Archives: Ownership

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(US) PA Supreme Court Act 13 decision disappoints the Oil and Gas Industry

This post was also written by Peter Schnore. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s December 2013 decision regarding the constitutionality of the 2012 law amending Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act (Act 13) came as a disappointment to the oil and gas industry. Conversely, the decision was a holiday gift to those governments, groups and individuals seeking greater … Continue Reading

(US) California Nonresidential Building Owners Face New Energy Use Disclosure Requirements In 2014

Effective January 1, 2014, owners of nonresidential buildings of 10,000 square feet or more must disclose energy use information to prospective purchasers, lessees and lenders. Owners of nonresidential buildings 5,000 square feet or more can look forward to the same disclosure obligations beginning July 1, 2014. The new law (AB 1103) establishes a benchmarking system … Continue Reading

(US) The Ring of Solitude; Negotiating a Retail Lease Radius Clause

The August 2013 issue of the Commercial Lease Law Insider featured an article about negotiating lease radius clauses which was voted the best issue of 2013 by the publication’s insider subscribers. Why would radius clauses garner such interest? Radius clauses are an important tool at the disposal of a retail landlord to protect its economic … Continue Reading

(US) Creative Financing-Let the Purchaser Do It

Despite the recent low interest rate environment, some projects just will not support market rate construction loans. What then is the developer to do? Over the last few years developers have begun to turn to the purchaser to finance construction of a project. This technique can be used for both residential and commercial development. Many … Continue Reading

(US) Land Banks: Too Good to Fail

This post was written by Dusty Elias Kirk and Gerald S. Dickinson. Pennsylvania municipalities and potential developers interested in converting vacant, abandoned, tax delinquent or foreclosed properties into productive use should take note of legislation enacted in 2012 that permits a municipality with more than 10,000 residents to create a land bank.1 Land banks are … Continue Reading

(US) Brownfield Owners and Developers Take Note: EPA Issues New Guidelines Emphasizing and Strengthening Institutional Controls

This post was written by Edward V. Walsh III. Brownfield developers and owners of contaminated property contemplating a cleanup should take note of two important guidelines issued by the U.S. EPA. These guidelines recommend early consideration of the use of institutional controls (legal documents such as deed restrictions, restrictive covenants and the like) in planning … Continue Reading

(US) A View to a Hill? Beachfront Homeowners Wary Over Dune-Rebuilding Easements

The Garden State is forging ahead with rebuilding efforts after Superstorm Sandy devastated the Jersey Shore last October. One of the largest proposed projects is a $3 billion dune-replenishment project set to start May 1. This proposed coastal protection system would create 22-foot-tall dunes along the coast, forming a natural barrier against storms to protect … Continue Reading

(US) Pennsylvania Supreme Court Affirms the Dunham Rule and Restores Certainty to Oil and Gas Law

Last August, we reported that a Pennsylvania Superior Court decision (Butler v. Charles Powers Estate) threatened to undermine nearly 200 years of mineral-rights law in Pennsylvania by rejecting the “Dunham Rule” – a legal doctrine that presumes that in private deed transactions where there is a reservation or exception for “minerals,” without any specific mention … Continue Reading

(US) The Truck Stops Here – Or Should It?

According to the National Restaurant Association, the proliferation of food trucks has been one of the hottest trends in the food service industry the last few years. Such trucks have become technologically advanced and bear little resemblance to the “Good Humor” trucks and the so-called construction site “chuckwagons” that have previously dominated the mobile-food-truck sector. … Continue Reading

(US) New York High Court Rules that Statutory Interest Not Included with Liquidated Damages – Unless You Say So

A recent opinion by New York’s highest court (J. D’Addario & Co. v. Embassy Indus., Inc. Slip Op 07850, Court of Appeals) held that a seller’s "sole remedy" of retaining the purchaser’s deposit as "liquidated damages" means just that – that’s all you get (i.e., no court-imposed interest unless you expressly say so). In the … Continue Reading

