Hernandez v. Banks
District of Columbia Court of Appeals
65 A.3d 59 (2013)
In March 2001, Bryant and Sheillia Banks (defendants) entered into a lease agreement to rent a house from Patricia Speleos. The Bankses were also given the exclusive option to purchase the property. In 1997, a group named 718 Associates (plaintiffs) purchased a tax sales certificate for the same property. In November 2001, as part of a separate proceeding, Speleos was declared mentally incapacitated. Due to this declaration, a judge voided several other real-estate transactions that Speleos had entered into in March 2001, but did not rule on the validity of the Bankses’ lease. Speleos died several years later. 718 Associates eventually obtained title to the property from Speleos’s estate. 718 Associates then filed action against the Bankses, seeking possession of the property. The Bankses claimed they were entitled to remain tenants at the property because they had a valid lease with Speleos. 718 Associates challenged the validity of the lease, claiming Speleos lacked capacity at the time she entered into the lease agreement with the Bankses. The trial court held that although Speleos was mentally incompetent at the time the lease was signed, the lease was voidable, rather than void. The trial court concluded that there was no evidence to demonstrate that the lease should be voided. 718 Associates appealed the decision.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Blackburne-Rigsby, J.)
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