Property Line and Boundary Disputes in Connecticut
Robert Frost said that “Good fences make good neighbors.” Well, that is not always the case. Sometimes, your neighbor builds a fence on your property or puts up a “spite” fence to antagonize you over a petty dispute. We have seen it all, from fences that cause lawsuits or fights over a rock on the side of the driveway to lawsuits over 16 inches of land. Neighbor disputes can turn ugly fast.
At Aeton, our attorneys offer creative problem-solving to complex real estate disputes. If problem-solving is not possible, we will develop a litigation and trial plan that fits the needs of the case and aggressively pursue our clients’ goals. These actions are usually called “quiet title” actions because a lawsuit is filed to clear up issues or disputes regarding the title to a property. Our attorneys represent Connecticut homeowners and business owners in real estate lawsuits, including claims involving:
- Adverse possession. Adverse possession in Connecticut is governed by a 15-year statute pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes 52-575. In certain circumstances, an adverse possessor (an individual or business) can claim ownership over land from the true owner. To establish title by adverse possession, an attorney needs to prove that the claimant ousted an owner of possession and kept such owner out without interruption for 15 years by an open, visible, and exclusive possession under a claim of right without the consent of the owner. The attorneys at Aeton can help you bring and defend adverse possession cases.
- Boundary line disputes. Typical boundary line disputes involve competing claims over who owns a piece of property or the amount of area belonging to a particular parcel. Boundary line disputes become particularly important when dealing with frontage to water, access to beaches and lakes, encroachment offenses, and non-conforming lots.
- Prescriptive easements. An easement is basically the right of a person to use, access, or cross your land. Prescriptive easements are similar to adverse possession claims. The main difference is the right to use the land in an easement case versus that right to take the land in an adverse possession case.
- Scope and meaning of easements. Many times, neighbors get into disputes over the meaning or scope of an easement or the right to use land. The most important evidence in these cases concerns the actual language used by the real estate attorney that drafted the easement. The easement should spell out the scope of the right to use the land, such as a right of way easement. Questions often arise as to whether the holder of an easement is overburdening or making excessive use of the easement.
- Life estates. A life estate can be granted to an individual, giving the person the right to occupy land for life. Disputes often arise when there are claims of waste against the person with the life estate. The dispute can be raised by the person next in line for possession or the party with the remainder in interest.
- Trespass, Nuisance. Obnoxious or harmful noises, smells, and sights can form the basis of trespass and nuisance claims. The typical situation involves a claim that there is an inherently dangerous condition on property that has a tendency to cause injury or damage to persons or property. Damage is caused by unreasonably interfering with an owner’s use and enjoyment of land.
- Malicious structures and spite fences. Connecticut has a statute that provides relief when one property owner puts up a structure for malicious purposes. An example is the so-called “spite fence, which is when one neighbor puts up a giant fence to annoy or harass another neighbor. The structure does not have to be a fence. In certain circumstances, an injured landowner can get an injunction against the use of the malicious structure.
Property disputes that end up in a lawsuit or trial often require very detailed identification and collection of evidence. Attorney Bennett utilizes his skills learned as a former prosecutor and partner at a large law firm to marshal the critical evidence in these cases. The evidence gathering sometimes includes finding long forgotten witnesses or documents from transactions that took place years ago. Hiring an attorney early in the process is critical to assist with evidence gathering.
Lawsuits for Real Estate Transactions
For many people, making an investment in real estate is the most significant investment of their lifetime. When the transaction goes badly or money is lost, the impact can be devastating. Oftentimes, hiring an attorney and filing a lawsuit is the only recourse a person has when dealing with financial losses from a real estate transaction.
At Aeton, we offer representation to individuals and businesses suffering economic losses from real estate transactions. The transaction may involve fraud or misrepresentation of the value of the property or the condition of the property. The loss may arise from the breach of a purchase and sale agreement. In any significant case, you likely need an attorney that can understand the complexities of the deal while also having the litigation skills to uncover the necessary evidence.
Commonly, we see cases where one party to a purchase and sale agreement has performed and the other refuses. Many times, a lawsuit is necessary to obtain the return of the deposit on a home. Typically, the deposits are held by a real estate agent or company. The real estate company will refuse to turn over the deposit without an agreement by the parties or an order from a court.
Some of the cases we handle include the following:
- Breach of purchase and sale agreement
- Fraud or misrepresentation in real estate deal
- Fraud in property condition or disclosures
- Mortgage fraud or appraisal fraud
- Refusal to turn over a deposit
- Refusal to sell a property
For more information and to speak to an attorney at Aeton Law about your real estate losses, damages, or disputes, call 860.785.2099.