Property Law: Property Deeds, Land Disputes & More

Property Law – Different Types of Deeds, Land Ownership Disputes

When it comes to the act of owning property, there are a myriad of laws that apply to such a thing. The two core areas in which the majority of these laws are designated to involve the types of property deeds that are available, as well as the types of land ownership disputes that can occur. Whether you’re looking to purchase land or property or already own some, it’s important to understand what these property laws entail, in order to be fully prepared in all situations. The following will provide in-depth details regarding these laws.

Types of Property Deeds

Property deeds are documents given from one party to another as a means of displaying a transferring of ownership of the property in question. There are a large variety of property deeds available, though there are five, in particular, that are among the most common. These include the Bargain and Sale deed, Quit Claim deed, General Warranty deed, Special Warranty deed and Grant deed. Each of these deeds are slightly different and depend primarily on exactly how the property is being acquired.

Bargain and Sale Deed

When taking a look at the Bargain and Sale deed, it’s important to note that this deed is commonly used for both sales of residential real estate and certain properties that have been seized by the court. Though a Bargain and Sale deed doesn’t entirely mean that the property is being transferred free of charge, it is rare that money will change hands. When money is involved, it’s typically less than is usual for a standard purchase of a property. A Bargain and Sale deed is used primarily upon the transfer of ownership from one family member to another or simply when one family member places the property into the trust of another family member. If a piece of property is bought at a foreclosure or tax sale, then this type of deed will also be used. Businesses that want to sell or buy certain properties will also need to use a Bargain and Sale deed. Unlike other types of deeds, it is not guaranteed that the person that a property is transferred to through this type of deed will end up receiving it.

Quit Claim Deed

The Quit Claim deed is actually similar in ways to the Bargain and Sale deed, primarily for the fact that the property is typically transferred to other family members. However, the one primary difference between these deeds is that the Quit Claim deed requires the property to be relinquished instead of sold. There is typically no monetary exchange involved with this deed either. The Quit Claim deed is primarily used between family members when transferring property, as well as friends and spouses that are going through a divorce. This is usually one of the simplest and most hassle-free ways to transfer a deed from one person to another.

Just like a Bargain and Sale deed, there is no guarantee that the property will actually be transferred to the recipient, which is why money is rarely used for a Quit Claim deed. As there is no guarantee with this deed, liens could still be placed onto the deed that prevents the transferal of the property. A lawyer doesn’t need to be used with this deed, though it is recommended if any sort of money is being transferred along with the deed. A Quit Claim deed is also used for such rare situations as needing to correct the spelling of one of the names on a previous deed and changing the type of tenancy between owners.

General Warranty Deed

A General Warranty deed is one of the most popular types of property deeds around. A General Warranty deed is typically used in the sale of residences. Unlike the previous two types of property deeds, a General Warranty deed comes with the guarantee that the buyer is able to receive the deed from the seller without any liens or possible debt being transferred along with it. This deed is given upon both parties agreeing to a certain price. This is obviously the best method of using a property deed for anyone that wants to sell or buy a property with certain guarantees and warranties, which typically means a hassle-free process throughout the entire ordeal. This deed is also commonly used in such situations as transferring ownership to a trust of someone else and for business owners that would like to sell or buy property. You will need certain information on hand when filling out this document, including everything from names and addresses to a legal description of the property.

Special Warranty Deed

A Special Warranty deed is a bit different than a General Warranty deed for the sole fact that it doesn’t provide guarantees or warrants against liens or debts over the entire history of the property in question, just any liens or debts that were incurred during the seller’s ownership of the property. As such, if multiple people or businesses have owned a property, the guarantee would only cover against any claims made during the time of the latest owner. A Special Warranty deed is used for a multitude of occasions, such as when buying or selling a property, when transferring a specific property into a trust and when wanting to include certain warranties alongside the property. It is used for both residences and commercial buildings. For the buyer, it’s mostly important to understand that just because there were no liens or debts for the current buyer does not specifically mean that there will also be none from previous owners.

