The advent of cloud-based computing and remote data storage has increased business efficiency and the ability to collaborate with colleagues. However, the reliance on third parties to host crucial and sensitive data can have ruinous consequences for the company if their IT host loses this data. This is especially so as many service contracts for hosting data include clauses limiting … Read the rest
The doctrine of estoppel-by-deed prevents sellers of real estate from later denying the existence and use of certain private easements referenced in a deed. The New Hampshire Supreme Court reiterated this doctrine earlier this year in Loeffler v. Bernier (March 31, 2020).
Deeds transferring real property include legal descriptions so all parties are clear on the boundaries of the … Read the rest
Effective July 1, 2020, a new option exists for appealing certain land use decisions involving questions of “housing” or “housing development.” The New Hampshire Housing Appeals board, based in Concord, NH, is meant to provide a faster and more cost-effective route for appealing local zoning decisions than the superior court. The boards’ jurisdiction and procedures are found in RSA 679… Read the rest
On July 24, 2020, the New Hampshire Supreme Court overruled the trial court’s dismissal of a breach of contract lawsuit against Facebook, Inc. – the parent company of Instagram.
I) Trial Court Proceedings
Most people use easements in their daily life without ever thinking much about their legal right to do so – whether it’s using a long driveway to access a residence or flushing a toilet relies on underground pipes to connect to the municipal system.
However, the continuing validity of an easement depends on various legal doctrines get applied to the … Read the rest
What’s in a Deed?
The deed to a parcel of property may be the most important piece of paper someone holds. This is proof that they own their house, the land it sits on, and what that land includes. Yet many people aren’t quite sure what it all means.
Recording a deed or other document makes it public … Read the rest
In a prior blog post, we discussed the application of grandfathering, or “nonconformity”, provisions to existing uses of property that are subsequently banned by the local government. Nonconformity provisions essentially allow the current use to continue indefinitely on the property, even though it does not conform to the new code requirements.
However, expanding nonconforming uses can be problematic. For example, … Read the rest
Landowners in New Hampshire have protections against local governments retroactively banning their lawfully existing use of property. These legal, non-conforming uses are considered “grandfathered,” and generally are allowed to continue indefinitely despite not conforming to newly enacted zoning requirements.
In the zoning and land use context, grandfathered uses are those that existed prior to a change in zoning. Most local … Read the rest
NH Supreme Court Holds Municipal Technical Review Group is not a Public Body Subject to Right-to-Know Law
New Hampshire’s Right-to-Know law, RSA Chapter 91-A, is a powerful tool in requiring transparency in governmental decision-making. The law requires the government to conduct public business in meetings that are open to the public to encourage accountability and transparent decision-making.
The Right-to-Know … Read the rest
NH Supreme Court Clarifies Standard for Complying with Tax Abatement Application Signature Requirements
Property owners and triple net tenants may challenge their New Hampshire real estate taxes when the assessed value of their property is disproportionately higher than the assessed values of other properties in the municipality. The applicable statute, RSA 76:16, requires taxpayers to certify a good faith … Read the rest
Alfano Law attorney, John Hayes, successfully challenged a provision of the tax-deeding statute that permitted municipalities to profit from the sale of tax-deeded properties. While the tax deeding statute required municipalities to distribute profit to former owners if they sold the property within three years, the law does not require municipalities to sell tax-deeded properties within that time-frame.
In the … Read the rest
There are two elements at play, restricting a landlord’s ability to evict a tenant at this time. The first are the governor’s Emergency Order #4 and #24. EO #4 prohibits any evictions to be started or enforced after March 17, 2020. EO #24 lightens the restrictions a little, by exempting proceedings that would be initiated because a tenant is causing … Read the rest
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, municipalities have limited their operations generally, which affect their ability to approve building permits and construction inspections within the normal timelines. Governor Sununu passed Emergency Order 23 to “keep New Hampshire construction projects, vital to the economy, active and progressing during these extraordinary times.” The order allows for a temporary modification of municipal and … Read the rest
With New Hampshire Governor Sununu’s Emergency Order #17 announcing closure of all “non-essential” businesses, many individuals and businesses confront contractual obligations they may not be able to fulfill. Some contracts attempt to address unforeseen circumstances with force majeure clauses, which is French for a “superior” or “irresistible” power. The term is used in the legal system to refer to natural … Read the rest
With New Hampshire Governor Sununu’s Emergency Order #17 announcing closure of all “non-essential” businesses, many individuals and businesses confront contractual obligations they may not be able to fulfill. Some contracts attempt to address unforeseen circumstances with force majeure clauses, which is French for a “superior” or “irresistible” power. The term is used in the legal system to refer to … Read the rest
With today’s Executive Order #17 of closure of non-essential businesses and requiring citizens to stay at home as of 12:59 pm. We wanted to pass along what to do if you are unsure if your business was listed as an essential business.
If the … Read the rest
On March 16, 2020, in response to the emergency orders issued by the Governor relating to attempts to reduce the infection rate from the Covid-19 virus, the New Hampshire Supreme Court, cancelled all trials and hearings that require people to appear at the courthouses in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Supreme Court is the Court that has the responsibility … Read the rest
Due to rising concerns around COVID-19, many of the state’s registries of deeds are taking precautions to limit the potential exposure of their employees and the public by closing their doors to public. However, all registries are still accepting E-Recording documents and regular US mail. Most are still also accepting FedEx and UPS deliveries as well. Below is a list … Read the rest
Most people are familiar with eminent domain, which occurs when the government takes private property for public use, with payment to the owner. Sometimes the government takes private property without compensating the owner. This form of taking is called “inverse condemnation.” Inverse condemnation can be difficult to spot because the private citizen retains fee ownership of his or her property, … Read the rest
The legal term is this context is “inverse condemnation.” Inverse condemnation occurs when a governmental body takes property in fact, but opts not to exercise the power of eminent domain, thus depriving the property owner of compensation.
The term also can include a governmental action that substantially interferes with, or deprives a person of, the use of his or her … Read the rest
March 1, 2020 is the deadline to challenge your 2019 real estate taxes.
The process for obtaining a real estate tax refund – or “abatement” – can be mysterious. Thankfully, our affiliated company, Allobar Strategies, has a free downloadable primer to answer your questions.
The primer addresses issues such as “fair market value” versus “assessed value,” grounds for an abatement, … Read the rest
In previous blogs, we addressed the difference between a private road and an easement, New Hampshire’s new law mandating residential private road maintenance in certain situations and what private road maintenance agreements should include. While having an agreement is an important step, creating an association can greatly simplify the administration and enforcement of private road maintenance agreements.
Consider … Read the rest
You live on a private road. It snows. Now what?
If you do not have a private road maintenance agreement, New Hampshire law requires each residential owner to “contribute equitably to the reasonable cost of maintaining the private road.” Easier said than done. Figuring out each person’s equitable share, and then chasing people for payment, can be cumbersome.
One solution … Read the rest
When presented with certain types of disputes, a court can partition real estate physically or equitably. For example, a physical partition of a ten-acre lot could give five acres to each party. A court deploys an equitable partition when physical partition is impractical or unfair. An equitable partition essentially is a court-ordered and supervised sale. How the real estate is … Read the rest
Most Americans are familiar with the concept of title to real estate, or the evidentiary documents—usually comprised of deeds and/or plans—that serves to prove ownership. Title searches and title insurance are somewhat standard accessories of real estate transactions in New Hampshire. Title searches look through the history of ownership of a certain parcel of property to confirm that the seller … Read the rest