Brief Fact Summary. A church could no longer support lands deeded to them and attempted to sell them pursuant to a bankruptcy proceeding.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The right of reentry cannot be assigned and will be void if an attempt to assign is made. Further, when a restriction in a deed becomes a burden and a financial drain on a landowner, the restriction will not be enforced.
Issue. When a grantor creates a right of reentry, is that right void if the grantor tries to assign that right?
Held. Yes. Judgment affirmed.
Absent any language in the deed providing for the automatic termination of Plaintiff’s estate if the land were no longer used for church purposes, the deed creates a right of reentry, not a possibility of reverter. The right of reentry is not assignable or devisable.
Any right of reentry would be rendered void by any attempt by the heirs to assign that right to Defendants.
As to the restrictions in the deed, the inquiry is whether the existence of the restriction substantially impeded the owner of the property in the furtherance of the purpose for which the land is held. The bankruptcy proceedings show that continued ownership of the properties is a burden and a financial drain on resources that could otherwise be used to provide programs and services to the community.
Discussion. This decision promotes the free alienability of land because the land is being put to its most beneficial use by being sold when the current owner can no longer maintain it.