Law and the Big Oops — Henry E. Smith

Post by Henry Smith

vossMost of the time when we think building encroachments, we’re talking about an inch here or there. But what happens when someone builds an expensive house on the wrong lot? That could never happen, could it?

Oh yes, it can and it does. In one recent example, Mark and Brenda Voss mistakenly had their vacation home (pictured above) built at a construction value of $680,000 on the lot next to the one they actually own. Mr. Voss owns a real estate company (!), but the mistake and the ultimately responsibility appear to be the builder’s. Bargaining is inevitably going to be tough in what amounts to the ultimate bilateral monopoly situation. (Merrill and I have a case in our casebook in which the frustrated mistaken improver demolishes the house – and winds up having to pay for it!)

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