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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

Reviewing the Rule 

In a series of cases culminating in two recent decisions, the Maryland Court of Appeals clarified the scope and application of the rule against perpetuities in a broad range of real estate transactions. While the rule’s enforceability varies from

Safety Net 

As all commercial real estate professionals know, effectively managing property is not without its challenges. Property owners and managers must be prepared for anything since no one can predict when unexpected events such as fires, floods, contamination, and other catastrophes

What's the Use? 

Shopping center landlords heavily negotiate use provisions in their leases because they are critical to retail centers' tenant mixes. In a recent case, Congress Financial Corp. (Center) v. West Town Center LLC (In re Trak Auto), the Fourth Circuit Court

What's it Worth? 

Eminent domain gives government the power to condemn or take away privately owned property for public purposes. In recent years this has come to include selling or transferring land to private entities for economic development purposes. Eminent domain power exists

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

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

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

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,

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

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

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

Retro Rejection 

When tenants file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy both landlords' and tenants' rights and responsibilities come under the purview of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Landlords cannot evict tenants in bankruptcy absent relief from the automatic stay, and tenants must continue to

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

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

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

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

Appraisal Update 

Are appraisers more exposed undertaking charitable contribution appraisals when the taxpayer donor seeks a federal tax deduction? This concern arises with the passage of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, signed by President George Bush last August. The PPA increases

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

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.

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

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

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

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