Property Rights Defense 101

There are many things which can individually or in combination with other land use regulations remove property rights you thought you had and which the founding fathers intended you to have. These are often the result of ignorance, such as when a public employee asks to “inspect” your house, fire protection or septic tank drain field, or when they tell you you can’t have a permit unless you first release a portion of your rights to government.

Another action having the same result is to place “buffers” on your property that restrict where you can build, plant or otherwise improve your property, in many cases permanently forbidding you its further use. Most all of these actions are unconstitutional and illegal, but become imposed through the power of contract, because property owners don’t know any better, and agree to the restrictions.

This material is intended to equip property owners with fundamental knowledge and practicable “tools” with which they can defend themselves against the constant aggressive actions by government to increase their power to increase control over your private property at your expense..

This “Primer” includes case law, (both State of Washington and Federal), instructions on how to resist signing agreements “under duress”, and short stories of egregious government actions that were successfully resisted by private citizens such as yourself..

The following attachments and references were assembled by a property owner involved with defending his property rights over a period of 20 years. He is not an attorney. These are documented cases, however, where his personal study and protracted efforts obtained victory against local governments attempting to force concessions, prohibit permits, impose unlawful conditions, or actually ‘take’ property from him without compensation.

Supreme Court Decisions

The 1994 Supreme Court ruling in Dolan v. City of Tigard established that an imposed development condition must be in “rough proportion” to the impact caused.

The Supreme Court, in its 1987 Nolan v. California Coastal Commission decision, required that an imposed development condition (e.g. mitigation) must be reasonably related to the burden imposed by the development.

Recent Washington State Rulings Reversing Actions that Unlawfully Infringed on Property Rights.

Don’t give up your property rights in exchange for a building permit.

Make sure that any agreement you sign includes this notation under your signature:
U/D RCW 62A.1-207

This means that you are signing “under duress” and refers to a specific section of Washington State law.


“Many citizens inadvertently sign away their property rights when they sign a contract with government (or a bank or business). Typical in this modern era is a permit to build, improve, buy or sell or relocate something.

A contract is the only means by which a U.S. citizen can give legally up his constitutional rights, since contract is given the highest protection level in our constitution(s). (See Article V in the U.S. Constitution.)

Because in the past, this has been abused heavily by contracting parties to ‘steal’ away constitutional rights, the federal code (Universal Commercial Code) and State RCW adopted simple language to reserve rights under contract, regardless of what you think you are signing up for.

The text provided above can be placed under the signature blank of your permit, license or whatever contract it is that you are signing. By writing that in, no one can come along later and claim that you signed away your rights when you agreed to the terms of your permit or license.

The form is abbreviated, but the meaning should be clear to the person protecting himself. It says that the signature is under duress or protest and that the “signee” is signing while preserving his or her rights.

Note that a public official cannot thereby refuse to grant you your permit, or deny your right to add this phrase under your signature. Governments attempting to do this are in violation of U.S. Code 42, section 1983 (the U.S. Civil Rights Act) and face very severe penalties if convicted for their actions.

Questions? Click here.


RCW 62A.1-207 — Performance or acceptance under reservation of rights.

(1) A party who, with explicit reservation of rights performs or promises performance or assents to performance in a manner demanded or offered by the other party does not thereby prejudice the rights reserved. Such words as “without prejudice”, “under protest” or the like are sufficient.

(2) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to an accord and satisfaction.

[1993 c 229 § 2; 1965 ex.s. c 157 § 1-207.]



§ 1-207. Performance or Acceptance Under Reservation of Rights.

(1) A party who with explicit reservation of rights performs or promises performance or assents to performance in a manner demanded or offered by the other party does not thereby prejudice the rights reserved. Such words as “without prejudice“, “under protest” or the like are sufficient.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to an accord and satisfaction.

[Note: As amended in 1990.]


Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners (KAPO) is allied with various legal resources and land use experts who can respond to your particular needs. Please seek us out for further information if you are faced with threats to the enjoyment of your property.