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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

Cases Reinforce Importance of Brokerage Agreements to Obtain Commissions 

Many real estate brokers assume that a signed letter of intent or contract between a buyer and seller automatically guarantees them a commission. This could be a costly assumption, because letters of intent and contracts can be interpreted in different

Courts Examine Brokers' Fiduciary Duties 

Once an owner hires a broker to sell or lease a property, a fiduciary relationship is established. The term fiduciary describes a position of trust The broker owes the seller loyalty and a duty to act in good faith during

Developers Must Establish Public Purpose to Justify Eminent Domain 

Eminent domain is the well established right of government to condemn or take private property for public purposes. Most arguments relating to eminent domain deal with whether or not the owners of taken properties received just compensation. The general rule

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

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

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

No Uncertain Terms 

What does it mean to vacate the premises in commercial leases? The denotation can be critical, particularly in cases where vacating the premises triggers a default. Last August, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals was called on 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

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

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