Help to forever restrict neighbor from owning

tyjySeptember 19, 2011

Does anyone know...

if we can sell a piece of property and have a deed restriction (or other vehicle) to RESTRICT a certain neighbor, his heirs and assigns, from EVER owning/acquiring it once we sell??

Background: This neighbor sued my parents for two easements (one to a forest and one to a river) that HE said he owned. Truthfully my parents actually owned both but because it would have cost another $10k over the already spent $10k to fight it more, my parents gave in and this crud of a neighbor got his way with the one easement to the forest while my parents retained the easement to the river. We now want to sell my parents lot with that easement to the river. We DO NOT EVER want that JERK of a neighbor to get his hands on it (it adjoins his property) and HE WANTS IT BAD! Any way to handle this to prevent him EVER owning it or is it a sort of "discrimination" area or ?? Didn't know if there was a legal problem with naming him, his heirs or assigns by family name!

Thanks for whatever help you can offer.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't think you can restrict anyone from buying the property if they qualify for it, but were your parents actually threatened into selling it to him. How long ago was that? Could you donate it to the state for a preserve? I cannot imagine if your parents legally owned the property, why it would cost so much to protect the property, and why they were "forced" to sell/give the property away.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 2:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This type of thing even if possible is probably state dependent.It is not the type of thing that can be answered on an internet message board in any way that would even be remotely reliable.
You need to contact a reputable real estate attorney to see what options if any that you may have in preventing the neighbor from ever buying the land.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 2:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The only way to prevent him from buying it is to keep the ownership yourself. Or sell to someone else who will carry on your vendetta.

If there is a way to do it legally (which I really doubt there is), it would cost a lot of money in legal fees and lower the value of your property (since it now has restrictions on it).

If you couldn't be bothered to fight the initial fight because of the cost, you don't want to fight this one.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 3:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I used to see deeds dated in the 1700s and early 1800s where the owner stated that no "minorities" could ever own the land. Good luck enforcing this - that is called discrimination. If you could put him and his heirs on a restrictive deed, he could possibly sue you for discrimination. I don't know that for a fact, that is what title attorneys are for.

You are done with the land, right? Why do you care who owns it - as long as you get your money and you can go on with your life. Why not get the best revenge - let him buy it and take his money. If he wants it really bad, that should mean he will pay more than anyone else - so let him.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 4:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

See if there's another interested potential buyer and sell it to that person directly. See what the options are for conservation restriction. Or hold onto the land for now.

By the way, even if it were possible, why restrict his heirs? They may be nice even if he's a jerk.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 4:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for your honest opinions. I agree with you all! In fact it prompted a VOCABULARY search:

"VENDETTA":Feuds begin because one party perceives itself to have been attacked/insulted or WRONGED BY ANOTHER.

(It isn't just a perception, it is a fact, so yes, I suppose it is a feeling of vendetta)

"SWINDLE": To cheat or defraud of money or property to get something from deceitful trickery.

(The neighbor definitely "swindled" my parents. He secretly cornered my dad after he suffered a stroke & promised something that he knew he couldn't fulfill in return for a reduced purchase price).

At the time the lawsuits were settled out of court was not "because my parents were forced to sell/give up property". It was because it had already cost my parents $10,000 in legal fees and would have cost up to $10,000 MORE to continue the fight. The property is really only worth $24,000. I'm confident my parents would have won the fight (with our, the kids, help, which wasn't going to be logistically easy) BUT my dad is 81 years old, my mom 76 and did not have that additional $10k or the stamina or the MENTAL ABILITY to defend their side thus keep up the fight! (the neighbor took advantage of this) It finally ended up a feeling of "good money chasing bad" sort of thing so we threw in the towell.)

"SPITE": Malicious ill will prompting an urge to hurt or humiliate.

We "care who owns it" because it just seems wrong for that neighbor to ultimately get this property in the end and it isn't about "the money" anymore. His heirs/assigns would use it for the same purposes even though our "spite" and the "vendetta" is against the neighbor. In truth, the neighbor could have bought the property outright had he not been so underhanded and deceitful and paid the fair price due to his inability to fulfill the contract. He chose legal fees instead, breaking my parents backs.

I gotta say..."vendetta"...."spite".... are words I never thought I'd be associated with so this conversation helped me see it clearer. Might as well call a spade a spade. (I wonder how you all would react, or FEEL, if this happened to your family? Would you feel spiteful? Would you feel vengeful?)

