May 2, 2019

But Only God Can Make a Tree (Joyce Kilmer, 1914)

Tree on neighboring property line

Ironically, despite their divine origin, disputes between neighbors over trees often arise and, as a recent case illustrates, become the subject of hard-fought litigation. Shafi Ahmed and Nusrat Ahmed filed a Small Claims proceeding against their Middletown, New York neighbor,. Allen H. Zoghby. Both Parties appeared without attorneys. The Ahmeds alleged that roots from a tree, purportedly on the property next door owned by  Zoghby (73 Beattie Avenue), damaged the pavement and driveway located at the front of the house on their property (75 Beattie Avenue).  The Ahmeds also alleged that the tree’s roots were slowly moving under the foundation of… Read more


Mar 15, 2019

Court-Imposed Access for “Underpinning” Next Door

Underpinning - extension of the foundation of one's property

CUCS Housing Development Fund Corporation  and several related entities sued under RPAPL § 881  for Court-imposed  access, for the  purpose of underpinning  a neighboring property on West 12th Street owned by  Clifford S. Aymes.  Underpinning is  the extension of the foundation of one property to below the foundation of a neighboring parcel. CUCS was trying to begin a construction project to provide New York City’s homeless population with affordable housing. Aymes owned the one-story, unoccupied building adjoining  the project. The New York City Building Code  required CUCS take careful measures to protect public safety and to prevent damages to Aymes’ property during the building’s construction. Where… Read more


May 3, 2016

Access to Adjoining Property During Construction

Construction Worker

Just about every cooperative and condominium in New York City will at some point need access to a neighboring property to be able to do work on its building or will be asked to provide access for its neighbors to allow them to do work on their building.[1]  The intrusion may be minimal – like putting protective planking on a roof – or extensive and disruptive – such as erecting scaffolding, closing off courtyards or terraces, or causing significant noise or vibration.  What do you do?  What can you do? The basic rules are pretty simple.  The property owner who… Read more