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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,

Getting Up to Speed on Parking Lot Safety 

To what extent are commercial property owners responsible for safeguarding their customers and tenants from criminal conduct on their properties? In a recent flurry of cases, several state and federal courts have examined the issue and have leaned toward requiring

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

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

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

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

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

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

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