US Property Cases in Context | Citations & Property Terms | Real Estate Terms Defined

Real Property Law Cases & USA Statutes with Real Estate Terms


USA Property Law Cases English Property Law Cases Commonwealth Law Cases
(Aus/NZ, Can and others)
USA Property Statutes English Property Statutes Commonwealth Property Statutes

This is a selection of recent US Property Law Cases, with the corresponding Real Estate Term:

PROPERTY LAW CASE

REAL ESTATE TERM

 2016  
   

 2015  
   

 2014  
   


 2013  
Burnett v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., 706 F.3d 1231, 1243 (10th Cir. Utah 2013) Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS)/foreclosure
White v. Farrell, 20 NY.3d 487 (2013) damages

 2012
Cottonwood Duplexes, LLC v. Barlow, 210 Cal App.4th 1501, 149 Cal. Rptr.3d 235 (2012) easement
Estate of Becker v. Murtagh, 75 AD.3d 575, 19 NY.3d 75, 945 NYS.2d 196 (2012) adverse possession/hostile possession
Milliken v Jacono, 2012 Pa Super 284, __ A.3d __ (2012) misrepresention/cavet emptor/fraud
Nickens v. Mount Vernon Realty Group LLC, 429 Md 53, 54 A.3d 742 (Md 2012) self-help
Waddle v. Elrod, 367 SW.3d 217 (Tenn 2012) writing

 2011  
Bleecker Street Tenants Corp. v. Bleecker Jones LLC, 65 AD.3d 240, 16 NY.3d 272 (2011) rule against perpetuities
In re Metropolitan Transport Authority, 83 AD.3d 314, 927 NYS.2d 67 (2011) highest and best use
North Adams Apartment Limited v. City of North Adams, 78 Mass App Ct 602, 2011 WL 118757 (2011) just compensation
US Bank National Association v. Antonio Ibanez, 458 Mass 637 (2011) securitized mortgage – void contract

 2010  
Holmes v. Summer, 188 Cal App.4th 1510, 116 Cal Rptr.3d 419 (2010) broker – misrepresentation – negligence
Alligood v. LaSaracina, 122 Conn App 473, 999 A.2d 836 (2010) easement

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Real Property Case Real Estate Term & Comment

Estate of Becker v. Murtagh, 75 AD.3d 575, 19 NY.3d 75, 945 NYS.2d 196 (2012)
adverse possession/hostile possession
A party claiming hostile possession "is not required to show enmity or specific acts of hostility", but this element is satisfied "where an individual asserts a right to the property that is adverse to the title owner and also in opposition to the rights of the true owner"

White v Farrell, 20 NY.3d 487 (2013)
damages
Damages for breach of contract for the sale of land is assessed on the difference between the fair market value at the date of the breach, and not at the time of a subsequent sale. However, the price obtained at a later date may be used as evidence for the value of the property at the time of the breach (citing: 25 Williston on Contracts (4th ed. St. Paul, MN: ®1990- ), § 66.80).

Holmes v. Summer, 188 Cal App.4th 1510, 116 Cal Rptr.3d 419 (2010)
broker – misrepresentation – negligence
Failure of a broker to disclose that ‘overencumbrance’ of a property would require difficult bank negotiations and, therefore, a 'quick sale, was unlikely to result, created a failure of a duty of care to the prospective buyer. “When the real estate professionals involved in the purchase and sale of a residential property do not disclose to the buyer that the property is so greatly overencumbered that it is almost certain clear title cannot be conveyed for the agreed upon price, the transaction is doomed to fail”

Alligood v. LaSaracina, 122 Conn App 473, 999 A.2d 836 (2010)
easement
The owner of the dominant estate may not vary the location of a fixed easement without the consent of owner of servient estate; following the view of the majority of states. Cf. The American Law Institute, Restatement Third, Property (Servitudes) (St. Paul, MN: 2000), § 4.8(3.)—a reasonable change in the location of the easement may be permitted in certain cases, a view that is taken primarily so as not to stymie development of the servient estate.
Cottonwood Duplexes, LLC v. Barlow, 210 Cal App.4th 1501, 149 Cal. Rptr.3d 235, 241 (2012) easement
Confirming that an expressly granted easement once granted cannot be brought to an end "just because, in the court's view, the owner of that right does not appear to need it, either now or in the future". Also it cannot be reduced in size (from 60 to 15ft wide) because that would accomodate development by the owner of the servient land. Compare a more accomodating view on relocation of an easment in The American Law Institute's Restatement Third, Property (Servitudes) (St. Paul, MN: 2000), § 4.8(3) & annotated cases, which proposes that the burdened landowner should be permitted to relocate the easement as long as the new location does not "significantly lessen the utility of the easement"; "increase the burdens on the owner of the easement," or "frustrate the purpose for which the easement was created", and the dominant owner pays all the costs, including any damages for the loss to the servient owner (See also Restatement § 7.10, Modificaion and Termination of a Servitude Because of Changed Conditions

