When selling a property, you will be asked by the buyers solicitors if the road fronting the property is adopted by the Local Authority. An unadopted road is not maintained by the Highway Authority under the Highways Act 1980.

A duty to maintain the road will still exist. This usually falls upon the owners of any properties fronting the road, along with having public liability insurance in place. This becomes problematic when the owner is not known or the title may not be registered at Land Registry.

Obtaining a Highways Search, in addition to the Local Authority Search, should provide more detail as to if the highway is adopted. An unadopted roads condition will, of course, vary and depends on how well maintained it was. The worst roads may have poor drainage, potholes, be unsurfaced and have no street lighting.

This can leave the property owners fronting such highways with the risk of having to spend large amounts or collectively fund the rectifying of any such issues. This is where sales fall through, not only because of the purchasers’ potential unknown future liability, but also the potential it can cause with neighbours over expected contributions.

Private unadopted road

Private unadopted road


What has become more common is finding the actual owner of the unadopted road. If the title is unregistered, finding the owner can be virtually impossible. However, if the ownership is established, it is possible to request the Local Authority to adopt the highway. The difficulty with this is, the council will insist the road is brought up to adoptable standards. This can be a considerable cost to all relevant property owners. An indemnity policy may be a solution when dealing with an unadopted road. This may be acceptable to the property buyer or their lender but does not really solve the underlying problem.

Looking for a Quick Sale of Unadopted Road Property?

Because we are UK’s leading property buyers offering fast cash for all types of properties, if you are concerned about finding a buyer due to unadopted road issues, you’d be glad to know that we have bought in the following situations:

  • Unadopted road owned by the properties fronting the street
  • Unadopted road owned by a third party
  • Unadopted road with unknown owner
  • Unadopted road, water discharging onto Railtracks land
  • Unadopted road with potential liability to Highways

Simply contact us or find out how much is your property worth using our online calculator