Ground rents transferred by deed


October 20, 2002

Dear Mr. Azrael:

I have five Baltimore ground rents inherited from my father. They are encompassed in a blanket deed, done so by the lawyer handling my father's estate.

I would like to hand the ground rents over to one of my daughters. Please send me the name, address and phone number of the proper office in Baltimore to make the change.

Also, I have one ground rent in Baltimore County, and I believe that it must be transferred in Towson. Where?

Wilhelmina Lohmann

Lancaster, Pa.

Dear Ms. Lohmann:

Your ground rent must be transferred by a deed from you to your daughter.

The deed, when fully executed, should be recorded among the land records of the city or county where the ground is located. The cost of recording the deed is $25.

There is no other office in Baltimore that you have to notify regarding this transfer. The tax bill will continue to be sent to the owner of the leasehold. Your daughter should notify the leasehold owner when she becomes the new owner of the ground rent. She should send semiannual bills for the ground rent about 30 days before it becomes due. The bill should be sent to the leasehold owner - or the mortgage company, if there is one.

If you need assistance in preparing or recording a new ground rent deed, the Baltimore City Lawyer Referral Service can refer you to an attorney who will be able to assist you. The telephone number of the referral service is 410-539-3112.

You may remove tree limbs on your side of property line

Dear Mr. Azrael,

Many, many years ago our neighbor planted several tiny pine trees along our mutual property line.

The trees were planted right at the line on their side.

The trees have become huge, growing to a height of 40 to 50 feet with the lower branches 8 to 10 feet into our yard, with some of the branches laying on the ground.

Ideally I would like for my neighbor to agree to allow me to trim off these lower branches (to the extent that they are on our property) so that I can clean up the underbrush and cut the grass, but I don't see this happening.

Do I have the legal right to remove these lower branches as long as they are on my side of the property line?

D.J. Kuncl

Ellicott City

Dear Mr. Kuncl:

Your neighbor's trees have no right to encroach on your property. You can remove unwanted limbs that overhang your yard without your neighbor's consent. On the other hand, your neighbor is not responsible for trimming trees on your side of the property line. And if a strong storm occurs and one of those trees falls on your property, your neighbor will have no obligation to remove the dead limbs.

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