Real property cannot be abandoned.
Buyers purchased a vacant lot in a subdivision. When the buyers attempted to sell the lot, they were unable to find any buyers. They believed that the lot was worthless. When the homeowners association billed the buyers for association fees, the buyers refused to pay such fees on the grounds that they had effectively abandoned their lot. The homeowners association initiated an action against the buyers to recover the unpaid fees. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the homeowners association because abandonment was not a valid defense in a real property action. On appeal, the court affirmed the decision. The case was appealed to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
Were the buyers liable for association fees?
The Court found that the buyers remained the owners of the lot in fee simple because they were the owners of record and perfect title could not be abandoned, so the buyers were liable for the fees. The owners never relinquished their rights, title, claim or possession of the lot and abandonment was not a valid defense in a real property action.