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

  • LIBOR to Disappear Kevin Scott writes: In case you missed it last week, The Wall Street Journal and others reported (sub. req.) that the rate index LIBOR is going to be discontinued by the end of 2021. LIBOR has been the base index for most all variable rate loans, bonds, interest rate swaps and other instruments for many years. Various industry working groups are trying to establish an alternative index to replace LIBOR. While most of the loan documents utilized over the years already have provisions... More
  • DOJ Settles Sexual Harassment Fair Housing Act Lawsuit for $600,000 The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced that it settled a Fair Housing Act (FHA) discrimination lawsuit with the owners/managers of more than 70 residential properties in West Virginia to resolve allegations that the property manager sexually harassed female residents and applicants. Under the terms of the deal, which was approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, the defendants will pay a total of $600,000 (that is not a misprint) in damages and... More
  • MPC Permits a Private Cause of Action to Enforce a SALDO In a case caption Smith v. Ivy Lee Real Estate, LLC, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania was faced with the question if Section 617 of the MPC permits a private cause of action to enforce a subdivision land development ordinance (SALDO). In the case, the Smith family alleged that Ivy Lee, who was their neighbor, engaged in construction activities that constituted land development under the township’s SALDO. The Smith family requested, among other things, a permanent injunction against Ivy Lee... More
  • PA Supreme Court Rules on School District Tax Appeals In a recent Supreme Court of Pennsylvania case, captioned as Valley Forge Towers, taxpayer brought an action against the school district, as a taxing district, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief claiming that the school district violated the uniformity clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution by systematically appealing only assessments of commercial properties. The Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas sustained the school district’s policy and dismissed the complaint. The taxpayers appealed to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania who affirmed the lower... More
  • Feds Considering Rule Increasing Floor For Commercial Property Appraisals Federal agencies are considering raising the threshold for commercial real estate transactions requiring an appraisal from the current level of $250,000 to $400,000. The agencies including the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have stated that they believe raising the floor will greatly reduce the number of transactions that require an appraisal and save costs and expenses in these transactions.  The proposal requires that commercial real estate transactions at or below... More
  • What’s the Difference Between a “Service Animal,” an “Assistance Animal,” and an “Emotional Support Animal”?   As written in this space (and elsewhere) all too frequently, professional apartment owners and managers have seen a significant surge in the number of reasonable accommodation requests by residents with animals. Some of these requests are legitimate and we are happy to approve them. An increasing percentage of these requests, however, appear to be questionable at best and reflect an effort to avoid otherwise legitimate pet rent/fees. As a part of the review and evaluation process, here are some definitions... More
  • Sanctions for False Pleadings In many cases, clients ask us if we can file a motion against the other party for filing a false or frivolous pleading. In a recent opinion, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania outlined the way in which a party must file a motion for sanctions for a false pleading. In the case of Pane, et al., v. Indian Rocks Property Owners Association, a dispute occurred as to if the Panes were entitled to construct a swimming pool on their property... More
  • NJ Adopts “Property Taxpayer Bill of Rights”   New Jersey has adopted a “property taxpayer bill of rights” seeking to assist property owners with the real estate assessment process. New Jersey has one of the nation’s highest property taxes. Bill A-4007 requires the state division of taxation director to list taxpayers’ real property rights “in simple and nontechnical terms” and post it on the website of the various county tax boards and municipalities in the state. It also provides taxpayers with the “right to understand the calculation of... More
  • Funding Your Small or Mid-Size Development Project in New Jersey Obtaining financing for your development project is one of the most important aspects of moving your development plans from paper to reality. Recently, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (the “Authority”) created a Real Estate Impact Fund (the “REIF”). The REIF supports private and public redevelopment projects on underutilized property in New Jersey by facilitating the procurement of financing for small and mid-size development projects. Through the REIF’s private component, for-profit and non-profit developers and businesses may obtain up to $3... More
  • Pennsylvania Mechanics’ Lien Law and the Construction Notices Directory- Avoiding Potential Pitfalls On October 14, 2014, the Pennsylvania General Assembly signed Act 142 creating the Pennsylvania State Construction Notices Directory, which became effective January 1, 2017 (the “Act”). The Act created an online directory whereby project owners or their agents (collectively, “Owner”) can register on an online, searchable state-wide database (the “Directory”) before beginning any construction project that costs over $1.5 million, by filing a Notice of Commencement in the Directory. If the Owner files the Notice of Commencement in the Directory, a... More
  • DOJ Settles Race and National Origin Fair Housing Act Case for $70,000 Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) settled a Fair Housing Act (FHA) case filed in Massachusetts for $70,000 in which the Complainants asserted discrimination based on race and national origin. As a part of its investigation, DOJ concluded that the Defendants discriminated against residents of South Asian descent in violation of the FHA. Specifically, the allegations were that, for over a five year period, ownership steered (legalese for directed) native South Asian residents to certain buildings in the... More
  • Utah Considers Charter School Eminent Domain Issues The Utah legislature is considering policy changes regarding the acquisition of land for new charter schools and further expansions of existing schools. Specifically, there currently is uncertainty as to the eminent domain powers of charter schools in that state. The Utah Administrative Rules Review Committee questioned what authority charter schools have to call on the state to seize property through eminent domain laws. Kristen Elinowski, a spokeswoman for the State Charter School Board, said because Utah’s eminent domain statute predates Utah’s... More
  • IMPORTANT TO FILE YOUR ZONING CHALLENGE IN THE CORRECT COURT AND ON TIME A recent case decided by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania confirms how important it is to understand where zoning challenges should be filed and the deadline date by when to file them. In the case of Carr vs. Horsham Township, an objector filed challenges to a zoning ordinance, on both procedural and substantive grounds, to the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas within 30 days after the publication of the second 108 notice describing the passage of the referenced zoning... More
  • Philadelphia Reorganizes Development-Related Agencies Effective July 1, 2017, the City of Philadelphia established a single Department of Planning and Development.  The Department will have three divisions.  The Division of Planning and Zoning will include the Art Commission, the Historical Commission, the City Planning Commission, and the staff for the Zoning Board of Adjustment.  The Division of Development Services will include the development services group which had previously been a part of the Commerce Department.  Lastly, the City’s office of Housing and Community Development, the... More
  • What is the “Mrs. Murphy” Exception to the Fair Housing Act? I get this question about exemptions to the Fair Housing Act (FHA) regularly, so I thought I would provide a refresher on the “Mrs. Murphy” exception to the FHA. At the outset, please know that apartment community owners, management companies, and leasing office staff members I represent are almost always covered by the FHA as well as companion state, city, or county anti housing discrimination laws. In my world, the FHA and its implementing regulations are part of the guidebook... More