legal requirements for maintenance on a lane

What is the legal
requirements for maintenance
on a lane used by me to
access my home, but is owed
by my neighbor. When I moved
into my home some years
back, the neighbor, which is
above my home on the lane,
made it clear that the lane
belonged to him and that he
plows it in the winter.
Which sounds great, the
problem, it’s about 1/4 mile
long slopped dirt lane which
runs up the mountain and has
ruts and at times large
rocks on it. Is he obligated
to maintain this lane so
it’s safe and passable? What
are his responsibilities for
maintaining this lane? Is he
liable to injuries and/or
damages due to the poor
maintenance? I live in Perry
county Pennsylvania, thanks
in advance for the help.

Asked on February 15, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

The neighbor does not have an affirmative duty to plow or maintain the lane; that is, you cannot sue him for failing to do so, seek a court order requiring him to do so, or have the city ticket him for not maintaining it.
However, despite not having an enforceable affirmative obligation to plow, they can be held liable for any injuries, car damage, etc. caused by their failure to maintain or plow the road. All property owners are liable for the damage and injuries caused by unreasonably dangerous conditions (e.g. ice; potholes) they allow to persist on their property and do not remedy. So you can't make them perform maintenance--but if the don't and their failure to maintain causes injuries or damage, you can sue them.

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