New build road and sewer agreement: jargon busting for home buyers

Fri 11th Mar 2022

If you are buying a new build property, you may be confused by all the jargon in the road and sewer agreement. Laura Vanstone, Head of New Build in Coodes Solicitors’ Residential Property team, explains the terminology and why it’s important.

Buying a new home is daunting as well as exciting. Getting your head around the legal jargon is not easy and, if you’ve chosen a new build property, you’ll probably come across even more terminology.

If your dream property is in a new development, it is likely to include a road and sewer agreement. We work with all our new build clients to help them understand what the agreement means and ensure they are comfortable with it.

What is a road and sewer agreement?

A road and sewer agreement is a legal document that sets out who is responsible for maintaining roads and services in a housing development.

Small developments of fewer than 15 plots do not generally involve these agreements. So, if you are buying a new build property in a development of three or four houses, you will probably take on responsibility for maintaining roads and services with the other residents. Or there may be a management company which will take responsibility for maintaining the roads and sewers as part of the homeowners’ service charge contributions.

However, a road and sewer agreement is generally included in the information pack for any properties in larger developments.

Here are some of the words and phrases you might come across when you review the road and sewer agreement for your new home.

Section 38 road agreement

On new developments, it is common for the roadways serving the development to be subject to an agreement between the council (in its capacity as the highway authority), developer and any lender. This is called a Section 38 Road Agreement.

In simple terms, this agreement confirms that the developer is responsible for constructing the roads to the correct standard. When the whole development is complete, the council will then take over responsibility for maintaining the roads.

Section 104 sewer agreement

Arrangements for the sewage system on a development works in the same way as a road agreement, with the developer holding responsibility during the construction phase.

The developer, water board and any lender will sign a section 104 sewer agreement. This means the developer is responsible for ensuring the sewage system is constructed to the right standard. When the development is complete, the water board will be responsible for maintaining the sewers.

Why are these agreements important?

If you are buying a new build property, we can advise you on the agreements and the future liability of the roads and sewers.

The benefit of these agreements is that you, as the homeowner, are not responsible for the roads and sewage system serving your property. As conveyancers, we ensure that the legal documentation states that the developer remains liable until the roads and sewers are adopted when the development is complete. The responsibility will then fall to the local authority or water board.

The road and sewers arrangements will be disclosed early in the conveyancing process and usually within the site information pack. However, we will also carry out searches to confirm the details. We will also carefully check the road and sewer agreement and help you understand your rights and responsibilities.

For further information or advice please contact Laura Vanstone in Coodes Solicitors’ Residential Property team on 01409 255907 or laura.vanstone@coodes.co.uk.

Fri 11th Mar 2022

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