Massachusetts Land Use Monitor

Massachusetts Land Use Monitor

Real-Time News & Commentary on Massachusetts Land Use & Real Estate Law

Category Archives: Easements

Subscribe to Easements RSS Feed

The Beach is This Way–And It’s My Registered Land

Posted in Easements, Registered Land, Title, Waterfront Property
A Massachusetts appellate court has ruled for the first time that new land which accretes to registered waterfront land is treated as registered land automatically, without the registered landowner filing additional proceedings. In Brown v. Kalicki, decided earlier this week, neighbors sought to establish an easement by prescription to use for recreational purposes a beach… Continue Reading

SJC Maintains Clear Rule on Scope of Easements

Posted in Easements
In Taylor v. Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission, the SJC considered the scope of the rights that the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank had under an easement that it held over the Outermost Inn property in Aquinnah owned by Hugh and Jeanne Taylor.  The Taylors were represented by my colleague here at Rackemann, and fellow blogger,… Continue Reading

Registered, Schmegistered: Easements On Registered Land Can Be Relocated

Posted in Easements, Miscellaneous, Registered Land
Earlier this month the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) issued an important decision in the case of Martin v. Simmons Properties, LLC.  Mr. Martin holds an easement over the land of the defendant, Simmons.  Simmons had blocked part of Martin’s easement. Land in Massachusetts can be registered or unregistered.  Registered land has some special protections not afforded to unregistered land… Continue Reading

Land Court Sets Width and Grade of Long Unused Easement

Posted in Easements, Subdivision Control
In its 2012 decision in Cater v. Bednarek, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) upheld a Land Court decision that the plaintiffs’ easement had not been extinguished by abandonment or estoppel, even though it had not been cleared or used since its creation in 1899.  However, the SJC remanded the case to the Land Court to consider whether it had been too restrictive in limiting the… Continue Reading

Forgotten Easements Can Unlock Land Values Today

Posted in Easements
It’s been a hot summer in the world of easement law.  Our appellate courts have issued three decisions which, collectively, reinforce the following important lessons:  (1) easements can be created by implication, (2) once created, most easements last forever unless extinguished, and (3) proving that an easement has been extinguished isn’t easy. In mid-June, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) decided Cater v. Bednarek (pdf), in which it ruled that an… Continue Reading

Land Registration System Takes Another Hit

Posted in Easements, Registered Land, Title
Theoretically, owners of registered land are entitled to rely on the information contained in their certificates of title.  To the chagrin of many, however, that is no longer the case.  In its decision this week in Williams Bros. Inc. of Marshfield v. Peck (pdf), the Appeals Court affirmed a Land Court ruling that an appurtenant easement is extinguished when the dominant and servient… Continue Reading

Gray’s Anatomy: Appeals Court Holds That Road Separates Upland From Flats Under Colonial Ordinance

Posted in Easements, Title, Waterfront Property
Along with the Red Sox and Patriots’ Day, one of the unique features of Massachusetts is that modern property rights can be ruled by 370-year-old statutes.  The Colonial Ordinance of 1641-1647 declared that owners of land adjoining the shore also own the tidal flats – the land between the high and low water marks (out… Continue Reading