Sometimes you just run across decided cases that are so full of concise, black letter law, well-reasoned issues of first impression and multiple, alternate law-based rationales supporting the decision (read: iron-clad), that you have to share them. Sullivan v. O'Connor, 81 Mass. App. Ct. 200 (2012), decided almost a year ago in January, is one of those cases.
What is fascinating, if not maddening, about the practice of law is that just when you think you've come across every iteration of facts that can be applied to a legal doctrine or precedent, you run into a scenario that tests-or at least puts a new twist on-a seemingly foregone conclusion.
In many real estate cases, a thorough title search is often necessary to understand the nature of the interests held in the property in question. A title search will also help identify any encumbrances and/or interested parties that may affect the outcome of the pending matter.
Chances are that most people are not aware that "waste" is a cause of action that can be brought against life tenants who mismanage real property while it is in their possession.
In real estate law, the partition of land (and buildings thereon) is a useful, and often necessary tool , that can be used to divide property when the land is owned by two or more individuals holding undivided interests. The right to partition is an absolute right and does not require the consent of other co-tenants. Notably, partition is not available in those cases where the land is held by husband and wife as tenants by the entirety.
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.
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.
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.
With summer weather upon us, beach and shoreline access is a timely topic.
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.