Latest updates

Real estate firms in the digital advertising era: are you thinking about the risks?
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • USA
  • June 01 2018

Digital advertising is an effective and efficient way to brand a property, but it is also increasingly complex and nuanced, which is why many real estate firms subcontract this work to creative agencies that specialise in digital ad strategy and development. However, engaging a third party to provide this service can introduce risk in a number of areas. Therefore, real estate firms should consider how to mitigate those risks in their contracts with digital advertising partners.

Impact of omnibus spending plan on affordable housing industry
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • USA
  • May 18 2018

President Trump recently signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2018, a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending plan covering the remainder of the 2018 fiscal year. In addition to providing for increased appropriations for several affordable housing programmes, the spending plan adopted two key provisions from the proposed Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act that will strengthen and expand the low-income housing credit.

Alleged government inaction did not amount to inverse condemnation and compensable taking
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • USA
  • May 11 2018

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently reversed the US Court of Federal Claims decision that a constitutional compensable taking had occurred with respect to the owners of real property which had been damaged as a result of Hurricane Katrina and other recent hurricanes. This ruling could affect many thousands of Texas and Southeastern United States claims that are being filed in the court of claims in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Ballot initiative seeks to eliminate Proposal 13 for commercial and industrial real estate
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • USA
  • March 09 2018

A new initiative seeks to put two significant changes to California's property tax system before voters in November 2018: the elimination of Proposition 13 protection for commercial and industrial properties in favour of reassessment at least every three years and the addition of a tangible personal property tax exemption for all taxpayers and a full tangible personal property tax exemption for taxpayers with less than 50 California employees.

Legalised marijuana resulting in real estate high
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • USA
  • January 05 2018

With a number of states having already legalised medicinal marijuana, the demand for cannabis continues to be on the rise. With an increase in demand for the product comes an increase in the need for production facilities, including indoor marijuana cultivation space. Real estate investors have jumped on this market; however, while the resulting real estate boom is undoubtedly a positive for the real estate industry, it does not come without legal and operational risks.

Fourth Circuit affirms dismissal of constitutional challenges to zoning ordinance changes
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • USA
  • November 10 2017

The Court of Appeals recently affirmed a lower court's decision to dismiss a plaintiff's complaint that an amendment to Rockville's 'light industrial' municipal zoning ordinance was unconstitutional as it violated the due process and equal protection guarantees of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. The ordinance made it impossible for Siena Corporation to build on its property a large self-storage facility within 250 feet of a public school.

Wyoming law criminalising crossing of private property to collect resource data regulates 'creation' of speech
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • USA
  • October 06 2017

In an unusual case, the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit reversed the district court's decision that recently enacted Wyoming laws impose civil and criminal liability on any persons who "cross private land to access adjacent or proximate land where he [or she] collects resource data". The court concluded that the statutes regulate protected speech under the First Amendment and are not shielded from constitutional scrutiny merely because they touch on access to private property.

Sixth Circuit balances rights of US Forest Service and rights of private property owners provided by Michigan law
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • USA
  • August 18 2017

Balancing the interests of the federal government as owner of thousands of acres surrounding Crooked Lake and the rights of private owners, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently ruled that the US Forest Service exceeded its authority when issuing rules restricting recreational use of the lake. According to the court, relevant Michigan law grants owners of property surrounding the lake the right to reasonable use of the lake.

Impact of Supreme Court ruling on local affordable housing laws
  • USA
  • April 29 2016

The US Supreme Court denied certiorari in California Building Industry Association v City of San Jose and left standing a unanimous decision by the California Supreme Court upholding the city of San Jose's affordable housing ordinance. The denial of certiorari leaves in place similar 'inclusionary' affordable housing programmes that have been adopted in more than 170 California municipalities.

Affordable housing initiatives and news in California
  • USA
  • March 11 2016

Recent developments in California are affecting the funding of urban redevelopment and the creation of affordable housing. These include the new Community Revitalisation and Investment Authority Law, which once again allows for local governments to establish redevelopment authorities to fund improvements to infrastructure, promote economic revitalisation and address shortages in needed housing.