Real Estate Legal Update Blog

Empty Rates – Good News This post was written by Katherine Campbell and Siobhan Hayes There is some good news for those with rates liabilities for empty properties this week! Since April 2008 rates relief on empty industrial space has been limited to six months. This, as we all know, has caused substantial hardship to landlords with empty … Continue Reading

New Developments in Real Estate Construction Loans in Pennsylvania

This posting was also written by Curt Heffler. Construction Ahead: In a recent Pennsylvania Superior Court case (Commerce Bank v. Kessler), the court held that an open-end mortgage recorded after commencement of construction on the mortgaged property does not have statutory priority over a subsequently recorded mechanic’s lien unless all of the proceeds of the loan … Continue Reading

New Michigan Nonrecourse Mortgage Act Seeks to Restore Protections for Borrowers

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed into law the Nonrecourse Mortgage Loan Act, MCL Sec. 445.1591, et seq., the purpose of which was to overturn the effect of two Michigan court decisions that interpreted and applied certain special purpose entity (SPE) and nonrecourse "carve-out" loan provisions in a way that seemed to favor lenders, and … Continue Reading

Bankruptcy Court Decision In Illinois Holds That Mortgage Can Be Avoided Because of Failure To Include Loan Terms In Mortgage Document

In In re Crane, the Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of Illinois recently held that a mortgage can be avoided in bankruptcy if it fails to include the maturity date and the interest rate of the underlying debt within the mortgage document. The court found that failing to include these loan terms on the … Continue Reading

Michigan Court Denies Transfer Tax Exemption to Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac: A Sweet Result for Michigan That Could Cost the Feds Millions

While those with a sweet tooth may think of Fannie May as the Chicago-based chocolate company, Fannie Mae has only brought heartburn to Michigan as Fannie and Freddie Mac claimed a federal exemption from the Michigan real estate transfer tax as to the sale of foreclosed properties – costing Michigan millions of dollars in lost … Continue Reading

Chicago Wins the Latest Round: In a Longstanding Battle, Court Upholds Chicago Landmarks Ordinance Against Constitutional-Vagueness Challenge by Property Owners

The City of Chicago has prevailed in the latest round of a "no holds barred" battle with local property owners over the constitutionality of The Chicago Landmarks Ordinance. In a decision dated May 2, 2012 by the Circuit Court of Cook County, the property owners' claims that the Landmarks Ordinance was unconstitutionally vague and violated due process were rejected, and the court upheld the Ordinance. Hanna and Mrowka v. City of Chicago. No. 06 CH 19422. The landowners had previously won a highly favorable ruling at the appellate court level (in 2009), which raised the prospect of the invalidation of the Ordinance (as reported in a previous Reed Smith Client Alert) - a result that would have sent shockwaves through the historic preservation community nationwide. With the case remanded to it for decision, the trial court considered the due process vagueness issue in detail, including as to the clarity of the Ordinance's criteria for landmark status; but it was not persuaded by the property owners' arguments, and found that they did not meet their burden of rebutting the presumption of the constitutionality of the legislation, thus upholding the Ordinance.… Continue Reading

Financing Contingencies and Earnest Money Deposits: If I Can’t Get My Loan, I Get My Deposit Back, Right?

Real estate purchasers whose contract permits the return of the earnest money deposit if financing cannot be obtained must be extremely careful in how this contingency is worded in the purchase contract, or a purchaser may get an unwelcome surprise, and be forced to forfeit the earnest money when financing cannot be obtained. Typically, when … Continue Reading

Chicago’s Vacant Building Ordinance Addresses Some Serious Problems – and Creates Some of Its Own, Too

Chicago's Vacant Building Ordinance, which imposes substantial and unprecedented duties on mortgagees of residential real estate located in the city of Chicago, continues to generate controversy - and lawsuits.… Continue Reading

The First CRC Performance League Table

The Environment Agency published the first Performance League Table under the Carbon Reduction Commitment (Energy Efficiency) Scheme (‘CRC’) earlier this month. One of the ideas behind the CRC is that organisations will be motivated to improve their energy efficiency (and therefore their carbon emissions) not only because they will reduce their energy costs but also … Continue Reading
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