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
when I bought my home in 2009, I informed my realtor of all the issues that I seen and if it would be corrected. she said yes. when I reviewed my disclose documents, it was blank. the seller never indicated any problems with the home. so far, I've had 3 major floods. the foundation of the home is slanting and cracking slowly, and once again, the seller NEVER filled out the disclose form of these major issues. is it to late to contact a lawyer regarding this. we are in the process of selling our home now due to these major (not minor) issues, and several interested candidates have decline in purchasing the home as they would say *sever foundation problem*... more
Are you allowed to remodel a townhouse/condo?I live in Los Angeles, CA and Fullerton, CA. I am interest in getting into the real estate business. Mainly buying, renovating and reselling it. I am unsure if this is possible for Condos