A-19055, AUGUST 15, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 107

A-19055: Aug 15, 1927

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WHERE IT IS ESTABLISHED THAT THE AGREEMENT PRECEDING THE DEED WAS FOR THE SALE OF A LOT AND THE IMPROVEMENTS THEREON FOR A TOTAL CONSIDERATION OF A MUCH LARGER SUM. THE FAILURE TO NAME THE ENTIRE CONSIDERATION IN THE DEED WILL NOT PREVENT THE ALLOWANCE OF THE CLAIM FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE PURCHASE PRICE SO AGREED UPON. WHICH WAS CONVEYED TO THE UNITED STATES BY WARRANTY DEED DATED JUNE 29. THE CLAIMANTS NOW CONTEND THAT THAT WAS THE AGREED PRICE FOR THE LOT AND THAT $950 HAD BEEN AGREED AS THE VALUE OF THE IMPROVEMENTS. IT IS A WELL-ESTABLISHED PRINCIPLE OF THE LAW OF REAL PROPERTY THAT THE CONVEYANCE OF A PARCEL OF LAND WITH APPURTENANCES CONVEYS THE TITLE OF AND TO NOT ONLY THE SOIL BUT ALL BUILDINGS AND IMPROVEMENTS ATTACHED THERETO.

A-19055, AUGUST 15, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 107

DEEDS - CONSIDERATION WHILE THE CONSIDERATION NAMED IN A DEED MAY BE GENERALLY CONSIDERED AS PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE OF THE SUM AGREED TO BE PAID FOR THE PROPERTY SO CONVEYED, THIS MAY BE OVERCOME BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY; AND WHERE IT IS ESTABLISHED THAT THE AGREEMENT PRECEDING THE DEED WAS FOR THE SALE OF A LOT AND THE IMPROVEMENTS THEREON FOR A TOTAL CONSIDERATION OF A MUCH LARGER SUM, THE FAILURE TO NAME THE ENTIRE CONSIDERATION IN THE DEED WILL NOT PREVENT THE ALLOWANCE OF THE CLAIM FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE PURCHASE PRICE SO AGREED UPON.

DECISION BY ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL GINN, AUGUST 15, 1927:

REVIEW HAS BEEN REQUESTED OF SETTLEMENT OF MARCH 17, 1927, DISALLOWING CLAIM NO. 0171881, OF ALBERT GUNTHER AND MARTHA GUNTHER, FOR $950, AS THE VALUE OF IMPROVEMENTS ON KELLY ADMINISTRATIVE SITE, LOT NO. 1, BLOCK 5, TOWN SITE OF KELLY, IN TETON COUNTY, WYO., WHICH WAS CONVEYED TO THE UNITED STATES BY WARRANTY DEED DATED JUNE 29, 1926.

BY THE DEED IN QUESTION THE CLAIMANTS, IN CONSIDERATION OF THE SUM OF $50, CONVEYED TO THE UNITED STATES THE ABOVE-DESCRIBED PIECE OR PARCEL OF LAND,"TOGETHER WITH ALL AND SINGULAR THE TENEMENTS, HEREDITAMENTS, AND APPURTENANCES THERETO BELONGING OR IN ANY WISE APPERTAINING.' THE $50 HAS BEEN PAID, BUT THE CLAIMANTS NOW CONTEND THAT THAT WAS THE AGREED PRICE FOR THE LOT AND THAT $950 HAD BEEN AGREED AS THE VALUE OF THE IMPROVEMENTS.

IT IS A WELL-ESTABLISHED PRINCIPLE OF THE LAW OF REAL PROPERTY THAT THE CONVEYANCE OF A PARCEL OF LAND WITH APPURTENANCES CONVEYS THE TITLE OF AND TO NOT ONLY THE SOIL BUT ALL BUILDINGS AND IMPROVEMENTS ATTACHED THERETO, UNLESS EXPRESSLY RESERVED IN THE DEED. WITH RESPECT TO THE CONSIDERATION, WHILE THE AMOUNT NAMED IN THE DEED MAY GENERALLY BE CONSIDERED AS PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE OF THE SUM AGREED TO BE PAID (4 COMP. GEN. 21), THIS MAY BE OVERCOME BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY (18 C.J., P. 265; 34 CYC. 932; 20 COMP. DEC. 728; 3 COMP. GEN. 821). IN SUPPORT OF THE REQUEST FOR REVIEW THERE ARE NOW SUBMITTED AFFIDAVITS BY ALBERT GUNTHER AND BY FOUR OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE FOREST SERVICE, TO THE EFFECT THAT THE SALE WAS NEGOTIATED FOR THE TOTAL CONSIDERATION OF $1,000, $950 BEING FOR THE IMPROVEMENTS, CONSISTING OF A FIRST-CLASS LOG HOUSE WITH CEMENT BASEMENT AND ROCK FOUNDATION, STABLE, CORRAL, AND GARAGE, AND $50 FOR THE LOT; THAT THE REASON FOR THE SEPARATE PRICE BEING FIXED FOR THE IMPROVEMENTS AND THE LOT WAS DUE TO THE PROVISIONS IN THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1132, PRESCRIBING SEPARATE LIMITATIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE AMOUNT WHICH MIGHT BE EXPENDED IN ANY ONE YEAR FOR THE PURCHASE OF LAND FOR RANGER STATIONS, AND WITH RESPECT TO THE PURCHASE PRICE THAT MAY BE PAID FOR BUILDINGS FOR SUCH STATIONS. IT IS FURTHER CONTENDED THAT THE DRAFTING OF THE DEED TO COVER THE IMPROVEMENTS AS WELL AS THE LOT WAS INADVERTENT, AND THAT IT WAS THE INTENTION TO HAVE RESERVED IN THE DEED THE IMPROVEMENTS ON THE LAND. IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT IT HAS BEEN SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN THE INTENTION TO ACQUIRE BOTH THE LOT AND THE IMPROVEMENTS, IT MUST BE CONCLUDED THAT IT WAS PROPER TO INCLUDE THE IMPROVEMENTS IN THE DEED, AND THAT THE REFORMATION OF THE DEED TO EXCLUDE THE IMPROVEMENTS IS NOT AUTHORIZED. FURTHERMORE, SUCH A REFORMATION DOES NOT APPEAR NECESSARY TO AFFORD THE RELIEF SOUGHT IN THIS CASE.

THE EVIDENCE SUBMITTED AS TO THE VALUE OF THE IMPROVEMENTS AND THE AGREEMENT FOR THEIR PURCHASE AS WELL AS FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE LOT ESTABLISHES CONCLUSIVELY THAT THE CONSIDERATION OF $50 NAMED IN THE DEED IS NOT THE TOTAL CONSIDERATION MUTUALLY AGREED UPON FOR THE LOT AND THE IMPROVEMENTS COVERED BY THE DEED. THE CLAIMANTS HAVING FULFILLED THEIR AGREEMENT BY THE CONVEYANCE OF BOTH LOT AND IMPROVEMENTS TO THE UNITED STATES ARE NOW ENTITLED TO THE FULL CONSIDERATION AGREED UPON, NAMELY, $1,000, LESS THE AMOUNT ALREADY PAID.