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New York Land Use & Zoning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: Neighbor& I have recent surveys that conflict, they want me to move my fence.Farthest discrepancy is 5 inches.De Minimi?

Contact original surveyor. In New York State, courts will allow de minimus non-structural encroachments, such as fences. Past court decisions have allowed even more than 5 inches, electrical wires with exterior lighting, stone walls, etc. if meets this statute, non-structural, such as your fence.... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Nov 5, 2021

You can move your fence, or agree with them to give an easement for the disputed lands. Five inches will not make title unmarketable.

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: Hi my grandmother is the only survivor of her siblings and parents. How can we find out how much land pertains to her?

Currently some family members have built houses on the land. We would like to find out how much land she would currently have? We like to built on the land as well. Not sure where to start? Or how much this would all cost. We have asked some family members but no one seems to know anything. Thank... Read more »

Anthony Armando Nozzolillo
Anthony Armando Nozzolillo answered on Mar 13, 2021

Greetings:

You would need to ascertain who is the vested owner of the property by having a "last deed search" run. Once you are in receipt of the deed, this will reflect who is the "of record" owner of the property. If it is discovered that the land is currently owned by...
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3 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law, Arbitration / Mediation Law and Land Use & Zoning for New York on
Q: I bought a house with a "friend", realizing too late I've been manipulated. Can I "break" our agreement?

I should have gotten a lawyer to represent my interests at the time, but our co-homeowner agreement seems very lopsided now. I don't want to sell or take on another mortgage, but I need some kind of relief from the onerous conditions she keeps imposing. These include limiting my privacy,... Read more »

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Nov 28, 2020

One option as a starting point could be to arrange a consult with an attorney to review the agreement. Without seeing that, it could be difficult for an attorney to advise meaningfully, solely based on general principles of contract law. Good luck

Tim Akpinar

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for New York on
Q: How can I fight to contest rpa871.My neighbor is requesting to have my fence remove from on my boundary line.

I’ve lived at this property for over 10 years they recently purchased their property which is already fenced

Toshinori Isoai
Toshinori Isoai answered on Nov 17, 2020

We need more factual background to better answer your question.

If your fence height is less than the legal max and it's located on your property, then RPAPL § 871 won't help the new owner requesting for removal of your fence unless it's encroaching on his/her land.

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights, Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for New York on
Q: Can I be imprisoned and fined $1000 for putting a dumpster in my driveway for 10 days! Im being discriminated

No one else in town has to be fined it even says so in an article the town put in the post journal! It is my first offense and they stated that no fines for first time offender I have a dumpster so I can dispose of things because I’moving and a trailer that I put unwanted things in to take to the... Read more »

Toshinori Isoai
Toshinori Isoai answered on Oct 26, 2020

I don't know where you reside, but dumpsters are often regulated at a local/township level. Some cities have ordinances that require you to obtain a "dumpster permit" even if it will be placed on your private property. You may want to contact your local/city/municipal township for... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law, Civil Litigation and Land Use & Zoning for New York on
Q: NYS recently passed a law superceding a local law. The local law has provisions inconsistent with the NY law, but parts

are more restrictive. Will the local law have to be rewritten and can all the extra restrictions be added right back in?

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Aug 18, 2020

As a general rule, state laws generally supersede local laws. There are settings where local laws are sometimes stricter than state or federal laws. In terms of local laws being rewritten, that could be up to city officials, based on peoples' feedback. It would be best to consult with an... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for New York on
Q: My property in Queens has been empty 4 yrs. I'm paying my mortgage. But squatters moved in 12 days ago. What to do?

I'm having trouble finding honest property managers who are not looking for me to just give them card blanche to my property... take advantage of my situation. Is it time for a lawyer yet. I'm afraid to go to the house Myself because the squatters were a major part of the reason I left my... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Aug 17, 2020

The squatter thing is a whole issue, since you cannot evict people now, and even squatters have rights as tenants. You need to call the police and report it as a break in. Waiting so long is an issue. There are honest property managers, but in a small building that generates little income, it is... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for New York on
Q: I am in court hearings with my neighbor. Please tell me how much court proceedings cost.

This is a civil court. This is a land issue.

A neighbor wants to use my part of a property. There is no easement.

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Jul 6, 2020

One of the real estate attorneys here could answer your question in the best manner, but you await a reply for three days. It's unlikely that an attorney could give you a turnkey price based on the brief description provided. An attorney might want to set up a paid consult to learn what the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for New York on
Q: how do I go about starting adverse possession /obtain deed on attached lot?

Bought a home 10 years ago. Title company at our closing found that attached lot was never transferred to previous owner some 30 years prior. The lot was mistakenly put in previous owner.s name. Previous owner used as a yard , cared for it, and paid taxes on it for 30 plus years (tacking). I... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on May 11, 2020

An adverse possession case proceeds in a manner governed by the Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law. Among other things, you may be required to find the next of kin of the property. There are issues with your case. For adverse possession, you need to believe you own the property. It would... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for New York on
Q: Is it feasible to open a home business in NY as a recording studio that takes up less than 25% of my home?

