Adopted and Unadopted Roads - Highways

When you purchase a property, there are a number of searches that your solicitor carries out. Adopted and unadopted roads are one of these searches. The Local Authority search will indicate whether the road that fronts your property is adopted by the Local Authority. You should be cautious of this when you purchase your property, especially with recently built or new build homes as often the roads serving those properties will be unadopted.

The difference between adopted and unadopted roads:

Adopted Road

Whilst purchasing your property you receive the Local Authority Search which indicates that the road fronting the property is adopted. This means that the road is a publicly maintained highway and it is the responsibility of the authority to maintain and repair the road. You will automatically have a right of way over the road.

Unadopted Road

Whilst purchasing your property you receive the Local Authority Search which indicates that the road fronting the property is unadopted. This means that the road is not a publicly maintained highway so the local authority is under no obligation to maintain and repair the road. The responsibility for the costs of maintaining and repairing the road rests with the owners of the properties that front the unadopted road.

Therefore, before purchasing a property you should check the condition of the road, whether there are many potholes and whether the road has poor drainage. If you do not carry out these checks, you could end up spending large amounts of money to rectify any issues with the road which you had not expected. You would need to make enquiries with the neighbours to find out what the maintenance arrangements are and whether the current owners of the property had ever been called upon to contribute towards the upkeep. In addition, the local authority may in some instances repair the road however they will send the bill to the properties fronting the unadopted road.

The other important point to note is that with unadopted roads there is no automatic right of way over it and your solicitor will need to carefully check the seller’s title deeds and possibly make enquiries with the local authority to ascertain that adequate rights are in place.

Contact Us

If you require further advice or you wish to purchase or sell a property, please contact our Conveyancing department directly, or call out head office on 0800 988 7756

court fee increase

Government proposals to increase court fees

In March 2021, the Ministry of Justice started a consultation on raising various court fees by 8%. If the proposals are approved, this will be the first court fee increase for five years. At the same time, they are considering changing the threshold for receiving help with court fees. This could increase the number of people eligible for help, if implemented.  We look at the Government’s proposals.

| Proposed court fee increases

The proposed court fee increases are widespread and will affect civil proceedings, court of protection fees and Magistrates’ court fees (including some fees for licensing applications).

Many court issue fees will not be affected (for example fees to issue claims for money or for possession of land are to stay the same). However, the fees that the government proposes to increase include:

  • Hearing fees at all levels of claim
  • Winding up and bankruptcy fees
  • Applications for detailed assessment of costs
  • Various enforcement methods including charging orders and warrants of possession.

The full list of proposed changes can be found online.

| Help with court fees

If you earn below a certain threshold, you can receive help with your court fees. The current threshold is monthly earnings of £1,085 for a single person, and £1,245 for a couple.

As well as increasing the court fees, the Government proposes to change the monthly income threshold. For a single person, this will change to £1,165 and for a couple will change to £1,335. Therefore, more people should be eligible for help with paying their court fee.

| What happens next?

The government is currently consulting on the proposed changes. This consultation period ends in mid-May. We expect to hear from the Ministry of Justice with their outcome to the consultation by July 2021.

If the proposals are to go ahead, the court fee increases will take effect from late September or early October 2021. We will update our blog with any changes.

housing possession mediation

Just launched: Housing Possession Mediation Pilot Scheme

Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the Government has paused possession claims going through the Courts, leading to a big backlog of claims. This has left some landlords with tenants in increasing arrears; and conversely some tenants struggling to make their monthly rent, whose landlords are not interested in negotiating a reduced amount. As a result, the Government has launched a new free Housing Possession Mediation Pilot Scheme in England and Wales. The idea is to resolve possession disputes between landlords and tenants as the possession claim proceeds through the courts. The idea is to help tenancies to continue and assist the parties in compromising.

What is mediation?

A mediation is an informal meeting, hosted by an expert independent and neutral mediator. In the mediation, the mediator helps the parties resolve problems or disputes their own way.  They are private, confidential and without prejudice.

How will the mediations be conducted?

The mediations under the Scheme will not be in person, but will be conducted over telephone, WhatsApp or Zoom. You will need an email to access.

How long will the scheme last?

The Housing Possession Mediation Pilot Scheme is to last for approximately six months, at which point it will be evaluated.

Will it work?

The idea behind the scheme is that it will help landlords and tenants come to amicable settlements. Indeed, it is in both parties’ interest to come to a solution. Further, around 84% of all mediations (not necessarily property possession mediations) lead to settlement!

Of course, it remains to be seen how effective the scheme is, and how many people will take it up. As the scheme has just been announced there is only limited information available so we don’t yet know the details of how it will function.

If you are a landlord and have a dispute with your tenant, we recommend that you instruct a solicitor to assist you. Contact our property disputes team on 0800 988 7756 for a free initial discussion.