Common Objections to Our Perspective
There are two (2) common objections to the position of the NHPVRTA. The first one comes from the Assessor’s Offices of municipalities. They claim that the assessment of properties located on residential private roads are discounted proportionately to the lack of services when compared to residential public roads. They claim that buyers of these properties are smart enough to calculate all of the shortcomings of living on one of these roads, and so the private road property owners are therefore compensated for the lack of services.
We disagree. There is no evidence to support the concept that properties located on private roads are down valued for lack of services. In fact, we have a letter from the former Assessor of the City of Dover that supports our belief that this view is incorrect. The Assessor put in writing that “there is no direct correlation between property taxes and the services a property does or does not receive”. In addition, we believe that most of the buyers of these properties, especially in newer developments, do not have a full understanding of what they are buying into, and especially what it means long term. In addition, private road communities that are considered upscale and exclusive will command higher market values than comparable properties located on a public road.
The second objection is “you should have known better” or “you knew what you were getting into”, or “you signed an agreement with the understanding that the municipality would not service your roads, and now you want to rescind the agreement”. The implication is that people fully understand what they are getting into. We believe the vast majority of buyers are going into these transactions in the best case with eyes half-open, not fully realizing what they are signing up to. To the best of our knowledge, there are no uniform requirements issued by the State that provides buyers full disclosure and transparency on the purchase of a home on one of these roads.
In addition, to the best of our knowledge, there are no requirements for Purchase and Sale Agreements or Closing Documents to fully disclose short-term and long-term obligations of the buyer with respect to maintaining the development. There might be a budget document that is signed, but the initial budget is typically much lower than what it will be in a few years after the developer has left the development. In one case the budget has more than doubled in less than 3 years.
Notwithstanding, even if buyers know what they are getting into or if NH required special disclosures – neither of those scenarios changes the fact that residential private road taxpayers are victims of disproportionate taxation, that their roads are not built to municipal standards, and that that they are assuming a disproportionate amount of liability and risk. They are being used by the municipalities to subsidize pubic road maintenance. Not only is this unfair, we believe it is immoral. There are at least two (2) States in the Northeastern United States that have Statutes in place that address our complaint to some extent. We believe the fact that two of the more densely populated States in the Northeast have these statutes validates our basic claims.