Cases in Real Estate
is a weekly update on real estate law, with legal principles illustrated and
explained by lawsuits from around the country. The topics are wide-ranging for
appeal to a broad spectrum of readers including lawyers, homeowners, investors
and the general public. Andrea Lee Negroni, a Washington DC
attorney and legal writer with 25 years of experience in financial services and
mortgage law, contributes the case summaries.
Real Cases in Real Estate will learn and be entertained by lawsuits
involving nuisance, trespass, zoning violations, deed restrictions, title
insurance, public utilities, mechanics liens, construction defects, adverse
possession, foreclosure and eviction, divorce and marital property rights,
tenants' rights, and more. Real Cases in Real Estate uncovers the
unpredictable, amusing, and sometimes outrageous disputes between next-door
neighbors, contractors and homeowners, condo boards and residents, real estate
brokers and homebuyers, and zoning administrators and developers.
cited case summary highlights the essential law of the case and explains the
principal legal theories and concepts relevant to the outcome. Plain language
treatment makes Real Cases in Real Estate accessible to lawyers and
follow real estate law professionally or as a hobby, you'll find something new
and useful every week in Real Cases in Real Estate.
for the Week of July 2nd, 2012
To Claim Minnesota's Favorable
Tax Rate for Agricultural-Homestead Property, A Family Farm Venture Must Own or
Lease the Farm.
Frederick Farms, a corporation engaged in farming on a
300-acre parcel in Olmsted County, Minnesota, objected to an increase in its
property tax rate when the county re-characterized the farm parcel from
"agricultural-homestead" to "agricultural-nonhomestead."
James Frederick, the sole shareholder of Frederick Farms and the person who did
most of the farming, lived on an 80-acre property adjacent to the farm parcel.
The agricultural-homestead rate applied to his 80 acres. James Frederick
claimed the agricultural-homestead rate should apply to the entire 380 acres.
The Minnesota Supreme Court
disagreed, citing two separate theories. First, because James Frederick already
had a homestead on the separate 80 acres, he could not also have a homestead on
a separate 300-acre parcel. The farming corporation owned the 300-acre farm, and
no one lived on the farm. James then argued he was engaged in a "family
farm venture," an argument which the Minnesota Supreme Court was inclined
to accept. However, even if he was in a family farm venture with the farming
corporation, the farm parcel was not eligible for the agricultural-homestead
rate because it did not own or lease the land. The Court held that to be
eligible for the agricultural-homestead rate, the family farm venture must
either own the land being farmed, or lease it. Ownership by a separate
corporation, Frederick Farms, made the farm ineligible for the
agricultural-homestead tax rate.
Frederick Farms, Inc. vs. County
of Olmsted, 801 N.W.2d 167, 2011 Minn. LEXIS 467 (August 10, 2011) [enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers].
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