Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Betterment Definition:

An improvement put upon a property which enhances its value more than mere replacement, maintenance, or repairs.

An improvement to real property or fixture(s) that increases, enhances the value. More than just mere repairs.

Traditional examples include additions, drainage work, asphalt etc.

In Northern Insurance, Justice Terry Wooten of the United States District Court (South Carolina, Florence) adopted these words:

"A betterment is defined as an improvement put upon a property which enhances its value more than mere replacement, maintenance, or repairs.

"The improvement may be either temporary or permanent."

The context of the legal term was aptly described by the publishers of the second edition of Am. Jur. (2005):

" ... betterment statutes entitle a possessor of land, who is subsequently divested of possession, to compensation for any improvement made to the land and create an obligation to pay for improvements based on principles of equity and unjust enrichment.

"To be entitled ... an improver must show he or she made permanent improvements on the property under a bona fide, reasonable belief of good title, such improvements must be made in good faith, valuable and beneficial to the owner."

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