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Responsibility to pay fair and reasonable proportion of maintaining a driveway

(8 Posts)
Duckstar Sun 19-Jul-15 20:22:53

We are currently in the process of purchasing a property. The property comes with a garage separate to the house in a row of about 15 garages. The garages are accessed by a road/driveway. We have received the title deeds for the garage, which state the freeholders of the garages are responsible for paying a fair and reasonable proportion of maintaing the driveway; however, the sellers do not know who owns the driveway and nothing is mentioned on the title deeds. The sellers, apparently, have not been asked for any contribution in the last 6 years (since they owned property). The driveway doesn't look in the best condition. I have no issue with being responsible for part maintaing the driveway, we currently live on a managed estate, but we pay a regular service charge and have a management company who carry out repairs.

My concerns are as follows:
- if no one knows who owns the driveway who is going to actually enforce this provision?
- Is there a risk that the road could deteriorate, no one will repair and we would be left with an unaccessible garage?
- Is there a risk that if the road deteriorates and someone injures themselves we could be liable?

So in terms of how we proceed any ideas on what we should do? Anyway of finding out who the owner of the road is? My hunch is it may be the local authority or housing authority as the garages look like they were built at the same time as a block of local authority maisonettes.

Has anyone been in this situation with a repairing responsibility, but no one enforcing in it? What happened?

My conveyancing solicitors have not been great so far and I think if we go back to them they will probably say "not much that can be done".

wowfudge Sun 19-Jul-15 20:42:35

You can do a map search of the Land Registry section of the website to find out who owns the road. An instant download of the title map and title register will cost £6. Your solicitors should be doing this as a matter of course - it's what you pay them for. In your position I would be insisting they undertake this search - it's conveyancing bread and butter stuff. Have you perhaps misunderstood and the road is jointly owned by the owners of the garages?

Duckstar Sun 19-Jul-15 20:45:31

Thanks wowfudge. When I ring my solicitors and ask that they do things they always sound incredulous and we are making unreasonable demands! So its useful to know that this is something they should be doing.

Solicitors have specifically said in a letter to us the owner of the road/driveway is unknown.

wowfudge Sun 19-Jul-15 21:10:17

So that sounds as though they have undertaken a search. Clarify whether they have or whether that is what the vendor's solicitor has told them. I would also consider finding out if any of the neighbours has been there longer than the vendor, do they know who the owner is and have they ever paid towards any work.

mandy214 Sun 19-Jul-15 21:43:41

I agree with wowfudge, you say it says the freeholders are responsible for paying a fair & reasonable proportion - that sounds as though the owners of the properties to which the garages belong (so the 15 homeowners) are collectively responsible.

But wowfudge is right - you should be getting a Report on Title from your solicitor which should explain all of this and what obligations / rights come with the property.

Duckstar Mon 20-Jul-15 20:25:42

Have emailed sols and waiting for a response.

Went down to see garage and the driveway lookalike it has not been maintained and repaired for years. In front of 2 garages it's actually all gone to grass. Outside the one we are purchasing it is fairly overgrown. Didn't manage to speak to any other garage owners yet.

RocanaHardplace Mon 20-Jul-15 23:35:40

When you say there is nothing mentioned on the title deeds are you talking about just the downloadable title? I agree this is a topic for your solicitor - this is exactly what you pay them for.

Ask them if they haven't done so already for LR to check for historic deeds or a transfer - if available they may show more than the more abbreviated title deed.

Also pitch up outside the garages on a saturday morning and ask a few residents. Someone must know what's what.

And if all else fails and you still proceed - you can probably insure against it. Again this is for the solicitor to advise

Duckstar Wed 22-Jul-15 13:11:16

Update: sols written today saying they are now doing search on land registry on ownership of road. They have also gone back to our sellers with our concerns and to seek more information on ownership and repairs. Thanks for the above information. I am just cross that sols had to be told to do this - feel like we are constant chasing them.

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