Sharing a private street with your neighbors can be a great way to keep everyone calm – if you`re doing your homework. In the absence of an explicit agreement or requirement for the maintenance of a private road, any person who enjoys a common advantage of a private road contributes substantially to the costs of maintaining the private road and has the right to bring a civil action to enforce this section. (Added 2011, No. 123 (WO SESs.), No. 1.) While Law 123 ensures that landowners can mortgage real estate served by a common private road without a road maintenance contract, it does not solve the fundamental problem. It is not clear what it means to contribute “in terms of price” to the cost of its maintenance. In Vermont, where communal roads generally stick to the deepest and busiest areas, landowners living off the beaten track must maintain a road or private access to access their properties. These private roads often serve several properties and offer a common advantage of access to a number of neighbors. Informal and unwritten agreements, sealed with a backhand, provide a common possibility of assigning the responsibilities and costs of maintaining these common private roads. However, when neighbors move or relationships are angry, these informal agreements collapse, so that some neighbors have more burdens to bear to gain access to their real estate. Since 1984, Vermont law has recognized that “while many people have a common service, all must contribute to alleviating the burden on the existence of the benefit.” Hubbard v. Bolieau, 144 Vt. 373, 375-76 (1984).
In other words, neighbours who individually benefit from the use of a common private road must contribute “reasonably” to its maintenance and maintenance. This legal standard was codified in 2012 by the passage of Bill 123 to comply with the Federal National Mortgage Association`s 8-01 announcement, which prohibits mortgages for real estate accessible by a private road without a road maintenance contract. 19 V.S.A. 2701-02. David Plott, an engineer and former public planning consultant, suggests that neighbours meet in situations without a private street maintenance agreement to find common ground and recognize that a quality road will increase the real estate values of all. “Have a big party together and do it,” he says. “I insist on the whole game. It`s got to be everybody. In order to remove the uncertainty of this obligation, landowners should consider entering into a private road maintenance contract with their neighbours.
In this regard, landowners can control the extent to which and to what extent they are responsible for contributing to the maintenance of a common private road. A road maintenance contract may assign responsibility for snow plows, yards, repairs and other major undertakings. It may share responsibility proportionately depending on the length of the access road used for each land, the number of land served by the access road, the frequency of use by each owner, or the base on which the parties may agree. Instead of a court determining each party`s “priceable” contribution to the litigation, the parties can define their own responsibilities. Not only does this avoid unnecessary legal costs of dispute resolution, but it also transfers decision-making to landowners and ultimately achieves a better outcome on all fronts.