Articles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law

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Rocky and Delores Fletcher (“the Fletchers”) appealed a district court judgment in which they sought a declaratory judgment outlining the rights and responsibilities of property owners in the Twin Lakes Meadows Subdivision (“Subdivision”) with respect to a private road known as Lone Mountain Road (“Subdivision Road” or “the Road”). The district court determined that the Subdivision’s Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (“CC&Rs”) were ambiguous and contrary to Idaho easement law. After finding that the CC&Rs were ambiguous, the district court declared that all lot owners who used the Road had the right to make reasonable repairs to the Road. The Fletchers argued on appeal the district court erred when it found the CC&Rs to be ambiguous and that they should be strictly applied. The Fletchers also argued the district court erred when it failed to declare that dust from the Road created an additional burden on their servient estate and by failing to declare that the Lone Mountain Road Association had no right to maintain the Road or to collect assessments. The Idaho Supreme Court reversed the district court as to its findings that the CC&Rs were ambiguous and there was a waiver of the right to obtain contributions from lot owners that do not use the Road. The Court affirmed the district court’s judgment that road dust did not create an additional burden on the Fletchers’ estate. View "Fletcher v. Lone Mountain Rd Assoc" on Justia Law

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Whitney Bright appealed the grant of summary judgment to Roman and Natalya Maznik. The Mazniks owned property who leased an apartment to James and Katherine Thomas, owners of a Belgian Shepherd. When Bright visited the Thomas’ apartment in an effort to collect on a debt, the Thomas’ dog attacked her. Bright then lodged a complaint against the Mazniks, alleging various tort claims arising from the attack. The district court granted the Mazniks’ motion for summary judgment, finding the Mazniks owed no duty to protect Bright from the Thomas' dog. Therefore, the district court's grant of summary judgment on Bright's tort claims was proper, and the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Bright v. Maznik" on Justia Law

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Travis Forbush and Gretchen Hymas, individually and as natural parents of McQuen Forbush and Breanna Halowell (Appellants), appealed the grant of summary judgment to Respondents Sagecrest Multifamily Property Owners’ Association, Inc., and its President, Jon Kalsbeek. Forbush and Halowell were overnight guests of a tenant who leased a unit at the Sagecrest Apartment Complex (Sagecrest). During the night, hazardous levels of carbon monoxide filled the unit, killing Forbush and injuring Halowell. Appellants brought tort claims against Respondents after the incident. Appellants contended the district court erred by granting summary judgment to the POA because triable issues of fact surrounded whether the POA: (1) owed a premises liability-based duty of care; (2) owed a duty of care it acquired as a result of voluntary undertakings; and (3) was vicariously liable for First Rate Property Management's (FRPM - the POA's contract maintenance) conduct. The Idaho Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court’s summary judgment order. The Court affirmed that summary judgment was proper as to whether the POA owed a premises liability-based duty of care. However, summary judgment was improper as to whether the POA and Kalsbeek acquired a duty of care as a result of voluntary undertakings, and whether the POA was vicariously liable for FRPM’s conduct. View "Forbush & Hymas v. Sagecrest POA" on Justia Law

