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Clear the Air 

From asbestos to lead based paint, environmental problems and their associated risks always have been a concern in the commercial real estate industry. Today, property owners and investors can add vapor intrusion to that list of worries. An indoor air

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Domain Disputes 

Eminent domain issues affect residents and businesses in many communities where the law permits the local government to take private property for public use real estate developments or public purposes. While state laws vary greatly, the U.S. Supreme Court recently

Copy Right 

In a time of high costs, credit uncertainty, and a desire by some developers to either reuse past architectural plans or use other developers&rsquo designs to save money, a question arises about whether builders can utilize plans created by architects

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

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

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

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

Prevention Plan 

Asbestos litigation poses legitimate challenges and potential economic hardship for commercial real estate property owners. Overall, both prospective and current property owners need to be aware of and guard themselves against asbestos related risks associated with acquiring or owning 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

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

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

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

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

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.