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  1. #1
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    Default Landlocked

    So I am having some issues with some land. Not mine, but close to something I have a contract on.

    The parcel in question looks to be landlocked. No access to it from public roads.

    So how does one gain access to a landlocked parcel. For example a square bordered by four parcels.

    Does the landlocked owner parcel have the rights to gain multiple points of access from adjacent parcels?

    Does the landlocked owner parcel just pick the parcel he wants access through?

    Does the landlocked owner parcel pick the the path of least resistance? Say the other three have water to cross? Can they refuse the landlocked owner rights of crossing?

    Thanks!
    -Mike Z. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Landlocked

    In most, if not all, states, you have a legal right to access a landlocked tract of land by crossing land owned by others. Exactly how you access it will be dictated by the laws of the state the land is located in.

    Do NOT buy a piece of land until you clear up any access issues. The seller should have an easement for access and it should be recorded at the county courthouse. If you are considering buying the land you can write into the offer to purchase a provision that that the seller provide a legal easement to access the land or the deal is void.

    Also watch for easements across the property you are buying. One of the four landowners around the property may have an easement across the property to get to their land.

    This can be a very tricky area and unless you are an experienced real estate person or an attorney you can get in trouble very easily.

    Whatever you do, get the access issue cleared up BEFORE buying land.

    If you want to find out just how bad these issues can get read "Help! I need legal advice re: easements" That thread is 19 pages long about a legal battle md_barb is going through and at the present time he has a $422,000 judgement against him over an easement issue. He may end up in bankruptcy before it is over with. I promise you that thread will open your eyes to just how bad it can get.

    DISCLAIMER: I am a licensed Texas Real Estate Salesperson and cannot give legal advice. If you need legal advice please contact an attorney.

    Bill Tolle

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Landlocked

    "In most, if not all, states, you have a legal right to access a landlocked tract of land by crossing land owned by others."

    In Michigan, unless an easement has been recorded, you have NO right to cross another person's property to get to land locked property. It is no longer legal to sell land locked property in Michigan unless the seller or purchaser provides an easement. I know of several parcels that are landlocked, and have even been to court representing a townships interest, and can assure you, the courts do not grant the owner of a landlocked parcel access unless the purchaser was intentionally mislead as to access.

    BUY BEWARE !

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Landlocked


    I have followed mdbarb's tale of woe for quite sometime.

    My issue was noted during the course of gathering information on the property we were planning on purchasing.

    I expanded my scope, looking around the property we have planned on purchasing and noted a landlocked parcel. I am trying to get more information on this parcel, as my concern is
    one day someone knocking on my NEW door saying, in 1900 my decendants farmed this land and got to it via your driveway. So by the powers invested in blah, I have blah and now am telling you to expect blah, blah.
    Or worst case, some developer decides access to a blah, over my driveway because it use to be like that in 1900.

    What I am looking at is a farm, carved up over a hundred years, with some parcel left out... why? I want to know because my planned purchase lines up against it.

    And if there are no living descendants what happens to the land?

    And should not the county have something for who is paying taxes on it?

    And, what about conflicting county parcels?

    Thanks for all your advise thus far.

    -Mike Z. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Landlocked

    Some pervious owner made a HUGE mistake if they were accessing the land through a gentlemanís agreement and not a recorded legal easement. Happen to know a situation around here that is like that. After a number of years and way to much legal money it is looking like they own 20 acres they cannot access. There options seem to be paying a ridiculous amount of money to an adjoining landowner for an easement or selling to an adjoining landowner for almost nothing. Not sure the adjoining landowner will even sell an easement at any price. He knows it is only a mater of time before he will get the land real real cheap.

    Here you have no legal right to cross someone elseís property to access a tract you were silly enough to buy with out an access. Be careful and make sure you have all the details before you buy.

    MarkV

  6. #6
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Landlocked

    Have you contacted the Title Company yet? It is their job to find out all the recorded easments through a parcel of land.

    They provide title insurance to protect you and your land. If they make a mistake, they wont fix it, or solve your problems. They will just cut you a check and forget about you real fast. But at least the amount they pay will help you in your future legal battles.

