SW Legal Educational Publishing

Polluted Property Can Have clear and Marketable Title
Description New Hampshire high court held that even if property is polluted, it might still have clear and marketable title. The pollution affects the value and marketability of the property, not the title itself.
Topic Real and Personal Property
Key Words Good Title, Contamination
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts McManus auctioned a piece of commercial property owned by Rosewood. The buyer refused to close on the property when he discovered that it was contaminated with toxic substances. McManus then sued Rosewood to recover his auctioneer's commission. The question was whether Rosewood had clear and good title to the property that had been auctioned.
Decision "The issue before us is whether the presence of contaminants on the defendant's property destroyed 'good and clear' title. 'Good' title is synonymous with 'marketable' title-one that is 'free from any reasonable objection of a reasonable purchaser.' Even if property is contaminated with toxic substances, the title to that property may be 'free from any reasonable objection of a reasonable purchaser.' ... There is a difference between economic lack of marketability, which relates to physical conditions affecting the use of the property, and title marketability.... One can hold perfect title to land that is valueless; one can have marketable title to land while the land itself is unmarketable."
Citation McManua v. Rosewood Realty Trust, Slip Copy (1998 WL 694915, Sup. Ct., N.H.)
719 A.2d 600 (Sup. Ct., N.H., 1998)

Back to Real and Personal Property Listings

©1998  South-Western, All Rights Reserved