In most cases you would be responsible for paying all costs to get the full road access to the lot. You have to carefully assess such lots. Unfortunately, some agents paint a rosy picture about lots that are essentially unbuildable. The City does no favor to such purchasers by not moving to vacate unbuildable street, leaving the false hope of future development.
First you have to look at the streets that would get you to the paper street. I have seen cases where the City abandoned and red lined streets leading to a paper street. While older houses along those streets are grandfathered in use of that street, a new project "upstream" might be required to improve even the existing redlined street. Utilities are another issue. Once a lot has legal street access utilities must serve. However, the costs will in most cases be born by the landowner where the property is far from the current service. In the case of sewer, septics can be used if far enough from the public sewer and the soil conditions right. On hillsides that can be an issue because one needs a location for the distribution field- not something that can be done on a slope without banking out a stable flat area.
Paper streets along canyons (top or bottom) with steep grade changes along their route are the common unbuildable street . Often they have rainwater flows that will be interrupted by a road, requiring that the water be conveyed long distances by culverts. Often there is some land sliding which would require substantial area-wide civil engineering projects to stabilize to the point where a road could be built.
Left as a paper street the City has no legal obligation to maintain. If built by the City they are on the hook for long term maintenance. If the street washes our or is damaged it must be maintained or the City would be required to pay just compensation to the owners denied access and vacate the street. In other words, City will never build steep canyon roads with steep grades, water issues and landslides. The costs are prohibitive and the long term stability questionable, leaving the City with substantial possible liabilities.
With local land values high, it would be rare if you found a buildable property on a paper street. Unless the land conditions are reasonably favorable and you can acquire many properties, the cost to improve the roadway will be excessive given the value of the development.
City of LA should do everyone a favor and inventory of unbuildable paper streets, vacating the truly unreasonable ones. The only reason they don't do this is because some litigious property owners many challenge, saying City has devalued their property. The owners will lose in court because paper street vacation does not deny access where there was none. The City just leaves these sleeping dogs lie to avoid hassle and legal efforts.
If owning land is the goal, paper street properties are fine. If investment or development is the goal, paper street properties are usually a case of throwing good money after bad. I'd carefully analyze you property. If it qualifies as unbuildable, consider selling before the paper street is eventually vacated by the City. Your best bet would be to offer the property to adjacent property owners who do have access (if any.) Sometimes they can extend their development rights to inaccessible lots or may simply want to control the land near theirs.... more
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Joint Tenant Transfer Ownership - Quit Claim?My joint tenant wants to transfer title of our property to me. We are friends only. I have homeowner's exemption as the person who lives in the property. My joint tenant does not and has
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