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Schultz v. Werelius

February 1, 1991

JOHN SCHULTZ, APPELLANT,
v.
MILDRED WERELIUS, RESPONDENT



Worswick, C.j. Alexander, J., concurs. Petrich, J., dissents by separate opinion.

Author: Worswick

Does the assignee of a purchaser's interest in a real estate contract have standing to commence an action to set aside a forfeiture, when the assignment was made after the notice of intent to forfeit was recorded? The answer plainly is no. We affirm a summary judgment dismissing the action.

Mildred Werelius was the vendor under a real estate contract. The original purchasers assigned their interest to Daniel Snook. Snook was later convicted for operating a large amphetamine laboratory on the property. On September 6, 1988, Werelius recorded a notice of intent to forfeit the real estate contract on the grounds that Snook had used the property as an illegal drug laboratory, had created and left chemical waste there, and had failed to maintain required insurance. The notice of intent to forfeit was mailed to Snook and the original purchasers.

On September 9, Snook assigned his interest in the contract, for no apparent consideration, to John Schultz. This assignment was recorded on September 12. Schultz did not attempt to cure the default or enjoin the forfeiture, and on December 19, 1988, a declaration of forfeiture was recorded, forfeiting all purchasers' interests in the property.

On January 11, 1989, Schultz filed an action to set aside the declaration of forfeiture asserting that, as the assignee of all of Snook's rights, he had standing to bring this action. The trial court disagreed. It granted Werelius's motion for summary judgment.

[1-3] The Real Estate Contract Forfeiture Act (RCW 61.30) provides that actions to set aside a declaration of forfeiture may be commenced only by persons entitled to notice under RCW 61.30.040(1) and (2), namely:

(1) . . . [E]ach purchaser last known to the seller . . . and to each person who, at the time the notice of intent to forfeit is recorded, is the last holder of record of a purchaser's interest. . . .

(2). . . .

(a) The holders and claimants of record at the time the notice of intent to forfeit is recorded of any interests in or liens upon all or any portion of the property . . . .

(b) All persons occupying the property at the time the notice of intent to forfeit is recorded and whose identities are reasonably discoverable by the seller.

(Italics ours.) Substantial compliance with the forfeiture act is required of vendors. Powell v. Moss, 51 Wash. App. 530, 535, 754 P.2d 697, review denied, 111 Wash. 2d 1005 (1988). The same ...


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