Under Michigan law, a person who uses land that actual, visible, open, notorious, hostile, under cover of a claim of right, continuous, and uninterrupted for the statutory period of 15 years can claim a prescriptive easement. Now, it also includes long-term overuse of already existing easement when sustainably undertaken.Continue reading “A New Twist on the Old Legal Doctrine of Prescriptive Easements”
Ownership of riparian property automatically includes that portion of a lake’s bottomlands known as the riparian or littoral extension. This principle is well established under Michigan property law. A recent Michigan Court of Appeals decision reconfirms the same but added a further clarification.Continue reading “State Law “Tops” Federal Land Patents in Michigan “Bottoms-lands” Dispute”
This office gets calls all the time about the legal rights or prohibitions involving platted parks in subdivisions. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers. A new Court of Appeals decision highlights the issue.
Many properties in Michigan, whether on lakes or in cities, are covered by restrictive covenants. Restrictive covenants, sometimes called deed restrictions, are private-party agreements that run with or ‘go with’ the land and control any number of uses and prohibitions for the use of property. These property restrictions are usually created by a subdivision developer or by a vote of a group of property owners.
A retired federal bankruptcy judge once told me that judges are the ones who can make pigs fly–on paper. He was right. Continue reading “When Pigs Fly and the Problem with Judicial Decisions”
We’ve all heard it from those longing for yesteryear–a handshake was enough to make a deal. Unfortunately, that has never been the case in property deals under Michigan law. Continue reading “A Handshake Is Not Enough for Property Deals”
The decision to bring a lawsuit against a trespasser or neighbor is a competing question of strategy and goals. Does one seek money damages, an injunction, or both? The easier case, in a practical sense, is just to obtain a court order to halt a trespasser from his or her illegal acts. Moreover, seeking money damages for loss of the use of an easement has been difficult because there has been a question whether such a legal remedy even exists under Michigan law. That has now changed. Continue reading “Can I Be Awarded Money Damages for Interference with an Easement”
When bringing suit, one of the common defenses property law attorneys (like the one at OLC) look for is known as the statute of limitations. It is also one of the most misunderstood aspects of property law, even for judges.
Most lawyers know that when filing a lawsuit, there are time limits on when to file. For contracts, it is six years from the breach. For personal injury, it is three years from the accident. For FOIA requests, it is 180 days. It all depends on the nature of the claims.
Under Michigan property law, the applicable statute of limitations depends on the nature of the claim and how the judge views the claim. The limitation runs from the date it “first accrues.” Continue reading “Deadlines via the Statute of Limitations Matter”
Michigan law protects property deemed a wetland. Wetlands are define to include “land characterized by the presence of water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances does support, wetland vegetation or aquatic life, and is commonly referred to as a bog, swamp, or marsh.”
If property is part of a wetland, the owner is prohibited, without a permit, from depositing/placing fill materials; dredging or removing soil or minerals; maintaining any use or development; or draining surface water. “Fill material” is defined as “soil, rocks, sand, waste of any kind, or any other material that displaces soil or water or reduces water retention potential.” Continue reading “Michigan Wetlands Have Complicated Compliance Regulations”
In Michigan, property is held by “title”–a legal concept as to who is the owner or are the co-owners of land and homes. However, the declaration of title in a deed also affects who becomes the owner of land and homes at the time of a co-owner’s death. Continue reading “It’s All about the Title When it Comes to Property”