Articles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the decision to award prejudgment interest to LeGrand and concluded that Celtic Bank was the prevailing party on the prejudgment interest issues. LeGrand Johnson Construction Company filed an action seeking to enforce its mechanic’s lien on property owned by B2AC, LLC for the unpaid value of construction services, and Celtic Bank, B2AC’s lender, sought to foreclose on the same property after B2AC failed to pay on its loan. The action resulted in a lien for $237,294 and an award of attorney fees and costs. Thereafter, the district court determined that LeGrand’s lien, rather than Celtic Bank’s lien, had priority and awarded LeGrand attorney fees and costs. The court then ruled that LeGrand was entitled to recover eighteen percent in prejudgment and postjudgment interest from Celtic Bank based on LeGrand’s contract with B2AC. The Supreme Court (1) reinforced its holding in Jordan Construction, Inc. v. Federal National Mortgage Ass’n, 408 P.3d 296 (Utah 2017), that prejudgment interest is not available under the 2008 version of the Utah Mechanic’s Lien Act; and (2) vacated the attorney fee award because it was based, in part, on the notion that LeGrand had succeeded in establishing its right to prejudgment interest. View "LeGrand Johnson Construction Co. v. Celtic Bank Corp." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiffs’ complaint against Weber County claiming that the County had violated Utah Code 59-22-103 and 59-2-103.5, which establish the tax exemption for primary residential property. Plaintiffs paid taxes on their primary residence but later learned that the County had not given them the residential exemption. The district court entered a judgment on the pleadings dismissing Plaintiffs’ causes of action, concluding, inter alia, that the assessor acted within the scope of his authority in reclassifying Plaintiffs’ property as “non-primary residential.” In affirming, the Supreme Court held that Plaintiffs’ challenges to the taxes they paid must fall under Utah Code 59-2-1321, which requires taxpayers to point an “error or illegality that is readily apparent from county records.” Because Plaintiffs did not challenge this requirement or show that the alleged errors or illegalities were readily apparent, the district court did not err in its judgment. View "Hammons v. Weber County" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiffs’ complaint against Weber County claiming that the County had violated Utah Code 59-22-103 and 59-2-103.5, which establish the tax exemption for primary residential property. Plaintiffs paid taxes on their primary residence but later learned that the County had not given them the residential exemption. The district court entered a judgment on the pleadings dismissing Plaintiffs’ causes of action, concluding, inter alia, that the assessor acted within the scope of his authority in reclassifying Plaintiffs’ property as “non-primary residential.” In affirming, the Supreme Court held that Plaintiffs’ challenges to the taxes they paid must fall under Utah Code 59-2-1321, which requires taxpayers to point an “error or illegality that is readily apparent from county records.” Because Plaintiffs did not challenge this requirement or show that the alleged errors or illegalities were readily apparent, the district court did not err in its judgment. View "Hammons v. Weber County" on Justia Law

by
The doctrine of equitable conversion operates to protect a buyer’s interest in the land from the time a land sales contract is capable of being specifically enforced by the buyer. The Utah Supreme Court affirmed the district courts judgment that the seller's creditor was unable to attach a judgment lien to land that the seller had already entered into a real estate purchase contract to sell. In this case, the real estate purchase contract was an executory real estate contract and, as such, it was subject to the equitable conversion doctrine. View "SMS Financial v. CCB, LLC" on Justia Law

by
The one-mile stretch of the Weber River at issue in this case is a “navigable water” under the Public Waters Access Act, and therefore, the public has a statutory right to recreational use to that stretch of the river. Utah Stream Access Coalition (USAC) filed this suit seeking a declaration that USAC has a right to use for recreation a one-mile stretch of the Weber River. USAC sought an injunction barring property owners and state officials from interfering with its members’ recreational use rights. The district court concluded that the disputed section of the river was navigable and issued an injunction preventing landowners and state officers from interfering with the recreational use rights of the public on this stretch of the river. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court determination that the disputed segment of the Weber River is navigable water under the Act, holding that there was sufficient evidence to support the determination that the relevant stretch of the river was commercially useful on a regular basis and not merely in an occasional season of high water. View "Utah Stream Access Coalition v. Orange Street Development" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s grant of Patricia and Robert Porenta’s marital home to Patricia in this case involving a fraudulent transfer of the home to Robert’s mother (Mother). During the divorce proceedings of Patricia and Robert, Robert transferred his interest in the couple’s marital home to Mother with the intent to avoid Patricia’s claim to the home. Robert subsequently died, and the divorce case was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Thereafter, Patricia filed this action against Mother alleging that the transfer was fraudulent under the Utah Fraudulent Transfer Act. The district court granted the marital home to Patricia. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Utah Fraudulent Transfer Act requires an ongoing debtor-creditor relationship when a claim under the Act is filed, and the debtor-creditor relationship was in this case was not extinguished when Robert died because an ongoing debtor-creditor relationship existed between Patricia and Robert’s estate; and (2) the trial court did not err in granting Patricia the entire marital home rather than money damages, but the matter is remanded for a determination of the current status of title. View "Porenta v. Porenta" on Justia Law

