Woodrick v. Wood

Woodrick v. Wood 1994 Ohio App. LEXIS 2258, 1994 WL 236287

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth Appellate District, Cuyahoga County
ISSUE:

May the holder of a remainder interest in a parcel of land prohibit the life tenant of such property from destroying structures on the land?

ANSWER:

Yes, if the contemplated act of the life tenant would result in diminution of the value of the property.

RULE:

LexisNexis Headnote 2: Waste, Elements Waste is defined as an abuse or destructive use of property by one in rightful possession. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2103.07 provides that a tenant in dower in real property who commits or suffers waste thereto will forfeit that part of the property to which such waste is committed or suffered to the person having the immediate estate in reversion or remainder and will be liable in damages to such person for the waste committed or suffered thereto.

FACTS:

A barn partially rested on a parcel of land in which plaintiff held a 25 percent remainder interest and in which defendant held a life estate. The barn was in disrepair, and defendant sought to tear it down. Plaintiff requested an injunction prohibiting defendant from removing the barn. The trial court denied the injunction but ordered defendant to pay plaintiff the value of the barn if it was torn down.

RATIONALE:

An injunction is an available remedy to prevent an act of waste, which is defined as an abuse or destructive use of property by one in rightful possession. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2103.07 provides that a tenant in dower in real property who commits or suffers waste thereto will forfeit that part of the property to which such waste is committed or suffered to the person having the immediate estate in reversion or remainder and will be liable in damages to such person for the waste committed or suffered thereto. Acts which would technically constitute waste as defined under the common law will not be enjoined when they result in improving rather than injuring the property. The destruction of the barn, though objectionable to plaintiff, did not constitute waste to the property because the value of the property would not be diminished by the barn's destruction. While plaintiff presented evidence that the barn itself had value and that she had personal property stored there, she had not shown that the presence of the barn on the property added any value to the property. The trial court’s order that defendant pay plaintiff the value of the barn if defendant destroyed it adequately assured that plaintiff would be adequately compensated for the barn’s removal.

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