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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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Recent Blog Posts

  • Want Some Numbers Addressing Fair Housing Complaints and Compliance? Read On. The beginning of the year is always a good time to check in to see how many and what type of housing discrimination complaints were filed in the previous year. While HUD has not released final numbers for 2016, the most recent annual data reveals: HUD’s annual fair housing budget remains well over $60 million. In 2015, HUD (and its partner agencies) completed 8,249 fair housing investigations, which was essentially flat as compared with 8,361 investigations in 2014. Of those complaints,... More
  • Judge Confirms Our $1.25 Million Jury Verdict I tried a case in York County, PA in July involving a condemnation of the former York County Prison. My clients purchased the property in the ‘80s and were waiting for the right time to develop the property when it was taken by the City of York RDA. The RDA claimed it was worth about $65,000. We presented evidence that the property was worth $1,250,000. After less than ½ hour, the Jury returned a verdict of $1,250,000 – the full amount we... More
  • Dr. Ben Carson Has His Senate Confirmation Hearing to Become the Next HUD Secretary. Here is How it Went. Yesterday, Dr. Ben Carson had his confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, which is considering his nomination to be the next Secretary of the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). Many of us interested in federal housing policy were curious to hear what Dr. Carson had to say concerning the Fair Housing Act as well as any HUD initiatives as what he has previously said either disagrees with or does not address many... More
  • Here Are The Top Ten Fair Housing Defense Blog Posts From 2016 Time for my favorite Fair Housing Defense blog post of the year.  With apologies to David Letterman, here are the Top Ten entries from 2016, as calculated by the number of reads (yes, my law firm tracks everything).  You can click on any entry to read the post: #1: DOJ Settles Another Familial Status Fair Housing Act Case — This Time for $100,000 (February 26, 2016) #2: Colorado House Passes Bill To Criminalize False Service/Companion Animal Requests (April 1, 2016) #3: First... More
  • NC Court Of Appeals Blocks Payment To Property Owners The N.C. Court of Appeals has issued a stay of a Forsyth County Superior Court Judge’s order directing the N.C. Department of Transportation to make payments to property owners in the path of the Winston-Salem Northern Beltway. Forsyth Superior Court Judge John O. Craig entered an order would have set in motion a procedure for the DOT to begin paying landowners who won an inverse condemnation ruling last June from the N.C. Supreme Court. The State’s motion argued that Judge Craig’s... More
  • Hartford Must Pay Extra $3M For Property Taken Near Stadium A Connecticut Judge has ruled that the City of Hartford must pay an additional $3 million for property it acquired through eminent domain for development around Dunkin’ Donuts Park two years ago. The City acquired the three parcels in November 2014 for $1.98 million, based on the City’s appraisals. The property owner, Covered Bridge Ventures, appealed the price and a trial was held in February 2016. “The most astounding shortcoming of both the City’s appraising experts is that neither of them... More
  • Here is a Short Management/Resident Checklist When Entering Into a Residential Lease With the end of 2016 in sight, I thought this might be a good time for a short landlord/tenant checklist concerning important issues that management and residents should understand when dealing with a residential lease: What is the lease term? One year? Six months? Month-to-month? Another term? How is the lease extended? What is the notice to vacate procedure? What are the deadlines? What additional costs (if any) are not included in the monthly rent? Application fee? Parking? Electric? Trash? Water? And... More
  • TX Railroad Developer May Not Be A “Railroad” For Eminent Domain Purposes A Texas state judge has ruled that a case must go to trial where the issue is whether a high-speed rail project developer has the authority to survey private lands and pursue eminent domain in order to draw the best route for a train that would run from Dallas to Houston. In Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure Inc. v. Calvin V. House, Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure Inc. filed a motion for summary judgment asking the court to deem the... More
  • Does A Resident Need a “Disability” in Order to Qualify for a Service or Emotional Support Animal? I had three clients in three states (one near the Pacific Ocean, one in the Midwest, and one in the middle Atlantic) all reach out to me with a variation of the same question concerning service and/or companion animals: what happens if the resident is not disabled but still seeks an emotional support animal? Does management have to approve that request? The fact pattern typically comes up when a resident or an applicant submits a reasonable accommodation request. And that accommodation... More
  • DOJ Settles Fair Housing Act Design and Construction Case for $350,000 Plus Retrofits Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reported that developers of six multi-family housing communities in Mississippi agreed to pay $350,000 to resolve claims that they violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by building apartment homes that were inaccessible to persons with disabilities. Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, the defendants promised to make any number of retrofits (including eliminating steps, making bathrooms more usable, installing curb ramps and parking, constructing... More
  • Changes in Federal Housing Policy with a New Administration? I try to avoid partisan politics here at the Fair Housing Defense Blog. As we have seen over the past year (and particularly over the past month), emotions on both sides can run hot. Nevertheless, I have had a couple of Blog readers ask my opinion about what President-elect Trump will mean for those of us in the professional apartment management world. The answer is: we don’t know. This morning, the President-elect announced that he would nominate Dr. Ben Carson to... More
  • Here Come the Holidays: What to do about Decorations in Apartment Communities? Thanksgiving is in the rear view mirror. Christmas, Hanukkah, and other holidays will be here sooner than we think. A great time for kids and families. Santa Claus. Christmas trees. Menorahs. Decorations. For professional apartment management, however, the question of what to do (or not do) with respect to holiday displays and decorations comes up each year at this time. Leasing office staff members are required to balance the religious and holiday requests of all, while showing a preference to... More
  • Austin Loses Suit Alleging Undervalued Tax Appraisals A Texas appellate court recently affirmed the dismissal of the city of Austin’s lawsuit claiming commercial and vacant property are being undervalued during property tax appraisals.  Austin sued the Travis Central Appraisal District after an appraisal review board in Travis County denied the city’s formal challenge to what it said was the systematic undervaluation of two classes of vacant and commercial properties. The city alleged the state’s property tax appraisal system is unconstitutional and creates two different standards of assessment,... More
  • NJ Requires Proof Of Reasonable Probability Of Approvals For Alternate Highest And Best Use The NJ Appellate Division recently decided a case involving an important and recurring issue – valuing a property for a use that requires land development approvals.  In New Jersey Transit Corp. v. Franco, Docket No. A-3802-12T4, the Appellate Division reversed the trial court due to “prejudicial error” in permitting the condemnees’ experts to value the property with an apartment complex as its highest and best use without establishing the reasonable probability of obtaining certain land development approvals. The Appellate Division explained... More
  • DOJ Files New Fair Housing Act Disability Discrimination Action A couple of weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a new Fair Housing Act (FHA) lawsuit against the owner, builder, and designer of a housing complex near Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington. In the complaint, the DOJ asserts that the apartment-style homes were constructed without complying with the FHA’s accessibility requirements. The lawsuit states that each of three buildings on the property have nine individually keyed units with their own bathroom and desk as well as... More