tree over fence

Trees and Property Lines – My Neighbor’s Tree Is On My Property!

Trees As Encroachment Issues

What Can I Do If My Neighbor’s Tree Is On My Property?

The Tree Problem

A very common type of “encroachment” is when a tree, or any form of vegetation, grows onto or across somebody else’s property. What is an encroachment? An encroachment is like a trespass, but instead of trespassing with one’s body, the trespass is performed with a building, a fence, or for purposes of this article, a tree.

So why is a tree a problem? What can somebody possibly have against plants? Well, plants aren’t always as harmless as they appear. Roots can cause serious damage to foundations, lawns, fences, and drainage systems. Branches can block sunlight, impede construction or break and fall causing damage to whatever is beneath them. Fruit and Berries can fall onto decks and roofs and cause further issues. Finally, there is the ultimate right of a property owner to do what he wishes with his property (within the confines of the law) and not have it affected by the actions or wishes of another.

What Can a Property Owner Do?

So, your neighbor has a giant oak tree growing right against your fence. The branches extend tens of feet over the fence and onto your property. Its roots come up in your lawn, creating tripping hazards all over. In the Fall, it drops acorns and leaves all over your yard. What can you do to stop this nuisance?

Actually, this is one area where Connecticut law allows you to help yourself. You can chop out any roots that are on your property and cut off any branches reaching over your land. Your neighbor may complain but you are still within your legal rights. There are two exceptions, however; (1) You cannot cut down the tree completely or knowingly cause its death and (2) with FRUIT TREES, you cannot cut down the branches or take the fruit. Further, if you cut down somebody else’s tree where you knew it wasn’t your tree, you could be liable to the owner for up to 3 times the “reasonable value” of that tree (Conn. Gen. Stat. §52-560).

What If A Tree Or Branch Falls Onto My House or Car?

It is a possibility that a tree or branch will fall and damage somebody else’s property. This is possible with trees that are already encroaching or trees that are not encroaching while standing, but are once they fall. Sometimes, when these trees and branches fall onto the property of somebody else, they damage the house, a car, a fence or other property. However, the owner of that tree (or the land it was growing on) is not necessarily liable for the damage.

Factors that control an owner’s liability for damage caused by his tree falling on somebody else’s property are (1) whether they are a private owner or a commercial owner, (2) whether the tree was healthy or diseased/damaged, (3) did the tree or branch fall due to an “Act of God” such as a hurricane, or because it was unstable, and (4) are the properties located in a rural or urban area.


Encroachment Resolution

Many tree and vegetation encroachment issues can be resolved by negotiation. If your neighbor isn’t reasonable, you may want to have an attorney write a letter on your behalf explaining your rights and the actions you are going to take. When roots and falling branches or trees cause damage to your property, you may want to seek compensation from the responsible person or persons. If you are having encroachment issues with a neighbor, our real estate attorneys are ready to help.

Reading More on Connecticut laws regarding vegetation and real estate.

real estate closing attorney danbury ct

Do I Need a Real Estate Closing Attorney to Sell My Home?

Selling a Home in CT? You Need a Real Estate Closing Attorney

If you are looking to sell your home, you may or may not want to hire a real estate agent, but you will definitely want to hire a real estate closing attorney. While the marketing of your home to potential buyers is something you might be able to handle yourself, the services of a seller’s real estate closing attorney are essential to a legally compliant real estate sale.

What does a seller’s real estate closing attorney do?

A seller’s real estate closing attorney provides many services to the Seller that legally legitimize the sale and make it binding, while at the same time protecting the liability and financial interests of their client. A seller’s real estate closing attorney performs the following closing tasks:

  • Reviews Exclusive Right to Sell Agreement and Dual Representation Waiver with real estate agent/broker (if hired early enough);
  • Reviews and assists with Listing and Mandatory Disclosures (once again, if hired early enough);
  • Negotiates with buyer’s attorney and drafts Purchase and Sale Contract;
  • Works to resolve any inspection, appraisal or title issues to meet buyer’s needs;
  • Prepares closing documents such as power of attorney, Deed and affidavits;
  • Obtains payoff statements for outstanding liens or mortgages;
  • Attends the closing with, or on behalf of, the client;
  • Handles cash flow in escrow, receiving purchase funds and making any payments or disbursements; and
  • Secures and records releases for mortgages after closing.

When issues arise in real estate deals it is the attorneys that defuse situations and save deals by coming up with solutions that are acceptable to both parties. A seller’s real estate closing attorney can save a seller of real estate property a lot of stress and worry.


 

If you are looking to sell a house or condo in Connecticut, let us handle your real estate closing matters. We charge flat rate fees on closings, and we offer FREE phone consultations, so you can make sure we are the right attorney for you.

SCHEDULE A CALL WITH OUR REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY

buyers real estate closing attorney

Why Do I Need a Real Estate Closing Attorney to Buy a House in Connecticut?

Buying a House in CT? You will need to hire a Real Estate Closing Attorney

If you are looking to buy a home in Connecticut, you will need the services of a real estate closing attorney. A buyer’s closing attorney’s job is to protect their client legally and financially. This includes handling all of the contracts, clearing title and securing title insurance, and meeting all lender requirements.

What does a buyer’s real estate closing attorney do?