    An easment through the land you plan on buying must be recorded to be valid and legal.

    Another source will be the surveyor. If there is a legal easment recorded through you land, it should show up on your survey.

    Your realtor should be representing your best interest in the deal. Get him/her to get this information for you in writing before moving forward with the deal. They should have friends who could look up this information for you at no charge.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Landlocked

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">(
    I expanded my scope, looking around the property we have planned on purchasing and noted a landlocked parcel.------------&lt;SNIPPED&gt;---------------

    What I am looking at is a farm, carved up over a hundred years, with some parcel left out... why? I want to know because my planned purchase lines up against it.

    And if there are no living descendants what happens to the land?

    And should not the county have something for who is paying taxes on it?

    And, what about conflicting county parcels?

    Thanks for all your advise thus far.

    -Mike Z. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] )</font>

    I congratulate you for taking the effort to investigate the tracts that are around your proposed purchase. You are definitely on the right course.

    One reason I can see for the small parcel is that over the years a bad survey was done. When a survey is done it is done by "metes and bounds", meaning compass directions and measurements. And the survey lines should "close", meaning that the beginning and ending points would be the exact same spot.

    Unfortunately surveys can be inaccurate, surveyors are human beings so they make mistakes. And I have seen some who were lazy or inept.

    Go the county appraisal district (or whatever the equivalent is in your state) and look at their maps and tax rolls. Hopefully they are up to date and will show each plot of land and who it belongs to.

    In the case where all the heirs died there is a possibility that the taxes were not being paid and the county, school district, and other taxing entities have a lien on the property. If it has been 30 or 40 years the amount of back taxes, penalties, interest, and legal fees could easily add up to 5 or 10 times the value of the property. No taxing entity that I am aware of can "forgive" any part of the back charges. They may however be able to sell it but it will have to be at appraised value and all entities involved have to agree to the sale. The sale will have to be approved by the elected officials of each entity. Takes months to hash those deal out.

    On the upside, those entities are often glad to get rid of it and get it back on the tax rolls so it is producing income for them. And they can sometimes give preference to an adjacent landowner rather than taking public bids. Even if they have to take public bids the only bidders would likely be the 4 surrounding landowners and that would clear up the landlocked issue.

    Get a survey and a title policy if you buy the property and be absolutely sure you review them BEFORE closing, looking very carefully for any exceptions, easements, or other encumbrances on the property. If anything doesn't look right get legal advice immediately before proceeding. WARNING: The contract of sale may limit the amount of time you have to protest any discrepancies so don't let that deadline pass.

    If there are any problems notify ALL parties in writing sent by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested. It is good to call the parties but do NOT fail to send the letters no matter what anyone tells you. Verbal agreements are absolutely worthless in real estate transactions. There is no such thing as a "handshake agreement" in real estate. If it is not is writing it does not exist.

    You are going in the right direction. Continue with your research until you get all the answers and are completely satisfied with what you find. Do NOT take anyone else's word (ESPECIALLY the words of a real estate agent) that something is "OK". Sadly, I have seen agents make all sorts of statements in order to get their commission check and the buyer is left holding the bag.

    If there is a problem tell the seller it is THEIR problem and make them solve it before closing. A little known fact is that once a seller knows about a defect that seller is obligated to inform any future buyers of the problem. That is handy to know if someone else buys a property you wanted and you send them a copy of the letter you sent to the seller just in case the seller "forgot" to tell them about the problem. At least you will have the satisfaction of knowing the seller was not allowed to shaft an unsuspecting buyer and get away with it. With your letter in hand the buyer has great grounds for recovering monetary damages against the seller.

    By the same token if you are the seller NEVER try to hide anything. It will be found eventually and you are likely to be sued. The really bad news is that the statute of limitations in most states doesn't start until the defect is found which can be years after the sale.

    Any time a real estate agent offers you assurance about something ask them to put it in writing and signed by all parties to the transaction. If they say "Oh, you don't need a letter about that issue, I am sure it is OK", you can bet your boots that it is NOT OK. Look them straight in the eye and say, "No letter, no sale".

    BTW, the #1 cause of lawsuits in real estate transactions is over something that is found AFTER the sale closes that the buyer was unaware of, or pretended to be unaware of, or the seller "covered up", or an agent lied about.

