Foreclosing on an agricultural property – what you need to know

dsaWhen a party forecloses on residential or commercial property they may have options on how to do so. However, when the property being foreclosed on is being used for agricultural purposes Washington law only permits judicial foreclosure. RCW 61.24.030(1). Real property is considered “used for agricultural purposes” if it is used in a manner that produces crops, livestock or aquatic goods. RCW 61.24.030(2). Despite these fairly strict protections for agricultural land, lenders may have alternatives if they draft a deed of trust.

In a recent but unpublished decision a state appellate court upheld a party waiving the right to a judicial foreclosure based solely on the fact that the land was being used for agricultural purposes. Schroeder v. Haberthur, unpublished 2011 WL 4599661 (Oct. 6, 2011). Additionally the parties to real estate transaction may stipulate in a deed of trust that the land is not and will not be used for agricultural purposes. The grantee of the deed of trust may require the grantor to warrant in the deed of trust that the land will not be used for agricultural purposes without the consent of the grantee. Id. Absent such agreements however, deeds of trust and power of sale foreclosure are unavailable for agricultural land and foreclosure must occur judicially.

Photo Credit: federico stevanin