Who Owns a Private Road?
Private Roads (Unadopted Roads)
Private roads have not been adopted by the local authority and are not maintainable by them, but by the respective frontagers. A frontager is the term given to the owners of a property immediately facing a road and who are usually responsible for maintenance of that part they front onto.
Public Roads (Adopted Roads)
When a private road is adopted by the local authority it then becomes maintainable by that local authority and not the frontagers. Adoption of roads is governed by Part XI of the Highways Act 1980. In most cases, roads are adopted and therefore there is a public right of way over them; thus, their upkeep is funded by the local authority at the public expense.
As stated above a frontager is the owner of a property that faces onto the road. In common law the owner of a property will generally own up to the mid-point of the road that his property faces onto. That being the case, where a road requires work to be carried out each of the frontagers facing onto the road, on each side thereof, are responsible for their share of the expense. It therefore follows that there is a need to establish the ownership of each frontager in order to arrange for payment of the requisite expense.
Land Registry Title Plans
Title Plans do not, by convention, display the ownership of a property outside of the curtilage of the property (the area bounding ownership of the property shown as being within the red edging on the Plan). This means the Title Plan does not illustrate ownership as extending beyond the property to the mid-point of the road, notwithstanding ownership of the same. To most intents and purposes this would not be necessary as by far the majority of roads are public roads, having been adopted by the local authority, and the surface thereof is maintainable by them and not the owners.
Land Registry Title Register Search
In order to discover the ownership details of the frontagers it may be necessary to obtain a copy of the Title Register for each of the fronting properties. This is easily carried out using our Title Register Search.
Where the fronting property is a parcel of land without a dwelling upon it the way forward is to use our Map Search to identify the land. Our Map Search is embedded into the application for a Title Register and your application will be automatically updated with the correct coordinates for the property so that we can identify it.
Whenever there is uncertainty as to ownership of part of the road itself, a search can be made using our Map Search (advanced map option) to confirm the ownership details of the stretch of road in question.