Here at Law Office of James M. Blucker, we are well-equipped to handle various areas relating to your real estate litigation needs. Whether you need assistance because of a dispute with your neighbor (residential or commercial), help filing a lawsuit for quiet title because of a property ownership dispute, to litigating a real estate breach of contract lawsuit, we're here to provide answers and solutions to your problem. Listed below is a range of the real estate litigation services we provide.
Disputes With Neighbors and Within HOA
Our law firm has extensive experience in helping clients resolve their disputes with adjoining property owners and Homeowner Associations.
Disputes between owners or occupants of neighboring properties are quite common. The disputes often arise from work being performed on one property which one neighbor objects to because it affects their surrounding property in some way; whether it's impacting lighting, views, or because it has created excessive noise, dust and debris, or creates a hazardous condition which impacts the reasonable use and occupancy of the neighbor's property.
Other common disputes between adjoining property owners arise over trees, water drainage, the location of property boundary lines, retaining walls, joint fences, or the encroachment of structures mainly located on one property across or upon the legal boundary over or onto the adjacent property. Additionally, miscellaneous disputes include: noise, odors, pollution, and other effects from the unreasonable use of one property frequently might adversely affect or prevent the reasonable use or enjoyment of the neighbor's residence.
If there is a concern that the problem is serious and urgent, or that the problems could continue into the future, or affect property values or your ability to sell or rent the property, then negotiation of binding legal covenants – which can be recorded with the local County Recorder, and which can bind and benefit future owners of both properties – may be needed. Retaining legal counsel should be considered to allow the law firm to negotiate, draft, and review these Covenants Running with the Land.
Homeowner Association Concerns & C.C.&R's
If a problem arises within a condominium development, a Homeowner Association's (“HOA”) Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (“C.C.&Rs”) may provide a route to attempt resolution of the dispute, whether the problem has been created in an adjacent residence or in the Association's Common Area.
C.C.&R's often contain legal language prohibiting the creation of a nuisance or other problems within the Development. The HOA usually has the power to enforce these provisions, but if it fails to do so, an owner within this community can usually bring a legal action in Court to enforce the HOA C.C.&R's directly, or seek to compel the HOA to enforce them.
Legal Action – Disputes With Neighbors and Within HOA
If a Court action is necessary, a lawsuit can be often filed for damages and for a Court order enjoining (an Injunction ordering the other property owner to cease or stop) the nuisance, trespass, encroachment, interference with use of property, to establish the boundary line or quiet title, and for other claims and relief. In appropriate situations, or extremely urgent cases, an immediate Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or Preliminary Injunction can be sought early in the case, to maintain the peace or prevent further damage or bad acts pending a later court trial.
Encroachment/Trespass on Your Property
Where there is an encroachment or trespass onto your property the Court can order the encroachment to be removed from the property, define the property or boundary lines, or order the trespass to cease.
In these situations, it is necessary for the homeowner to familiarize themselves with the local approval procedures for such construction projects, and present good factual and legal objections to the project in writing or at hearings to the appropriate Government Department/Agency as soon as possible. Most Departmental/Agency decisions can be challenged in an administrative appeals process, and then in Court, if the homeowner has raised the legal objection in a timely manner and has exhausted all remedies before the Government Department or relevant agencies.
Disputes Regarding Easements
Easements, both recorded and prescriptive, as well as implied easements of necessity, often result in disagreements over the existence of, extent of or misuse of the easement, the interpretation of the easement, or whether the easement has been partly or wholly lost due to abandonment or prescriptive use or adverse possession or changes in circumstances.
Disputes Regarding Noise and Trees
Noise and tree disputes are often the subject of local City and County tree or noise ordinances, and in some instances the local government Department/Agencies can assist in their enforcement, such as code enforcement. It is possible that an independent legal action may be needed to enforce such ordinances.
Often expert reports or testimony are needed to resolve these disputes, whether in mediation, before a government agency, or in Court. Examples of situations where experts may be needed are noise experts to objectively measure noise levels, surveyors to locate boundary lines and encroachments or assess drainage issues, arborists in tree disputes, or soil or air sampling to assess pollution, contamination, or mold issues.
General Suggestions – Contact Us Today
Generally, in most cases it is best to try to address problems with adjacent properties or neighbors as soon as possible, rather than let these issues dwell, as you could lose your rights if you delay.
If you are unsure of your rights or about what to do about the problem, or if efforts to try to settle the dispute have been or might be futile, immediately consult our law firm to discuss your remedies and to advise you on a strategy to promptly address the problem in the appropriate means and forum.
Should you have any further questions involving real estate issues, please do not hesitate to call us. We are here to help you.