Articles Posted in Real Estate Law

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Defendant Mark Bosworth appeals from an order evicting him from land. In August 2013, Vlad Gasic commenced this action against several defendants, including Bosworth, Blake Bosworth, Catherine Fletcher, Matthew Fletcher, and James Legg, seeking an order requiring the defendants to vacate land in Epping, or requiring the sheriff to evict the defendants from the premises. Gasic's complaint asserted that he was the record title owner of the land, that defendants were unauthorized tenants, that defendants were using the premises in an unauthorized manner and not paying their fair share of utilities and garbage removal, and that Gasic had demanded the defendants vacate the premises immediately, but they refused to do so. Gasic also alleged he had served a notice of intent to evict under state law. The defendants answered the complaint and counterclaimed. After a hearing, the district court entered an "order for eviction" requiring the defendants and all occupants to vacate the premises on or before September 16, 2013. On September 16, 2013, the defendants moved to stay the eviction and requested a hearing, in addition to filing a notice of appeal. The district court entered a "stay of eviction" on September 16, 2013. Only Mark Bosworth filed a brief in this appeal. Bosworth raised multiple issues on appeal, including that Gasic did not own the land and had no legal authority to file this case, that the three-day notice required under state law was deficient, that Gasic never posted nor served by legal process the three-day notice required, and that the defendants have not been afforded due process. The Supreme Court found that neither the district court's order of eviction, nor the court's stay of eviction, provided any specific findings regarding these issues. Moreover, the Court concluded that defendants' appeal of the order for eviction was not an appeal from a final order or judgment, and therefore the Court dismissed the appeal.View "Gasic v. Bosworth" on Justia Law

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In 2004, Robert and Cheri Knorr bought a lot and built a home on Lake Audubon. They owned the lake home debt free. When the national real estate market soured in the late 2000s, the Knorrs had to mortgage the lake property and other property to satisfy loan commitments. They were unable to make the mortgage loan payments on the property, so they turned to family members for assistance. According to the Knorrs, family members agreed to help them by purchasing their homes in Arizona and North Dakota and leasing them to the Knorrs with options to repurchase. The Knorrs' eldest daughter and her husband purchased the Arizona home and leased the property to the Knorrs with an option to repurchase. The Knorrs' daughter, Alonna, and her husband, Jon Norberg, allegedly agreed in late 2010 to also purchase the North Dakota lake home and lease it to the Knorrs with an option to repurchase. A lease agreement containing an option to purchase the lake home was executed by the Knorrs and sent to the Norbergs for their signatures. Alonna signed the agreement and claimed Jon did too, but that document was lost. Jon claimed the lake home was leased to the Knorrs but did not include a buy-back option. After transferring the lake home to the Norbergs, the Knorrs continued to live in the home, made monthly payments to Jon for an amount equal to the Norbergs' mortgage payments, paid all real estate taxes on the property, maintained the property, and paid all utilities and other expenses associated with the property. The Knorrs gave notice to the Norbergs, who were then experiencing marital difficulties, that they were exercising the option to purchase the lake property. Jon refused to recognize the option. Jon appealed the trial court's judgment allowing his in-laws to exercise the option. The Supreme Court concluded the district court erred in holding partial performance of an oral lease agreement with an alleged option to purchase removed the oral agreement from the statute of frauds. Accordingly, the Court reversed and remanded for the court to consider the Knorrs' alternative theories of recovery based on equitable principles of promissory estoppel and constructive trust. View "Knorr v. Norberg" on Justia Law

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John and Lorie Finstad appealed the grant of summary judgment that declared James and Wendy Gord owners of farmland in Ransom County. Upon review of the arguments on appeal, the Supreme Court concluded a quitclaim deed executed by the Finstads and delivered to Beresford Bancorporation and People's Holding Company clearly and unambiguously gave Beresford all of the Finstads' right, title, and interest in the land. Therefore, the Court concluded that a subsequent quitclaim deed executed by Beresford to the Gords gave them ownership in the land.View "Finstad v. Gord" on Justia Law

Posted in: Real Estate Law

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Frederick Skoda appealed the grant of summary judgment foreclosing the mortgage held by JPMorgan Chase Bank. The mortgage included provisions for the payment of principal and interest as well as the payment in escrow for property taxes. Skoda made payments of $542.89 for the principal and interest on the mortgage but did not include the escrow payment for property taxes, an additional $168.11 per month. Skoda did not make escrow payments because he paid his property taxes on his own. In 2011, JPMorgan Chase Bank refused to accept Skoda's payments for $542.89. Skoda contends JPMorgan Chase Bank had no right to collect escrow for property taxes because the previous mortgage holder, Homeside Lending, Inc., waived the right to collect escrow for property taxes. Skoda also argues JPMorgan Chase Bank violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act. According to Skoda, he sent full principal and interest payments, but JPMorgan Chase Bank reported him as having a delinquent payment history on his credit report regardless of the fact that JPMorgan Chase Bank decided to stop accepting the payments. Upon review, the Supreme Court affirmed, concluding the district court did not err in determining that no genuine issues of material fact existed and JPMorgan Chase Bank was entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. View "JPMorgan Chase Bank v. Skoda" on Justia Law

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Kermit Anderson, Jr., and Kevin Kabella appealed a judgment dismissing Anderson's action to evict Nick Lyons from agricultural land owned by Kabella and from a post-judgment order denying a motion by Anderson and Kabella for amended findings and for a new trial. Upon review of the trial court's decision, the Supreme Court concluded Kabella's 2007 lease of agricultural land to Lyons did not violate the ten-year time limitation of N.D.C.C. 47-16-02. As such, the Court reversed the part of the order denying the post-judgment motion to substitute Lyons' estate as a defendant for Lyons, and the Court otherwise affirmed the judgment and the order denying the post-judgment motion.View "Anderson v. Lyons" on Justia Law

Posted in: Real Estate Law

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Plaintiff-appellant Fred Hector appealed the grant of summary judgment that dismissed his action against the City of Fargo for claims involving special assessments against his land. He argued the district court erred in granting Fargo summary judgment, because N.D.C.C. 40-26-07 authorized his action to judicially establish Fargo's special assessments as void to the extent the assessments exceeded Fargo's actual costs of improvements, and his claims were not barred by administrative res judicata. Upon review of the matter, the Supreme Court concluded N.D.C.C. sections 40-26-01 and 40-26-07 authorized a court to review issues about a municipality's special assessments in the context of the adequate legal remedy of an appeal. Furthermore, the issues Hector raised in this action were res judicata. View "Hector v. City of Fargo" on Justia Law