Underwriting Manual: Streets, Alleys And Roadways

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Underwriting Manual Subtopic

Streets, Alleys And Roadways As Boundaries

V 4

Constituting One of the Boundaries of the Property but Lying Outside its Perimeter

The following must be made part of the legal description:

  • The name of the street, alley or road.
  • The proper right of way line.

The following may need to be determined or considered:

  • Access or lack thereof.
  • Conveyance or condemnation of the abutters' rights.
  • Right to the underlying fee of the street, alley road (if vacated).
  • Any change in the width of the street, alley or road.

The findings in regard to the above issues may result in the need to raise pertinent exceptions.

Constituting One of the Boundaries of the Property But Lying Within its Perimeter

Same as set out above, except that any title commitment or policy will need to contain an exception relative to that portion of the property within the street, alley or road.

Underwriting Manual Subtopic

Streets, Alleys And Roadways Bisecting Or Crossing The Property

V 4

An exception relative to that portion of the property within the street, alley or road must be made part of any title commitment or policy.

Underwriting Manual Subtopic

Ownership Of The Underlying Fee Of The Street, Alley Or Roadway

V 4

The general rule is that the owners of land abutting on street, alley or roadway are presumed to own to the center of the street, alley, roadway, and the public is presumed to hold an easement therein.

The following situations can be mentioned as exceptions to the above rule:

  • Statutes prescribing differently.
  • A conveyance by which the abutter owner acquired title to the land EXCEPTS to any right, title, or interest in the street, alley, or roadway.
  • The abutter's chain of title is not within the perimeter of the chain of title to which the street, alley, or roadway belongs.
  • States where a city owns the fee title in the streets of all the plats or a particular plat.
  • In some states, acquisitions by condemnations.
  • Except for any statutory or other impediment or prohibition, the question of whether the conveyance carries any title to any part in the street is a matter of construction, the determination of which is based upon the inherent language and the circumstances attached thereto.

Underwriting Manual Subtopic

Streets, Alleys And Roadways Width Changes

V 4

The points of intersection of streets, alleys and roadways are frequently used as the points of beginning in metes and bounds descriptions. Often, streets, alleys and roadways are widened and their width changes accordingly.

Consequently, when using such descriptions it becomes necessary to ascertain that no change has occurred after the original description was drafted and recorded.

When such descriptions are encountered, and in connection with the point of intersection, it is advisable to insert the following phrase: "as now established."