In re Metropolitan Transport Authority, 83 AD.3d 314, 927 NYS.2d 67 (2011)
highest and best use
The highest and best use should bring into consideration the value of air rights, either as a right that can be sold to an adjoining owner, or added as the result of the potential assemblage of adjoining properties

Milliken v Jacono, 2012 Pa Super 284, __ A.3d __ (2012)
misrepresention/cavet emptor/fraud
In Pennsylvania, murder and suicide not a disclosable "material defect" on sale of a home. The Seller Property Disclosure Statement used was as promulgated by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission and this covered specified defects to the property, but based on advice from the Commission was not considered to cover such matters as a death at the property.
“Psychological damage is so different from the physical and legal defects listed that it is plain that the legislature intended not to include it … The fact that a murder once occurred in a house falls into that category of homebuyer concerns best left to caveat emptor”. (see more on this issue in other states).

Burnett v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., 706 F.3d 1231, 1243 (10th Cir. Utah 2013)
Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS)/foreclosure
MERS as nominee of the mortgagee has the power foreclose based on a provision to that effect in the deed of trust, even though t was not the "beneficiary" of the mortgage. No violation of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq., nor state law to like effect.

North Adams Apartment Limited v. City of North Adams, 78 Mass App Ct 602, 2011 WL 118757 (2011)
just compensation
Just compensation for taking property under power of eminent domain is based on loss suffered by owner and not any benefit obtained by the condemning authority (loss occasioned by taking over a sewer easement was zero and authority not required to pay for the depreciated cost of installing the sewer).

Bleecker Street Tenants Corp. v. Bleecker Jones LLC, 65 AD.3d 240, 16 NY.3d 272 (2011)
rule against perpetuities
Following the common law rule, the New York statutory rule means that an option to renew a commercial lease is not a restraint on the transfer of land during the term of the lease and, therefore, is not affected by the rule against perpetuities. Also, the rule does not apply to an option that is contained in a lease, cannot be separated from the lease, and is not exercisable after the lease expiration.

US Bank National Association v. Antonio Ibanez, 458 Mass 637 (2011)
securitized mortgage – void contract
Bank unable to prove 'clear title' when the mortgage was transferred "in blank" (i.e. the name of the assignee not inserted in documant of assignment at the time of the initial transfer). The mortgage was to form part of a collateralized-mortgage secuity, but after a foreclosure sale the holder of the mortgage was unable to prove that the underlying assignment existed "in any legally cognizable form before they exercised the power of sale". In other words, the foreclosing entity "must hold the mortgage at the time of the [foreclosure] notice", and a blank form of assignment conveys nothing at all, unless the document is subsequently completed in full and, if necessary, duly recorded.

Nickens v. Mount Vernon Realty Group LLC, 429 Md 53, 54 A.3d 742 (Md 2012)
self-help
A purchaser of a residential property at a foreclosure sale able to use reasonable force to enter the property to gain possession from the previous owner. "For a foreclosure purchaser dispossessed of his, her, or its property by a defaulted mortgagor's or illegal occupant's recalcitrant possession, the common law right to self-help provides a nonviolent, reasonable approach to reclaiming the realty to which he, she, or it is entitled"

Waddle v. Elrod, 367 SW.3d 217 (Tenn 2012)
writing
E-mail sufficient to satisfy Statute of Frauds as State of Tennessee has adopted the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act, which permits land transactions to be conducted electronically – providing the e-mail contains all of the essential terms of a contract for the sale of real property.

Terms in bold are defined and explained in detail in the Encyclopedia of Real Estate Terms.

(suffixes such as (US) (Eng) (F) indicate the country of primary, but not necessarily exclusive, use).


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