This section is from the book "The Law Of Real Property and Other Interests In Land", by Herbert Thorn Dike Tiffany. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise on the Modern Law of Real Property and Other Interests in Land .
As before stated, one who makes improvements on land in the mistaken belief that he is the owner thereof is given, by equity, a right to compensation for such improvements as against the true owner coming into equity to assert his rights,69 and this right to compensation has been regarded as enforcible as against the land itself.70
Cary v. Robinson, 8 Mass. 159; dale's Ex'rs v. Morris, 29 N. J. Eq. 224; Rockwell v. Hobby, 2 Sandf. Ch. (N. Y.) 9; Chase v. Peck, 21 N. Y. 584; Carpenter v. Black Hawk Gold Min. Co., 65 N. Y. 43, 51; Hackett v. Reynolds. 4 R. I. 512; Hutzler v. Phillips, 26 S. C. 137, 4 Am. St. Rep. 687, 1 S. E. 502; Jarvis v. Dutcher, 16 Wis. 307.
68. Lehman v. Collins, 69 Ala. 127; Davis v. Davis, 88 Ga. 191, 14 S. E. 194 (statute); Vanmeter v. McFaddin, 8 B. Mon. (Ky.) 437; In re Snyder, 138 Iowa, 553, 19 L. R. A. (N. S.) 206. 114 N. W. 615; Gardner v. McClure, 6 Minn. 250; Hackett v. Watts, 138 Mo. 502, 40 S. W. 113; Gorhard v. Flynn, 25 Miss. 58; Bloomfield State Bank v. Miller, 55 Neb. 243, 44 L. R. A. 387, 70 Am. St. Rep. 381, 75 N. W. 569; Shitz v. Diffen-bach, 3 Pa. 233; Meador v. Mea-dor, 3 Heisk. (Tenn.) 562; Parker v. Carolina Sav. Bank, 53 S. C. 583, 69 Am. St. Rep. 888, 31 S.
An owner of an undivided interest in land who is entitled to contribution from his cotenants on account of repairs or improvements made by him is given by equity a lien on their interests to secure such contribution.71 Likewise, a life tenant under a will who completes improvements begun by his testator is entitled to compensation therefor, and is given a lien to secure such compensation.72
According to some decisions, a tenant under a lease providing that he shall be compensated, at the end of the term, for any improvements made by him, has a lien on the land for the value of such improvements.73 By other decisions, his right to a lien is denied.74