Hello, I am looking to start a home business in NYC. I researched and it seems to be possible under the Multiple Dwelling Law, due to the creative nature of the business (a home recording studio for music producers). It will take up less than 25% of my home and only one person will be in at a time.... Read more »

Gregory Byrnes
Gregory Byrnes answered on Apr 28, 2020

This is a relatively in-depth question that would need some research and additional details from you. You would need to check building rules, bylaws, zoning, multiple dwelling law compliance (if applicable), rent regulatory rules (if applicable) etc. Most likely though it is not permitted if you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for New York on
Q: My dad has land in P.R. and passed away in June 2018. How can I go about gathering or claiming information on that land?

It is my understanding that my father and his siblings each purchased a piece of land in PR at the same time more than 30 years ago.

My father was NOT married when he purchased the property. He then went on to marry my mom whom he divorced in 1990 before passing in June, 2018.... Read more »

Elaine Shay
Elaine Shay answered on Mar 19, 2020

It would be better to post your question about how to find information about property ownership in a board for Puerto Rico where the property is locate. If you intend to file to probate/administer your father's estate, the proper place to file will depend on where your father resided at the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: Width of utility easement is unclear

During a title search on a property a permanent Town sewer utility easement was recovered. In the document it says «...grant and release PERMANENT EASEMENT TEN (20) feet in width across the lands..”

Making it confusing what is the width 10 or 20 feet?

Is it necessary to correct... Read more »

Mathew Paulose Jr.
Mathew Paulose Jr. answered on Jan 7, 2020

Greetings. This appears to be a scrivener's error. You will need an attorney to reform the document. The attorney will file an action in court asking the court to determine whether 10 or 20 feet was intended by the parties that created the easement. The Town will be joined as a party to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Land Use & Zoning for New York on
Q: I have dogs trespassing on my hunting land. How do I force the owners to restrict this? DEC wont do much, wrote 1 ticket

numerous pictures of the dogs, all over my property. Owners were asked numerous times to tie their dogs up. That didnt work so I had DEC go speak to them and they were given a warning. Didn't work, so DEC went back and issued a ticket. Didn't work, now DEC is telling me they cant do... Read more »

Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz answered on Dec 18, 2019

You can sue the owners civilly and also seek a temporary restraining order to get immediate relief pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: Sold house in 2011. A cert of occ was never issued for an added structure prior to sale. is the sale valid?

Added 1st floor sun room to single family house (with permit) in 1983. Unknown to original owner, inspection for remodel was never recorded by bldg dept. Sold house in 2011. An agrmnt with buyer and lender was made for buyer to procure inspection to receive the required CO. Agrmt obligation... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Aug 11, 2019

Sales are generally "as is" unless there is an agreement to the contrary. You referenced some escrow agreement. The sale will be governed by that document. No one should close without a valid certificate of occupancy. Whatever the buyer did (I am unsure if you are buyer or seller) was a mistake.

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation and Land Use & Zoning for New York on
Q: Where can I find settled case law for maintenance responsibility for an easement or deeded right of way in NYS.

We live on a private road which is a deeded right of way for ingress and egress for all property owners. Since approximately 1975 there has been Road dues collection to pay for the upkeep on the road. In the late 1990’s the property owners by majority vote decided to raise the dues to $100.00... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Dec 29, 2018

You can sue. Sounds like a small claims case against each owner.

2 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: I have used neighbors land for loading and unloading personal affects, for 48 years without permission.

The loading and unloading area is a driveway which is property of this neighbor

Elaine Shay
Elaine Shay answered on Oct 26, 2018

Your question?

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1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law, Family Law, Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: how do you apply a mother-daughter to a single family house?
Elaine Shay
Elaine Shay answered on Oct 2, 2018

If you are asking how to allow use of a one-family house as a two family, you would have to amend the certificate of occupancy. This is sometimes but not always able to be done and may involve the services of an architect, expeditor or other other professional as well as an attorney.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Land Use & Zoning and Legal Malpractice for New York on
Q: Can a mortgage be discharged if there are still liens/Judgments on it?

We are in the process of buying a home and the process has been dragging out. we are now a full month passed our scheduled closing date. We have multiple stories coming from the lawyers stating there are judgments on the home. We waited 3 weeks for the lawyer to tell us the seller agreed to pay 3x... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Sep 11, 2018

Do you have a lawyer? Do you have a title company? These are issues that you as a layman do not handle.

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning, Real Estate Law and Small Claims for New York on
Q: We frequently have our only exit to the house blocked. Sometimes by bicycles and chairs, often by partiers and smokers.

We basically often have to ask for permission from people intoxicated and stoned to enter or leave our porch. Many do not live in building. Partying with neighbors. They have other exits. They are unfriendly. One of them down there has already threatened to go ballistic on us. Police say these... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Jun 12, 2018

This would violate your lease, but if police will not do anything, your recourse is to leave by breaking your lease. Be sure to document with photos these issues so you can show a court later if needed.

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