Right of First Refusal?

I purchased 2 acres of land directly from the owner of the property. It had been certified with the state for non payment of taxes since 2005, but I approached them so they would get something, and it is a better deed. Now after 7 months I got a letter from the family that had originally sold it to them stating they had a first right to refusal. Is there anything I can do?
thanks for the answers a few more details: Yes I had a lawyer do the title search, deed work, and pay the back taxes to the state. And yes there was a copy of original deed with a right of first refusal in it, but the property was already certified with the state before I purchased.

3 Responses to “Right of First Refusal?”

  1. Froufrou Says:

    From what you wrote, it sounds to me like the letter should have gone to the owner you bought it from, not to you. When you said, ‘I approached them and it’s a better deed,’ what ‘them’ and ‘better’ how?

    If ‘the family’ had a first right of refusal, it also seems like they would have sent you a copy of it, with the letter.

    Something doesn’t pass the smell test. Without proof of the ROFR, they are grandstandling.

    ETA: Looking at the add’l details and what the poster from OR has to say, I think you would be best advised to take this up with your attorney. I don’t know about ‘certified by the state,’ but it sounds as if they were not aware of the ROFR.

  2. Joe the Rehabber Says:

    Go to the Registrar of Deeds and find the records.

    Was the first right of refusal a recorded document
    before your contract was recorded?

    You can check the Registrar of Deeds yourself,
    they’re usually very helpful there – no charge
    except a dollar or two for copies.

    A Lawyer can do the research for you and make your claim.
    Even sue for specific performance.

  3. Andrew P Says:

    Had the property been foreclosed on by the state? If not, then the original owners might have a claim. The person you bought the property from should’ve let the original owners know that he was planning on selling the property and offered it to them first. Since he apparently didn’t, there is a title problem with the property. Did you buy title insurance when you bought the property? If so, you need to contact them and tell them about the situation, because they typically cover these things. However, since you say the original recorded deed had a right of first refusal written in it, I bet your title company saw that, and wrote it in as an exception to their policy. You need to talk to your attorney again and ask him what your potential liability is.

    If the original owners have a valid claim (and I think they do), you might be forced to sell the property to them, or pay them off. Either way, it’s not going to be cheap. They would have to file a lawsuit to force you to do anything.