Our Legal Team Includes a Colorado Licensed Attorney
Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C. is one of the very few firms that
has a Colorado licensed attorney who is also licensed by the Colorado
Real Estate Commission as a managing real estate broker. Our double certified
attorney has taught multiple classes approved for credit by the state
of Colorado under both the CLE (Continuing Legal Education) and CRE (Continuing
Real Estate Education) programs. This dual licensing demonstrates our
commitment to excellence in managing Real Estate transactions and litigation.
Learn More About Your Rights & Options Below
Can my neighbor block my driveway?
Usually not. Colorado recognizes common law easements as well as easements
by deed or contract. Generally, (along with other criteria) if you have
been using a driveway for a period in excess of eighteen (18) years (the
statute of limitations on trespass) you will have established an easement
by prescription which can be adjudicated by the court. Recent changes
to the statute may require the person who is successful in establishing
an easement by prescription or prior use to compensate the title holder
of the real estate upon which the easement runs. Conversely, if you have
a written easement and you allow it to be interfered with for the statutory
period it can be lost.
Can I stop a neighbor from establishing rights by adverse possession without
filing a criminal complaint for trespass?
Since in Colorado the adverse use must be "adverse," the easiest
way to interrupt a running statute of limitations (so that it starts over)
is to simply give the neighbor permission to use the land or easement
for a short period of time. We suggest that this be done in writing and
by certified (return receipt) mail.
Can you get adverse possession on government land?
No. There is no such thing as "Squatter's Rights."
How much can the owner of real estate interfere with an easement?
The owner of real property has all rights in the real estate except those
specifically delineated in the terms of any easement. The owner can make
use of the land containing the easement as long as he/she does not "unreasonably"
interfere with the actual use of the easement. Case law makes it clear
that the land owner can put fences across an easement as long as the easement
holder has a key to gates and a land owner may move an irrigation or drainage
ditch to accommodate his/her own efficiency in cultivation of the land
as long as the flow of water is unabated. However, building over an easement
is risky since if the easement holder needs to access the surface for
repairs or improvements, he/she would have the right to remove any structure
or landscaping that interferes.
What is title insurance and what does it cover?
Title Insurance protects primarily mortgage lenders but also purchasers
of real property (if they buy an "Owner's Policy") from
defects that may exist in the title to the real property.
Where did title insurance come from?
In the old days (prior to the 1960's), if you purchased property, you
would hire an attorney to review an abstract of title (a book of historical
deeds tracing the ownership of property) and give a title opinion. A few
attorneys who did a lot of this work joined forces with some insurance
executives and started issuing title insurance instead of title opinions
and a new industry was born. To insure their continued success, title
companies, as a matter of course, burned every abstract book they could
get their hands on so that in order to issue a title opinion, an attorney
would have to start from scratch at the Clerk and Recorder's office
- a time-consuming and cost-prohibitive process. The title companies transferred
the Clerk and Recorder's records to computer data banks and now can
very efficiently produce accurate title histories.
What is an "exception" on a title insurance policy?
An exception in a title policy is an item that the title insurance company
refuses to insure against. The first thirteen exceptions in most policies
relate to issues that would not ordinarily be found in the records of
the Clerk and Recorder - primarily related to unrecorded liens and persons
in possession. Most title companies will insure over (erase) these exceptions
for a small fee (recommended). Exceptions listed in the title commitment
(which is issued prior to closing, committing the title company to issue
a policy after closing) after the standard first thirteen are specific
issues found in the title search and should be reviewed carefully to make
sure that they do not substantially interfere with the purchaser's
planned use of the property. If there is any question concerning the effect
of a particular exception, a purchaser should immediately consult a real
estate attorney before the title objection date in the contract expires.
What is an ILC (Improvement Location Certificate)?
An ILC is a short hand or ad hock survey. It is created by a surveyor but
is produced without any sort of guarantee or warranty of its accuracy.
They are generally used by the mortgage lender as a quick check of the
property, but they serve a useful purpose in a sales transaction to re-assure
the purchaser that the buildings and easements on the lot are where they
are supposed to be. Purchasers need to be wary and review the ILC with
caution. If something is amiss on the ILC and the purchaser receives it
prior to closing, the seller can defend any action brought later (because
of a defect in the physical lay-out of the property) by alleging that
the purchaser was on notice and waived the defect by not objecting before
transfer of the deed. Fence lines and property lines rarely line up. Every
square foot of a lot can have ramifications for set-backs, sight lines,
solar corridors, and square footage requirements for future additions