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Real estate dispute over lake involves state of California

| Feb 16, 2017 | Real Estate Litigation

Some property owners are in a disagreement with the California State Lands Commission regarding the ownership of land on which a lake’s private docs have been built. These property owners, who are part of a nonprofit association, have recently filed a lawsuit against the commission in the hopes of resolving this real estate dispute. When two parties cannot solve a real estate issue on their own in Los Angeles or other parts of California, it is within their rights to take the matter to court.

This real estate case is complicated, involving the navigability of the lake. When the state of California was born in 1850, it was able to acquire ownership of a lake called Donner Lake — specifically, the land underneath the water. Thus, California owns this land going up to the lake’s high water mark. This includes the land on which private docks have been built.

In this situation, California is able to lease land to dock owners, and these dock owners must go through a town to make repairs. However, the nonprofit association featuring the property owners argues that the state has claimed that the lake’s high water mark is higher than it is in reality. In other words, the state is being blamed for claiming ownership to a larger amount of land than that to which it is legally entitled. The property owners have also argued that the lake cannot be navigated, and thus, the state cannot claim the land underneath the lake or the land holding the private docks. Different legal tests exist for determining whether a lake is navigable, so addressing the matter is complicated.

When a real estate dispute erupts between property owners or between property owners and the state of California, it is natural to feel both frustration and anger. However, an attorney who understands the ins and outs of the state’s real estate law can provide an estimation of the outcome of the case, considering the circumstances surrounding it. The attorney will fight for the plaintiff’s real estate-related rights and best interests in Los Angeles and other parts of the Golden State.

Source:, “Donner Lake homeowners sue California State Lands Commission“, Amanda Rhoades, Feb. 7, 2017