Grant Deed

The last common type of property deed is known as the Grant deed. A Grant deed is one wherein the interest in a property is completely transferred to the buyer from the seller. This transferal typically involves a specific amount of money that has been fully agreed upon by both parties involved. The two things that this type of deed guarantees to the buyer is that the owner is legally able to sell the property and that the owner is able to do so without any debts on the property in question. However, there is a small caveat attached. In essence, there is no guarantee against any possible defects that could be found on the property. The two types of deeds that do include this guarantee are the General Warranty and the Special Warranty deeds. This deed is typically used for residences and among certain acquaintances that you might not know well. As such, it’s one of the more common deeds to use during the standard selling of a house or other residence.

Types of Land Ownership Disputes

While there are plenty of property deeds to take note of, the second most important aspect of property laws are the land ownership disputes that often result between any number of people or businesses. As can likely be discerned due to the name of these, a land ownership dispute is commonly brought about due to a disagreement over a portion of land. The following will go into more detail about the many different types of land ownership disputes.

Standard Nuisances

When owning land nearby another, there is always the possibility of certain nuisances affecting a person or business to the point where they have an issue. The nuisance law allows certain entities that own land to bring a case against a person or business that causes such nuisances as making too much noise, smoke, dust or frustrating vibrations. However, the court will not always take the case forward and the individual that owns the property won’t always get what they are looking to receive from the defendant due to the fact that the court takes into consideration that some of these nuisances are a part of everyday life and are essentially unavoidable. It’s when the nuisance is to a greater degree that the court will heavily consider taking action.

Statutory Nuisances

Statutory nuisances are a bit different than standard nuisances for the very fact that they typically involve any nuisance that could negatively affect or impact in any way a persons health. This includes everything from certain noises and polluted water to groups of animals and piles of trash/waste nearby a persons property, as well as smoke and hazardous fumes. Before this can be taken to court, local authorities typically investigate. Once the nuisance has been determined, certain actions can be taken to remove the nuisance to the point where it will no longer affect you or your business.

Trespassing

One of the most common forms of land ownership disputes is through the act of trespassing. When someone has entered onto your land illegally, a dispute is essentially started. Trespassing can occur at any time that someone has entered onto your land without your specific permission. This type of land ownership dispute can come into play in a number of ways. For instance, the standard act of entering onto land without permission is the most common way. However, it can also happen if someone erects a building onto a portion of the land that you own or if they erect a building that overhangs a portion of the land that you own. If any of this occurs, it is possible to go to court. The ruling of the court depends primarily on how severe the trespassing was. The person that files a land ownership dispute over trespassing on their land will typically receive a ruling in their favor.

Trees

The very act of having trees on the land that you own can cause issues with your land or your neighbor’s land if the tree happens to be partially covering both portions of land, thus resulting in a land ownership dispute. Whether the tree has already been planted long ago and no one is sure as to which person owns the tree or the tree is newly planted and grows to the point that it overhangs another persons or businesses land, there are a wide range of disputes that could result. First of all, if your neighbor’s tree happens to hang over a portion of your land, you have the right to ask them to trim it to where this is no longer the case. If they fail to do this in an efficient manner, the law allows for you to trim the tree itself. A tree that overhangs onto your property also has the possibility of causing damages or injury. If this happens, the person that owns the land that the tree is resting on will then be liable to provide compensation for any damages or injuries that may befall someone or someone’s property.

Boundaries and Fences

Another common dispute that tends to present itself often is with general boundaries of two pieces of land, as well as fences that divide the lands in question. There are times when a land ownership dispute will simply arise because one party believes that the boundaries of their land are being encroached upon. The easiest way to check to see if this is the case is by glancing at the legal documents to ensure the exact boundaries of your land and your neighbor’s land. These documents tend to be resolute in what they identify as the boundaries in question. However, there are times when these boundaries have been pushed by prior agreement. If a fence or barrier has already been erected when purchasing a property and piece of land, it’s important to note exactly whose land this barrier resides on, as this person has complete say over the usage of the barrier in question. As such, it’s not even possible to rest plants up against the barrier on your side without explicit permission by the owner. When building a fence, each land owner must ensure that it resides entirely on their property lest another land ownership dispute arises.

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