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Roy Earl Morriss

Roy Morriss’s Answers

118 total


  • Can I legally make my ex-girlfriend take over the mortgage or buy me out?

    My ex-girlfriend of 10 years left me 5 years ago. We had bought a house jointly 1 year prior to the breakup to which she had contributed a down payment. Since day 1, I have paid all the mortgage payments yet she continues to live in the house. I ...

    Roy’s Answer

    The answer to those questions is generally No and No.

    Basically, you have entered a contract with this person - and together you own a house (or the home and the debt attached to it). At this time it sounds like you have probably paid more overall than she has (depending on the amounts you both put down). I would generally disagree with the answer from the TX attorney - this is not a family law issue - this is a real property issue.....you need to negotiate something with the ex-girlfriend. But my guess would be that she won't be able to get a loan on her own for the property - so, you are looking at bailing out of the property- hopefully with a short sale. If you can't short sale, in Washington you can generally walk away from a first mortgage - the mortgage company will use a non-judicial forclosure....probably. It is the second mortgage you have to worry about. Go speak to a real property attorney.

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  • What rights do I as a land owner have when it comes to Maintenance of Easement.

    The deed reads: "Cost of maintenance road easement shall be shared equally, by the parties using the same, provided said maintenance shall have been agreed upon by all parties and are reasonable". My neighbor Mr D wants to let the ...

    Roy’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    My first comment would be that if you own the land over which the road easement runs - you can do whatever you like with the trees. The easement only allows someone else to do one thing with the easement - use it as ingress and egress - or, to come and go. They easement user doesn't get to decide anything else - you use the land as you like as long as you do not "deafeat the purpose of the easement".

    As for the maintenance - if you also use the road I suppose you will maintain it....and if you do, and the other person benefits without paying, that would be a form of "unjust enrichment" and you could sue for his portion of the costs - you might also sue in Washington under the Declaratory Judgment Act and have a judge decide the intent of the easement.

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  • Does establishment of prescriptive easement preclude a property owner from removing a staircase built by an agency?

    A stairway exist on private property that appears to have been built by the city but is not contained within a public ROW or easement. The stairway has been in place and in use for about 15 years. It is intended to be used as a short connecting ...

    Roy’s Answer

    I would suggest that you ask the governmental entity involved what they think the stairway is - if they built it - if they want it - what is the background, etc. My main concern would be your liability related to the use of the stairway - if it is going to stay in place you shouldn't have to be liable. Also, it would be nice to know if the stairway could be re-built in another location if that location needlessly encumbers other uses of your property.

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  • Washington D.O.T has filed a claim against me

    they claim i cut down 28-32ft trees on our adjoined property they had state patrol question me asking about said trees i admitted to nothing he gave statement saying i admitted to it,i got a attorney and sent google satellite photo of area 1 yea...

    Roy’s Answer

    My first question would be - was there a law suit? Were you served with papers at some point? If so, did you answer the law suit? This sounds like they sued you and you defaulted...if not, I am hard pressed to see any legal avenue for them to send some amount of damages to collections. I would be happy to hear the rest of the story and see if there is something you can do...my offices are near you - in Everett, WA.

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  • An easement for access to 2 lots which are now for sale has been blocked by a mobile home on the lot that the easement crosses

    The owner of the mobile home will not sign any documents to move the easement to a new location on their lot. What should the owner of the two vacant lots do?

    Roy’s Answer

    The owner of the two lots should enforce the easement rights - sue to Quiet Title and under the Declaratory Judgments Act - seek damages for having to do so. Force the mobile home owner to move it - or lose it.

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  • Easement issue with neighbor

    On our title it states: Easement and the terms and conditions thereof: Purpose: A right of way along the south side of the above described land(our property) for egress and ingress Area Affected: as located Recorded: April 1, 1918 Recording ...

    Roy’s Answer

    I have a question about who owns the property and who owns the easement...you say that the easement is over your land "(our property)" - if you own the land (the easement burdens your land), then the other person owns the easement - if that is correct, the other person has a limited right to use your land - apparently to come and go from his property (the most normal sort of easement). If you own the land, you would normally be able to use the land - your land- for any purpose which does not "defeat" the purpose of the easement. Unless the easement is "exclusive" - which would be VERY unusual - the other person cannot exclude you from the property. If the neighbor refuses to play fair - you will probably need to have an attorney write him a letter explaining the situation.

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

    I bought a property in 2010 in Seattle surrounded by woodlands on all three sides. Part of the property apparently encroaches into the park land, and is surrounded by a cedar hedge that has been there since the original owner planted it in 1999. ...

    Roy’s Answer

    I would generally agree with the previous answer that most common law actions are unlikely to be feasible against a governmental entity. But, there could be other avenues to explore - for example, the state of the title to the two properties could be an issue - much park land was donated to the government - and it could be that your property extended into the other property prior to it becoming government owned. Also, there could be issues with the land survey - as a land surveyor myself, I know that different surveys can end up with different lines depending on the monuments used and the legal descriptions used. So, before you just roll over on this you should speak to an experienced real property attorney. Also, you might want to find out if the government entity might be willing to either bargain with you for the land - or possibly give you a license or an easement to continue to use the land.

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  • Adjoining property owner cut trees that were on my property

    Without any kind of permission, notice, legal authority, the property owner cut down 5 trees that were situated on my property. These trees are not situated on a border with his property or anything. They are well within our property lines. Wha...

    Roy’s Answer

    Under Washington law that is considered to be Timber Trespass - there are some very specific laws in this area, and WA takes this very seriously (the laws main focus has always been the protection of the big timber companies, but the same rule works for individuals). The damages - if the act was intentional - are treble damages for either the value of the timber (stubage value - a large ceder can be worth $20,000 - then 3X that) or the replacement costs. You should seek the advice of an attorney - and yes, my practice operates all over the Puget Sound and the state from my offices in Everett and Seattle.

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  • Who is responsible for allowing me to purchase a condo with no valid "Certificate of Occupancy"? The builder is bankrupt...

    -Bought a 'new' condo converted from apartments (10/07) -Put it on the market to sell (2/10) -Received "Notice of Violation" from City of Seattle saying that I violated the building code by "failing to obtain certificate of occupancy" (5/10) -R...

    Roy’s Answer

    At this point, I would say the condominium owners association needs to deal with this issue. Condominiums are created under RCW 64.34 - which requires a number of documents and disclousures...but I don't recall that a certificate of occupancy is actually required in a condo conversion - though it seems like an essential item. The units most likely had a certificate when they were apartments - I think I would look to see if there ever was a certificate and then go from there.

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  • Putting a fence up on city property?

    My husband and I just recently bought a house and after all the paperwork is done we find out that our backyard and a portion of our yard on the side of our house is city property. Well we figured everything would be fine because we figured no one...

    Roy’s Answer

    What the city has told you doesn't make any sense based on what you have said...is the city property an alley, road right-of-way, a easement of some sort? Normally cities are used to people fencing in their property - the fencing will never make the property yours, and the city can make you take it down anytime they like - but people still fence in city property. You really need to have a good real property attorney look at your situation and see what you can do.

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