Real property matters can be complex and stressful when considering the financial implications involving some of our most valuable assets. When disputes arise over real property, it is important to fully understand the law in order to best protect yourself. With over 25 years of experience handling real estate matters of all sorts, the Law Office of Kathryn M. Wayne-Spindler has the expertise to assist you with any real estate issue you have. Please do not hesitate to contact us with if you have questions on any of the following topics:
Easements give someone the right to use the property of another for a specific purpose. Over time, as property ownership and needs can change, so can easement use. New owners can misuse or interfere with existing easements which can significantly impact your ability to enjoy your property. Understanding your rights and responsibilities surrounding the easement, whether it be your easement or someone else’s easement on your property, is key to resolving any disagreement. Should you have any questions regarding easements, our office is capable of assisting you.
LEASES – Drafting, Review, and Litigation
Lease agreements are important to any property rental transaction. These are the documents that govern the transaction and spell out the rights and responsibilities of each party. While they seem straightforward and people often think they can draft them on their own, important details can be left out. There are also many complexities to some of the terms that can be confusing for non-lawyers. It is important to have an experienced attorney who knows and understands leases draft or review a lease before signing so that you fully understand what you’re signing and agreeing to be bound to.
When multiple people own real property together, disputes over use of the property can easily develop. When disputes over ownership interests occur, co-owners can be at a standstill on how best to use the property. For these disputes, it is sometimes necessary for the co-owners to separate their interests and move on, which can be hard to amicably if you cannot agree in the first place. In an action for partition, one or more of the property owners is seeking the court to either divide the property physically or force the sale of the property and order a division of the proceeds. Sometimes the property can be divided into multiple parcels, other times it cannot. An action for partition can also be a good way to force the co-owners to come to the table and discuss a practical solution to the dispute. Without the threat of pending litigation, a co-owner who is monopolizing the property has little incentive to agree to anything. Having filed many partition actions over the years, our office can answer all of your questions on dividing property co-ownership interests.
PROPERTY LINE DISPUTES
Absent having an expensive survey completed by a professional, most property owners don’t know the exact boundaries of their property and only have a general idea of where their property lines are. Most of the time this does not matter and neighbors aren’t too picky about property lines. However, if you need to install a fence, or construct an outbuilding such as a shed or garage, property lines can be very important. Finding out you spent thousands of dollars only to discover the structure or fence is on your neighbor’s property is aggravating. Or just as maddening, watching your neighbor try to construct something on your property. In these instances, friendly neighborly relationships turn contentious with threats of court involvement. What makes it worse, is even after litigating a dispute you have to continue to live next to them. Having successfully resolved many disputes between neighbors over property lines, our office can effectively assist you in handling such matters.
PROPERTY TAX APPEALS
As property values increase, property taxes will increase as well. While communities are quick to act when its time to raise property taxes, they aren’t as quick and willing when the increases are inaccurate or when property values decrease. Understanding how property taxes are calculated and ensuring that the assessed value of the property is in line with the actual value is key to keeping your property taxes in check. When properties are assessed, communities will send out notifications of the assessment and your time to act in challenging that assessment is limited. Our office has experience challenging property taxes and can easily advise and assist you.
QUIET TITLE ACTIONS
Multiple claims of ownership of real property can create headaches for property owners. Property is a significant investment for most so when others claim to have an interest in that property, owners rightfully get stressed. Merely claiming ownership of property may be enough to cloud the title and start a dispute, but it is not enough to grant ownership though. To resolve these disputes, in Michigan you can file an action for quiet title when there are competing claims of ownership. Filing suit for quiet title in the county in which the land is located will lead to the court deciding the superior claim of ownership and “quieting” all other claims of ownership. It is important to consult an experienced attorney in order to understand your ownership interests as well as the competing claims as well before filing an action.
REAL ESTATE CONTRACTS, CLOSINGS AND DISPUTES
Real estate purchases and sales are complex transactions involving significant sums of money and complicated paperwork. The stress of such a substantial transaction can be overwhelming for buyers and sellers making it easy to overlook minor details that may seem unimportant but could have a major impact on the transaction. An attorney that specializes in real estate matters can make sure nothing gets missed. Furthermore, if things do go wrong, you want an experienced attorney who has litigated and drafted real estate contracts at your side that knows and understands the ins and outs real estate contracts and transactions.
ZONING, VARIANCES, AND LAND USE
No one wants a factory built next to their home, so municipalities use zoning ordinances to ensure similar land uses are restricted to certain areas. Depending on the community, the zoning ordinances can regulate things such as where your structure sits on a parcel including set back distances, fences, and other land use restrictions in order to create a uniformity in an area. On occasion, such zoning restrictions can be overbearing or prevent property owners from enjoyment of their property. In those cases, many communities allow for variances from the zoning ordinances in order to use the land in another manner than is allowed under the ordinance. As attorneys with significant experience in zoning and variances, we can assist clients in navigating their communities’ complex zoning ordinances and assisting them filing an appeal if necessary in order to fully enjoy their property.