I have a customer who is trying to buy a farm out here in the country on which to home school his children, raise organic beef and chickens, vegetables...basically live out his dream.
It took some time but he found a parcel of 65 acres. We ran the title search and discovered that coal and mining rights had been conveyed to a local coal mining company back in 1967. The deed was pretty scary. It spelled out all kinds of things that they could do to that land, including strip mining, building roads - all kinds of things which we spelled out in an exception in the title insurance commitment and sent to our buyer and his lender.
They did a stop drop and roll and said WHAT?
In the process of researching this issue we found that the last two property owners had NO clue that this deed was in the chain. WHY? Well, the exception, if they got a title commitment, was probably worded...coal and mining rights as set forth in yatta yatta yatta.
Now, I'm not saying we never use that kind of vague lingo. We do, but only when the vague lingo is what we find in our search, meaning that the rights were conveyed back beyond our 60 year search and we only find references to it in other deeds.
How is this being resolved? The buyer and his lender have asked the seller to buy back the rights or get a release. The seller has hired a mineral rights attorney who is pursuing the matter.
Makes ya think, eh?
Will be back with an update. For now, the mining company owners have gone fishing, literally. ;)