Golf Property Doesn't Have to Remain a Course
Question: Several years ago we purchased a home on a golf course in Ahwatukee. Not only did we pay a premium for our home being on a golf course, but our purchase contract stated that “the golf course will remain a golf course.” In addition, our community had deed restrictions that limited the use of the golf course for golf purposes only, unless a majority of the homeowners agreed to amend these deed restrictions. The problem is that the golf course is no longer in operation, and the landscaping of the golf course is in terrible condition. Being on the golf course is no longer a positive for us, but is a major negative. A major homebuilder now wants to buy the golf course to build homes which would totally destroy any view that we have. Do we have a claim against the developer for the loss in value of our home not remaining on a golf course? Even if the golf course is not financially viable, doesn’t the developer have an obligation to at least properly operate and maintain the golf course?
Answer: Until a majority of the homeowners amend the deed restrictions to eliminate the requirement of a golf course, the developer should at least have the obligation to maintain the golf course. The developer, however, should not have the obligation to actually operate a golf course if not financially viable. The reason is that your primary concern is the appearance of the golf course, not whether there are individuals striking golf balls on the golf course.
Finally, if the deed restrictions are properly amended, any misrepresentation that “the golf course will remain a golf course,” probably does not result in any claim against the developer. The representations by a developer of a community are generally subject to deed restrictions, CC&Rs, and any other recorded documents. You as the buyer of a home in the community as a matter of law had knowledge of these recorded documents, including the amendment provision by a majority of the homeowners. In light of this constructive knowledge, you probably had no right to rely on the developer’s misrepresentations that “the golf course will remain a golf course.”
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