The limits of property rights–the red, white and blue house

By Jennifer Felten

This country was founded by people who were angry with the government for infringing on their property rights. As such, the core of the American legal system supports the rights of property owners to unfettered control of their property.

These rights, however, must be limited when they come into conflict with the rights of other property owners. This balance of rights is complicated and challenging to police by both the authorities and the courts.

One family in Bradenton, Florida, is discovering this the hard way. Indeed, Brent Greer grew up in the 100-year-old home and now lives there with his wife and seven adopted children. A few months ago, code enforcement officers said they went to the home acting on an anonymous tip about violations on the property. According to the city’s Community Services and Code Compliance Manager, a complaint was received about a dead Christmas tree on the balcony. When the compliance manager and his officers asked the family to remove it, they complied.

Unfortunately for Greer and his family, the inspection revealed multiple other code violations at the property. When all was said and done, the city sent Greer a two page letter, listing several violations at the home. Some of the issues were about missing window screens, painting, pressure washing, loose railings, and trash on the property.

Greer said that while everything was upsetting, one complaint made him furious. He said he was told his home’s exterior painting was not up to city standards. In protest, Greer painted the outside of his house red, white and blue. Greer said he decided to turn his home into the American flag to send a message.


Greer Home


feltonJennifer Felten, Esq., Partner, Hershorin & Henry, LLP,, 699 Hampshire Road, Suite 105, Westlake Village, CA 91361, (805) 265-1031, [email protected].  Ms. Felten specializes in representing both individuals and legal entities, providing representation and guidance on a variety of real estate related matters.

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