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Unadopted Road

9 replies

insomniac1 · 27/03/2023 20:51

Hi everyone

We have found a house we would like to buy. It's on a very small cul de sac at the end of a long road.

The searches have just come back and whilst the long road belongs to the council - the 3 houses on the cul de sac are on an unadopted road (we were led to believe by the agent that this was not the case)

The house was built 35 years ago by a very large developer - it was meant to be adopted within 2 years but it never happened. I've managed to get in touch with the developer who has said they approached the council 3 years ago asking for it to be adopted but they said no. The developer did tell me they would be happy to give the road to the 3 properties.

The road is in good condition and no maintenance has been carried out in the last 35 years.

I've spoken to one of the neighbours who has said they would be happy to be involved with a legal document that ensures all 3 houses must maintain the road. So maybe setting up a company which owns the road and then issuing 1/3 shares to each house.

The houses are of high value so I would like to think the other neighbour would be ok with this too.

I asked the vendor if they could sort this out before exchange but they are refusing.

The house is at a good price so we are reluctant to lose it but wondering if we should walk away.


Thank you so much.

OP posts:

EstherHazy · 27/03/2023 21:23

I'd probably personally not be too worried - could you even approach the neighbours directly if you wanted to ahead of your purchase if it's just the three homes? Also sounds like likelihood of repair is unlikely.

However - I'm in process of buying on a private close with 7 houses with the road unadopted and privately owned. They have a dormant management company and everything is 'extremely ad hoc' to quote my solicitor, and they don't have public liability insurance - this arrangement, according to my solicitor, is unsatisfactory and they are having to declare this with my mortgage lender to get their approval.

I'm personally keen that insurance is in place but don't care about the ad-hoc nature - I'm happy to take my luck on that - but I am praying my mortgage lender won't kick up as I wasn't exactly overflowing in options.

So - my point is - a) your mortgage lender may care and b) this could be a leverage to get the owner to sort it.


insomniac1 · 28/03/2023 21:11

Thank you so much for your response. There are a few red flags with this so we are most likely going to pull out.

OP posts:

Merrydance · 28/03/2023 22:29

We were previously in an unadopted road, it was unknown if anyone owned the road. We took out an insurance, advised by a solicitor, which is common practice in these circumstances


TattiePants · 28/03/2023 22:51

I wouldn’t walk away (yet) but you do need to speak to your solicitor and get legal advice about this. I live on a private road which is much bigger than yours (30 properties) but everything is managed very well. We have a committee to manage the day to day business (gardener, drain cleaning etc) plus every year I produce annual accounts which are reviewed at the AGM and an annual service charge is agreed. We have a written constitution and every time a house goes up for sale I’m asked by the purchaser’s solicitor for specific information.

If there are only 3 of you things don’t have to be as formal eg having a committee but you need to have agreement over who owns the road, what happens if maintenance is required, who pays, if there are drains, who is responsible, what if someone has an accident on the private road (we have £2m PLI)?

I wouldn’t advise setting up a company as that brings with it other formalities / legal structure to follow but our land is registered to two of our residents who hold the land on behalf of the Residents’ Association.


emmathedilemma · 29/03/2023 09:09

I'd also check if anything else hasn't been adopted by the relevant parties e.g. the sewers


Allthegoodnamesarechosen · 29/03/2023 09:16

I lived in a very similar road ( three houses, gravel surface drive shared by the three , not adopted) for fifteen years; my parents lived in the same house for the previous thirteen years.

we never had a problem, in fact it was quite useful as it was an argument against randoms parking there. We had it re gravelled once in twenty five years, we all paid towards it.

even though it was un adopted, the local council decided to redo the pavement / path on the side with tarmac one day. No idea why.

you could insure yourself against problems though, we did that with another house with an un adopted lane as access. Never had any problems there, either.

( I live on another one now! I suppose they must be quiet…..)


anyolddinosaur · 29/03/2023 09:41

My experience of anything private or unadopted is that people dont want to pay when they need maintaining. So unless there was a cast iron agreement in place to maintain, preferably with annual payments into a fund to cover future repairs I would run.


Mixkle · 29/03/2023 10:00

Hm. I wouldn’t be extremely concerned about it, but you need to talk to your solicitor (and get a real solicitor not one of those cheapo ‘licenced conveyancers’ who never pick up the phone). I bought on an unadopted road that was landlocked behind a piece of unregistered land that no one knew who owned it. I had to buy a £30 insurance policy (against the risk of someone denying us access) and I also obtained a sworn statement from the seller that they’d been using the land to access their house for X years with no problems. The idea was that after a certain number of years a legal easement (giving of access) would automatically be created by thise statements. So I’m not too worried about getting access rights etc.

The red flag for me though is why hasn’t all this already been done? If the developer is so happy to give away the land to the homeowners why hasn’t that already happened - in fact why wasn’t it included in the original sale?

I wouldn’t walk away from the purchase at this stage but I would have a lot of questions for my lawyer, and the seller can’t just ignore the issue.


afaloren · 29/03/2023 10:08

We live on an unadopted road. We took out an indemnity when purchasing.

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