Skip to main content
Kathryn Brooke

Kathryn Brooke’s Answers

4 total

  • I live in Portland, Oregon and was just told I am on a party sewer - my neighbor is threatening to cut me off asap. Can he?

    Apparently my sewer line is part of a party sewer and goes across my neighbor's property. Neither of us were aware of this. The Bureau of Environmental Services told me I have 6 months to remedy the situation. However, the contractor working on th...

    Kathryn’s Answer

    The answer depends on a couple of things. First, do you have an easement or other right to cross the neighbor's land? If so, he cannot cut you off unless the easement says he can. You can find out if an easement exists by looking on the official county records of the county in which the property sits. If there is no easement, you may be able to get a prescriptive easement for the short term or you may be able to get an injunction from the court stopping the neighbor from capping the line. One last thought, Environmental Services might also intervene if you let them know about the issue

    See question 
  • My partner left me a parcel of property. He stated parcel 3 on the deed and included the 20 acres. 2 actual parcels #3 and 4

    The county assessors office had many years ago stopped including parcel 4 on the tax bill no known reason per the assessors office. The owner is deceased and left no will. He did not include parcel #4 specifically on the deed only the total # of...

    Kathryn’s Answer

    The legal description on the deed is the property owned by the deceased owner. There can be several tax parcels on one legal lot. The assessor assigns numbers for its convenience but the assessor's numbers do not change the ownership of property. In terms of "claiming" the parcel, the deceased owners estate will have to be either probated or a small estate affidavit filed, depending on value. I suggest you consult with a probate attorney for advice.

    See question 
  • Wasn't informed of pending litigation on house I purchased prior to its closing... what legal course of action can I take?

    I closed on a house where the HOA/ previous owner / their real estate agent / Title company all failed to disclose that the house/housing development was about to undergo litigation for some major structural deficits. I found out 2 days after I mo...

    Kathryn’s Answer

    The HOA had no obligation to you to disclose the possibility or the existance of litigation. The listing agent's only duty was to disclose what he/she actually knew, provided that his/her knowledge meets the definition of "material defect", but he/she had no duty to investigate. Your own agent also had no duty to investigate but the standard of care for real estate brokers at that time requried that he/she advise you to submit an addendum to the residential sales agreement requesting documents from the seller which may have revealed the impending/actual litigation. Unfortunately, the period in which you could pursue claims against either broker likely has passed.

    Whether you can bring a claim against the seller likely depends on (1) the form of sale agreement; (2) the seller's obligation to complete a Seller's Property Disclosure Statement; and, potentially, (3) whether your own broker included the condominium addendum with the sale agreement. If you can bring a claim, you would have six years from the closing date to do so.

    See question 
  • How long do grandfather clauses last

    I purchased a condo and the bylaws state carpets on all floors above the first floor. the condo above us sold after we bought and they have hardwood floors can we force them to install carpets. The bylaws changed 10 years ago so the previous owne...

    Kathryn’s Answer

    Bylaws aren't "grandfathered" the way that the use of a property is grandfathered. If the city changes the zoning laws so that a dry cleaning business in the area is no longer a lawful use, the dry cleaning business typically can remain, i.e., is grandfathered, until the property is sold, after which the new owner must comply with the changed code.

    Bylaws, CC&Rs and the like are more like contracts. Whether or not the new owner has to lay down carpet depends on what the bylaws actually say. If, for example, the bylaws state that any owner with wood floors at the time the change in bylaws was made, then you have an argument that the new "owner" is obligated to comply. However, if the bylaws speak in terms of "unit" rather than "owner", the answer may be different. The obligation may also change depending on how the homeowner's association has dealt with new owners in the past.

    See question