Real Cases in Real Estate By Andrea Lee Negroni, Esq. – July 9th, 2012 Update

Real Cases in Real Estate By Andrea Lee Negroni, Esq. – July 9th, 2012 Update

Real 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.

Followers of 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.

Each fully 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 laymen alike.

Whether you follow real estate law professionally or as a hobby, you'll find something new and useful every week in Real Cases in Real Estate.


Updates for the Week of July 9th, 2012

Agritourism is the Equivalent of Agriculture in Tennessee, Protected by the Right-to-Farm Act.

The Tennessee Appeals Court considered a dispute between an individual operating a farm and some of his neighbors who claimed his farm-based activities were mostly commercial, not agricultural. The farmer was the son of a couple who assembled 11 parcels of land into a farm in 1985. His unhappy neighbors were residents of the subdivisions that surrounded the farm. The neighbors said that noise, bright lights, traffic and garbage resulted from the concerts, helicopter rides, and other recreation held on the farm. The noise, in particular, was harming their health, comfort and property values. The neighbors characterized the farm-based music festivals, helicopter rides and other amusements as a commercial recreational business.

Tennessee's right-to-farm act, like those of other states, presumes that agricultural activity is not a public or private nuisance. The presumption that agricultural activities are not a nuisance can be overcome through expert testimony that the farming doesn't conform to "generally accepted agricultural practices." Unfortunately, the term "generally accepted agricultural practices" aren't defined in the Tennessee law.

In this case, with no prior decisions to guide it, the appeals court explained that the right to farm has evolved to incorporate "agritourism," which essentially means farm-based hospitality. This hospitality includes activities that allow the public to view farming and ranching for educational, cultural and recreational purposes. Noting that agritourism is the equivalent of agriculture under the right to farm law, the appeals court upheld the farmer's right to conduct these activities.

VELDA J. SHORE v. MAPLE LANE FARMS, LLC, 2012 Tenn. App. LEXIS 229 (4/11/12) [enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers].

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