Category Archives: Real Estate

Connecticut Real Estate law posts.

Buying or selling a home in Connecticut? Three Things You Need To Know.

In many cases, a brief conversation with a client prior to signing a real estate contract can prevent problems. At the very least, attorney review of a contract provides a client with a clear understanding of the terms and conditions.

Contact Attorney Ryan McKeen at McKeen Law Firm ryan@mckeenlawfirm.com or (860) 560-8163. We review contracts with clients within 24 hours. We work weekends. You can read more about our Connecticut Real Estate Law Practice.

Government Shutdown Could Impact Connecticut Real Estate Closings

“This is going to be very disruptive to the mortgage industry and pretty much result in a freeze of the pipeline,” said Craig Strent, CEO of Bethesda, Md.-based Apex Home Loans. “New loans can be taken, but without IRS and Social Security number verifications, [they] will not be able to proceed to closing.” – CNBC

We’re watching this situation very closely. The lenders that I spoke with yesterday were unsure exactly how the government shutdown will impact real estate closings in Connecticut.

Suffice to say the longer the shutdown the greater the impact.

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McKeen Law Firm FIrm, LLC is a Connecticut law firm that practices in the area of real estate law.

 

Neighbors In Court: Bamboo Edition

Nothing makes for good neighborly relations like a law suit!

When neighbors take each other to court it’s like an angry divorce without any incentive to be civil to each other for the sake of the kids.

Connecticut has not shortage of neighbors suing each other for one thing or another. Fence companies aren’t marketing themselves well enough.

From Wikipedia

This morning while reviewing cases, I came across a case involving every earthy yuppie’s favorite plant – bamboo. Rickel v. Komaromi, No. CV105010673 (Keegan, J.).

The plaintiff who the court notes was self-represented brought suit against her neighbors seeking money damages for bamboo encroaching on her property.  She alleged that the bamboo invaded her property.

What do you do when bamboo invades your property? Plead a count of “Encroachment by Vegetation?!?!?” That’s what the plaintiff did.

And if that was your answer –  you’d be wrong! The Court granted the Defendant’s Motion to Strike the Plaintiff’s “Encroachment by Vegetation” count finding it was not a cause of action.

The opinion does not address whether or not the plaintiff is seeking the injunctive remedy of caning as relief.

Connecticut Adverse Possession Law

I love reading adverse possession decisions in Connecticut.

These cases are often hard fought by warring neighbors. Compromise is often not an option because the level of disdain is so high between the parties.

If fences make for good neighbors adverse possesion cases certainly do not. Unless of course the fence is at the heart of an adverse possesion case.

Most broadly defined, adverse possession, is a method of acquiring title to real property without compensation by possession for a statutory period of time under certain conditions. Black’s Law Dictionary.

In Connecticut, to acquire title to land by adverse possession a claimant must oust an owner of possession and keep such owner out without interruption for 15 years by an open visible and exclusive possession under a claim of right with the intent to use the property as his own without the consent of the owner.

In Brusseau v. Soper, 2008 WL 1914248 (Leuba, JTR.)  a party prevailed in an adverse possesion action when he proved that starting in 1988 the defendant added 100 yards of fill to an area that was 66 feet long and 25 feet wide. The defendant also planted trees and maintained a wood pile on the disputed area.

The plaintiff argued that the woods between the plaintiff’s house and the wood pile made the defendants activity less visible to the plaintiffs.

JTR Leuba did not buy the plaintiff’s argument and found the following:

These activities were not minor or subtle.  Adding 100 yards of fill and regrading cannot be done in a clandestine manner.

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say that JTR Leuba got it right.

Save Joan’s House

Joan’s house sits at the bottom of a big hill. It’s a hill that I’ve ran up and down – hundreds of times.

Joan's House. Save it.

Sometimes, I see Joan. She may be sitting on her porch or gardening. We usually wave and say “hi” to each other.  I continue up the hill. She goes on with her life.

Throughout most of human history, we knew our neighbors well. In today’s walled and disconnected world it’s possible never to meet the people living close to us – let alone get to know them.  People could and did help their neighbors.

On the flipside we have tools like Facebook. Where we can keep in touch with lots of people who we either rarely or ever see.

These worlds collided late last week. Bill Childs, Associate Dean at Western New England School of Law and a fellow alumni board member – posted a link urging his friends to “save Joan’s house. Bill’s a good guy so I clicked on the link. The person who needed help, was Joan, my neighbor.

A few hours later, the Dean of the Hartford Blogosphere, Helder Mira posted the same link on Facebook. Joan has good friends.

It turns out that Joan was out of work for more than a year and fell behind on her mortgage. She has a job now, however, needs help in making up the $6,000 deficit.

Click here to read more about Joan and her situation. If you enjoy this site, and Joan’s cause worthy (which I trust you will), please give something to help her out. Any amount would be greatly appreciated. I’ve got miles to run. I hope to be waving to Joan for year’s to come. I ask you to help my neighbor.

Is It Malpractice To Fail To Challenge Documents In A Foreclosure?

After watching this powerful 60 minutes piece, I think the answer is “yes”.  The bottom line is if you are facing foreclosure don’t put your head in the sand – seek counsel from a lawyer.

The problem with mortgage documents is so bad that the head of the FDIC is proposing the creation of billion dollar insurance fund to deal with the fiasco. Forged and illegal documents are such a problem that they pose a significant threat to the broader economy.

If you’re at all involved in real estate litigation or foreclosure click here to watch an excellent 60 minutes piece.

The 60 minutes piece linked to above is shocking. People need to go to jail for this. I’m not sure that if I represented banks in foreclosure proceedings (which I don’t – I defend person’s facing foreclosure and do committee work on foreclosure sales) that I’d feel comfortable bringing actions anymore.

The Kelo House

Recently, I was at New London Superior Court for a pretrial conference. The conference was scheduled for 10:00 in the morning. By the time I arrived, all of the “good parking spaces” were taken.

I ended up parking on Franklin Street just down the road from the court’s parking lot.

As I pulled onto Franklin Street, I saw an unmistakable little pink house with a sign that read “The Kelo House”. Now, I’m not that familiar with New London but I knew enough about it’s geography to know that I wasn’t in the Fort Trumbull area (the setting of the famous case of Kelo v. City of New London).

Then it clicked that Mrs. Kelo lost her case.  It occurred to me that the house had been relocated.

As I walked over to the house, I saw this monument in front (click on the picture to read it):

Kelo

Kelo Monument

Here’s a very poor picture of the house:

Kelo House

Kelo House

If you’re ever in New London Superior court make sure to take a minute and check out Mrs. Kelo’s house. Her case is one of the most famous cases from Connecticut to ever be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Will Bed Bug Disclosure Become Part Of Real Estate Closings In Connecticut?

by Ryan McKeen

Probably.

This morning I came across an article about how bed bug disclosures are becoming a part of real estate closings in New York.

Given the attention bed bugs are receiving in the media right now it won’t surprise me at all to see a “bed bug” disclosure line added to the Residential Property Disclosure form.