I live in a leasehold property, with a private access road that runs across the freeholder's land. The access road is shared with one neighbour, is a public bridleway, and is also used by a tenant farmer to access his fields. My lease contains a covenant to maintain the road:
The freeholder has now started building another property, which will also require use of the access road. Historically he has flat refused to contribute financially to the upkeep and maintenance of the road, and we are concerned that the additional traffic on the road from new neighbours will mean we need to perform more frequent maintenance.To make up the access road to a reasonable standard of repair and condition as required by the Local Authority and thereafter to contribute to the costs and expenses of maintaining and repairing said access road according to user
What research I have been able to do myself indicates that ‘according to user’ means the maintenance and repair should be split between the properties accessed the road, and any new property would have to pay their fair share (so we now split the costs three ways rather than two). However, with it being the freeholder's property, I'm not sure how this would play out when he creates the lease for the new property and/or if he decided to keep ownership and rent it out. Really keen to understand my situation here, and if we need to seek professional help, what type of legal professional we should be looking to!
As an aside, the access road runs up a steep hill and suffers from occasional (three times in the past 2 years) landslip when the weather is very bad. We are increasingly concerned that the structure of the hillside is becoming weakened due to poor drainage and general maintenance of the surrounding land. Since our covenant refers only to the road, does anyone have any experience with the situation where ‘our’ road (that is, the road we must pay to maintain) is damaged by ‘his’ hillside? We believe that the cost to shore up the surrounding land so as to properly protect the access road against collapse could run to 6 figures, so if there is an opportunity to negotiate with the freeholder, it feels prudent that we would address this concern at the same time. Again, it's very unclear what our position would be here..
Thanks in advance!