Blogs

Jump to recent Real Estate blog posts.

Eminent Domain & Real Estate Valuation

Fox Rothschild has one of the leading eminent domain and real estate litigation practices in the country. Join David Snyder, co-chair of the firm's Condemnation Practice Group, as he provides useful information and commentary regarding developments in the law, updates on projects and helpful tips regarding eminent domain and other real estate litigation related topics. This is an excellent resource for real estate professionals, property owners and condemnors who may be embarking upon a new project.
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Fair Housing Defense

Join Fox Rothschild attorneys Scott Badami and Christian Moffitt as they provide insight and information on and compliance with the Fair Housing Act and its state and local counterparts. The blog provides a forum for issues of interest to apartment owners and management companies as well as professional management employees.
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In the Zone

Success in the real estate industry often hinges on making smart choices – and on being informed. Fox’s In the Zone blog serves as a resource for developers, investors, lenders, design firms, landlords, tenants and more. Focusing on zoning and land use, we report on trends and news in obtaining approvals and permits for new development, project financing, LEED certification and environmental regulation and enforcement.
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Recent Blog Posts

  • Answering Questions About Assistance Animals, Swimming Pools, and Food Service Areas A couple of assistance animal related questions have hit my desk recently.  At properties which have pools, can assistance animals accompany residents into the pool area? How about into the pool? No, I am not making that question up. While every situation requires independent analysis, the general rule is that an assistance animal is permitted on the pool deck (provided the animal is secured) but is not permitted in the pool. Animals are not permitted in the water for legitimate local... More
  • DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY – CHELTENHAM TOWNSHIP The Cheltenham Township Community Development Corporation (CTCDC) is seeking proposals from qualified applicants for the acquisition and redevelopment of a 5 acre parcel of land, zoned commercial, and owned by the Township.  CTCDC’s objective is to achieve a redevelopment of the parcel in accordance with the newly passed Township zoning plan.  A successful submission will provide the optimal satisfaction of the following objectives: Generating long term tax revenues for the Township and School District. Minimizing the need for variances or other changes... More
  • DOJ Settles Design and Construction Fair Housing Act Case Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it settled a federal discrimination lawsuit filed against the owner, builder, and designer of a three building dormitory-style property near Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington. The resolution concludes allegations that the defendants failed to design and construct the buildings in such a manner as to make them usable by individuals with disabilities as mandated by the accessibility requirements contained in our Fair Housing Act (FHA). As noted here (and elsewhere), the... More
  • Multiple States Considering Valuation Legislation The Appraisal Institute reported that 21 pieces of legislation affecting the valuation profession are pending in 14 states.  A list can be found at https://www.appraisalinstitute.org/advocacy/washington-report/washington-report-state-news-current-issue/#15... More
  • Objectors Have a Heavy Burden When Opposing a Special Exception The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania recently confirmed the standards by which an applicant is entitled to special exception approval, which could help applicant’s in preparing their cases before a zoning board. In Monroe Land Investments v. Zoning Board of Adjustment and the City of Philadelphia, et al, 2018 WL 1462211, the Commonwealth Court affirmed the decision of the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas to reverse the City of Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment’s decision to deny a request for a... More
  • IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN. WHAT TIME? TIME TO REVIEW YOUR PENNSYLVANIA REAL ESTATE ASSESSMENTS. Are the real property taxes assessed against your property out of proportion to the actual value of your property?  If so, what should you do? First, you need to determine if you have a basis to file an appeal to the county board of assessment for your property. To do so, you need an experienced real estate assessment attorney and a qualified appraiser. On commercial and industrial properties, as well as rental residential properties, two calculations often make the determination if you... More
  • House Committee Passes USPAP Exemption Bill The House Financial Services Committee recently passed legislation exempting appraisers from having to conduct evaluations in accordance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice for loans under $250,000 that were held in a portfolio for three years. Appraisals are not required for loans of $250,000 or less, but federal bank regulatory policy requires lenders to obtain an evaluation to understand the collateral risk involved with the loan. HR 3221 is intended to create greater flexibility for lenders.... More
  • PA Court Allows Adverse Possession Claim Against Municipality The PA Commonwealth Court recently held that a claim of adverse possession could be brought against a municipality when the municipality’s only use of the property during the statutory period was to hold the property for possible future sale. In City of Philadelphia v. Galdo, the City of Philadelphia obtained title to a property by condemnation in 1974. The City has not physically occupied or provided any maintenance of the Property since the late 1970s. The City filed a complaint... More
  • Kelo Case Subject Of Movie The US Supreme Court issued its Kelo eminent domain case in 2005. That case held that it is not necessarily unconstitutional to take private property for another private entity to use. Now the subject of that case is the subject of a new movie. In Little Pink House, the movie centers on Suzette Kelo – the first named plaintiff in the case and describes her fight to save her house from eminent domain. David Crosby also added music to the... More
  • ALERT- New Environmental Justice Regulations Coming Soon to New Jersey! David Restaino writes: On April 20, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 23 (EO 23) committing state government to making intelligent environmental decisions in communities that are disproportionately affected by environmental degradation. EO 23 requires that the NJDEP take the lead in developing guidance that would require state departments and agencies to consider “Environmental Justice” in implementing their responsibilities. The first draft of the guidance will be due in six months, after which time there shall be another 90 days for the... More
  • HUD Proposes Increasing Monthly Rental Costs Paid by Low Income Residents Receiving Federal Housing Assistance Earlier today, Ben Carson, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), put forward a plan that could significantly change the amounts paid by Americans who live in public housing. The proposal, discussed at a congressional hearing and in a HUD statement, is an effort by the Trump Administration to overhaul how housing subsidies are calculated for the estimated 4.5 million families who rely on federal housing assistance. Currently, residents on federal public assistance generally pay 30... More
  • New Project Information Form Required for Appeals to the City of Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment The City of Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment has imposed a new requirement for filing Appeals.  As of April 9, 2018, an applicant seeking a variance or special exception from the Zoning Board of Adjustment must submit a Project Information Form prior to filing an Application for Appeal.  The Project Information Form requires basic information regarding the proposed project, including but not limited to, the name and contact information of the applicant, a description of the proposed project, approximate length... More
  • HUD Files Racial Discrimination FHA Case in Mississippi Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced that it charged the owner and manager of a trailer park in Mississippi (with seven lots on 1.25 acres of land, each with water and utility hook ups) with violating the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) by failing to rent a lot to an interracial married couple with two children (ages seven and five). HUD’s complaint asserts that after the property manager discovered that the husband is... More
  • This is the First Step Necessary to Qualify for a Reasonable Accommodation or Reasonable Modification I have been watching a curious trend. As written in this space (and elsewhere), many apartment residents and applicants submit requests for reasonable accommodations (changes in rules or a polies) or reasonable modifications (physical or structural changes to an apartment home). Which is fine and absolutely appropriate. I train my leasing office staff members to review, evaluate, and respond to each request. A best practice, of course, is to respond in writing so we can document the interaction. However, a prerequisite to... More
  • These Types of Housing Are Covered Under the Fair Housing Act. And These Types of Housing Are Not. If you are an apartment management professional, it is good practice to presume your community is covered under our federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) as well as its state (and/or city or county counterpart). Indeed, under the federal law “dwelling” is defined as “any building, structure, or portion thereof which is occupied as, or designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more families, and any vacant land which is offered for sale or lease for the... More