Legal Question in Construction Law in California

My daughter & soninlaw put up a shop building on my property metal building with cement floor. Now they are divorcing & he wants to take down the building sell it but leave the concrete floor behind. This building has ben up for about 2 years the building is on the tax role as part of the property & I have ben paying the taxes, who has legal right to this building. Bob H.

Asked on 7/31/14, 12:45 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

This is not an easy one to answer. The older law that improvements made to the land of another become part of the realty and thus belong to the owner has been softened by statutes giving greater rights to so-called "good-faith improvers" of the land of another. These laws give some protection to those who make a good-faith mistake as to the ownership of the land. The intention of the parties at the time the buildings are erected is also entitled to considerable weight. Civil Code section 1013.5 MIGHT apply, and if so, it gives the party who affixed the improvements to the land the right to remove them, but only upon payment of damages for harm done to the land. However, 1013.5 requires that the building be attached due to the improver having an erroneous belief as to his right to do so. If the facts at trial were to show that the daughter and son-in-law had no erroneous beliefs as to their right to construct the building at the time, they would have no right under 1013.5 to remove the building. Please feel free to contact me directly with more information about the understandings and beliefs of the parties at the time of construction.

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Answered on 7/31/14, 8:20 am

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