February 19, 2016

Howard v. Kunto | Case Brief | 3 Wash. App. 393, 477 P.2d 210 (1970) - Court of Appeals of Washington

FACTS: The defendant and plaintiff were involved in a series of waterfront properties which all had summer cabins on them.  After a survey was taken it was realized that the cabins were on the wrong properties and everyone had been living in houses not on the property the were supposed to have owned.  (see diagram below)

HISTORY: Trial court issued a decree quieting the title in the plaintiffs of a tract of land on the shore of the Hood Canal.

ISSUE:

1) Is a claim of adverse possession defeated because the physical use of the premises is restricted to summer occupancy?

2) May a person who receives record of title to tract A under the taken belief that he has title to tract B (immediate and contiguous to A) and who subsequently occupies tract B, for the purpose of establishing title to tract B by adverse possession use the periods of possession of tract B by his immediate predecessors who also had record title to tract A?

HOLDINGS:

1) No

2) Yes

RATIONALE:

1) A summer house is ordinarily occupied in the summer which is exactly what the owners of the property in dispute did.  They were following a reasonable pattern of behavior for the property in question.

2) There is sufficient privity of estate with so many of the previous owners relying on bad deeds that it is alright to permit tracking.