Vague "Riparian Rights" Support
Article 15 Claim
A “certificate of ownership” issued by the fee owner of the property to a third party confers standing on that party to maintain an RPAPL Article 15 action. Trask v. Tremper Property Association, Inc., 2014 NY Slip Op 08287 (3rd Dept., November 26, 2014).
The Tremper Association “owns” all the property comprising a waterfront community and “assigns” individual lots to each “purchaser.” All “assignees” voluntarily submit to the terms of the Association bylaws and certificate of incorporation. Trask objected to the use of his waterfront lot as a community beach, even though he was aware of such usage when he “purchased” his lot.
The opinion only decides that dismissal is inappropriate under the circumstances. Hence, the panel does not dissect the nature of the interest created by the assignment. “[P]laintiffs sufficiently pleaded a viable claim pursuant to RPAPL article 15, having alleged that their certificate of ownership allows them certain property rights, including riparian rights to unfettered access to the lake, and that defendant has continually interfered with such riparian rights….”
The overall ownership structure falls outside that of a traditional “co-op.” It is unclear whether an “assignee” must be an Association member or if the “assignment” creates a license, lease, or other species of tenancy. More unsettling is the suggestion that such an instrument might carry implied riparian rights regardless of the common governance scheme embodied in the bylaws