by
Salt Lake City’s denial of the request of Outfront Media, LLC, formerly CBS Outdoor, LLC (CBS), to relocate its billboard and grant of the relocation request of Corner Property L.C. were not arbitrary, capricious, or illegal. CBS sought to relocate its billboard to an adjacent lot along Interstate 15, and Corner Property sought to relocate its billboard to the lot CBS was vacating. On appeal, CBS argued that the City’s decision to deny its requested relocation was illegal because the City invoked the power of eminent domain to effect a physical taking of CBS’s billboard without complying with the procedural requirements that constrain the use of eminent domain. The district court upheld the City’s decisions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Billboard Compensation Statute, Utah Code 10-9a-513, creates a standalone compensation scheme that does not incorporate, expressly or impliedly, the procedural requirements that circumscribe the eminent domain power; and (2) the City’s decision was not illegal, arbitrary or capricious. View "Outfront Media, LLC v. Salt Lake City Corp." on Justia Law

by
Here the Supreme Court reaffirmed its statement in 2DP Blanding, LLC v. Palmer, __ P.3d ___ (Utah 2017), that “an appellant who takes no action to preserve his interests in property at issue on appeal has no recourse against a lawful third-party purchaser.” This case involved the same unstayed court order at issue in 2DP Blanding that authorized a foreclosure sale of real property. Here, MAA Prospector purchased property at the foreclosure sale. MAA Prospector had actual notice of Ray Palmer’s appeal of the foreclosure order when it purchased the property. The court of appeals reversed the judgment under which the foreclosure sale was conducted. Palmer then recorded a notice of default and election to sell under his original trust deed. MAA Prospector brought this suit against Palmer seeking to enjoin Palmer from foreclosing on the property and quieting its title to the property. The district court ruled in favor of MAA Prospector. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that MAA Prospector’s actual notice of Palmer’s appeal did not mean that MAA Prospector took the property subject to the outcome of the appeal. View "MAA Prospector Motor Lodge, LLC v. Palmer" on Justia Law

by
An appellant who takes no action to preserve his interests in property at issue on appeal has no recourse against a lawful third-party purchaser. Appellant agreed to sell two parcels of commercial real estate to JDJ Holdings Inc. JDJ obtained two loans to finance the purchase - one from First National Bank and one from Appellant - both of which were secured by trust deeds. JDJ later defaulted on the loans. Appellant and First National both claimed that their deed was was entitled to senior position. The district court granted summary judgment to First National. Appellant appealed but did not formally seek or obtain a stay of the order and did not file a lis pendens on the property. First National subsequently purchased the parcel at issue under its reinstated trust deed. The parcel was later conveyed to 2DP Blanding, LLC. The court of appeals overturned the district court’s order. 2DP then filed suit seeking to quiet title to the property and to enjoin Appellant’s pending foreclosure sale under his original trust deed. The district court granted summary judgment for 2DP. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that 2DP was entitled to title of the property free and clear of any interest Appellant may have previously had in the property. View "2DP Blanding, LLC v. Palmer" on Justia Law

by
In 2003, a corporation was assigned a lease that permitted a restaurant to operate. Xiao-Yan Cao, the corporation’s president, personally guaranteed the corporation’s performance. In 2006, the lease was assigned to Hong Lin. As part of the assignment, the lease term was extended until 2013. Both Cao and Lin signed the lease extension as guarantors. In 2010, Lin stopped making timely rent payments. Lin and the property’s landlord agreed to a repayment schedule to permit Lin to catch up. In 2013, Lin defaulted on rent payments. The landlord sued both Lin and Cao for a sum representing the last month’s rent and a balance from the month prior. The district court concluded that the 2010 repayment materially modified the contract and discharged Cao’s guaranty. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that extending the period within which a tenant could pay its rent did not materially modify the contract. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court of appeals correctly determined that the 2010 repayment agreement did not materially modify the contract and that Cao was not relieved of her responsibilities as guarantor. View "PC Riverview, LLC v. Cao" on Justia Law