Road Maintenance Agreements (RMA)
Updated: Oct 25, 2022
In North Carolina, public roads are maintained by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, or the city or town where the road is located. You’ll know that it is a state road on a map when you see the road marked with an SR (State Road) number. The question then becomes who maintains the private roads? Roads that are not maintained by the state, city, or town are private roads and they are maintained by their owner. Further, the general rule is that the owner or owners of the private road are responsible for the maintenance of their private road. However, private roads in most counties have minimum standard requirements by a county ordinance. For example, Vance County states, “the design, location, maintenance and improvement of private roads shall provide for safe intersection with public roads, safe passage of public service and emergency vehicles and protection of adjoining parcels.” (§ 155.074(B)(1)).
When there are multiple owners to a private road, then issues can arise on who is responsible for the maintenance of said road. This is a where a Road Maintenance Agreement comes into play. A Road Maintenance Agreement is a “contract that outlines who is responsible for maintaining a private road and how the road will be maintained.” (donotpay.com). If there are multiple owners to a private road, a Road Maintenance Agreement is most likely needed to stipulate how the private road is going to be maintained.
In North Carolina, Road Maintenance Agreements are not required, but are strongly recommended. For example, lending companies such as mortgage companies or banks usually require private Road Maintenance Agreements from individuals that share a private road with others. Road Maintenance Agreements have main clauses in the contract that details how the contract will be enforced. Examples of what you might see in Road Maintenance Agreements are: who has access to the road, how the road maintenance will be maintained and who is responsible for it, when are repairs needed and by whom, the cost sharing for maintenance, improvements, etc., and what happens if there is a dispute. If you are an owner of a private road and are need of a Road Maintenance Agreement, please reach out to our law firm for assistance.
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