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Block and lot indexes prevalent in New York City were designed to make title searches simpler than those necessary under the grantor-grantee index system prevalent in many other areas of the state and country. Suppose, however, block and lot numbers change over time. To what extent are purchasers on notice of deeds recorded under a block and lot number different from the one prevalent at the time of purchase? The First Department recently faced that issue in Akasa Holdings, LLC v. 214 Lagayette House, LLC, NYLJ 9/5/19, p. 22., col. 1, and concluded that at least when the record under the current lot number reveals unexplained breaks in the chain of title, purchasers have a duty to inquire about deeds recorded beyond the current block and lot number.
By Carol A. Sigmond
New York City, particularly gentrifying areas of Brooklyn, Harlem, and Washington Heights, are seeing an upsurge of deed theft. Attorneys, architects, title companies, real estate brokers, agents, contractors, developers and construction managers need to be alert to this potential issue when blocks of properties are assembled for development in these neighborhoods.
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