Robert Walter Zierman’s Answers

Robert Walter Zierman

Seattle Real Estate Attorney.

Contributor Level 7
  1. How long does it usually take and how much would be average cost to obtain a prescriptive easement from a neighbor

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. Robert Walter Zierman
    1 lawyer answer

    Provided you actually crossed the neighbors property during a full 10 year period in such a way that ought to have been observable to your neighbor, per RCW 4.16.020, you likely will have gained use of the land by prescriptive easement. To what degree of use is a separate question. Fortunately, it appears that your previous owners would testify to the crossing's previous use and thus the time line of recognition is effectively extended beyond the period in which you were using it. You...

    2 lawyers agreed with this answer

  2. Can we be forced to give an easement on an illegal driveway through our property

    Answered about 3 years ago.

    1. Robert Walter Zierman
    2. Shawn B Alexander
    2 lawyer answers

    I agree with Shawn. Get competent counsel right away. Your inquiry could be used as an 'issue spotter' on the bar exam. In addition to prescriptive easement, there may be easement by necessity, zoning, inverse condemnation, and bona fide purchaser rights issues at play here. Moreover, what happens if the earth does move? It is almost a certainty that any injury caused would be disclaimed by your homeowner's insurance. Now, you might be willing to bear that risk for yourself, but what if...

    2 lawyers agreed with this answer

  3. What RCW do I need to retain my property for adverse possession?I have maintained for 10 years with no boundry dispute

    Answered about 3 years ago.

    1. Robert Walter Zierman
    2. Elizabeth Rankin Powell
    3. Shawn B Alexander
    4 lawyer answers

    What is your primary concern? Is it that you would have to pay for the cost of moving the fence? Or, is it that the city will be able to own land that you thought was yours? If the former, just take the loss on the fence, get it moved, and get on with your life. If the latter ... you know the story: "I fought the law, but the law won." The first contributor is accurate in indicating that one cannot adversely possess against the government. The second contributor is accurate that between...

    2 lawyers agreed with this answer

  4. Adverse possession questions: what's considered proof for a claim and how long do I need to have proof of usage for?

    Answered almost 4 years ago.

    1. Robert Walter Zierman
    2. Mark Randall Arend
    2 lawyer answers

    RCW 4.16.020 is Washington's most common and commonly used Adverse Possession statute. It requires (a) Actual Possession that is (b) Open & Notorious, (c) Hostile, and (d) Exclusive, held (e) Continuously for its 10-year Statutory Period. Per this statute you would need to seek to "Tack" (i.e. add together) the period of your intended seller's ownership to their predecessors in interest who are able (and willing) to demonstrate all of these elements for at least a full ten year period....

    4 people marked this answer as helpful

  5. What avenues are open to us as recent home buyers who have discovered significant undisclosed water damage to the home?

    Answered almost 4 years ago.

    1. Robert Walter Zierman
    2. Elizabeth Rankin Powell
    2 lawyer answers

    Your question indicates that there was "significant undisclosed water damage to the home." This begs the question, what did the Form 17 indicate. Go back to that document. How did the seller represent the structural integrity of the roof and basement? 4(A) asks: "Has the roof leaked within the last five years?" 4(B) asks: "Has the basement flooded or leaked?" In answer to these (and to other questions) the seller was able to answer "[ ] Yes [ ] No [ ] Don't Know." Initial analysis MAY...

    1 lawyer agreed with this answer

    1 person marked this answer as helpful

  6. I just bought a property whose cedar hedge has long encroachesd another's property. Can I file for adverse possession?

    Answered almost 4 years ago.

    1. J Patrick Diener
    2. Roy Earl Morriss
    3. Mark Randall Arend
    4. Robert Walter Zierman
    4 lawyer answers

    Provided that the land upon which your hedge encroaches is unrefutably government land, the best that you can expect is to negotiate a license with the agency that has jurisdiction over it. Unfortunately, licences are revocable, so if it really means that much to you, you should seek an attorney that not only knows the law but also has the network in place to work out a satisfactory deal for you.

  7. Is it legal for a property owner to place a speed bump on an easement in front of his own property without consulting neighbors?

    Answered almost 4 years ago.

    1. Robert Walter Zierman
    1 lawyer answer

    The answer to this question hinges on who owns the easement. If the easement is owned by you and your neighbors, you should be seeking their input and ideally financial contribution regarding the matter. The knotty legal fiction that has to be worked out is that each owner "owns" each square-inch of the easement to the extent of his or her percentage of ownership. If the easement is owned by you solely, using your own best judgement surrounding facts not revealed, you might just go ahead...

  8. Adverse possession/prescriptive easement?

    Answered almost 4 years ago.

    1. Elizabeth Rankin Powell
    2. Robert Walter Zierman
    3. Andrew Daniel Myers
    4 lawyer answers

    There are two overarching issues that you need to be looking at here. (A) Who has ownership of the private road and by what means? (B) Is Parcel B clouded by adverse possession or prescriptive easement? I will take them up in turn. A: You indicate that this is "a parcel that is bisected by a private road." The analytical process of deducing whether or not it is the property of your current owner is as follows. First, have a title report pulled to see if someone other than those up your...

  9. Do I need an attorney?

    Answered almost 4 years ago.

    1. Robert Walter Zierman
    2. Elizabeth Rankin Powell
    2 lawyer answers

    It sounds like you have been wrongfully evicted from your apartment. If so, you are rightfully heated about this matter. The problem is that the stakes are generally not of sufficient significance to the tenant; the tenant doesn't have sufficient assets to take this matter to Court; the cost of taking the matter to Court outweighs any potential gain by the tenant; or some combination of all three. As a result, unscrupulous landlords can and do trample on tenants' rights. In order to gain...

  10. Enter your question here. e.g., Do I need a real estate attorney?Does an attorney need to file an amendment to a summons?

    Answered almost 4 years ago.

    1. Elizabeth Rankin Powell
    2. Robert Walter Zierman
    2 lawyer answers

    Washington State allows Perfection of a lawsuit to occur by completing both (a) Filing and (b) Service of Process within 90 days of each other regardless of which event occurs first. In both events both the Summons and Complaint must accompany each other. It sounds like you were initially named as one of the "John Does." As a result, you could have claimed that you were not properly served. In this Amended Summons (and Complaint), you are named and so this option is removed. Take the Summons...