OctoStudy Law
Print Сite this

California’s Land Boundary Disputes – an Analysis

Introduction

The boundary dispute under the California Property law is the one area of law, which has been the most frequently litigated area of law. This is mainly due to the fact that the physical divisions that neighboring owners presume divide their properties from each other are normally different from that of surveyed lines. (Garvey 1).

Occasionally, neighbors of land do contest for a strip of land claiming some portion of a parcel of land as theirs. Ushering peace and an understanding between such neighbors is an uphill task. However, a settlement can arrive in such land disputes if one understands these following simple truths: In practical parlance, they may both own the parcel of such a disputed piece of land and no peace among parties can be achieved until the concept of land is “mine” is completely removed.

A boundary dispute normally arises when D made a survey and found that the legal description showed that the boundary line in dispute was actually 30 feet off the pipeline in favor of Owner D. This 30 feet strip between the fence and the eastern boundary ran along a gas pipeline is known as the “Disputed Strip.”

However, owner A will be contested on the ground that the fence is the real boundary as of now since it has been there for more than 20 years, and hence it offered him an adverse possession.

The concept of adverse possession is that when someone is enjoying the land that belongs to somebody and prolongs to use the same for more than 20 years, as the previous owner B also enjoyed the use of the 30 feet of land and because of the continuous usage of such land both by B and A and as such, he has now become the owner of such land which he has been using. This research essay will analyze in detail how land boundary disputes are resolved by courts in California.

Analysis

Under the concept of adverse possession, claiming the disputed piece of land and corroborating the same are two different concepts. Under the law, if somebody is using the other’s land without his permission, then the owner of the land should sue to drive out the trespasser within ten years from the date of such usage.

If ten years pass before D sues, then D cannot initiate any legal action to eject A. It is to be noted that on the first day of the 11th year, the courthouse doors are expected to slam shut thereby proscribing a suit in equity and to eject A and there will be an automatic passing of title to the Disputed Strip to the adverse user.

To win in an adverse possession case, a party must demonstrate the following five things:

  1. For more than ten years, that A is using that 30 feet of land, which is known as the “Disputed Strip.”
  2. That the possession of that 30 feet of land was “notorious and open.”
  3. It was “hostile.”
  4. The possession was uninterrupted.
  5. The possession was exclusive.

However, in this case, Owner A had never used the 30 feet of property in question, so there is no adverse possession issue.

In French v. Brinkman[1], the plaintiff’s wall was situated about 4 feet away on land that belonged to the defendant. Nonetheless, the plaintiff had been paying the taxes on the separately assessed disputed strip, (Lacombe n.d). The trial court awarded with quiet title to whereas in an appeal, the court established on “realistic or either locality / consented –upon the boundary.”” However, in California, these types of litigation are not common due to stringent Country Assessor practice and the Subdivision Map Act. (Lacombe n.d)

Where if there are existence other supporting factors and the location of the property line is actually vague, then “consented -upon borderline “will be a fitting remedial action. (Lacombe n.d). In Armitage v. Decker[2] , the plaintiff bought title on the basis of the selling agent’s affirmation that the railing was the real borderline. However, the court viewed no corroboration to substantiate that the railing had been constructed to solve any vagueness in the borderline scene. (Lacombe n.d)

Without elongating to create ‘dubiety’ or to assume that an ‘contract ‘when really presents, then the present legal records would be sufficient to settle a boundary dispute as held in Bryant v. Blevins.

In Sliacci v, Abramson[3] , the defendant accused the landlord, substantiating all required ingredients of their litigation for a dogmatic easement. However, it was reversed by the appeals court stating that there had been a perversion of the standard difference in authentic land law between use and ownership.

In Raab v. Casper[4], it was affirmed by the appeal court of dynamic easement use for a precise purpose.

In “Hirschfield v. Schwartz”[5] , the trial allowed the improvements to land to stay until the defendant moved out of such as site or sold his residence. However, the appellant court viewed it as a “protective interest” but did not hold against the trial court version that was an “easement.” (Lacombe n.d)

Parol Evidence Rule

Parole evidence rule shows courts in common law nations and in the USA in their first determination of the substance of written contracts. However, there exists no uniformity in the USA as regards to Parol Evidence Rule.

Under the Parol Evidence Rule, the identification of the content of written contracts is being perused by the courts by asking first whether the writing is partially integrated, i.e. whether the writing is complete and final as to some phrases. Next, the court will inquire into whether the writing is complete and final integration – whether it includes the “exclusive and complete” phrases of the parties’ contract. The Williston approach stipulated that a court took chiefly to the terms of the writing, as deduced by a rational individual in the circumstances, to decide whether integration was intended or not. On the other hand, Corbin’s approach wanted courts to give due regard to all relevant evidence embedding the agreement to decide whether parties really meant the writing to be exclusive and complete. (Queensland University Staff 62).

