University of Maryland Extension

Poorly Drafted Lease Agreement with Option to Purchase Can Be Resolved Against the Drafter

Paul Goeringer

Photo by Edwin Remsberg

            Leasing farmland is a common practice across the United States.  In some cases, the two parties may agree to a written lease with an option to purchase.  An option to purchase allows the tenant the right of first refusal if the landlord decides to sell the farmland during the lease period.  Disputes can sometimes arise over how broad the option is: Does it include just the farmland rented or everything owned by the landlord?  If the option is unclear, courts often resolve ambiguities against the drafter.  To better understand what I mean, let’s take a look at a recent court decision.

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