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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

Swap Rent for Dot-Com Stock? Ask Tough Questions Before Proceeding 

With the explosion of dot com and high tech companies, some property owners are experiencing a new phenomenon tenants offering stock options or warrants in lieu of other forms of payment for lease transactions. This trend raises legal and business

Domain Decision 

The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided Kelo v. City of New London, one of the most significant property rights cases in decades. The Court determined it is constitutional for a local government to condemn non blighted private property for

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

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

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

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

Duty Bound 

What kind of duty does a real estate broker owe his client? Honesty ? and full disclosure ? is the best policy it is better to err on the side of caution than for brokers to potentially breach their duty

Condemnation Concerns 

For retail tenants, location is perhaps the most important factor for success. However, even the best location quickly can turn bad in the wake of condemnation or modification of access to the property. Despite the upfront investment made in securing

Preserving Property 

Transfer of development rights programs allow property owners to buy and sell development rights without actually exchanging any land. The basic TDR concept is to compensate landowners who give up potential development rights in environmentally sensitive areas or preservation districts

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

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

Interpreting the Rules 

Since the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Kelo v. City of New London, which permitted a local government to use the power of eminent domain to take private property for economic development, at least 47 states have revisited their eminent

Retirement Plan 

Today companies clean up and sell contaminated property more easily than in the past thanks to new technology and a clear understanding of contaminated property remediation. Many developers and local governments now are comfortable acquiring

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

Peace 2.0 

A Party Wall Agreement provides clarification about the ownership and maintenance obligations for the shared wall to prevent and avoid disputes.

Queen’s Gambit 
With the commercial and real estate markets in flux, more real estate litigation is happening because buyers and sellers are trying to back out of closings. Here's how to prepare by drafting the most airtight contract possible.
Disclosure Duty 

Do you have to tell your commercial tenant that its space is in a flood plain? The opinion of the U. S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee is that under Tennessee law, you do not. While this

Seeking Comfort 

When providing loans on branded hotel properties, mortgage lenders usually seek a “comfort” or “recognition” letter from the brand’s licensor or franchisor. A comfort letter is a tri party agreement among the owner, the lender, and the licensor. Its purpose

Proactive Profitability 

The bad news is that investment property costs increased when taxes increased in January. Interest rates have also increased. The good news is that savvy landlords can take proactive measures to improve the bottom line now and in the upcoming

Chasing Value 

Change in tax law for REIT spin-off deals sparks creative solutions. Recent changes to the Internal Revenue Code have ended the tax-free benefits of real estate investment trust spin-off transactions. Characterized by some as a Wall Street loophole, the beneficial structure enabled operating companies to dist

Commercial Calculations 

Rent, operating expenses, tax obligations, and several other economic matters are tied to the square footage of leased premises. Generally speaking, a higher square footage yields higher rent and other payments for the leased premises. Therefore, landlords and tenants often

Letters of Intent 

No one wants to waste time and money on a deal that the parties will never complete. A well drafted, nonbinding letter of intent can be a valuable first step in determining whether there is a deal to be made

Nervous TIC 

For many years I have written articles on the implications if tenant in common interests are determined to be securities. One such concern is whether TIC interests can be employed in tax deferred exchanges. Historically, a taxpayer might have exchanged

Splitting Fees 

Foreign Capital Buys Offices In 2014, foreign capital was particularly focused on office assets, purchasing $17 billion of U.S. office properties, according to CBRE. That amount represents 45 percent of last year’s foreign investment in U.S. commercial real estate. More