Real Covenants

Real covenant runs with the land and also binds the assigns and heirs. If an easement is confirmed through a grant offers to the successive owners of the land to which the service is due, a right to the benefit is being given. It should not be construed that each and every covenant can be regarded as a real covenant embedding with the land. To offer it such an operation, it must impact the nature, value, or quality of the land sold, independent of collateral scenarios, or must impact the status of enjoying it; and to bind an assignee by, or permit him to the benefit of a covenant, there ought to be a priority of estate between the assigns and the contracting party. In Norman vs. Wells[1], it was held that a covenant not to let any other site, or establish any other manufactory, on some stream, to be used for a specific purpose, respected the land right and was co-extensive with the estate, is considered as having carried the power of covenants to run with the land, to the extreme limits of the law. (Bouvier 391).

Merger

Sellers and buyers of property in the USA must, as a normal scheme, postulate with the so-named “merger principle.” Under this principle, upon delivery of the sale deed, after the completion of all formalities of sale of the property, the provisions of sale and purchase agreement will fuse into the deed, with the impact that the title deed will be the only requisite instrument immediately after closing. However, sellers and buyers of property are frequently encountered with scenarios where the negotiated factors of their deal must, due to the necessity, be handled after the closing –for instance, some warranties or representations as to some issues that may influence the cost of the land or the prolonged use of the land. (Jacobson & Popat 2007).

Marketable Title

A marketable title is one, which is reasonably free from the risk of a legal dispute over any apparent defects or from encumbrances. This connotes the holding of property, which is free from liens. In other words, it is a clear and good title to property without adverse claims towards it, which would obscure the title. An owner of a property who is having a clear marketable title can sell such property at a fair market price without the slightest protestation from the probable buyer. To make sure that a property is having a good marketable title, normally a title search will be made before purchase of any property, which will mainly look into whether there is any encumbrance attached to the property like the existence of any lien or mortgages over the property, any arrears of real estate taxes, liens for roadways, sewers, sidewalks, any claims from the government towards the property, any arrears of federal or local taxes, the existence of any condemnations, foreclosures, adverse judgment on the property, easements or covenants. (Gray 97).

Delivery

A title in a property is not regarded as transferred unless the deed is actually delivered and acknowledged by the grantee. The grantor may deliver the deed to the grantee either through a third party or personally.

The third parties are generally known as a settlement agent or an escrow agent, and he will deliver the deed to the grantee no sooner than some conditions or requirements have been met. The title to the deed is said to be passed only when a deed is delivered and acknowledged. Thus, the effective date of the transfer of title to the deed to the grantee from the grantor is the date of delivery of the title deed itself. When a title deed is delivered through an escrow agent, then the date of delivery goes back to the date when it was deposited with the escrow agent. Nonetheless, under the Torrents system, title to deed does not convey till the deed has been scrutinized and acknowledged for registration. (Galaty et al 195).

Bonafide buyer

Under California’s property laws, a bona fide buyer is one who acts in a good faith and without any intention of fraud. For instance, a buyer, without any knowledge of any title defects, pays for property, and thus in a bona fide sale, the seller receives the property sale amount, without any knowledge of any motivation against such sale. It is to be noted that bona fide is an act in good faith, and it should be sincere, open and honest. (Lindeman & Friedman 11).

Grant Deed

A grant is a technical phrase employed in deeds of conveyance of property to notify a transfer. A grant deed is an unique type of special warranty deed whereby the seller assures that he has not encumbered the said property, and that sale has been made with such as encumbrance and has not been deeded the said asset to the other. This kind of deed is most commonly used in California. (Lindeman & Friedman 23).

Estoppel by Deed

Estoppel by deed has been employed to denote estoppel originating from deeds, whether that be the estoppel emanating from that of arising from the grant of an estate by deed or from a statement of fact in a deed. In Coke’s sense, the estoppel arising from the grant of an estate by deed, which has more in common with the estoppel in pays than with the estoppel emanating from a statement of fact in a deed and in any event, the phrase ‘estoppel by deed “is not commonly used in this way. In First National Bank Plc v. Thompson [1]notes estoppel by a statement of fact in a deed as the common law estoppel by symbolically and to estoppel to the title as “ appropriately named as estoppel by deed though not necessarily in a strict view. (Cooke 14).

Recording Acts

Recording acts under various states in the US decide the precedence of records of title. Hence, there is a precedence in the title to a specific property between the indexes of the title-holders who have adhered to the necessities of the recording act. There are three types of recording act, which are as follows; notice statutes, race statutes, and race-notice statutes. Race statutes permit the owner of the first property to a particular property which records first to have ownership to the title to the property.

The first person who has recorded his property will have a title to the land if more than one person claims ownership to a title of a property.

Notice

Succeeding buyer of a piece of land may have either constructive notice or actual notice of the record of title. When a buyer, has, in fact, had gained details of the record, then actual notice happens. If the instrument has been properly registered, a constructive notice happens as it offers notice to all succeeding buyers.

