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.
View the Eminent Domain & Real Estate Valuation Blog

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.
View the Fair Housing Defense Blog

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.
View the In the Zone Blog

Recent Blog Posts

  • Some Thoughts on Fair Housing and Smoking   A friend reached out to me to ask questions about HUD’s Smoke Free public housing initiative and for some general thoughts on smoking in apartment homes. So, here goes. There is no “right” to smoke in a rental home. Smokers are not a protected class under the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) or its state law counterparts. While some have tried to argue smoking is addictive and, as such, should qualify as a disability, to my knowledge no court has so... More
  • Occupancy Standards and Fair Housing: A Short Summary   Occupancy standards are an issue which come up from time to time. On the one hand, a family certainly should have the right to decide the size of the apartment home they need and/or can afford.  On the other hand, management has a legitimate health and safety right to put a reasonable limit in place.  We do not want, and the law will not support, eight people living in a one bedroom unit.  The issue, of course, is where those two... More
  • PA EHB says PADEP Suggested Penalty Amount is “Merely Advisory” When a developer receives a Notice of Violation (NOV) from PADEP for noncompliance with the Clean Streams Law — most typically involving alleged violations of an NPDES storm water construction permit — that NOV sometimes results in a civil penalty being imposed.  If the project is brought into compliance, PADEP often looks to resolve the matter with a fine and the signing of a Consent Assessment of Civil Penalty (CACP).  I’m often asked by clients what happens if the developer thinks... More
  • Tennessee Enacts New Appraisers Statute Of Limitations Law Tennessee has enacted a law establishing a new statute of limitations regarding civil lawsuits and disciplinary actions against real estate appraisers. Under HB 376, any action to recover damages against a real estate appraiser must be brought within one year from the discovery of the act of omission giving rise to the action. However, in no event can an action be brought more than five years after the date the appraisal was performed. Additionally, the Tennessee Real Estate Appraiser Commission cannot consider a... More
  • Florida Changes Appraiser Licensing Law Florida has enacted a bill changing its appraiser licensing law. HB 927 includes changes advocated by the Appraisal Institute. The law defines an “evaluation” as a “valuation permitted by any federal financial institutions regulatory agency for transactions that do not require an appraisal” and clarifies that a state-licensed appraiser may perform an evaluation. According to AI, appraisers in Florida were prevented from providing evaluations that are not in full compliance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice even though federal requirements... More
  • Tennessee Prohibits Eminent Domain For Industrial Parks. Tennessee has enacted a law that will prohibit the use of eminent domain to condemn land for industrial parks. It deletes the “industrial parks” exception for takings under 29-17-102 (E), . It also provides that any property taken must fall under the strict definition of “public use” as defined by T.C.A. 29-17-102, which references the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Tennessee Constitution. In addition, it requires the condemning government body to compensate land owners for engineering fees,... More
  • Texas Considers Eminent Domain Bill The Texas Senate approved an eminent domain bill intending to expand on current legislation. The bill’s author, State Senator Lois Kolkhorst, said “This bill is designed to build off of Senate Bill 18 six years later as we’ve learned through the process that there are things that can be improved on.” The bill, SB 740, would require a condemnor to clearly inform landowners that they have the right to speak with a representative of the condemnor and a representative of the... More
  • Some Further Thoughts on Medical Verifications for Emotional Support Animals A couple of interesting emotional support animal medical verification questions have hit my desk over the past month. First, recall that case law on the issue of permissible credentials of a medical or health care professional is a bit unclear. Individuals who are licensed by a public regulatory authority (such as a state) to provide medical care, therapy or counseling to persons with disabilities certainly qualify. This includes, of course, medical doctors, physician assistants, psychiatrists, psychologists, and many social workers.... More
  • Will a Subsequent Purchaser of a Property Built After 1991 Be Liable For Accessibility Issues Related to Design & Construction of the Property? As all of us in the property ownership/management business know, communities get bought and sold from time to time. Indeed, a property can be sold many years (even decades) after it was first designed and constructed. Effective in properties designed and/or constructed from 1991 on, the Fair Housing Act (FHA) requires that all multifamily construction meet a specified level of accessibility for individuals with disabilities. As a part of the law, the FHA has seven “safe harbors” that design and construction... More
  • What Happens When the Federal Fair Housing Act Conflicts With a City or County Ordinance? While many apartment communities are “pet friendly” and welcome animals, almost every community has restrictions concerning, for example, certain breeds and/or weight limits for pets. In addition to the community policy on animals, many local jurisdictions similarly ban some dog breeds pursuant to a county or city ordinance. The question that comes to my desk is what happens when a resident submits a request for a service or companion animal as a reasonable accommodation pursuant to the federal Fair Housing... More
  • One More Try for Philadelphia’s Transit-Oriented Zoning Overlay District When the Philadelphia Zoning Code was amended in August, 2012, a Transit–Oriented Development (“TOD”) Overlay District was included.  Such districts have become increasingly favored by urban planners as a way to encourage development adjacent to transit hubs, with associated increase in the use of public transit and a decrease in reliance upon private transportation.  However, the provision included in the 2012 Zoning Code proved cumbersome, and during the intervening 4+ years, no parcel in Philadelphia has been so designated.  In response,... More
  • Do Emotional Support Animal Medical Verifications Last Forever? A legitimate question from leasing office professionals I get from time to time is: “We approved an emotional support animal for a resident two years ago. Does that approval continue indefinitely or can we seek a supplemental medical verification from time to time?” My answer is that there are any number of disabilities for which we grant a reasonable accommodation but for which medicine, treatment, surgery, or even the passage of time can have cured or helped cure such that... More
  • GA Approves Taking Of Blighted Properties For Economic Development The Georgia Legislature approved legislation allowing local governments to seize blighted property for economic development. House Judiciary Chairman Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, said the change would give cities more options in dealing with persistently blighted areas. However, before a property is taken for an economic development project the condemnor must prove to a judge that the property is blighted and property owners can challenge that allegation.  ... More
  • Best Practices Concerning The Fair Housing Act and Sexual Orientation Discrimination   Earlier this month we noted that a federal court in Colorado ruled that the Fair Housing Act (FHA) prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation (although sexual orientation is not contained in the text of the statute). In that case, the district court judge concluded that ownership could not deny housing to a resident simply because the resident fails to adhere to gender stereotypes by being attracted to or married to a member of the same sex. As the case then... More
  • 23 States Considering Valuation Legislation The Appraisal Institute reported April 17 that 37 bills affecting the valuation profession are pending in 23 states. According to the Appraisal Institute, the proposed legislation includes: Arizona SB 1197 which makes various changes to the state’s appraiser licensing law and appraisal management company oversight and registration law. California SB 70 which allows a state-licensed or state-certified appraiser to deviate from the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice in certain circumstances. Connecticut SB 780 which allows real estate brokers and salespersons to estimate... More