What happens if a life tenant removes a fixture that is on the property?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What happens if a life tenant removes a fixture that is on the property?

My stepmother has a life estate to live on property (house, etc.) that I own. My father and I had a right to survive on the property so when he passed away I became the sole owner on the deed. Without my knowledge or consent my stepmother had a large shed removed and given to someone else. This shed has been on the property for 14 years. It had a level shale pad created initially for it to sit on. It was large (approx 14 ft x 29 ft) and when installed electricity installed from the main house as well as lighting. I would like to know if the removal of the shed would be considered as creating “waste” to me and if I would be able to collect damages due to depreciation of the property.

Asked on January 21, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you should be able to sue her for compensation: the life tenant has no right to damage or remove fixtures or structures from the property and can be held liable for their loss. Bearing in mind that you'd have to sue her, depending on the value of the shed, it may or may not be economically worthwhile to do this, but that is a different question.

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