Landlord Tenant Relations
Easements / Licenses
Environmental Quality Act Compliance
Lot Line Adjustments
For most people, the purchase of real estate is the biggest expenditure they will ever make in their life. Our property is often our most valuable asset and because of this value, real property requires scrupulous attention to detail and staunch advocacy is required to protect it. Napa County is notorious for having unclear and sometimes evolving property lines, and as a result, circumstances regarding easements, boundaries, and other issues are a frequent subject of conflict.
Real estate issues are unique in that the adversary often lives literally next door. This fact, combined with the value of a home, as well as the emotional and personal value attached to property means that frequently there is little relief when these issues arise. An effective attorney is particularly useful in these situations because even if you win your case, you still share a property line with those you had a conflict with and will need to find a way to continue life forward after the conflict has been resolved. In certain situations, having someone to play the role of the "bad guy" can defuse some of the anger that inevitably arises in these circumstances, allowing you more freedom to enjoy your property.
Real property disputes present different risks from other disputes. In the example of two people fighting over a bank account, the judge or jury can simply solve the issue by giving half to each. Boundary disputes, however, often involve each side having a survey done, and then each side arguing about which survey correctly reflects what is shown on the property record. The judge or jury ultimately is asked which of the surveys is correct, and such a ruling often means that the disputed area is allocated fully to either one party or the other.
How We Can Assist
When possible, we work very hard to negotiate agreements between the parties, rather than heading straight to court. Our goal is to absorb most of the animosity, so that it can be deflected from our clients. This is done in an effort to decrease tensions between parties and to hopefully allow both sides to agree to a compromise. This type of resolution promotes, at the very least, an air of civility between parties at the conclusion of the issue.
However, sometimes the conflict becomes so emotionally entwined that a simple solution is not possible. In these cases, the parties must resort to litigation, and in these instances, familiarity with the courts and the geographic areas of the Napa Valley can be critical.
One case which required such creativity occurred when Bruce helped a gentleman with a dispute regarding approximately one-third of an acre. The reference point for the property line in the original documentation was established by a barbed wire fence that separated the two properties, which had long since been torn down. It was only after a metal detector located portions of the old wire in the trunk of an aged valley oak that he was able conclude the case in his clients favor, and to establish the boundaries of the property.
Years of advising clients and litigating boundary, easement, and other real property issues helps us properly advise our clients. We aim to provide the strategies to best protect you and your land, to negotiate skillfully, and vigorously defend and protect them, when necessary. Give us a call to see if you can benefit from our services.