There has been some controversy lately over a tenant on the property of Applecrest farm in Hampton Falls.

According to a report from Seacoast online, a long-time tenant, 85 year old Gertrude Eaton, says that she has lived on the property in Hampton Falls her whole life and the owners of the property, Todd Wagner and his father, Peter Wagner are going against a written agreement that she says she had stating that she could live on the property for the rest of her life, rent free, but she can't find the paper.

I understand that maybe she has forgotten where that written agreement is, however, I'm not sure she has any case without it.  The Wagner's say that if Gertrude produces the paper, they will honor it, so says the report.

The other thing that comes to mind is - if it was, in fact, an agreement between the two of them, it should have been recorded in the Registry of Deeds.  That sort of thing does occasionally happen, so it's recorded for all to see, without question.  Even if the property was sold, the new owners would have to let her stay if it was a covenant of the deed.  (Thank you 'real estate before radio' background.)

The Wagner family has offered Gertrude a reduced price to buy the property herself, which honestly, they didn't have to do.  There must be a bank that would be willing to work with her and her family to get this woman the loan that she needs.  There is such a thing as a reverse mortgage that would make payments much easier for her.  A mortgage specialist can help.

Lastly, sometimes people have to move because of circumstances and it's not the fault of the property owner.  According to another seacoast online report, the Wagner's had to purchase land that they use for a parking lot because that land owner decided to sell it, so they had no choice but to sell the land that Gertrude lives on in order to survive.

This is a very painful situation for both families and I certainly can sympathize with Gertrude and her family, because I feel like I've been through it myself with my own Mother, however, legally, I don't think there's much the Eaton family can do to have the living situation stay the way it is.  There is much they can do to help Gertrude change the circumstances and that doesn't necessarily mean moving.



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