Conclusion

There is an easy solution for the boundary disputes as stated in the given problem. It is better to draw an easement deed between A and D that consist of the following; 1) to describe the spot in the problem, which is also known as “ servant tenement” 2) the aims of the easement 3) narrative of the property that the easement will be with and is also known as “ dominant tenement.”

A landowner may lessen the probability of prescriptive claims by planting at a distance of two-hundred feet or less along the borderline of the land or at each entrance of the land, a warning board that mainly informs, “Right to access by authorization, subject to the command of the property owner of land under “section 1008 of the California Civil Code.” Further, under “section 813 of California Civil Code,” the landlord may also put up a signboard that will act as a conclusive proof that the use is permissive. (Lacombe n.d)

In the given case, owner A brought suit in equity against Owner D. Owner A had never used the 30 feet of property in question so there is no adverse possession issue. During the bench trial, Owner A and B testified their belief as to where the boundary line was (along the pipeline) and that despite the legal description, Owner C’s intent was to have the lot split-run along the pipeline.

The court may give a verdict on the principle of agreed-upon boundary “which will be an appropriate remedy in this case. In Armitage v. Decker[2] , the plaintiff bought title on the basis of the selling broker’s affirmation that the fence was the real boundary. However, the court found no corroboration to substantiate that the fence had been constructed to solve any vagueness in the boundary location. In this case, both A and B has corroborated that owner’s C intention was to have the lot split run along the pipeline.

The court may follow the approach used in Bryant v. Blevins, as without stretching to invent ‘uncertainty’ or to assume that an ‘agreement ‘when really exists, then the present legal records would be sufficient to settle a boundary dispute as held in Bryant v. Blevins.

It is to be noted that trial courts may give a verdict in favor of A by applying the “agreed-upon boundary “principle or the lower court may give a verdict without stretching to invent uncertainty’ or to assume that an ‘agreement ‘when really exists, then the present legal records would be suffice to settle a boundary dispute as held in Bryant v. Blevins.

However, if D appeals against the verdict of the lower court, then the higher courts in California may give the verdict in the following lines.

In Sliacci v, Abramson[3] , the defendant complained against the landowner, substantiating all required ingredients of their case for the prescriptive easement. However, it was reversed by the appeals court stating that there had been a perversion of the standard difference in real property law between use and ownership.

In Raab v. Casper[4], it was affirmed by the appeal court of active easement use for the specific purpose.

In Hirschfield v. Schwartz[5] , the trial allowed the improvements to land to stay until the defendant moved out of such as site or sold his residence. However, the appellant court viewed it as a “protective interest” but did not hold against trial court version that was an “easement.”

References

Bouvier, John. A Law Dictionary, adapted to the Constitution and Law of the United States. New York: The Lawbook Exchange Ltd, 2004.

Cooke, Elizabeth. The Modern Law of Estoppel. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Galaty, Fillmore W, Allaway, Wellington J & Kyle, Robert C. Modern Real Estate Practice. New York: Dearborn Real Estate, 2002.

Garvey, Jack I. “Resolving Boundary Dispute in California.” University of San Francisco Law Review, 43 (2009):829.

Gray, Douglas. The Canadian Snowbird Guide. Montreal: John Wiley & Sons, 2009.

Jacobson, Kenneth M & Popat, Devan. 2007. Proration of Property Taxes and the Merger Doctrine. Web.

Lacombe, Lawrence. N.D Disputes over the Location of Existing Walls of Fences in California. Web.

Lindeman, J Bruce & Friedman, Jack P. How to Prepare for the California Real Estate Exam: Salesperson, Broker. California: Barons Educational Series, 2005.

Queensland University Staff. International Trade & Business Law Annual, Volume 3. New York: Routledge, 1997.

Cite this paper

Select style

Reference

OctoStudy. (2022, March 23). California’s Land Boundary Disputes – an Analysis. Retrieved from https://octostudy.com/californias-land-boundary-disputes-an-analysis/

Reference

OctoStudy. (2022, March 23). California’s Land Boundary Disputes – an Analysis. https://octostudy.com/californias-land-boundary-disputes-an-analysis/

Work Cited

"California’s Land Boundary Disputes – an Analysis." OctoStudy, 23 Mar. 2022, octostudy.com/californias-land-boundary-disputes-an-analysis/.

1. OctoStudy. "California’s Land Boundary Disputes – an Analysis." March 23, 2022. https://octostudy.com/californias-land-boundary-disputes-an-analysis/.


Bibliography


OctoStudy. "California’s Land Boundary Disputes – an Analysis." March 23, 2022. https://octostudy.com/californias-land-boundary-disputes-an-analysis/.

References

OctoStudy. 2022. "California’s Land Boundary Disputes – an Analysis." March 23, 2022. https://octostudy.com/californias-land-boundary-disputes-an-analysis/.

References

OctoStudy. (2022) 'California’s Land Boundary Disputes – an Analysis'. 23 March.

This paper was written and submitted to our database by a student to assist your with your own studies. You are free to use it to write your own assignment, however you must reference it properly.

If you are the original creator of this paper and no longer wish to have it published on OctoStudy, request the removal.