By: Debra Smith, Associate General Counsel, Madison Title Agency
An increasingly common type of real estate fraud occurs when someone impersonates the true owner of real property and does one of two things- sells the home or obtains a mortgage on it.
Typically, the wrongdoer first identifies a low risk transaction. The wrongdoer may look for a home nearing foreclosure for unpaid taxes. This is very easy information to obtain because so much data is accessible on the Internet now. The wrongdoer will then visit the property and confirm it is vacant. The ideal target has no mortgages (or only a very small mortgage) encumbering it.
The wrongdoer will obtain fake identification in the true owner’s name. He may then sell the property to a bona fide purchaser. He collects the net sale proceeds and moves on to the next victim. In criminal proceedings against Maria Leyna Albertina in Brooklyn a decade ago, it was alleged that she had identified and purportedly “sold” 32 such properties.
There are many variations on this scheme. Continue reading
Tags: debt service payments, Extended Coverage Residential Policy, fake affidavits, fraud, mortgage, mortgage default, net sales proceeds, quit claim deed, real estate fraud, real property, satisfaction of mortgage
By Terence Guerriere, Esq., Executive Vice President, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services
Adverse possession is a method of acquiring title to real property by possessing it for a statutory period under certain conditions. The doctrine of adverse possession has been a part of American law since the founding of our country; a precept of western civilization’s legal system for centuries. However, perhaps it is time to recognize that the idea that an owner of real property should lose title to his land, simply because someone else has been using it, is a relic of the past.
The primary reason for the development of adverse possession law was to promote the productive use of property. If an absent owner did not tend to his land, the land would not produce food or other benefits for society. This certainly made sense during the time of an agrarian society. Today, however, there is little fear that we would not be able to feed, clothe and house our citizens by allowing land to lay fallow.
Is it time to lift the burden from the land owner of record and shift it to the possessor of land he doesn’t own?
Tags: absentee owner, adverse possession, agrarian society, building codes, disputed parcel, infrastructure, municipal planning regulations, New York Court of Appeals, productive use of land, real property, structures, title insurance, title insurance industry, trespassed, zoning ordinances
By: Joseph Kipper, Senior Underwriting Manager, Madison Title
The old saying, “Measure twice, cut once”, certainly is useful for carpenters. One should double check measurements for accuracy before cutting a piece of wood, rather than rushing to cut and making errors which waste material. Aside from carpenters and tailors, there are other industries where accurate measurements are of supreme importance. Before purchasing real estate, it is important to obtain and examine the exact measurements of the property. Here’s why. Continue reading
Tags: boundaries, deed, encroachment, legal description of a property, lines, monuments, property deed, real property, recorded documents, survey, survey issues, survey reading, title insurance, title insurance policy, trespass
By: James Lee, Esq., Senior Commercial Counsel, Madison Title Agency
Real estate developers in New York City seeking to construct a brand new building or to expand on their existing building confront zoning constraints on the size of the buildings that may be built on a particular piece of land. Faced with this zoning limitation, these real estate developers sometimes turn to the adjoining landowners for excess development rights to maximize what they can build on their site. The transfer of excess development rights have allowed NYC developers to build towering residences with enhanced views.
The sale and purchase of these developments rights have become a very big business, particularly in Manhattan. Thanks to a recent feeding frenzy, prices have skyrocketed for these development rights. In the theater district in Manhattan, development rights have sold for $409 per square foot and every indication points to the price of development rights increasing even higher. Continue reading
Tags: air rights, airspace, building height restrictions. New York City Zoning Resolution, development rights, easements of light and air, FAR, floor area ratio, negative easements, real property, restrictive covenants, zoning constraints
By Eli Schon, Esq., Counsel
Madison Title Agency
City life can be expensive. In some cities, even the air costs money. Indeed, air rights are often bought and sold in major cities.
What are air rights and how is it bought and sold? Continue reading
According to New York Tax Law, Section 1402, a tax is imposed on each conveyance of real property when the consideration exceeds five hundred dollars, at the rate of two dollars for each five hundred dollars. However, with respect to a conveyance of a one, two or three-family house and an individual residential condominium unit, or conveyances where the consideration is less than five hundred thousand dollars, the consideration for the interest conveyed shall exclude the value of any lien or encumbrance remaining thereon at the time of conveyance. Continue reading
Recently, I’ve observed a growing number of real estate transactions involving seemingly fully developed parcels. Instead of the traditional development options of (i) demolishing and rebuilding or (ii) building extensions of the existing structures into the air space above or (iii) simply “repositioning” the use of the existing structures, owners of the real property are choosing or being forced to go in new, creative directions.
Tags: adequate parking, air space, building extensions, Condominium, developed land, developed parcels, developer, development, development rights, existing structures, ground lease, high rise office tower, leasable space, mineral rights, office building, owner, parking garages, property conditions, real estate developers, real property, rebuilding, residential housing, retail center, tenants, title insurance professionals, water rights, water tables