A wall separating plaintiff’s (NYCAR’s) and defendant’s property was located entirely on NYCAR’s property. Defendant installed light fixtures on the wall for commercial purposes (an outdoor eating area for defendant’s restaurant). The defendant also installed a door in the wall to act as an emergency exit for patrons of the restaurant. Defendant argued the wall was a party wall and the easement which accompanies a party wall allowed the installation of fixtures on the wall. The Third Department explained that the installation of fixtures on the wall exceeded any easement which might exist:
Defendant concedes that the survey that plaintiff submitted in support of its motion for summary judgment shows that the wall lies wholly on NYSARC’s property, but argues that defendant’s installation of the fixtures and utilities was nevertheless proper because it is a party wall. “‘A party wall is generally described as a wall erected between two adjoining pieces of property and used for the common advantage of both owners'” … . Party walls are often located on the boundary line between parcels, in which case the portion of the wall on each property belongs to that parcel’s owner, subject to an easement in the other building’s owner for its support … . A party wall, however, may also “belong entirely to one of the adjoining owners, but [be] subject to an easement or right in the other to have it maintained as a dividing wall between the two tenements” … .
Here, defendant’s actions were beyond the scope of a party wall easement; the fixtures and utilities that defendant placed on the exposed eastern portion of the wall neither provided support to defendant’s building nor contributed in any way to the maintenance of a dividing wall between the buildings. Instead, they were installed solely for defendant’s “mere convenience or advantage” in operating its restaurant … . Stamp v 301 Franklin St. Café, Inc., 2016 NY Slip Op 00410, 3rd Dept. 1-21-16
REAL PROPERTY (PARTY WALL, EASEMENT EXCEEDED BY INSTALLATION OF LIGHT FIXTURES ON THE WALL)/PARTY WALL (EASEMENT EXCEEDED BY INSTALLATION OF LIGHT FIXTURES ON THE WALL)/EASEMENTS (EASEMENT ASSOCIATED WITH A PARTY WALL WAS EXCEEDED BY THE INSTALLATION OF LIGHT FIXTURES ON THE WALL)