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Supreme Court Favors Property Owner Rights in Development Challenge 

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a significant decision concerning inverse condemnation, or regulatory takings, in the case of Palazzolo v. Rhode Island. The ruling states that acquisition of property with notice of a prior regulation restricting its use

Taking Issue with Taking by Regulation 

The story is familiar to property owners and legal practitioners In 1990, John and Florence Dolan attempted to obtain approval from the city of Tigard, Oregon, to replace their existing plumbing and electrical supply store in downtown Tigard with a

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

States Speak Out on Free Speech in Malls 

Across the country, courts have weighed the right of free speech against private property rights with differing results. While the majority view says that speech is not protected on private property, some courts have held that free speech exercised in

U.S. Supreme Court Takes Another Look at Regulatory Takings 

The landmark 1994 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Dolan v. City of Tigard established the "rough proportionality" test for determining whether government regulation of land is so intrusive as to constitute a taking for which compensation must be made. In

Act Accordingly 

Whether we like it or not, the fear of terrorism continues to impact the way Americans live, travel, and work. To help protect U.S. citizens against future attacks, the government currently is modifying and extending specific provisions of the U.S.A.

Transfer Request 

Bundle of sticks is the idiom commonly used to describe the rights that constitute fee simple property ownership. The common law right to receive compensation for injury to real property can be the most important “stick” within that bundle. It

Who Pays for the Stigma of Environmental Contamination? 

A national effort to identify and clean up environmental contamination has raised several issues relating to cleanup costs. Recently, a debate has emerged over who is responsible for covering costs when a property loses market value because of its proximity

Write Lease Exclusivity Provisions Carefully to Avoid Conflicts With Tenants 

Exclusivity provisions in commercial real estate leases are quite common, especially for retail properties. They give particular tenants exclusive rights to operate certain businesses in shopping centers. However, in order to avoid legal action, provisions should be drafted carefully so

Word Rights and Options Provisions Carefully to Avoid Contract Confusion 

Avoiding imprecise language is immensely important when drafting documents for property sales or leases. This especially is true when dealing with options to purchase, rights of first offer, and rights of first refusal. While most real estate professionals understand the

Word Default Terms Precisely in Rooftop Rental Agreements 

Renting rooftop space to telecommunications companies for cellular antennas and equipment can be an easy way for commercial property owners to increase revenue. Yet many owners are wary of such arrangements, concerned about a rooftop antenna's effect on a property's

Closing Counsel 

Today&rsquo s demand for new product in most real estate sectors has convinced a number of commercial real estate professionals to try developing properties either out of the ground or through the renovation of existing buildings. While development and redevelopment

Copy Right 

In a time of high costs, credit uncertainty, and a desire by some developers to either reuse past architectural plans or use other developers&rsquo designs to save money, a question arises about whether builders can utilize plans created by architects

Changing the Code 

On April 20, 2005, President Bush signed into law the Bankruptcy Abuse, Prevention, and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. While the act primarily reforms the bankruptcy laws affecting consumer cases, it also contains a number of amendments applicable to business

Litigation Alternatives 

As business litigation costs and length increase, more commercial real estate companies are turning to alternative dispute resolution to solve disagreements with partners, suppliers, customers, and other professionals with whom they have contractual relationships. ADR offers parties the ability to

A Good Clause 

With almost daily reports of either blizzards in the Midwest, tornadoes in the mid Atlantic states, fires in California, or hurricanes in Florida, it's no surprise that the once benign and sometimes ignored clauses addressing "acts of God" are now

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

More States Favor Mutually Dependent Covenants Rule in Commercial Leases 

In most states, commercial property leases adhere to the independent covenants rule, whereby landlords' and tenants' obligations are independent of one another. Thus, a tenant is expected to pay rent even if the landlord fails to uphold some of its

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

Electronic Signature Advances Will Facilitate Online Business 

The world of electronic transactions has galloped far beyond the efforts of the legal community to develop laws that facilitate traffic on the Internet. Recently, Congress gave an unequivocal green light to those exploring the realm of electronic commerce. While

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

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

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

Risk vs. Reward 

Today’s economic climate has forced both public and private sectors to think outside the proverbial box to come up with innovative financing strategies. One strategy that has recently gained popularity is the sale leaseback. The mechanics of a sale leaseback

Fair Housing 

The federal Fair Housing Act, as amended, makes it unlawful to discriminate in the sale or rental of a dwelling to any prospective purchaser or tenant. This prohibition includes making a dwelling unavailable to the prospective purchaser or tenant. Obviously,