Sanborn v. McLean

233 Mich. 227, 206 N.W. 496 (1925)



In a common development scheme, there are restrictions that are outside the direct chain of title as long buyers are deemed to have constructive notice. A reciprocal negative easement attaches to all land in a common development scheme.


A subdivision was planned as a group of residential properties. One of the buyers sold their residential property to defendants. Defendants wanted to build a gas station in the neighborhood, and the subdivision filed suit to stop them.Defendants insisted that no restrictions appeared in the chain of title and they purchased the land without notice of any reciprocal negative easement.


Is defendants' lot subject to a reciprocal negative easement? 




On appeal, the court upheld the decree, stating that restrictions were upon defendants' lot while it was still in the hands of common owners. Further, the abstract of title to defendants' lot revealed the common owners and the record showed deeds of lots in the plat were restricted to perfect and carry out the general plan which resulted in a reciprocal negative easement upon defendants' lot and all lots within its scope. Defendants and their predecessors in title were bound by constructive notice under the recording acts. For 30 years, the united interests of all persons interested had carried out the common purpose of making and keeping all lots strictly residential, and defendants were the first to depart therefrom.

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