What are our rights if we recently had a home built and were assured that the area was protected and would never change but that has not been the case?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What are our rights if we recently had a home built and were assured that the area was protected and would never change but that has not been the case?

We selected a wooded lot with trees and large boulders that provide both beauty and privacy. However, 2 months after moving in the developer stated they owned the land and now have plans to cut trees. We complained. The developer then sent a letter saying they would not cut trees but 2 weeks ago they started cutting and stated that they will remove all of them. Is this a breach of contract? Are both the home builder and community developer in breach of contact? We selected our lot specially for the woods. We were also charged a premium for the lot.

Asked on December 21, 2015 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the builder and the developer for breach of contract.  Damages (monetary compensation) from the builder would be the diminution in value of the property.
Damages would be an inadequate remedy against the developer due to multiplicity of lawsuits for removing trees and because land is unique.  Therefore, your remedy against the developer would be an injunction to prevent removal of the trees.
With regard to the injunction, you should immediately get a temporary restraining order to prevent further removal of the trees and destruction of the property.  The temporary restraining order will be in effect until a hearing at which time the court may grant a preliminary injunction.  At a subsequent trial, the court will determine whether to grant a permanent injunction.
When determining whether or not to grant an injunction, the court balances the hardship to each party.

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