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Pennsylvania Land Use & Zoning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Constitutional Law and Land Use & Zoning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Ordinance inspectors walking on private property. When asked to leave they return with local police escort, no warrant.

Peeking in buildings, campers, garages, they say they have a right on private property w/o your permission and w/o administrative warrant. Actual ordinance says they have a right to inspect all buildings on the property, if they want to. The ordinance inspector says it's legal and the 4th... Read more »

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Sep 11, 2019

An interesting point. If he sees a violation in plain view---i.e. visible from the street--they can cite the owner. However if they need to get on the property they need to ask permission. They can and should get a warrant. That they didn't is something you should contact the Pennsylvania Civil... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: My grandmother died and left her land to her children they have not paid land tax for 5 years do I have rights if I pay

The land was willed to her children who are not paying the land is still in my grandmothers name

Elizabeth Tarasi
Elizabeth Tarasi answered on Aug 12, 2019

No. If you are not one of her children you do not have any rights.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Do sidewalks in an HOA community, with main streets dedicated to the township, need to be ADA compliant?

I live in an HOA community where main streets are owned by the Township. I am responsible for maintaining the sidewalk in front of my property. Between the sidewalk and the street is a 4' strip of grass considered common area where the developer planted street trees. These trees are 15+ yrs old and... Read more »

Elizabeth Tarasi
Elizabeth Tarasi answered on Aug 3, 2019

Yes you need to comply with the ADA

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law, Constitutional Law, Environmental and Land Use & Zoning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Our development is flooding from heavy rains since a new massive development was added roughly 5 years ago. Any options?

Hello, our development rain water drainage is backing up and flooding our homes since a new development was added next to us down stream of our run off. Our township was told by an engineer that our catch basin would NEVER pass code today and that is overflowing into neighbors yards, pipes can't... Read more »

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Jul 26, 2019

As you and your neighbors already realize, this is a very complex situation. It's the type of matter that if litigated, could drag on for years in court and easily accrue very high legal fees. It would very likely involve expert testimony from civil engineers, architects, urban planners, and other... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Arbitration / Mediation Law and Land Use & Zoning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Recently my Home Owners Association created a Resolution that limits my freedom of speech.

AND NOW BE IT RESOLVED, that only Board Members or the Board’s agents may use the names, addresses, phone numbers or email addresses of homeowners for correspondence activities. Should any unauthorized individual use the contact information of homeowners on his/her own, a $50.00 fine may be... Read more »

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Oct 23, 2018

The HOA could make the argument that their resolution is in place for the protection of privacy, not the infringement of First Amendment rights.

Tim Akpinar

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Hello, a property was purchased adjacent to a boundaries (in stone) of a historic estate. our land ends before the

srtucture. Between a structure and a street, there is a seemingly abandoned triangle with stairs and other additions.

Municipality claims due to right of way we are responsible for upkeep the area, including structure and the land between structure and street. Our deed clearly states land... Read more »

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Aug 21, 2018

You need to consult with an attorney who handles property issues in the County, for the reason that you may want to claim adverse possession if you can tack on the previous owner's use of it, and then get possession of the additional property. You have a defense to being compelled to take care of a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning for Pennsylvania on
Q: An owner whose property abuts a public street or road owns to the center of the road, subject to an easement of public

does this mean they can stop and do any thing in one spot or is it just for people to travel on

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Jul 24, 2018

Means they can do what they need to do to maintain the roadway. Sidewalks tend to be more 50-50

2 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Hello, looking to hire a lawyer concerning unique property issue. No easement, but township paved a road through lawn.

We have a corner lot deeded 1882. There's a main road in the front and a road on the side. Over time a small shortcut to the main road was created on the side road through our lawn (prior to our ownership). The shortcut makes the intersection a "Y junction" with the left side of the Y on a... Read more »

Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko answered on Jun 26, 2018

The questions you ask can only be addressed after consultation with a lawyer. The lawyer would need to take a history from you, view either the property itself or good pictures, and search the title. Additionally, communication with the township or its counsel would be necessary to try to... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Hello, I have property that I own. A friend of mine put a trailer on the one piece of land. He died in November of 2016

His son has left the trailer on my land since then, said he was going to move it, cleaned out everything he wanted from the trailer, including the wiring and copper pipes, and made a huge mess outside. Someone broke into the trailer in November of 2017, the son wasn't back until May of 2018, so... Read more »

Elizabeth Tarasi
Elizabeth Tarasi answered on Jun 18, 2018

He will have a hard time winning unless you agreed or have a written agreement to secure the trailer home for him.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Pennsylvania on
Q: How would I go about selling parcel when it shares a deed with another parcel and has one mortgage

Two parcels (.44 acres with home and 1.44 acre undeveloped land) share the same deed with one mortgage. How would I go about selling vacant land to family friend ?

Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko answered on May 29, 2018

It makes a big difference if the shared deed (a) recognizes the two individual parcels and references surveyed legal descriptions for each, or (b) everything is referenced together as a single tract, with a single legal description.

If (a): You would require consent by the mortgagee,...
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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Municipal Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Is it constitutional for a large, wealthy, suburban municipality to prohibit residential parking 24/7 everywhere?

I have a soliciting job knocking on residential doors and signing up willing homeowners for free appointments. I try to be pleasant and conduct myself in a lawful manner.

My company pays significant $ to the township for legal permits to do so, but I see no way to do my job if I am not... Read more »

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Feb 20, 2018

It is constitutional though I wonder what happens if the UPS driver stops or if people have out of town guests unless everyone has a large driveway. Can they? Sure.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Hello My uncle had got sick before he went into a a nursing home he said we could stay at his house now he wants me out

After I did all this work to this house for me and my children to be comfortable it needed work from floors, plumbing work to everything

Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko answered on Feb 12, 2018

If the house belongs to your uncle and you have no lease, he can force you to leave. It is possible that you could could sue him to recover the costs of the improvements you made to the property, but you would have to review all this with a lawyer to outline all of the facts, such as, whether he... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights, Estate Planning, Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: My Grandmother inherited my grandfathers house after he passed. She has sold it; all parties have been paid except her.

She lives in PA and the house is in WV. She said the lawyer was a PA one but sold the house and the occupants are currently living in it. She has yet to get paid and can't pay her bills so her health is at risk due to stress. It sounds fishy to me because the lawyer said they could get her $10k but... Read more »

Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko answered on Jan 18, 2018

She needs to contact the lawyer.

Had your grandparents divorced? If so, perhaps there is inheritance tax that must be paid and the title insurance company is escrowing the sale proceeds pending receipt of tax clearance.

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: can you take a house number that already in use for another piece of property on the same land?

My sister was given a piece of property from my mom. My mom has 2 houses on it. My sisters would be the 3rd. She took my moms rental house number as her property. She stated that 911 told her there can only be 3 houses on a pvt road. There is another house not related on that pvt rd.

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Jan 16, 2018

Contact your local borough. Plenty of family farms are subdivided for housing of family in PA.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Pennsylvania on
Q: I currently reside in Butler Pennsylvania and was curious as to the riparian rights concerning non-navigable waterways.

If a stream acts as a border between two private landowners who controls the water? Can I walk the stream with my children without trespassing. Assuming we have no ownership and are just visiting the area.

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Oct 25, 2017

Depends on width, depth, as to whether you can walk down it if you are not one of the landowner's.

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can I relocate a right of way on my property to another location on the property?

There is a right of way through my property (a small 30 acre farm) to the neighbors (about 3 acres). The right of way uses our drive then goes through a field between two fenced pastures. The owner of the three acres is using the right of way more now than ever and is pulling farm equipment and... Read more »

Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko answered on Sep 18, 2017

If there is an agreement between the parties to re-locate the right of way, you can do that. If there is no agreement between the parties to re-locate, a lawyer would have to review any recorded right of way instrument to determine if the right of way can be re-located. If there is no recorded... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can a land owner tell me what to do if i own the home but not the property it sits on?

I own a trailor, i pay a lot rent on the property. I maintain my yard as per agreement. Now im being told who can be in my home and for how long and how many pets im allowed to have. My question is, is this legal if i own the home and not the land.

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Sep 12, 2017

Look at your lot agreement. Many have such restrictions. If you've lost yours ask for a copy.

Q: Do I have a case against West Penn Power?

I own a house that my son lives in. On June 13th a branch took out the power lines. My neighbors n I called and a couple hours later it was back on. My son never told me they left the line in the yard. Went down today with my boyfriend and saw the line. Instead of removing the branch and lifting... Read more »

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Jul 7, 2017

If fortunately nothing happened, and they have put it right no. You can only make a claim for what happened, not what could have happened.

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: I gave permission for company to pull logs out on my property they left a load of wood behind six months ago. Is it mine

It's fire wood poles that were left

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Jun 9, 2017

You can make that claim but best to write them a letter confirming or call, if they say yes confirm it in writing (you, of course, keep a copy).

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can 3 unrelated adult women live in the same rental unit. These are not students. Lower Merion Township, Montgomery Cty
Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko answered on Oct 18, 2016

You can contact the township's Zoning Officer for an answer to that question. I am sure that Lower Merion has a website that will give you the name of the person and contact information.

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