Property Law Developments

Commercial landlord can mitigate damages by selling the property rather than reletting it

When the tenant breached the lease, the landlord had a duty to mitigate damages. That usually means making reasonable efforts to find a replacement tenant. However, the Nebraska Supreme Court has held that a commerical landlord fulfilled the duty to mitigate damages by seeking to sell the property rather than re-rent it. Hand Cut Steaks Acquisitions, Inc. v. Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon of Nebraska, Inc., 905 N.W.2d 644 (Neb. 2018). The landlord's rejection of offers to rent the property did not violate his duty to mitigate damages given his reasonable efforts to sell the property. That... Read more about Commercial landlord can mitigate damages by selling the property rather than reletting it

Lease cannot transfer landlord's right to receive rents to his daughter after his death because it is a testamentary transfer that does not comply with the formalities needed to create a will

The MIssissippi Supreme Court held that a lease provision cannot transfer the landlord's power to receive rents to his daughter after his death because that effectuates a testamentary transfer that must comply with the statute of wills to be valid, including all formalities such as two witnesses. Estate of Greer v. Ball, 218 So. 3d 1136 (Miss. 2017). Read more about Lease cannot transfer landlord's right to receive rents to his daughter after his death because it is a testamentary transfer that does not comply with the formalities needed to create a will

Tree may be removed by owner of property where it first grew even if it grew to encroach on neighboring land and the neighboring owner does not want it removed

The Colorado Supreme Court has held that an owner may remove a tree on her own land even if it has grown over the borderline onto neighboring land even if the neighboring owner objects to removal of the tree. Love v. Klosky,2018 CO 20, 413 P.3d 1267 (Colo. 2018). In contrast, a border tree that was planted on the border itself becomes the...

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Reduction in property value held not sufficient to give an abutting neighbor standing to challenge a zoning decision to allow a group home for veterans to be created

Massachusetts law allows abutters to challenge zoning permit decisions only if they can show that they are affected by those decisions. In Walsh v. Town of Dennis Planning Bd.,26 LCR 89, 2018 Mass. LCR LEXIS 24 (Mass. Land Ct. 2018), the court clarified that the abutter needs to show harm to use of enjoyment of land and that a mere claimed reduction in...

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Permanent rights of refusal for tenancy in common interests owned by family members held void as unreasonable restraints on alienation

A Massachusetts court has held that permanent rights of refusal applying to tenancy-in-common interests were void as unreasonable restraints on alienation. DiSchino v. Delanson Circle Holding, 2018 Mass. Super. LEXIS 67 (Mass. Super. Ct. 2018).

The court noted that the state...

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Court wrestles with the question of whether use of a pavement area without permission creates a prescriptive easement or adverse possession

When an owner uses a driveway or pavement area owned by a neighbor, and does with openly and without permission for the statutory period, does the owner get a prescriptive easement to use the area for the specific purposes to which the property was devoted or does the owner acquire full title to the area by adverse possession? The problem arises...

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Owners must continue to pay homeowners association fees to maintain private roads even after all other covenants terminate

A Massachusetts court has held that owners in a homeowners association that have access to shared private roads must continue to pay fees to the association to maintain those roads even after all other covenants terminate. Meadowview Heights Homeowners Ass’...

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Expectation of privacy voids government search of car in driveway without a warrant but not if parked in shared lot

The Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment precludes search of a car parked in the driveway to a home without a warrant in Collins v. Virginia,138 S. Ct. 1663 (U.S. 2018), while a number of other courts have held that there is no such expectation...

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