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Chevy Chase Bank foreclosed on property recorded in Melissa Kempton-Baughman’s name. Plaintiff and her husband apparently tried to work out a plan to cure the default in payments. The deed of trust identified the note, and it defined the bank as the lender, the Plaintiffs as the borrowers, and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”), as the beneficiary. MERS executed an “Assignment of Deed of Trust,” transferring to UBS Investment Bank the promissory note and the beneficial interest in the deed of trust. Pioneer Lenders Trustee Services, LLC, as successor trustee, recorded a “Notice of Default and Election to Sell Under Deed of Trust.” The notice stated, “The beneficial interest under said deed of trust and the obligations secured thereby is currently held by UBS Investment Bank.” Plaintiffs filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. In their petition, they listed Chevy Chase Bank as a secured creditor, and they stated that it had a lien on the property, that the lien was in foreclosure, that the secured debt exceeded the value of the property by $550,000, and that the property would be surrendered. On September 9, 2009, they received a discharge. They did not list UBS Investment Bank as a creditor. MERS executed an “Assignment of Deed of Trust,” transferring to UBS Investment Bank the promissory note and the beneficial interest in the deed of trust. The property was sold at a nonjudicial foreclosure sale to UBS Investment Bank, and the trustee’s deed was recorded on January 27, 2010. A year later, MERS executed an “Assignment of Deed of Trust” transferring to U.S. Bank, N.A., as trustee for the Trustee for Master Adjustable Rate Mortgage Trust Pass Through Certificates, Series 2007-3, all beneficial interest in the deed of trust. Pioneer Title Company, as successor trustee, recorded a notice of rescission, stating that the trustee had “been informed by the Beneficiary that the beneficiary wanted to rescind the Trustee’s Deed recorded upon the foreclosure sale which was conducted in error due to a failure to communicate timely, notice of conditions which would have warranted a cancellation of the foreclosure. US Bank contended that the sale was void because UBS Investment Bank was a nonentity. Plaintiffs then filed this action seeking quiet title to the real property and an injunction against any further attempts to foreclose on the deed of trust. Finding that the district court did not err in dismissing plaintiffs’ claim that the foreclosure was barred on a statute of limitations defense, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Baughman v. Wells Fargo Bank" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff’s action to recover under an insurance policy for the loss of her house caused when a renter (who had an option to purchase) demolished it. The trial court determined the insurance policy at issue excluded for such a loss. Within two months of renting the property, plaintiff learned the renter demolished the house. The renter agreed to rebuild a house on the remaining foundation. The renter started, but did not finish, rebuilding the house. Plaintiff thereafter made a claim on her insurance policy. The Idaho Supreme Court found after review of this matter, that the words in an insurance policy were to be given the meaning applied by lay people in daily usage. One such clause implicated the intentional destruction of the house as compared to accidental loss or inadequate remodeling. The renter’s actions in demolishing plaintiff’s house down to the foundation would not be considered by lay people as the “remodeling” of the house. He did not make alterations to an existing structure; he demolished that structure. There was no house left to remodel. Plaintiff had authorized the renter to perform some remodeling, such as installing new flooring, countertops, light fixtures, paint and other cosmetic improvements, but there was no evidence in the record that he did any remodeling at all, much less that the direct cause of the loss of the Plaintiff’s house was caused by any remodeling that had been done. Accordingly, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment in favor of the insurance company. View "Fisher v. Garrison Property & Casualty Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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The Ada County Highway District (“ACHD”) appealed a district court judgment awarding $148,390.21 plus prejudgment interest and attorney’s fees to Brooke View, Inc. d/b/a The Senator (“Brooke View”) as just compensation for a parcel of property that ACHD condemned and took possession of under the State’s eminent domain powers. ACHD argued on appeal that the district court misconstrued the law when it allowed Brooke View to recover the cost to repair damage to a wall on Brooke View’s property, which the jury found had been caused by the construction of improvements on the taken parcel. After review, the Idaho Supreme Court found the district court erred in instructing the jury on "just compensation," and those instructions prejudiced ACHD. Furthermore, the Court found the district court erred in admitting certain evidence on events, activities and damages that occurred during construction of improvements on the property. The Court vacated the award of attorney fees, and remanded this case for further proceedings. View "Ada Co Hwy Dist v. Brooke View, Inc." on Justia Law

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At issue in this appeal was whether the Stanley City Council erred in denying a building permit application submitted by Thomas and Rebecca Arnold. The Arnolds own property in Stanley. From 2009 to 2011, the Arnolds and the City of Stanley were involved in litigation concerning certain building permits related to the Property. The litigation resulted in a settlement agreement, which provided that the City would reissue a previously approved building permit. The Arnolds proffered several arguments on appeal asserting that the Council erred in denying their building permit application; however, the Idaho Supreme Court did not address those arguments because the Council’s denial of the building permit application was not subject to judicial review. View "Arnold v. City of Stanley" on Justia Law

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The faulty, inadequate, or defective work exclusion did not apply to the loss in this case. At issue in this appeal was the dismissal of Plaintiff’s action seeking to recover under an insurance policy for the loss of her house caused when a renter, who had an option to purchase the house, demolished it. The district court held that coverage for such loss was excluded under the policy. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the district court and remanded this case for further proceedings. View "Fisher v. Garrison Property & Casualty Ins" on Justia Law

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Val and LaRee Westover appealed the district court’s judgment and denial of their request for writs of mandate and prohibition against Franklin County Assessor Jase Cundick. The dispute arose when the Westovers granted an easement to Rocky Mountain Power on property owned by the Westovers. Based on his office’s records, Cundick sent a letter to Rocky Mountain Power stating that the Westovers did not own the property in question. The Westovers sought a writ of mandate to require Cundick to retract the letter and a writ of prohibition to prevent him from sending such letters in the future. The district court denied the Westovers’ request for writs of mandate and prohibition after it concluded that there were other remedies available at law. On appeal, the Westovers argued the district court erred by failing to grant injunctive relief prohibiting Cundick from sending out letters concerning real estate transactions and property ownership. Although the Westovers’ complaint did not request that the district court grant injunctive relief, they argued that the district court erred because the Westovers were clearly entitled to injunctive relief under Idaho Rule of Civil Procedure 54(c). Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Westover v. Cundick" on Justia Law

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Auto Alley, LLC, Calvin Visser, and Vicki Visser appealed a district court order granting a writ of possession and quieting title to certain real property in Douglas Visser. Douglas was awarded the property in his divorce from Vicki in 2005. A dispute subsequently arose and in February of 2014, the parties entered into a stipulation that resulted in Vicki being permitted to continue to occupy part of the property known as “Lot 2.” A stipulated judgment was entered which provided that Douglas would convey Lot 2 to Vicki if she completely performed a number of specific obligations within specified time frames. When Vicki failed to completely perform those obligations, Douglas brought the instant motion to enforce the judgment and the district court granted his motion. Vicki appealed. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed and awarded Douglas attorney fees on appeal. View "Visser v. Auto Alley, LLC" on Justia Law