounding property owners' rights abutting your purchase area - especially important when developing areas require shared infrastructure roads that serve multiple parcels of land.

Roger Winston, a real estate attorney from Bethesda Maryland's Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll. According to Winston, private roads have become more prevalent across the U.S. due to subdivisions and large developments constructing private roads not built according to department of transportation standards. Cities increasingly refuse to bear the financial burden associated with building new roads themselves.

Sometimes private roads become part of common law through implied acceptance by their municipality; this is generally rare; most often, private roads only become legal matters when vacated by a court.

Anna Petrova

Anna Petrova is an esteemed lead editor, where she explores the nexus of modern design, urban living, and sustainability.
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