BARRISTER'S BRIEFING: The Duties of New York’s Real Property Bureau

Leon Cameron, Esq. | November 2018

The Real Property Bureau of the New York Attorney General’s Office provides legal assistance to state agencies and authorities in connection with the acquisition and disposition of real property. The office investigates titles, clears liens, prepares deeds and various closing documents and facilitates the closing of title. In addition to purchases and dispositions, the bureau handles all of the state’s eminent domain transactions by reviewing and certifying title, clearing liens, preparing closing papers and certifying payment. The bureau also represents the state in court proceedings involving disputes over the state’s title to lands acquired for public use.

In addition to representing the state, the bureau attempts to ensure that the condemned property owner receives their just compensation in a fair and expeditious manner, either prior to or after the conclusion of litigation.

When a state agency determines what property is needed for a valid public purpose, that agency requests that the bureau perform a title review. Representatives from the bureau travel to the county where the land is located, examine the records in the county clerk’s office and certifies to the agency who is entitled to compensation. The agency’s appraisers set the value and the bureau prepares the paperwork that is needed to be reviewed and processed so that the State Comptroller’s Office can issue a check in payment for the property taken.

The law allows an affected property owner the right to challenge a municipality or agency’s determination that the property is necessary for a public use. An aggrieved person or affected property owner has 30 days from the condemnor’s publication in the newspaper of its determination and findings in which to raise an appeal. Such petitions for appeal must be filed in the appellate division of the supreme court in the county in which the property is located, and are limited to the issues, facts and objections raised at the hearing. The supreme court’s determination is limited to whether or not the hearing complied with all provisions of law, and whether or not a public use, benefit or purpose will be served by the proposed acquisition.

Editor’s Note: The foregoing is for information purposes only and does not confer an attorney/client relationship. For a legal opinion or advice specific to your situation, please consult with a private attorney at law.

Leon Cameron, Esq.
Leon Cameron, Esq., is Director of Legal Services & Professional Standards Administrator for the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.