A buyer’s real estate  closing attorney helps coordinate the purchase of the property by making sure all laws are followed, his client is getting the property as promised, and by managing the finances. A buyer’s closing attorney performs the following functions:

  • Review the Exclusive Right to Buy or Sell Agreement and Dual Representation Waiver between the buyer and their real estate agent (if hired early enough);
  • Review preliminary title report Seller ownership issues;
  • Review and negotiate Purchase and Sale Contract with seller’s closing attorney;
  • Review mortgage commitment issued by the mortgage company and any conditions;
  • Order and review the title search to find any liens, mortgages, judgments or other issues;
  • Prepare buyer’s closing documents such as power of attorney;
  • Review seller’s closing documents including Deed;
  • Review loan documents and meet all lender requirements;
  • Attend closing with, or on behalf of, the client;
  • Act as Settlement Agent for the Lender;
  • Handle all funds through escrow and make all necessary payments and disbursements;
  • Provide an accounting of funds to the client; and
  • Record all documents at Town Hall such as Deed, Mortgage and any Power of Attorney.

A buyer’s real estate closing attorney can minimize the stress and anxiety of buying a home by giving you somebody you can turn to with literally any question throughout the process. This is perhaps the biggest benefit.


 

If you are looking to buy a house or condo in Connecticut, let us handle your real estate closing matters. We charge flat rate fees on closings, and we offer FREE phone consultations, so you can make sure we are the right attorney for you.

SCHEDULE A CALL WITH OUR REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY

delays in real estate closings

Hazard Insurance Delays Real Estate Closings Under New TRID Laws

Hazard Insurance may Delay Your Real Estate Closing

Under the new TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosures (“TRID”) real estate settlement practices, consumers (those taking out a mortgage to buy a home) must receive and acknowledge the Closing Disclosure, a document showing where all the money is going, a minimum of 3 business days before the actual closing can occur. This means that if any dollar amount changes on the Closing Disclosure, and it has to be acknowledged again, the closing will be delayed for at least another 3 days.

How is Hazard Insurance delaying closing?

One of the biggest issue is old custom. Prior to TRID, it was common for hazard insurance quotes to be obtained a day before closing or even the night before closing. This is because previously there was some leeway regarding dollar amounts and time tables, but not anymore.

So, if the the realtor or real estate attorney do not remind the client to get hazard insurance lined up, the closing could be delayed until a quote is received, updated on the Closing Disclosure, received and acknowledged by the client and a new closing date can be arranged between all parties.

Conversely, I have also seen a closing delayed because the hazard insurance quote was obtained TOO EARLY. Due to changes in the purchase price, the appraised value, or issues discovered during inspection or the walk through, the cost of hazard insurance could change. If the insurance salesman or broker does not take the proper steps to keep everybody informed of any such changes delays may occur.


With the change in laws and the addition of stricter requirements and guidelines, it is more important than ever to hire an experienced real estate attorney to handle your closing. Do problems happen? Sure they do. But you want somebody with the experience and the know-how to limit problems, to spot them when they occur, and to resolve them in a quick and painless manner.

If you are looking to buy a house or condo in Connecticut, let us handle your real estate closing matters. We charge flat rate fees on closings, and we offer FREE phone consultations, so you can make sure we are the right attorney for you.

SCHEDULE A CALL WITH OUR REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY

 

foreclosure defense attorney

Right to Foreclosure Mediation Extended to Divorcees and Surviving Spouses – Connecticut Public Act No. 15-124

Right to Foreclosure Mediation for Divorcees and Surviving Spouses

Connecticut Public Act 15-124 – An Act Extending The Foreclosure Mediation Program

One of the benefits of being in a multi-partner law firm is the overlap between our different practice areas, allowing us to better help our clients in difficult situations. Since our firm represents divorce clients, probate clients, and foreclosure clients, Connecticut Public Act no. 15-124 is going to allow us to help clients better solve their foreclosure issues when relating to residential real estate property that was part of divorce or probate proceedings.

The Problem Was Standing

Perhaps you are a divorcee. You just finished the long and stressful process of divorce. Part of the Court ordered Divorce Decree is that your ex-spouse execute a quitclaim deed transferring a house or condominium to your ownership. The deed is drafted and recorded on the land records and as far as you are concerned the property is now yours.

Perhaps your spouse recently passed away. You just finished the extremely complicated probate process. In their will your spouse left you residential real estate property. The Executor of your spouse’s estate drafted an Executor’s Deed, which was approved by the probate court and recorded on the land records, transferring title in the property to you.

In either case, let’s assume there was a mortgage on the property. Either your ex-spouse had not been making payments or the probate estate had not been making payments and the mortgage is in default. Or, even if the payments are current, the mortgage has a “due on transfer” clause, which states that if the property is ever transferred from the ownership of the borrower under the mortgage, the entire outstanding amount is due and payable in full. As is common, the collateral on the mortgage is the property itselfThe bank is now foreclosing on the property.

As the new owner, you want to enter foreclosure mediation so that you can find a way to keep your family home; through mortgage modification or refinance. Until October 1, 2015, YOU COULDN’T!

The issue was standing! Since you were not a party to the mortgage, you had no “privity of contract”, and therefore no standing to challenge the foreclosure in court. The foreclosure would proceed and the bank would be allowed to either repossess or sell your property to pay off the money owed to them.

The Connecticut Legislature Solves The Problem

The Connecticut Legislature saw the issue of removing spouses from the family home without letting them be heard when a court order had given them possession of the residential real estate property. After all, how is it fair to completely stonewall the new owner of the property from mediating a solution to the foreclosure?

Therefore, Public Act No. 15-142 has extended the foreclosure mediation process to include spouses who became “successors in interest” due to divorce, separation, or death of the other spouse.

What this means for our clients

The new law allows the divorcee or decedent’s spouse to stand in the shoes of the previous owner, at least as far as defending against foreclosure of the property is concerned. This means that we can now offer assistance to our foreclosure clients who became owners through divorce or death of their spouse. Previously, we would have had to turn these people away as there was no legal procedure available for us to resolve their problem. It is not guaranteed that the successor-in-interest spouse will be allowed to keep the property, but at least now they have a fighting chance.