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Carveout Consequences 

In the commercial real estate market&rsquo s current distressed state, mortgage lenders are faced with falling real estate values and sluggish properties that can&rsquo t meet debt service obligations. Inevitably, loan documents become the roadmap for lenders seeking to recoup

Bankruptcy Sales 

As this real estate cycle heads into its downturn, developers, investors, and lenders may face bankruptcy issues that they have not experienced in the past. Market slowdowns during the last 18 months may require these parties, as well as others,

Deal Diagnosis 

During the past decade, hospitals and healthcare providers have been on a building spree. Not only is the quantity of developments growing, but project size is on the rise. Hospitals and healthcare providers often build new because aging facilities cannot

Click With Caution 

The statute of frauds, which dates back to 17th century England and continues in some form in every state, requires that contracts for the transfer of real estate interests and for the sale of goods above a certain dollar amount

Court's ADA Ruling Reminds Property Owners and Managers About Access Requirements 

Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act as a comprehensive law designed to remedy discrimination — whether it is intentional or not — against those with disabilities in public and commercial facilities. The ADA requires continued efforts over time to

Contamination Examination 

Real estate recessions create terrific investment opportunities &mdash the trick is figuring out which ones are right for you. With banks and loan servicers increasingly swamped by foreclosure properties, environmentally contaminated properties can offer particularly good deals. A fair amount

Conversion Conundrum 

As the housing market continues to suffer through its worst decline in recent history and demand for unsold units within recently developed condominium projects evaporates, the repositioning of condo projects into apartments may be a successful strategy for owners or

Courts Examine Brokers' Fiduciary Duties 

Once an owner hires a broker to sell or lease a property, a fiduciary relationship is established. The term fiduciary describes a position of trust The broker owes the seller loyalty and a duty to act in good faith during

Developers Must Establish Public Purpose to Justify Eminent Domain 

Eminent domain is the well established right of government to condemn or take private property for public purposes. Most arguments relating to eminent domain deal with whether or not the owners of taken properties received just compensation. The general rule

Building a Case for Constructive Eviction 

During a typical Washington, D.C., summer, the state of the art air conditioning system in a recently completed class A office building broke down. With the windows closed, temperatures indoors routinely exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit. With the windows open, the

Business Breakups 

Given commercial real estate’s protracted downturn, brokerage arrangements, investment groups, and client partnerships may be on shaky footing these days. While breaking up is hard to do, learning how to do it successfully can help all business participants to pick

Are Property Managers Debt Collectors? 

In December 1998, a case that has potential significance for residential property managers and others who routinely collect rent for property owners came before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. Romea v. Heiberger & Associates involved a

Broker Beware of Changes in Buyer Beware 

Anyone involved in the commercial real estate business even 20 years ago knows that a basic tenet of doing business historically has been caveat emptor—let the buyer beware. Simply stated, this doctrine puts the burden of evaluating the quality and

Buyer Beware 

Despite the current economy, the long term outlook for commercial real estate investments remains strong. In this market, foreclosing lenders, equity investors, and other bargain hunters have numerous attractive opportunities to acquire defaulting and distressed commercial real estate assets.  

Avoidance Behavior 

Mediation, arbitration, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution have become a favorable choice in today’s commercial real estate market. While ADR can be helpful, the involved parties often don’t realize the expectations of the process, which can make it

Cases Reinforce Importance of Brokerage Agreements to Obtain Commissions 

Many real estate brokers assume that a signed letter of intent or contract between a buyer and seller automatically guarantees them a commission. This could be a costly assumption, because letters of intent and contracts can be interpreted in different

Pay Attention to Specific Lease Terms to Avoid Litigation 

Although they are among the most common legal documents in commercial real estate, leases often are items of contention due to misunderstanding of terms or unspecific wording. As the following cases illustrate, landlords and tenants must pay close attention to

New Legislation Encourages Developers to Clean Up Brownfields 

Enacted in 1980, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act imposed liability for the release of hazardous substances on four categories of potentially responsible parties, or PRP the owner or operator of the facility at which the release occurred

Protecting Possession 

Subtenants that do not employ mechanisms to protect their interests could face devastating consequences if a sublandlord files for bankruptcy protection. In such situations, bankruptcy law can operate to terminate subtenants' rights to possession. In a California case on this

Obtaining Permission 

When commercial real estate projects affect streams, wetlands, or other bodies of water that fall under the Clean Water Act's jurisdiction, generally developers cannot discharge dredged or fill material into the waters until they obtain a CWA Section 404 permit

Recent Court Decisions Help Real Estate Pros Avoid Litigation 

At the end of the year, it is helpful to revisit legal issues concerning commercial real estate by reviewing new court decisions that further the debate on these topics. Both of the examples cited here continue themes discussed in earlier

Recapture Clauses Help Landlords Retain Control of Properties 

Assignment and recapture clauses often are debated during negotiation of commercial real estate leases, and the relationship between the two is intertwined. In deciding whether to consent to assignments of tenants' leasehold interests, landlords frequently are required by law or

Ruling Raises Issues About Who Pays CERCLA Cleanup Costs 

Congress enacted the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 to make those who created environmentally impacted properties responsible for cleaning them up. In particular, CERCLA allows current property owners to recover full or partial cleanup costs from

Insurance Companies Tighten Coverage for Mold-Related Damages 

The recent anthrax scare amply illustrates the potentially devastating health risks posed by biological contaminants. It also underscores the reality that remediation of contaminated buildings is costly and disruptive. Terrorism aside, many in the legal and insurance industries herald toxic

Letters of Credit Help Protect Landlords Against Tenant Bankruptcy 

While the direction of the U.S. economy remains unclear, many businesses struggle to stay viable. In today's fast paced environment, even strong companies may succumb to financial pressures more quickly and with much more disastrous results than in the past.