Law - Purpose of law is many fold. Most of your law text books refer to the fact that laws have a 3 tier purpose. These are to:
Maintain Order in Society - Laws to control actions of others regarding civil and or criminal activities.
Resolve Disputes - The courts work in a referee capacity regarding disputes between citizens. This purpose is mainly the use of civil court and the use of litigation (lawsuit). Under our system of law, everyone has their right to utilize the court system to resolve disputes. This is referred to as "everyone has their day in court."
Remedy Wrongs - The courts have the means to remedy criminal and civil wrongs against another. In some States, an injured party can pursue criminal and civil wrongs that a party caused them. This is especially true when that party caused civil wrongs and also broke statute laws as well. The State and the injured party can take action.
Double Jeopardy- Unfortunately, real estate is one of the areas where a licensee could harm a client financially and also break State regulations.
State- A licensee in real estate can have action taken against them by the State.
Client- A licensee in real estate can have action taken against them by the client.
Common Law - These are laws that have been handed down by court decisions (precedence) over history that affect the court decisions today.
Constitutional Law - The original law of America. The Constitution of the United States is commonly referred to as the "law of the land." When laws passed by government are in conflict with the intention of the Constitution, a law can be overruled by the Federal courts.
Public/Government (Statutory) Laws - The laws that affect the general public in their daily lives are the public laws. Laws that were placed into force by government. Whether it is Federal, State, County, or City laws, they influence us all. These public laws are as follows:
Criminal Law - Regulating criminal activities; providing for arrest and punishment of those who break criminal laws.
Case Law/Private Parties - Case law involving relationships between individuals. These laws deal with one person injuring another. They could involve how property is conveyed from one party to another. The real estate industry is influenced by all private laws in some way shape or form.
Tort (Injury ) Law - A civil wrong against another. When a person causes an injury to another, the injury could be against another person's body (physical injury), a person's property (damaging someone else's property), or personal injury (injuring a person's character, or harming them financially). A person can sue for damages caused by another through tort law.
Property Law - Property takes into consideration the holding of ownership, use, and possession of property. This would be the case whether it is real property or personal property. Areas of law would include whether the property is inheritable or non-inheritable and whether it is transferred by deed (real property) or a bill of sale (personal property).
Contract Law - Contract Law is affected by Common Law, Case Law, Statutory Law, and Constitutional Law. All of these laws affect the requirements of forming a contract. Whether a contract is a void contract, voidable contract, or a valid contract, in real estate, the Statute of Frauds is a fifth consideration in regard to contract law.
Washington Water Rights
Doctrine of Prior Appropriation State - All the water is owned by the public. Water usage is apportioned out to users for beneficial use by permits that are issued by the Department of Ecology in the State of Washington.
Water Usage - The use of water is separated into two categories: Surface Water and Ground Water. Lets look at the use of surface water.
Surface Water - Water produced by rain, snow, and springs that are on the surface of the land. This includes lakes, water running in defined channels (rivers, streams, etc.), inland waters (such as Puget Sound), and waters of the coast line (ocean).
WATER CODE OF 1917 - Prior to this code/law, the Riparian Rights Law (Common Law) existed. Parties that were located on the shores of a lake had the right to use the water. However, the 1917 Water Code repealed riparian rights and said that a party on a lake would forfeit their right if they did not exercise the use of the water by 1932. New water rights since 1917 have been the Prior Appropriation laws that we have today that require the utilization of the permit system.
Beneficial Use - Beneficial use (the need for water) establishes the permit system of usage. Proximity to water is not utilized. Thus, a person who lives on a lake does not have as beneficial a use as a cattle rancher who lives 1 mile from the lake.
Ground Water Usage - The 1917 Water Code did not apply to ground water. The land owner had the riparian right to obtain the ground water on their property; water by proximity.
Ground Water Code of 1945 - This code was enacted as a supplement to the 1917 Water Code. This established the same basic permit system for sub-surface or ground water. The user must obtain a permit for use and the permits are based on beneficial use and not proximity. The 1945 Ground Water Supplement did establish specific exemptions from the use by permit; appropriation law. The following are allowed to use ground water without the required permits:
State Ownership - The State owns riverbeds and shores of all navigable bodies of water including the ocean, Puget Sound, rivers, and lakes.
Shoreline Management Act of 1971 - With the advent of a real estate boom within the State of Washington, the State found it necessary to require a Master Plan for the use of shorelines for development.
Purpose - The goal is to coordinate Federal, State, and local planning and development of shoreline usage. The act extended to rivers, lakes, Puget Sound, and the ocean shorelines.
Local Power - The Shoreline Management Act gave the primary regulative power to the local level. The local regulatory planning body is made up of citizens of the City, Community, and the County level where the shoreline occurs.
Master Plan - The act required every local government having shorelines to create a Master Plan that then had to be approved by Department of Ecology through the Shoreline Management Advisory Body. A local government that did not abide by this requirement, could not issue permits for use of their shoreline.
Washington Homestead Exemption
$125,000 Exemption - Under the Washington Homestead Exemption Law, when lien holders foreclose on the principal residence of the lienee (property owner) proceeds from the foreclosure sale are exempt up to $125,000 from judgement at the foreclosure of a homestead. Mobile homes considered personal property can receive an exemption of $15,000
"Homestead" Defined - This includes the dwelling (principal residence), appurtenant structures, and the land surrounding it as well as those buildings supporting such structures such as a garage, woodshed, work shed, etc. This can include the following:
Applies Automatically - The $125,000 exemption is an automatic exemption from the date of occupancy as a principal residence. If the property is not occupied or the property is vacant land, it is not automatic. The land owner must file a Declaration of Homestead Exemption if not currently occupying the property as a principal residence. NOTE: Audio says $40K, that is incorrect.
Filing Necessary - This filing is only done for unimproved or unoccupied homesteads. The owner cannot have a currently owned principal residence and is simply protected as of filing date of the Declaration of Homestead Exemption. This is known as a non-abandonment statement where the property owner has no other principal residence and intends to occupy the homestead as their principal residence.
County Filing - The declared exemption must be filed with the County recorder where the intended homestead is located.
Adverse Possession, Prescription, and Squatter's Rights
7 Year Rule - After 7 years of possession under a "claim and color of title," the outsider can gain ownership of the property outright through adverse possession.
Color of Title - Determining a "color of title" means that the user was paying taxes and assessments just as an owner of the property for 7 years. The outsider, the claimant, would have an inferior title or defective title; a title that has "clouds". This can be cleared up by acquiring a:
Quitclaim Deed from the Previous Owner. The previous owner signs a Quitclaim Deed giving whatever rights they have to the outsider who is now obtaining title to the land. Or
Quiet Title Action - Seeking a Quiet Title Action through court action.
Cause - Adverse possession situations usually come about from a faulty foreclosure sale, ineffective conveyance, or from a faulty probate sale.
10 Year Rule - After 10 years under "claim but not color of title," the outside party who uses the land, but does not act as an owner, can gain control. They do not pay the taxes and assessments; they use only the property.
Gain Squatter's Rights - The claimant who pays no taxes or develops the property has no title interest. They do not become the legal owner. They only have the right of use (squatter's rights).
Causes - It usually exists with boundary disputes. A neighbor uses the land, thinking it's theirs, for 10 years. They can continue to the use the land (prescription), but won't gain title to the land.
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The study of system of rules which a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and which it may enforce by the imposition of penalties.