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Guillette v. Daly Dry Wall, Inc. - 367 Mass. 355, 325 N.E.2d 572 (1975)

Rule:

A purchaser is bound by a restriction contained in deeds to its neighbors from a common grantor, when it takes without knowledge of the restrictions and under a deed that did not mention them.

Facts:

In 1967 and 1968, Gilmore sold three lots in a subdivision called Cedar Hills Section I in Easton to the plaintiffs through deeds, which referred or mentioned restrictions on the use of the lot, i.e., to maintain the subdivision as a residential subdivision to include only dwellings for one family.  In 1972, defendant Daly Dry Wall, Inc. (Daly) purchased its lot from Gilmore. The deed conveying the lot contained no reference to any restrictions but referred to the plaintiffs’ deed containing the said restriction. Thereafter, Daly obtained a building permit for 36 apartment-type units. Plaintiffs brought suit to enjoin Daly from constructing the multifamily apartment building. The trial court issued the injunction. On appeal, the defendant asserted that he was not bound by the restriction contained in the deeds to its neighbors, and he only had the duty to ascertain whether there were any restrictions in former deeds in its chain of title.

Issue:

Was defendant bound by the restriction contained in deeds to its neighbors from a common grantor, when it took without knowledge of the restrictions and under a deed that did not mention the same?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The Court held that the defendant was bound by the restriction contained in the deed of the plaintiffs, notwithstanding the fact that his own deed did not stipulate the same. According to the Court, the deed conveyed not only the described lot but also an interest in the remaining land. The deed was properly recorded, and as purchaser of part of the restricted land, defendant took subject to the restrictions. In addition, the deed could be found through the use of an index system that listed the names of grantors and grantees.

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