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Serious Lot Line Issue MA Land Court? Massachusetts

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  • Serious Lot Line Issue MA Land Court? Massachusetts

    Hi,
    My wife and I purchased a home back in 1996 with Title insurance and as far as we knew, there were no issues with the lot. We refinanced several times and never came across any problems. Two years ago we put our house up for sale, secured a buyer and purchased/moved into a new home while the transaction was completing. Mid-way through the process, our real estate broker received a letter from my abutters attorney indicating that we were seriously encroaching on his parcel. Apparently, there was some instrument level survey work done that uncovered surveying mistakes made back in the 1940's. Our abutter purchased the house a year prior for a very good price, knowing there were issues. The problem extends to about 6 houses on our street and is so serious that the property lines are actually going down the middle of peoples houses.

    To make a long story short we secured a local attorney and came to an agreement with the abutters about a land swap to resolve the issues. Our attorney took us before the Zoning/Planning Board and the land swap was approved. We are now at the final stages of resolving this and one of the abutters mortgage companies is denying a partial release due to his Loan to Value ratio changing. Apparently he has a big loan on his property and they refuse to issue the release until he pays it down. He is unwilling to do this and does not want to refinance, so we may be at a dead end.

    This has put us in a terrible position both mentally and financially and our attorney seems to have lost interest and hasn't come up with a "Plan B". We have a person who wants to buy the house and is renting right now but feel we will probably lose him as a buyer/renter after this recent news.

    So I guess my question is, can anyone suggest any alternatives to resolving this? Originally we had discussed an adverse possesion case as we and the previous owner have been occupying that land for 40+ years and there was a clear boundary marker (fence) in place for a very long time. I hate to go this route for time and money reasons but I am not sure what else we could do.

    Any help would be much appreciated!!!
    Last edited by rs3819; 04-09-2007, 07:06 AM.

  • #2
    ...To make a long story short we secured a local attorney and came to an agreement with the abutters about a land swap to resolve the issues....

    I am assuming that the land to be swapped doesn't help the neighbor's lender, right?

    In any event, if the swapped land doesn't help, then the only way out is the adverse possession suit.
    “Be not niggardly of what costs thee nothing, as courtesy, counsel, & countenance.”

    --Benjamin Franklin

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    • #3
      Apparently not. They are only giving up a small slice of their front lot to fix an irregular lot line. In return, they are getting a 27000 sq/ft lot in the back in addition to their existing large lot. Apparently the lender doesn't want to put this on the mortgage and add title insurance, etc. We even had a new appraisal done per the lender and showed the value wouldn't change and that still did not satisfy them.

      Originally when I discussed land court with my attorney prior to the land swap agreement, he suggested that it is a long/expensive process and that people rarely win. He made it clear he was not interested in pursuing that avenue. Is that an acuurate assessment of my potential land court case? Land Court is the last thing I wanted to do but I don't know what other option we would have if this falls apart. I still can't believe that somehow we got stuck with this mess and nobody else is responsible. Title Insurance wouldn't even cover it.
      Thanks.

      Comment


      • #4
        Apparently not. They are only giving up a small slice of their front lot to fix an irregular lot line. In return, they are getting a 27000 sq/ft lot in the back in addition to their existing large lot. Apparently the lender doesn't want to put this on the mortgage and add title insurance, etc. We even had a new appraisal done per the lender and showed the value wouldn't change and that still did not satisfy them.

        This is expensive and time consuming for the lender who has, when you think about it, no incentive to change anything. You could offer to pay all expenses to the lender.


        Originally when I discussed land court with my attorney prior to the land swap agreement, he suggested that it is a long/expensive process and that people rarely win.

        Well, not exactly. Fifty percent of the people win! But, yes, it is long and expensive.


        He made it clear he was not interested in pursuing that avenue. Is that an acuurate assessment of my potential land court case? Land Court is the last thing I wanted to do but I don't know what other option we would have if this falls apart. I still can't believe that somehow we got stuck with this mess and nobody else is responsible. Title Insurance wouldn't even cover it.
        Thanks.


        What your lawyer means is that there is no possible way you could pay enough for him to do it, plus there is no possible way you can be sure that you would win.

        Had you asked for survey protection when you got your title insurance, this would've been covered.
        “Be not niggardly of what costs thee nothing, as courtesy, counsel, & countenance.”

        --Benjamin Franklin

        Comment


        • #5
          Ok, thanks for the responses, its much appreciated. Unfortunately it was our first house and we were never advised of survey protection, so we didn't get it. We thought Title Insurance would cover us, especially since in my opinion there is a defect in the title if 60% of my house is on someone elses land.

          As far as land court goes, do you know of any websites that might explain the high level steps involved in going before the land court? I guess I just want to get an idea of what I am up against for timelines and costs.

          I guess I also need to look into any recourse I may have against the previous owner for selling us this nightmare.

          Thanks again.
          Last edited by rs3819; 04-09-2007, 12:01 PM.

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