How to Determine Who Owns a Private Road

February 11, 2023

When a lot is sold, it may contain a written or implied easement to access the roads that are depicted in the recorded plan. If the lot contains a private road, it is important to know whether it is owned or shared by several property owners.

How to Determine Who Owns a Private Road

There are many ways that a person can determine who owns a private road. These include examining a land title report, contacting the County Recorder's Office or utilizing the services of a title company to search for easements.

Unlike public roads, which are owned and maintained by a government, most private roads are not. They are owned and maintained by a private individual, corporation or group of people.

How to Establish a Private Road

Most states require an applicant to file a civil action in court to establish a private road. In such actions, the court appoints viewers who examine the affected area, decide whether the road is needed and suggest possible modifications.

What to Do When You Live on a Private Road

In Santa Cruz County, the law requires that any residential owner who abuts a private road must contribute equitably to the reasonable cost of maintaining such road.

If the residents on a private street disagree about the amount of money it takes to maintain their private road, it could lead to serious problems and legal disputes. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that you are fully aware of all the responsibilities involved when living on a private road.


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