Real Estate Law

Karen E. Marty has handled a wide variety of real estate matters, including the following:

Adverse possession - Assisted property owners in making claim to property based on adverse possession.

Boundary disputes - Pursued litigation to resolve boundary disputes between neighbors.

Cancellation of purchase agreement - Prepared statutory cancellation of purchase agreement, and mediated case to force a seller to return a large down payment made by a client.

Common interest communities - Prepared amendments to common interest community documents, to make it easier for the association to enforce the restrictive covenants. Reviewed numerous common interest community documents and interpreted the restrictions and enforcement powers for clients.

Deeds - Drafted deeds to transfer property from one owner to another, or to convey property while retaining a life estate. Also prepared specialized deeds to provide for an automatic reversion if the property stopped being used in a particular way.

- Determined restriction on amount that may be assessed for ditch repairs, and proper appeal procedures.

Drainage - Pursued cases against property owners who drain their water onto another person’s property. Negotiated with cities to stop using private property for storm water run-off.

- Handled appeal of case where one property owner an easement by necessity for a driveway across another person’s property. Also drafted and reviewed numerous cross-access easements, public utility easements, drainage easements, and other temporary and permanent easements.

Eminent domain - Represented property owners to make sure they were adequately compensated when city condemned their property. When worked for cities, condemned property when needed for city streets and improvement projects.

Homeowners’ associations
- Enforced covenants on behalf of homeowners’ associations. Also drafted declarations of covenants and other homeowners’ association documents.

Options - Drafted Options and First Right of Refusal documents for purchase of real estate.

Outlots - Stopped city from approving outlots without restricting their future development. When working for cities, revised ordinances to provide that outlots could not be developed until platted as a numbered lot.

Partition - Handled partition litigation to divide the value of a home purchased and improved by an unmarried couple.

Property line disputes - see Boundary disputes, above.

Purchase and sale of land and homes - Prepared options, purchase agreements, financing documents, and reviewed mortgage documents for clients, for the purchase and sale of farm land and homes.

Reformation of deeds - Obtained a court order reforming a deed to grant a client ownership as a joint tenant, rather than as a tenant in common.

Relocation - Reviewed relocation payment requests to determine their validity under the federal regulations.

Restrictive covenants
- Negotiated lot restrictions, including access limitations, driveway locations, and restrictive covenants regarding the use of the lots.

Riparian rights - see Shoreland, below.

Section 8 housing
- As a hearing examiner, have heard numerous cases relating to reduction or termination of benefits for tenants.

Shoreland - Advised clients on shoreland restrictions and development options.

Special assessments - Appealed excessive and unfair special assessments. When working for cities, revised special assessment policies to reflect statutory limits on assessment amounts. Also defended against special assessment appeals.

Streets - Drafted and interpreted access restrictions from lots to streets. Have helped cities acquire property through plat dedication, common law dedication, and by easement or deed.

Title problems
- Litigated cases where ownership of property was not clear from the land records, and where two owners claimed overlapping interests in the same property.

- Reviewed land title documents to determine who owns vacated streets, alleys, and platted lots. When working for cities, reviewed numerous proposed vacations of streets and alleys.

- Helped clients obtain approval for wetland mitigation, both in anticipation of filling a wetland, and after-the-fact when a wetland was mistakenly filled. Reviewed wetland delineations

- Handled all kinds of land use issues, including conditional use permits, permitted uses, accessory uses, maximum lot coverage issues, nonconforming uses, variances, and interpretation of “similar use” provisions. When working for cities, was involved in complete revisions of zoning ordinances and subdivision regulations. Wrote a city’s first floodplain ordinance, carefully tailored to apply retroactively to a business district. Completely revised sign ordinances. See our Land Use Law for more information.

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