Real Estate Law

Our firm represents a diverse set of real estate clients, including national and regional companies, closely held companies and individuals. Our clients’ interests involve a wide array of projects and ventures which range from single site purchases and development to those which are much larger in scale and scope. In every case our goal is to handle each matter in an efficient and cost sensitive way for our valued clients. Examples of the types of matters we are involved in are:

  • Quiet Title Actions
  • Condomonium and Homeowner's Associations
  • Real Estate Litigation
  • Chain of Title and Title Defects
  • Residential and Commercial Purchase Agreements
  • Partition Actions
  • Deeds, Easements, and Licenses
  • Condemnation and Eminent Domain
  • Mechanic's and Materialmen's Liens
  • Development
  • Leasing
  • Commercial Acquisitions
  • Purchase and Sale of Property
  • Adverse Possession and Boundary Disputes

Our goal is to produce the best result for our clients in every possible way. Murphy & Clendenen is widely acknowledged as one of the leading firms in this complex area of the law throughout central Kentucky. Clients can rely on the breadth of knowledge and expertise of Murphy & Clendenen for real estate documents, negotiations or litigation.

Real Estate Law | Frequently Asked Questions

What is “title” to real property and what does it mean to “Quiet Title”?

While many define and equate “title” to “ownership” that is technically not accurate. Title instead refers to evidence of a person’s right to the real property, their interest in the land, or their means of control or possession. To “quiet title” is to file an action in the Circuit Court in the county where the land is situated. The action may be brought only by a party that has both title and possession. It is used in two ways. One is to thwart an attempt by a party who is effectively trespassing on your land in order to adversely posses it. The second is to establish ownership in the land through the court after having met all of the requirements of adverse possession. A quiet title action is authorized in Kentucky pursuant to KRS 411.120.

What is an easement?

An easement is an interest or a right in the land rather than an estate or ownership in land itself. The interest or right of the easement holder is not a possessory interest in the land. As such the holder of the easement is not entitled to control like an owner would have. The easement holder would instead be entitled to enjoy the degree of control only necessary to affect the purpose of the easement. An easement “burdens” a parcel of land for the purpose of servicing another. The burdened land is referred to as the “servient” estate. The parcel of land benefitted by the easement is known as the “dominant estate”. The servient estate, although burdened by the easement, is entitled to use its land in any manner, as long as it does not interfere whether the express purpose of the easement. A textbook example of this would be a parcel of land (dominant estate) that would otherwise be “land locked” from access to a road would be granted an easement across the adjoining parcel of land (servient estate) that could be travelled in order to have ingress and egress to a road.

What are deed restrictions?

Also know as “real covenants” “deed restrictions” provide an ability to place land use controls on private property outside of government restrictions. These are often contained in “deeds’ or “master deeds” and are used by a party transferring property to provide for mechanism to make sure the property is used in a certain manner ,or more often than not, not used in a certain manner. The main issue here is whether the restrictions “bind” the land to for subsequent property owners or are just personal to a specific party. In order for restrictions to “run with the land” under Kentucky law, they must show 1) this was the intention of the parties, 2) it must “touch and concern the land”, and 3) is there privity of contract between the parties. Further, it must be recorded somewhere in the chain of title. The restrictions are enforceable and only a release by all parties or a successful court action showing waiver, abandonment, or changed conditions will free the land of the restrictions. More often than not, deed restrictions are frequently put to use in neighborhood developments whereby a “general scheme” for a development is created and enforced by initially the property developer and then subsequently by a homeowner’s association.

What is a Land Contract?

Generally used when a Seller of property wishes to finance the sale of his or her property. Under this arrangement the Seller and the Buyer execute a “contract” outlining the terms for payment over a period of time, in which the Seller agrees to transfer the deed to the property to the Buyer once the Seller has received the full purchase price. The seller in this case retains legal title to the property and the buyer is vested with “equitable title”. Under prior law, the Buyer would be subject to all of his payments being forfeited in the vent of a breach of the land contract; however, Kentucky now provides a remedy of “foreclosure” for the Seller in the event of a default by the Buyer. Under this remedy the Seller is only entitled to the court costs and the remainder due under the contract. The Buyer is entitled to their “equity” in the property.

What is a Mechanic’s Lien?

A lien in general is an interest or right that a creditor may have in a party’s property. A mechanic’s lien is a specific type of line created by statute in Kentucky and governed under KRS 376.010 et seq. The relevant statutes establish the rules, procedures, and deadlines for filing such a lien, perfecting it, and then enforcing it. This type of lien is available only to a specific class of individuals who perform labor or provide materials for the improvement of real property. Its purpose is to assist those individuals in securing payment for their work or materials by providing a lien against the real property. The statutes covering mechanic’s liens are strictly interpreted and required to be precisely followed to make sure the line is valid and enforceable.