Massachusetts Land Court and Fee Interest in Private RoadsPosted by spledeus on July 2, 2019 at 11:42 pm
It is my understanding that the fee interest in a private road for a Registered Subdivision can only be conveyed to an entity, ex Homeowner’s Association, if the Road is a Numbered Lot on the Subdivision Plan. I have found this methodology used for some subdivisions and for others I have found conveyances of the fee without it being a numbered lot. Is the conveyance of the fee in the unnumbered road invalidated?
- 4 Replies
- MemberJuly 3, 2019 at 12:50 pm
I doubt that the conveyance is invalidated. Conveyancing still follows the same legal principles as non-titled land. The rules for preparing plans and deeds change periodically, but having something “off” slip by the reviewer at Land Court doesn’t mean that it is invalid.
- MemberJuly 3, 2019 at 1:06 pm
I submitted a plan to Land Court once where the lot I was dividing was shown as one of two lots on a 1950 era Land Court plan, with the boundary between them shown as a right-of-way, drawn with two parallel dashed lines. No bearings, distances, or even a width. The deeds to both lots noted that they were subject to the right-of-way. The right of way was not shown as a numbered parcel. I interpreted the boundary between the two lots as running down the center line of the r-o-w, per the “derelict fee” statute. There was a nicely graded road bed for us to locate, so I had a good physical location to work with. I got a call from the reviewer at Land Court asking why I had shown the boundary differently from how it was shown on the 1950 plan. I explained my reasoning, and the reviewer agreed. They didn’t even balk at my showing of dimensions where none had been shown before. I was very glad that Land Court did not insist on a full-blown Supplemental Petition and hearing on the matter.
- MemberJuly 9, 2019 at 12:02 am
Land Court is so cumbersome.
Dad prepared a Petitioner’s Plan in 1986 of a messy set of properties. It was a barrier beach that caused the formation of salt marsh that filled in the Old Harbor so all that remained was a Salt Pond and Tidal Creek. It went to Land Court and they refused to hear it or sent it back for neighbors to agree. Nothing has happened for 33 years until the son of the client comes to me the son of the surveyor and vocally demands I record this Petitioner’s Plan so he can claim ownership to the water. I reviewed the file and I don’t see how I could do it without committing fraud. He bolstered his argument: he is willing to straw deed the property as described on the Petitioner’s Plan back and forth between himself, his brother who was executor of his mother’s estate, his wife and himself to clean up the title. After he noted that I stated this was fraud four times he asked if Dad was still practicing. This fellow will wait 3 weeks for Dad to return from vacation and hear the same thing.
That was how my Monday began.
- MemberJuly 9, 2019 at 6:20 pm
Cumbersome, indeed. At least they are no longer stacking boxes of files in the hallway as they were doing when they were located in the old courthouse. It seems very odd to me that the Land Court would refuse to hear the case. Are you sure that the original petitioner didn’t just bail out at the time and expen$e of the whole process? Or maybe his lawyer flubbed something up in putting the case forward?
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