Thanks for your help as we contemplate.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 7:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What about something like a leasehold like they have in Hawaii? Or like in the CA desert where many homes are on leased Indian land. Something to look into in your situation.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 8:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know how you feel. I tried to buy a lovely old house in Ann ARbor MI once. It was not on a yuppie street; many of the homeowners were very elderly or dying, and this guy got it into his head that he had eminent domain over the whole block. He would "befriend" these oldsters and make deals to take over their houses when they became enfeebled or died. He would then fix them up in his cheap ugly way. He employed a lot of local guys and was basically untouchable in the minds of the townies.

Well, the best house on the block belonged to a lady with some relatives that a little more sophistication, and they were selling the house on the open market, not giving it away to this guy. It still had the original art glass fixtures and was really worth preserving, unlike some of the others. He claimed adverse possession on part of the yard, thereby greatly reducing the utility and comfort of the property. We had to walk away because we could not afford both the house and the legal bills. (The remaining relatives were interested in selling the house, not fighting a legal battle to retain the entire yard, so they were no help.) That left such a bitter taste in my mouth.

I know that under the common law you could retain control of property long after you were dead, but I don't know how it works with modern sales contracts, title insurance, deeds, etc.

My library has an "ask the lawyer" program. Perhaps yours does, too.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 9:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't exactly understand yours or Jamie's stories, but I do understand neighbors from hell. I've had them. People don't believe what they did to me either and how they got away with it but they did. So I feel for you guys and I hope that if you were wronged, you figure out a way to prevent those terrible neighbors from benefiting from your family property in any way.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 10:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If I had neighbors like this, I might consider leasing it to someone with past military experience, gun club, relatives of the mayor or sheriff.

See how the neighbors 'play' with someone who isn't pushed around easily...

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 10:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One thing we thought of today was to call the DNR to see if they're interested in it. Our easement to the river could then be an easement for anyone in the world to use and that could re-create an easement to the forest as it could be accessed via a little canoe ride! Our "neighbor from hell" would flip his lid!

I don't know how he looks himself in the eye, he REALLY should be ASHAMED, but I doubt he is....I have heard of karma though

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 11:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"He secretly cornered my dad after he suffered a stroke & promised something that he knew he couldn't fulfill in return for a reduced purchase price."

The time to take action was when this happened, not years after the fact when one of the principals is no longer available.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 10:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

brickeyee: I know. I know what you mean & I agree with you on this. The problem is it wasn't apparent or revealed at that particular time...and by the time lawsuits came up dads condition deteriorated too far : (

(I kinda knew that trying to explain it in one paragraph was too hard as a lot of the actual details could not possibly be brought out.)

Guess it's really neither here nor there at this point in time. What we are left with now is what we're left with. I am just trying to help mom tie up loose ends and help her be rid of additional property taxes she just can't afford anymore. Because of this "spite" we unfortunately feel, our whole family just hoped there'd be a way to prevent ownership in the future to this "icky person". Obviously, we probably can never be assured this will never happen, so, guess it's time to face the facts and carry on knowing the guy is the one who has to look at himself in the mirror and those it's touched in my family can learn a lesson from this.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 10:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Don't turn yourself into a carbon copy of this person by internalizing the meanness directed towards you. If you engage in the "tit for tat" type of machinations, then that's exactly what you've done. And, YOU will be the worse for it. It's business as usual to him and won't bother him a bit. He'll probably feed off the energy needed to defeat you in court. And, he'll most likely win unless you have very deep pockets.

Donate the land to the Boy Scouts for a camp. Wouldn't that just be perfect to have dozens of 10 year olds running around on the property with him watching! :)

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 1:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Put the restrictions on it & if this guy wants to challenge the legality, let him pay the lawyers.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 4:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you all for responding. All your opinions have been very helpful. GreenDesigns, you're right, we don't want to be like him!

Even though mom could sure use the money, we've decided to offer it to a different neighbor who was interested but for 1/3 less money (because that's all he can afford). We'll feel good about giving a guy a break and in return we're going to ask him to promise us he won't ever sell to the bad neighbor (nice neighbor told us he dislikes bad neighbor too and retold stories of how the bad neighbor has screwed over just about everyone he deals with). Obviously, we'll never know for sure if he keeps his word but we will sure be hoping he will!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 7:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm glad this is nearly over for you. In my experience, bearing a grudge and continually trying to figure out some angle to get back at another party is only corrosive to one's own spirit and inner peace. The bad neighbor was a jerk years ago, is still a jerk, and will probably always be a jerk. That doesn't mean you should allow yourself to be dragged down to his level. Sell the property, move on, and live a happy life. Regardless of what you did to get back at this guy, would you find it satisfying or would it make up for what he did to your family?

