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Real Estate Law Archives

Eminent Domain: Pro Tanto Payments

When the Commonwealth or a municipality takes land by eminent domain, the landowner is entitled to "just and reasonable compensation" for his loss. The measure of damages the landowner is entitled to is based on the fair market value of the property taken at the time of the recording of the order of taking.

IMPLIED EASEMENTS & EMINENT DOMAIN

Many people may not realize that in Massachusetts, "[a]n eminent domain taking in fee simple extinguishes all other interests in the subject property. In particular, where an easement exists, the taking of the servient estate will destroy the easement rights of the dominant estate." New England Continental Media, Inc. v. Milton, 32 Mass. App. Ct. 374, 376 (1992). This means that if an individual has easement rights over a parcel of land that is ultimately taken by eminent domain, those rights are terminated once the taking occurs.

Evidence in Boundary Disputes

Boundary disputes can arise in a number of ways. Perhaps a landowner wants to install a fence or septic system, and the location of the boundary line becomes an issue with the neighbor. Other cases can come about innocently, such as when a landowner discovers (via a survey undertaken by a qualified land surveyor) that property lines are not located as originally thought, with buildings or other structures found to be encroaching on an abutting lot.

Appeals Court Affirms That Subdivision Developer Has No Negligence Claim Against Town's Consulting Engineer

Subdivision developers should think twice about relying on engineering firms/consultants retained by planning boards to disclose any deficient work. Even if that failure to disclose problems later leads to costly re-construction and repairs, there may be no legal recourse against the town's engineer.

Phased Development: Considerations for Developers

Phased development often makes better business sense for certain kinds of residential and commercial properties. There are several planning and practical considerations that developers should make when it comes to phased projects.

Private Nuisance Suits Against Municipalities: Limits on Damages and Open Issues in the Wake of Morrissey v. New England Deaconess Ass'n

It has been just over one year since the Massachusetts SJC rendered its decision in Morrissey v. New England Deaconess Ass'n-Abundant Life Communities, Inc., 458 Mass. 580 (2010). Although still relatively an unknown case, it has significant ramifications for private landowners seeking damages against municipalities for acts that constitute a nuisance.

PRIVATE WAYS: WHO HAS THE DUTY TO MAINTAIN AND REPAIR?

For landowners abutting a private way, obligations regarding maintenance and repair of the way depend on who owns the fee in the private way. These obligations include things like snow removal, re-paving, proper drainage and other maintenance issues.

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