Shared services and access road

Alice Image
03/11/2010 - 07:41

Shared services and access road As part of the restoration of our farm house in Le Marche, we had the old access track made up to a proper road together with water and electrical services. At the time this expensive infrastructure work was just for us but now, another house nearby has been restored and the owners are using the road and services. Would we be within our rites to ask for a contribution to the original cost and maintenance of the road? What is common practice in Italy?

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  We did the same 2 years ago and though no-one has restored either of the other 2 houses past ours both are regularly visited by their owners.  One property benefited from having electricity upgraded/new poles etc (at our expense) when they brought in supply - this property is 200m further down from us and owner visits every other week or so to tend olive trees, picnic in garden etc.  The other property is owned by a surgeon who visits almost daily as he breeds wolves in the grounds (to release to the wild).   Additionally we have 2 farmers that bring their tractors down "our" road to reach their fields.  Obviously they always did this but just used track until we had road made up.  Difficult situation as all these people have always used the old track they just now are able to come even during bad weather when old track was impassable but we do feel it would be fair if they contributed as we need to maintain and add more covering more often than if it was just us using the road.  To add insult to injury the farmer who farms the field behind our house has his water trench run straight towards our driveway opening, he then ploughs very close to the edge of the field, thus every time it rains part of his field is washed onto the road.  We have asked him many times to move his water trench (as have owners of the other 2 properties) and he wants to charge us for the privilege.  I will be interested to hear how you get on, but it seems if road is shared you have to just hope you share it with people prepared to pay as no obligation.  I suspect the people restoring your neighbouring property were never told that you had paid for the road, indeed I suspect the good road was a selling point highlighted by Estate Agents without mentioning contributing for either initial or maintenance costs.  good luck

  Thanks Karen for your feedback. Although lovely people here in this region we share they seem reluctant to offer payment or effort for what we feel is just normal neighborly behavior. And from their view point, it worked adequately before we came along and changed things; they didn’t ask for it! However, our neighbors are new, Northern European and we spoke to them indicating our expectation prior to their purchase of the property. The access is partly over our land they have a right of away. You are probably right about the Estate Agents selling techniques so we are trying to find out what common practice may be.  

We have a short stretch of shared road which then branches off in three directions to three houses including ours. It is written in the deeds that all three parties have an obligation to share the cost of the upkeep of the road. However that hasn't really been put to the test as yet. Our neighbouring farmers come down with their tractors with metal "caterpillar" type tracks and it doesn't do much for the surface but they have filled it in here and there without being asked (and without asking from a contribution from us) which seems fair enough to us.

If you want the neighbours to pay their share you have to ask them before you do any work - as it must be by common consent.  You can't turn round after the event and ask for money.  The neighbours will assume that you wanted the road making up and that's your choice, but it doesnt affect their rights of access.   The better the road the more people will want to use it!