You asked how others would feel if they were on the receiving end of this guy's underhandedness. Speaking for myself, I would be annoyed and angry, and then I would let it go...not because I am virtuous or think I am morally superior, but simply because I have a strong sense of self preservation. The jerk wins when you continue to allow his past actions to upset you and cause you to scheme. When you walk away from him and his moral bankruptcy, you win. As one of my old bosses used to counsel me when I was annoyed at the actions of others: "Don't get pulled down to their level; take the high road." He was right.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 5:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"Even though mom could sure use the money, we've decided to offer it to a different neighbor who was interested but for 1/3 less money (because that's all he can afford). We'll feel good about giving a guy a break and in return we're going to ask him to promise us he won't ever sell to the bad neighbor "

Watch out. If your going to sell to the neighbor for 1/3 less, then try to make sure he isn't going to flip it over to the jerk for full price after you leave.

I read a thread here awhile ago about a neighbor who wanted to buy from someone who didn't like them. They had a distant relative buy the property for them.

I like the idea of seeing the property go to the Boy Scouts for a camp. I'd even consider contacting the park service (or equiv) in your area to see if a land conservatory might be interested in picking it up. They might be willing to pay more than the neighbor.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 10:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd like to second what dreamgarden said. I immediately thought that the "good" neighbour would just sell it to the "bad" neighbour and make a nice tidy profit with little effort.

If you do decide to sell it to the "good" neighbour, I'd suggest that once the deal is done, you wipe your hands of the whole situation and never come back to "see what happened" to the property, no matter how tempted you are.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 12:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Under common law, you can't put restrictions on a transfer of lands rights that would vest at a time in the future later than the life of some being in existence (defined as starting a conception) + 21 years. This is called the "rule against perpetuities" and prevents a landowner from tying up rights in the land into the far distant future.

In most states, this common law doctrine has been codified to a time period of 90 years into the future, which is a whole lot sooner than forever.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 3:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

ff: Thanks. At least we know what the laws seem to say. That's what I was wondering!

Some in my family immediately thought of the good neighbor flipping it to the bad neighbor and making the money my mom could make but the bad neighbor seems to want it for himself and also does not get along with the bad guy so we hope he will keep his word, but, whatever happens happens.

I'm with all of you who say, "let it go" once it's decided. We have to & we'll be better people if we do.

greg: funny you should mention "never going back to see what happened", because I know if we did we'd get sick all over again! I think we will "wipe our hands of the whole situation" and carry on without regret and without stooping low.

I wish we could donate to the Scouts. We haven't heard back from the DNR and it's been several days since we called. Figures : / We thought it'd be GREAT if the state buys it and then the public could use the river easement as a canoe launch or something. I looked it up and sounds like another long drawn out process. That's why we decided the good neighbor is what we'll do, hope he enjoys it for himself, and we will not look back.

Anyways...I want to say, you ALL have been a true help and support. My family thanks you very much for caring and offering whatever advice you could! YAY gardenweb, huh?! I've gotten help in other categories and I just love & appreciate you guys! I really do!

Like I say to my grandkids: Thank you a million zillion! : )

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 6:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you donate it to a charity, it is very possible that the neighbor contacts them and buys it. Charities often sell land that is donated to them because they want the money instead. I had a situation of a lot near mine where a person donated to charity and the charity sold it within a year.

I think your original idea about the restriction might be possible. Discrimination is only against a protected class...when you treat someone different because of race,color, religion, age, disability, nationality or similar. A personal disliking for reasons you stated does not fit the category of discrimination.

If you sell to your other neighbor, chances are that the bad guy will buy it eventually or use it.

Talk to a lawyer in your state. See if you can get a restriction from him or his family buying it even if for 50 years. Also restrict him from getting an easement. Sounds like this is important to you.

Go with your gut.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 6:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with someone up above who said, more or less:

If you want to control who eventually owns your land, NEVER GIVE UP CONTROL. That's the only way, I think. If you sell it or give it away, you've lost control.

An interesting side note: I work for a public educational institution. We had some property willed to us, and the will said that we were NEVER to sell the property. Guess what? In our state, our attorney general says the will is legally UNenforceable. So we sold the property.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 7:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the advice. All this information and experience has been really, really helpful! Thank you for making the effort and spending the time to lend a hand!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 4:45PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
New front door--ok to put lockbox on back door?
We have a new (quite expensive) front door and screen...
Off market for 6 days, why? ncrealestateguy?
Hello, long time lurker, first time poster. I hope...
Help, quick! VA Loan Problems?
My friend is selling her home. She's received two...
Verbal offers suddenly surface
Too much drama. We put offer on house number one, house...
Randy Ritchie
Relocating and Finding New Services/People/Businesses
If you are moving or have moved to an unfamiliar town...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™