New York Real Property Actions & Proceedings Law
Where Action Cannot Be Maintained; Action Based on Reverter or Breach of Condition Subsequent
§ 612. Where action cannot be maintained; action based on reverter or breach of condition subsequent.
1. Except as otherwise provided in this section, an action to recover the possession of real property cannot be maintained where it is founded upon a claim of reverter of an estate in fee conveyed upon special limitation or founded upon a claim of breach of a condition subsequent, other than a condition of a lease for a term of years, unless (a) within ten years after the occurrence of the reverter or the first occurrence of the breach, the plaintiff, or any predecessor in interest then entitled to possession or to exercise the power of termination, shall have served upon the person or persons against whom the action might then have been commenced a written demand that possession be delivered, stating the ground thereof, and the action is commenced within one year thereafter or (b), if no such demand is served, the action is commenced within such ten years.
2. Where the reverter or breach occurred before September 1, 1963, an action may be maintained if demand is made as provided in this section before the expiration of ten years computed from the occurrence of the reverter or the first occurrence of the breach, or on or before September 1, 1965, whichever is later, and the action is commenced within one year thereafter or if, without previous demand as provided in this section, the action is commenced before the expiration of ten years computed from the occurrence of the reverter or the first occurrence of the breach, or on or before September 1, 1965, whichever is later.
3. The demand shall be served either personally or by mailing the same by certified mail addressed to the person or persons against whom the action might then have been commenced, at his or their last known address or addresses.
4. The demand may be made on behalf of an infant by his parent or guardian or by the person with whom he resides, may be made on behalf of an incompetent by the committee of his person or property, and may be made on behalf of a conservatee by the conservator of his property. If the person entitled to maintain the action shall have died, the demand may be made either by the persons succeeding to the right of the decedent, or one of them, or on their behalf by the personal representative of the decedent.
5. The demand shall become ineffective unless action to recover possession in accordance therewith is commenced within one year from the date of service thereof. If no action is commenced, or no such demand is served within the time specified in subdivisions 1 or 2, or if the demand served becomes ineffective, it shall be conclusively presumed that the possibility of reverter by reason of which the estate is claimed to have reverted, or the power of termination for breach of the condition which is claimed to have been broken, was extinguished at or before the date when the reverter would have occurred or a right of entry would have accrued by reason of such possibility of reverter or breach of such condition.
6. The operation of this section is not affected by any disability, or by the fact that the person against whom the action might have been brought within the period herein provided was during that time a non-resident or absent from the state, and is not affected by any lack of knowledge on the part of any person that the reverter or breach has occurred, unless it is established that the facts upon which the reverter occurred, or the facts constituting the breach, were concealed from the plaintiff or his predecessor in interest by actual fraud. If such fraud be established, the time provided in subdivision 1 or 2 shall commence to run when the facts are discovered by a person entitled to serve the demand as provided in this section.
7. This section does not limit any other statute or rule of law or equity by which a possibility of reverter or right of entry is or may be extinguished or rendered unenforceable, or by which an action to recover possession of the property may be extinguished or barred.