    DISCLAIMER: I am a licensed Texas Real Estate Salesperson and cannot give legal advice.

    However, being a real estate agent has opened my eyes to some real pitfalls. And yes, I have been shafted in real estate deals myself by agents, inspectors, appraisers, and darn near everybody involved. As usual, most agents are honest, some are just ignorant, and a few are outright liars.

    Bill Tolle

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Landlocked

    &lt;/font&gt;<font color="blueclass=small">( Have you contacted the Title Company yet? It is their job to find out all the recorded easments through a parcel of land.

    They provide title insurance to protect you and your land. If they make a mistake, they wont fix it, or solve your problems. They will just cut you a check and forget about you real fast. But at least the amount they pay will help you in your future legal battles.

    An easment through the land you plan on buying must be recorded to be valid and legal.

    Another source will be the surveyor. If there is a legal easment recorded through you land, it should show up on your survey.

    Your realtor should be representing your best interest in the deal. Get him/her to get this information for you in writing before moving forward with the deal. They should have friends who could look up this information for you at no charge.

    )&lt;/font&gt;</font>

    Sorry about posting so many replies but I cannot let this one pass.

    First, there are many unrecorded easements across land that the title company does not find. Search the forums for the word "adversary" or "adversarial"and you will find some posts about easements that will enlighten you on this issue.

    Easements do NOT have to be recorded to be legal.

    The title insurance companies obligation is to defend you against lawsuits up to the amount stated on the title policy ONLY. In most cases that is sufficient but in extreme cases they can toss that amount to you or someone else and walk away leaving you to hang by your thumbs while somebody slowly drains you for everything you have. See the thread by md_barb referenced above about how bad it can get.

    And the surveyor couldn't care less about easements. He will note them if they are obvious or he happens to know about them but he will not research any records looking for them. He will draw a map and give you a written description of the location of the property and any physical structures on it, including fences and obvious roads but has no legal obligation to notify you of any easements or encumbrances on the property.

    DISCLAIMER: I am a licensed Texas Real Estate Agent and have worked as an Exclusive Buyer's Agent for years. That means I NEVER list a property for sale (including my own who I listed with other agencies) so I know a little about who represents who. I cannot give legal advice to anyone. If in doubt about anything in a real estate transaction contact an attorney.

    A survey a few years ago found that 70% of the buyers thought "their" agent was representing them. In fact, at that point in time they were represented in probably less than 5% of the cases.

    The representation situation is slowly changing but if you do not have a written buyer representation agreement with an agent that agent does NOT represent you and is in fact working against you no matter how friendly and helpful they seem to be.

    I don't want to abuse this forum or sound like I am advertising so I will not publish my URL but if you do a search on my name you may find out some interesting information about who represents who in real estate transactions.

    Bill Tolle

  9. #9
    Platinum Member PitbullMidwest's Avatar
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    Default Re: Landlocked

    Our property is from my wife's family farm and is bordered by cropland. Should my brother-in-law decided to sell the field to the south it would be landlocked. At the time we bought our land our surveyor explained that because the access to these fields had existed for 100 years (original drive to the homestead home) we could not landlock them. The legal language on our plat reads: " Public access for private easement". Des Moines county Iowa will not allow sale of property unless access is established.

    I'd pull the plats of surrounding property and determine if access has previously been established.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Landlocked

    So me and the family track off to the county records department. We search in the deed books dating back to the 1800's. We see land sell for a pitace at now-a-days costs. A fortune back then I am sure. We see horses and cattle named, marked and offered as colatteral. Generations go by as this farm is carved up and sold off.
    Surveys you think? Boundry markers? GPS coordinates I wished for, compass points maybe. No, I read, acres more or less. Polished stones once noted, beeches with rocks stack high.

    Our worst fears have come to light. A twenty foot parcel running the right. Ouch I say, the lawyers will have their pay.
    Ouch, my wife speaks, maybe a few more weeks.
    No settlement in site, a handshake will not due. Perhaps I think, one day this will be mine too.

    -Mike Z. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] A lousy attempt at poetry....

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