Articles Posted in Real Estate Law

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When the original developer of Plantations created the subdivision in 1986, it retained a 4.3-acre Recreation Area, including a pool, tennis courts, and a gym. Plantations residents and the general public use the facilities for a fee. The developer failed to reserve an express easement to the public road. Owners of the Recreation Area and customers of the health facility must use land owned by the Associations, which own and maintain Plantations’ common areas, for access. A new owner of the recreation facility was unable to reach agreement with the Associations concerning access and parking and sought to establish that an easement exists in its favor over the roads of the Associations and for use of a parking lot adjacent to the Recreation Area and that it is under no obligation to contribute to the upkeep of the property over which it claims an easement, relying on a Declaration of Covenants. The Declaration is poorly drafted and unclear. The Chancellor held that the owner has established an easement to use the private roadways of Plantations in connection with its business, but failed to demonstrate an easement for parking. The question of maintenance obligations awaits further factual development.View "Sandie, LLC v. The Plantations Owners Ass'n, Inc.,." on Justia Law

Posted in: Real Estate Law

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After agreeing to purchase a new townhouse, the Smiths leased it back to the builder, Ryan Homes, to use for six months as a model home. Ryan Homes converted the garage into a sales office. When the Smiths took possession, they used the converted garage as additional living space. The developer sought a mandatory injunction forcing the Smiths and Ryan Homes to convert the space back to a functional garage. The chancellor ruled in favor of defendants. The recorded subdivision plan and declaration of restrictions do not prohibit conversion of a garage to living space. The partition wall of the garage conversion is not sufficiently visible to the public to trigger an architectural review requirement and fears about parking problems are overly speculative.View "Reybold Venture Grp. XI-A, LLC. v. Smith" on Justia Law

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A 2007 conveyance of commercial property in Milton was characterized by mistakes, starting with an error-filled purchase offer, so that the deed ultimately conveyed a residential parcel that was not owned by the seller at the time of conveyance and that the seller did not intend to convey. In an opinion characterized as “unpleasant to write,” the chancellor declared the purported conveyance a nullity and noted that the “matter has been litigated far beyond what a rational evaluation of its costs and potential benefits would dictate.” The chancellor found that the deed, purporting to transfer the residential parcel, was altered by the buyer’s attorney, to the detriment of the seller and without the effective consent of the seller and was ineffective to convey any property. The actual deed signed by the parties contained a reference to the residential parcel by tax number, but omitted that property from the metes and bounds description. View "Point Mgmt., LLC v. MacLaren, LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs challenged the Town's actions in regards to a Mutual Agreement and Release (MAR) for the redevelopment of Ruddertowne, primarily upon the bases that they constituted impermissible contract zoning and that the MAR, the Building Permit, and the Record Plat Plan (together, the Challenged Documents) violated numerous aspects of the Town's zoning, building, and land use regulations. Defendants moved to dismiss, arguing that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and that plaintiffs lacked standing to bring suit. The court concluded that the Complaint was filed after the period provided for in the applicable statute of repose, 10 Del. C. 8126. As for the Building Inspector's approval and issuance of the Building Permit, the court concluded that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction because an adequate remedy at law was available to plaintiffs. Therefore, the court granted defendants' motions to dismiss. The Town's motion to strike, which was rendered moot, was denied.View "Murray v. Town of Dewey Beach" on Justia Law