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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

Landlords Should Know Bankruptcy Rights to Avoid Lost Rent 

Your tenant files for bankruptcy — should you give up hope of collecting any rent? No. Tenants are not allowed to occupy leased space without paying rent during bankruptcy proceedings. However, the bankruptcy filing's timing determines how much restitution landlords

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Litigation Alternatives 

As business litigation costs and length increase, more commercial real estate companies are turning to alternative dispute resolution to solve disagreements with partners, suppliers, customers, and other professionals with whom they have contractual relationships. ADR offers parties the ability to

Hidden Hazards 

Rising gas prices and a highly competitive market have closed more than 3,000 of the nation&rsquo s 164,292 gas stations in the last year, the biggest drop in five years, according to National Petroleum News. In June, ExxonMobil announced it

A Good Clause 

With almost daily reports of either blizzards in the Midwest, tornadoes in the mid Atlantic states, fires in California, or hurricanes in Florida, it's no surprise that the once benign and sometimes ignored clauses addressing "acts of God" are now

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

Designation Rights 

When retail tenants are unable to honor rent payments due to bankruptcy, selling the property's designation rights may provide an alternative option for realizing the leases' value. A designation rights sale involves debtors transferring their right to decide which leases