What types of cases are handled in Land Court?

The Massachusetts Land Court oversees a variety of real property matters including issues with adverse possession, partition battles and clouds of title.

Every day in Massachusetts different real estate transactions are completed. The buying and selling of a commercial property or residential income property may almost come to seem basic and straightforward to some people but it is actually anything but basic and straightforward.

There are any number of issues that may arise related to such a transaction that may end up derailing the transaction altogether and causing an investor to lose a substantial investment. Additionally, certain property acquisitions are upended after the closing because the title claim comes under attack or the property’s boundaries or easements have not been properly defined during the transaction.

Massachusetts Land Court

In Massachusetts, the Land Court is the court that many real estate investors use to address issues relating to title, zoning, easement claims, partition of real estate. It has concurrent jurisdiction with the Superior Court but it is widely chosen as the forum of choice because of its special focus on these important issues. The court is located in Boston and has a widespread set of cases that it hears. Three examples of types of cases that may leave a person in need of legal help include a partition lawsuit, a cloudy title and an act of adverse possession.

Multiple owners and partition lawsuits

Often one piece of real estate may be acquired or owned by multiple persons and the parties may be content with the arrangement. However, on occasions the real estate partnership sours or in the example of an estate, the surviving beneficiaries may get into a dispute over the future ownership and management-including the costs and expenses- of the property. This may lead to Land Court for a special process known as the Petition to Partition action.

If even only one partner or child wishes to sell the property they may petition the court to order the sale if the co-owner does not voluntarily agree to sell the property. Unclear titles and ownership rights

A title search during a real estate escrow process may bring to light problems that can end up costing a lot in time and money to resolve. In addition to liens from contractors, courts, the Internal Revenue Service and more, a title search may also identify instances of fraud or forgery. These cloudy titles may prevent someone from exercising the ownership rights they believed they once had.

Squatters and adverse possession

The term “squatter’s rights” is nothing to laugh at. When a person has illegally used even a portion of property for a while and eventually attempts to assert rights of ownership, a legal battle may well ensue. In Massachusetts, the burden to prove ownership rests with the person who is asserting the right of adverse possession.

Legal help is always important

Regardless of what side of a dispute a person is on, engaging an experienced real estate attorney is important when issues involving the title and ownership of property arise. This provides people the opportunity to have someone work on their behalf who fully understands the nuances of the laws.