This question comes from Jen in Bulgaria. She asks,
I’m preparing to close on a house purchase that forms part of an attached dwelling. The basement apartment is a separate apartment and the lady who lives in the basement has been there nearly 50 years. The attic space which forms part of the main house is a third level. Legally, the attic space is written in the deed as a shared space. This means that the basement apartment has a partial claim to the attic space which is not truly connected to the basement. Think of it almost like an easement.
We want full access to the attic space for living space and don’t want the risk of the lady in the basement making a claim to it. Would you take the risk of asking her to sign a release? She is probably unaware that she even has a theoretical claim to a fraction of the shared attic space.
The lady in the basement is probably interested in selling her flat in a couple of years.
How would you handle the situation?
Host: Victor Menasce