Real Property

This summary also appears under Tax

 

Issues: Tax foreclosure; General Property Tax Act (MCL 211.1 et seq.); Transfer of tax foreclosed properties to a land bank; MCL 124.755(6); Land Bank Fast Track Act (MCL 124.751 et seq.); "Foreclosing governmental unit" defined (MCL 211.78(8)); Haynes v. Neshewat; Rutland Twp. v. City of Hastings; Mandamus; Hanlin v. Saugatuck Twp.; "A clear legal right" defined; University Med. Affiliates, PC v. Wayne Cnty. Executive; Due process; U.S. Const. amend. V; Const. 1963, art. 1, § 17; Notice and an opportunity to be heard; Dusenbery v. United States; Republic Bank v. Genesee Cnty. Treasurer; Actual notice; Alycekay Co. v. Hasko Constr. Co., Inc.; Collateral estoppel; Leahy v. Orion Twp.; Detroit v. Qualls; Monat v. State Farm Ins. Co.; VanDeventer v. Michigan Nat'l Bank; Whether the parties in the second action are "the same as or privy to" the parties in the first action; VanVorous v. Burmeister; Husted v. Auto-Owners Ins. Co.; Right result reached for the wrong reason; Gleason v. Michigan Dep't of Transp.

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Published)

Case Name: Rental Props. Owners Ass'n of Kent Cnty. v. Kent Cnty. Treasurer

e-Journal Number: 58910

Judge(s): Per Curiam – Shapiro and Stephens; Not Participating - Whitbeck

 

In an issue of first impression, the court held that the trial court, in three separate cases filed by the appellants-individuals, companies, and associations, did not err by granting summary disposition for the appellees-treasurer, county, city, and land bank, or by denying their motion to set aside the quiet-title and foreclosure judgment entered in favor of the land bank, on their claims that appellees' actions deprived them of the opportunity to purchase certain tax-foreclosed properties. Appellants claimed the appellees unlawfully moved foreclosed properties into the land bank, thus depriving them of their right to bid on the properties. The trial court ruled in favor of appellees, and denied appellants' motion to set aside the quiet title and foreclosure judgment for the land bank. On appeal, the court first rejected their arguments that the properties were obtained "in direct contravention of the authority granted to the units of government and the governmental officer" under the law, and the appellees violated ordinances, policies, or resolutions. It held that the tax-foreclosed properties were "properly purchased by" the county from the treasurer, and the county was not required to offer them for sale by public auction. "[R]equiring the state, a city, village, or township, or a county to subsequently sell by public auction foreclosed properties it had purchased under MCL 211.78m(1), would inappropriately read language into MCL 211.78m(2); by its express words, subsection 2 specifically applies to sales by the foreclosing governmental unit after the state, a city, village, or township, or a county have not exercised their respective right to purchase the property under MCL 211.78m(1)." Further, the county "did in fact purchase the properties from" the treasurer, and "MCL 124.755(6) and MCL 211.78m do not place restrictions on, or even address, a local governmental unit's use or subsequent sale of such properties." Similarly, the court held that the trial court did not err by concluding that the city, like the county, did not violate the statutes when it purchased the tax-foreclosed properties from the treasurer and then immediately sold them to the land bank. "The purchase in this case was for a public purpose, which was to restore blighted properties and to provide housing on tax-foreclosed properties. Other than the restriction that the purchase be for a public purpose, the Legislature did not restrict in any way how the city may convey the property thereafter." The "existing contract to sell the property to [the land bank] immediately after it purchased the properties, as well as the terms related to financing the sale, do not invalidate [the city's] purchase of the tax-foreclosed properties." The court also rejected appellants' argument that the process by which the land bank obtained the properties "violated due process and otherwise ran afoul of" constitutional guarantees. Affirmed.

 

Full Text Opinion

Issues: Adverse possession; Beach v. Lima Twp.; "Hostility" element; Jonkers v. Summit Twp.; "Mistaken possession"; Warner v. Noble; DeGroot v. Barber; Connelly v. Buckingham; Prescriptive easement; Slatterly v. Madiol; Plymouth Canton Cmty. Crier, Inc. v. Prose; Matthews v. Natural Res. Dep't; Mulcahy v. Verhines; Acquiescence; Walters v. Snyder; Acquiescence for the statutory period; West MI Dock & Mkt. Corp. v. Lakeland Invs.; Mason v. City of Menominee

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)

Case Name: Kingstrom v. Koutz

e-Journal Number: 58654

Judge(s): Per Curiam – M.J. Kelly, Beckering, and Shapiro

 

Holding that the plaintiffs' mistaken possession of the disputed area did not amount to hostile possession under the circumstances, the court affirmed the trial court's dismissal of their adverse possession and prescriptive easement claims. It also held that they could not establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the parties acquiesced in the property line for the requisite period. Thus, it also affirmed the dismissal of their acquiescence claim. The parties own adjacent lots. The disputed area contains the last 6.7 feet of a seawall, brick patio, and a retaining wall that start at one end of plaintiffs' property and span the entirety of their lot, extending into defendants' lot. It was undisputed that plaintiffs, along with their predecessors in interest, the Hs, were mistaken about the boundary line of the property, and that the Hs "intended to hold to the true line when they constructed the seawall, retaining wall, and patio." While simply being mistaken as to the true boundary does not necessarily defeat an adverse possession claim, when "a party attempts to respect the true line but fails to do so, 'there [can] be no adverse possession.'" The court found that the facts here were akin to the first type of scenario described in DeGroot - a "scenario where plaintiffs and their predecessors in interest failed to respect the true line while attempting to do so." CH testified that "she believed the seawall, patio, and retaining wall respected the true property line. She testified that she did not intend to encroach onto the neighboring property." Also, there was no testimony that CH "intended to install the seawall, retaining wall, and patio up to a certain fixed boundary that subsequently proved to not be the true boundary." Rather, she testified that "she believed she respected the true property line, "but failed to do so." As with the adverse possession claim, "the trial court did not err by dismissing plaintiffs' prescriptive easement claim because there was no evidence of hostility." Finally, the evidence showed that they "did not have a viable claim for acquiescence." CH, plaintiff-Ronald Kingstrom, and defendant-Julie Koutz "testified that they never had an agreement to treat the seawall, patio, and retaining wall as a boundary between the properties." Julie also testified that "she made a point of establishing her ownership of the disputed area in 2008 or 2009," which was before the statutory period would have expired. "This does not demonstrate any semblance of an agreement to treat the seawall, patio, and retaining wall as a boundary between the properties."

 

Full Text Opinion
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