Who is responsible for maintaining a private road?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Who is responsible for maintaining a private road?

I live on a private road with about 4 other families; I purchased the property about 3 1/2 years ago. The road is in deplorable condition, holes that would easily remove a muffler and snow is never plowed. Fortunately for me, I am the closest to the main road so I am able to maintain about 40′ of

what I need to get to the main road but I’m just curious as to who is legally responsible for the upkeep of this road.


Asked on January 17, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It depends on who actually owns the land on which the road lies: even if there are four of you who live and access it, the land is owned by one or more people (e.g. different people may own different segments), who may be any subset of you or could theoretically be a different landowner entirely. Whomever owns land is the one who is "responsible" in the sense of they would be the one liable if someone is injured or a car damaged on it due to lack of maintenance (e.g. not plowing; potholes; etc.). That does not create an affirmative obligation to perform maintenance--a road's owner can ignore his/her road and hope no one is hurt on it--but the possibility of liability for accidents creates an incentive for maintenance.

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