An estate in qualified fee conditional is one in which the former owner in fee simple (the grantor) has specified that the new owner (the grantee), as well as his or her heirs or assigns, cannot violate a stipulated condition. If they do, the former owner retains the right of re-entry, which allows him or her to re-enter the land to make sure the condition has not been violated. The right of re-entry is also the legal mechanism through which the current estate ends and the former owner can recover fee simple ownership (a process known as reversion). Generally, the right of re-entry can be exercised only if an action is performed that has specifically been prohibited. Whether or not to take legal action to recover fee ownership of the property is at the sole discretion of the grantor.
Also known as Qualified fee subject to condition subsequent.
Example: Mr. Smith owns land in fee simple absolute, which he sells to Mr. Jones under the condition that the land not be used for industrial purposes, even though industrial land use is permissible according to local zoning regulations. If Mr. Jones constructs a factory on the property, or develops the land for any other industrial purpose, the estate ends and Mr. Smith (or his heirs) can regain ownership of the land. In order to recover the estate, Mr. Smith or his heirs must petition a court with jurisdiction over real estate matters.
Terms, Definitions, and Concepts: Real Estate, Title and Title Insurance, Legal (Law), Management