Montoya v. Barreras

473 P.2d 363 (1970)

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Montoya v. Barreras

New Mexico Supreme Court
473 P.2d 363 (1970)

Facts

In 1940 the owner of a tract of land in Santa Fe, New Mexico, executed and recorded a declaration of covenants for the Linda Vista Addition to the city. The declaration included restrictive residential-use-only covenants that ran with each lot. The covenants automatically extended for successive 10-year periods unless a majority of lot owners agreed to change the covenants in whole or in part. In late 1967 and early 1968, a majority of lot owners signed a Consent to Change of Protective Covenants that would exempt one lot owner, Joseph Montoya (plaintiff), from the residential-use restriction and allow him to use his lot for commercial purposes but keep the restriction in place for all other lots. In a quiet-title action filed by Montoya, the trial court upheld the majority’s change to the use restriction as it applied to Montoya. Twenty of the defendants who were part of the minority of lot owners who did not consent to the change appealed. On appeal, Montoya argued that residential-use restriction was ambiguous and, therefore, it should be construed against its grantor and in favor of free use.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sisk, J.)

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