New tool for Illinois property owners and lenders to remove mechanics liens
  • USA
  • January 15 2016

A recent amendment to the Illinois Mechanics Lien Act that permits owners, lenders and other lien claimants to substitute a bond in lieu of the real property itself is a powerful new tool for selling or refinancing a property that is subject to a disputed mechanics lien claim. However, a 175% bond requirement and concerns over accruing interest and attorneys' fee provisions will likely make applicants consider alternatives before turning to this new mechanism.

Supreme Court decision affects affordable housing industry
  • USA
  • July 24 2015

The US Supreme Court recently extended the scope of claims under the Fair Housing Act to consider more than discriminatory intent. A plaintiff can demonstrate a violation of the act by establishing discriminatory effects of a policy rather than proving that a policy is motivated by discriminatory intent. Disparate impact claims typically invite statistical evidence to demonstrate objective, disproportionate impacts on a protected class.

Deeds in lieu: merger doctrine does not apply where grantee is senior lienholder
  • USA
  • January 30 2015

A recent California appellate court decision reaffirms the longstanding principle that a senior lienholder's acceptance of a grant deed in lieu of foreclosure does not merge the lien into title. The strong and effective drafting of a grant deed is fundamental to a lender's ability to avoid the consequences of merger and take advantage of the benefits of accepting a deed in lieu of foreclosure.

New opportunities for tax savings by companies with real estate assets
  • USA
  • October 03 2014

The Internal Revenue Service has permitted Windstream to to spin off certain telecommunications network assets into an independent publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT) whose primary activity will be to lease the use of the assets back to Windstream. The transaction is estimated to generate up to a $650 million annual overall reduction in taxable income between Windstream and the REIT.

Planning for investment in US real estate
  • USA
  • June 13 2014

Low interest rates, a weakened currency and depressed values are making the US real estate market attractive to foreign investors. However, the tax consequences of owning US real property individually or through an entity are substantially different, and foreign investors should consider the tax implications of investing in US real property before signing on the dotted line.

Tenant's fraud suit against landlord based on letter of intent to proceed
  • USA
  • November 22 2013

California law provides that an integrated written lease may not be varied by extrinsic evidence to alter or add to the terms of the writing. An established exception to the rule allows a party to present extrinsic evidence to show that the lease was procured by fraud. Landlords must be wary of assertions made in the course of pre-lease negotiations following a recent California Court of Appeal decision.

Legislature and court clarify Illinois mortgage law
  • USA
  • May 03 2013

The US District Court for the Central District of Illinois recently overturned a Bankruptcy Court decision, providing real estate mortgage lenders with certainty that a mortgage encumbering Illinois real estate need not explicitly state the interest rate and the maturity date on its face in order to provide constructive notice under Illinois law. A statutory amendment has since been made to the Conveyances Act.

Psychological defects on residential real property left to caveat emptor
  • USA
  • March 08 2013

Applicable law may often require the seller of residential real property to disclose known material defects to prospective buyers. Recently the Pennsylvania Superior Court considered whether the psychological damage to a residential property caused by the past occurrence of an in-home murder-suicide in the property was considered to be a material defect that should have been disclosed by the seller to the buyer.

California sets schedule for non-residential building energy disclosures
  • USA
  • September 21 2012

California has implemented a new requirement that owners or operators of non-residential buildings disclose a building's past energy use data to prospective buyers, lessees or lenders of the building before the sale, lease, financing or refinancing of the property. Recently adopted regulations set down the schedule according to which building owners must begin making such disclosures.

Enforceability of distressed mortgage loan pre-negotiation agreements
  • USA
  • October 07 2011

Following a mortgage loan default, many lenders will not engage in workout discussions with a borrower unless the borrower first executes a pre-negotiation agreement. In a recent decision the US District Court for the Southern District of New York upheld the enforceability of pre-negotiation agreements.