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Road agreements dictate where private roads will be located and who will maintain the roads. Simply put, private roads are roads that aren’t maintained by the city, county, state, or any other government entity. Instead, they’re owned and maintained by individuals, organizations, or companies. Road agreements can be between two neighbors, a group of property owners, or large communities (such as homeowners associations).
Road Agreements For Private Roads
In rural areas of Idaho, Montana, and Washington, road agreements are fairly common. If you’re considering buying a property, you need to know whether you’ll have to access your property via a private road. If so, check to see if a road agreement is in place, what provisions are included in the agreement, and whether the agreement is being enforced.
Maintenance And Repairs On Private Roads
In general, you’ll want to know who’s paying for the repairs and maintenance on the road (including what your portion of the costs will be), who has access to the road, and the general state of the road. Is the road easy to drive on, or is it washed out and/or virtually impassable? To be considered “passable,” a road needs to be passable for passenger cars, school buses, and emergency vehicles.
Common issues that can crop up with shared roads include: who has access to the road; who maintains the road; who pays for the maintenance and repairs of the road; are people adhering to the road agreement; and is there a reserve account for the road costs.
It’s important to note that most mortgage companies and lenders will require a road maintenance agreement (recorded with the county), before they’ll lend money for a property that’s located on a private road.
Easements For Roads – Between Two Neighbors
On a related note, easements for shared roads are fairly common between two neighbors, particularly when one lot can only be accessed by crossing over another lot. If you’re considering buying a piece of property that grants an easement for a road, or has been granted an easement, it’s important to know exactly what that access easement entails. Don’t assume that you’ll be protected by title insurance – we can take a look at title insurance exceptions and perform legal due diligence on your prospective purchase, so that you know exactly what you’re getting into.
At Timely Contract, we have local real estate attorneys who have experience throughout Idaho, including: Boise, Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene, Lewiston, Moscow, and Sandpoint.
We also have local real estate attorneys who have experience throughout Montana, including: Missoula, Billings, Bozeman, and Kalispell.