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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,

Exclusive-Use Covenants Often Restrict Retail Leases 

Exclusives, or restrictions imposed upon the permitted activities of tenants for the benefit of an anchor or other significant tenant, are fairly common in retail leases. A recent case decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of

Guide to Green 

The perfect example of local government hurdles to green building leapt off the newspaper page a few months ago. Former Vice President Al Gore filed a plan with the municipality of Belle Meade, Tenn., to install solar panels on the

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

Reexamine Leases in Light of Heightened Security Concerns 

The criteria for leasing suitable office space used to be straightforward and well understood location, location, location. However, concerns raised by last year's terrorist attacks may affect numerous aspects of the leasing process. Allocations of risk and responsibility between landlords

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

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

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.

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

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

A Wise Compromise 

A tenant is negotiating with a landlord to lease office space. The term of the potential lease is five years, but the tenant also wants the right to extend the lease for an additional five years. This situation is increasingly

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

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

The Write Stuff 

When partnerships sell commercial property, industry professionals must secure the written authorization of all the partners or co owners on both listing and purchase agreements to ensure that contracts are legally binding. If such an action is not possible, brokers

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

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

Understanding Equal-Access Requirements 

When considering requirements relating to accessibility for the disabled, commercial property owners, managers, and developers must keep in mind two separate federal bodies of law the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act. Although both federal acts address

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

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

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

Landlords Must Be Specific if Including Dual-Option Terms in Leases 

Landlords often offer lease options, such as the right of first refusal to purchase the property, to attract tenants in a tight market. Although more advantageous to tenants, rights of first refusal — or tenants' rights to buy properties when

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

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