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