Ask the Expert


Maintenance Remedy for Residents on Private Roads

By Dale Martin

ask the expert martin_MG_9269In the “Wizard of Oz”, the yellow brick road was impeccably maintained as Dorothy and her companions began their journey to visit the great and powerful Wizard. It isn’t clear whether the Lollypop Guild played any role in maintaining the yellow brick road or whether it was a public or private thoroughfare.

However, if the road looked like some “private roads” in Laguna, we can imagine that Dorothy’s travels would have been even more difficult.

For folks living on a private road and having difficulty with maintenance issues, California Civil Code Section 845 has been amended to provide a new remedy. Basically, if any owner of an easement refuses to perform or fails to pay after demand is made in writing to pay the owner’s proportion of the cost of maintenance, an action to recover that owner’s share of the cost or for specific performance or contribution may be brought by the other owners.

Depending upon the dollar amount involved a claim can be filed in small claims or superior court.

Laguna Beach attorney Dale A. Martin is a real estate broker who also teaches law at Cal State Fullerton. (949) 303-0191 or