Blog Archives

Neighbor Disputes and Attorney Fees under the Penal Code

  Neighbor disputes involving real property are never fun.  To sustain your neighborly relationship with those who live next door, it is always best to amicably resolve these disputes.  Common neighbor disputes include loud noise, blocking the driveway, tree roots or overhanging trees, and, of course, the litigious boundary line dispute. Unfortunately, however, on many occasions these disputes cannot reasonably be resolved.  Moreover, in the process of attempting to resolve them, discussions between neighbors become acrimonious and relationships crumble.  For this reason, whenever you encounter these types of disputes, it is sometimes worth the extra money to hire an attorney.  Yes, attorney’s fees are often unrecoverable in cases involving neighbor disputes over real property.  Nonetheless, these fees could be recoverable under the penal code. In

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Posted in Neighbor Disputes

Appurtenant Easement vs Easement in Gross

In general, there are two different types of easements that can be created by express grant – either an appurtenant easement or an easement in gross.  An appurtenant easement is an easement that runs with the land – meaning it is meant to be binding on successive owners of the dominant and servient tenements. In layman’s terms, this means that one property is meant to be the beneficiary of the easement and the other property owner is meant to be burdened by the easement.  An easement that runs with the land lasts forever unless the two simultaneous property owners agree, in writing, to cancel it.    Of course, there are other ways to extinguish an easement but that are not covered in this post. In

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Posted in Appurtenant Easement, Easement, Easement in Gross

Extinguishment of Easements by Merger

  There are many ways that an easement can be extinguished or terminated. In this post, I discuss how an easement can be extinguished by merger. In later post we will discuss situations where an easement is not extinguished by merger. As discussed in some of our previous posts, by definition, an easement is the right to use or prevent use of the land of another. As a result, a person cannot have an easement on his or her own land. (See Civ. Code § 805.) Therefore, as further discussed below, an easement can be extinguished when the same person acquires the fee title to both dominant and servient tenements. (See Leggio v. Haggerty (1965) 231 Cal.App.2d 873, 881.) A merger occurs where the same person owns both the

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Posted in Easement

What is a Public Utility Easement (PUE)?

Most properties have PUEs. PUE stands for Public Utility Easement. Like other easements, a PUE grants certain rights to the owner of the easement. If you own your home, a PUE may explain why you woke up to find an electrician on the utility pole in your backyard without bothering to ask your permission first (that being said, the power company will generally reach out to you before just sending someone to invade your backyard – but, they legally do not have to). Our real estate attorneys have experience dealing with PUEs and the scope of the same. PUEs (in California) arise from the terms of Government Code section 66475. Section 66475 provides that as a condition of approving a subdivision map a local government may require

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Posted in Easement, Public Utility Easement

Easements and Permanent Encroachments

One of our favorite types of disputes of late are easement disputes involving permanent encroachments on a neighbor’s land.  These disputes come in all types of forms – retaining walls, driveways, patios, trees, fences- you name it and we have probably seen it.  Ultimately, these disputes wind up involving some variation of claims for trespass, nuisance, prescriptive easements and equitable easements. What many non-real estate attorneys fail to realize, unlike our real estate attorneys at Schorr Law, is that there is a well developed legal precedent that says that an encroacher cannot maintain a permanent structure and get a prescriptive easement over another’s land because the encroaching structure amounts to exclusive use and easement are non-exclusive in nature.  That said, when attorneys know this rule

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Posted in Easement, Equitable Easement, Prescriptive Easement

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Zachary D. Schorr has been named to the Southern California Super Lawyers (Rising Stars) list for attorneys in Real Estate for 5 straight years - 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state receive this honor. In 2016 he was also included as one of the top 100 lawyers in Southern California in this category. The selection for this respected list is made by the research team at Super Lawyers.

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