P has a life estate. Property in question in NYC is in a residential neighborhood by a park.
-Costs $70,542 more than if resided in apartment.
-P wants to tear down building, build apartments that would change the loss into an income of $30,000.
-States that it is in the best interest for him as a life tenant as well as inheritors and remaindermen.
-D’s state that the demolition is waste. D’s = adult remaindermen.
-Can P tear down house with is a life estate, or would this be waste?
-P can not tear it down. Testator passed down ‘residence’, which is not just the land.
-Life estate does not include full title and full ownership.
-Remaindermen take the interest if P’s children die without heirs.
-Remaindermen have a future interest in the house, not merely the land.
-A life estate binds the tenant, he/she has no right to exercise a right of ownership.
LAW OF WASTE: Any act of the life tenant which does permanent injury to the inheritance is waste.
-By a lease, the use, not dominion of the property demised is conferred.
-Court looked to Melms v. Pabst Brewing Co.
-In Melms, D tore down building in good faith before judgement, believing it would not merely holding a life estate.
-Area around the property was commercial, no longer residential. Isolated, alone, surrounded by railroad tracks.
-Estate of P’s were substantially increased, no way injured thereby.
-Here there were changes of condition that none could control. (This was different than in the Brokaw case).