Sunday, September 14, 2014

Lowering property values

What if you buy a house in a "nice neighborhood", and then a few months later someone buys the house next door and paints it purple with yellow polka dots and has "Ugly People Mud Wrestling" in their front yard every night?

You might complain that they have lowered your property values.

If that can make the local "tax" thieves demand a lower yearly ransom you should be grateful, as long as you aren't trying to sell your house. Put up a tall fence, or enjoy making fun of the show.

But, even if you are trying to sell, why assume that this development would automatically be seen the same way by every potential buyer? Because it won't. Maybe someone would like to buy your house to put a concession stand in the front yard, and bleachers, and charge admission so people can point and laugh.

But, again, even if it does reduce the resale value, have you been "taken from"? Has someone taken value away from you in a way that makes them owe restitution?

I don't believe so.

Lots of things can reduce the value of your property.

If a visitor to your home damages your TV so that it no longer gets one particular channel, they have reduced the value of your TV. They owe restitution.

If the owner of your favorite TV network decides to close up shop (or cancel Firefly!), he has also reduced the value of your TV to you. But, as upsetting as his actions may be, he doesn't owe you restitution. Your TV would still be as valuable to someone whose tastes and preferences differed from yours.

Just like your house next to the Ugly Naked Muddy Clown House.