Real Estate & Construction

Hurricane Michael was one of the most-damaging hurricanes to hit the mainland United States ever. Being from Louisiana, we at zlien have seen some big storms. In fact, our very company was created, in large part, as a result of the construction work afterward. Recovering from Hurricane Michael will take a similar effort, and the construction industry plays perhaps the biggest role in that recovery. Recovering From Hurricane Michael: The Basics In this article, we’ll…
Originally published in Build Houston magazine.  Co-author: Catherine Chlebowski The business of construction is a day to day adventure fraught with peril and liabilities dangerous enough to put many construction firms out of business. Given that reality, it is imperative that contractors properly structure the legal entities that provide the fortresses to protect their assets. While most are familiar with the limited liability company (LLC) and limited partnership (LP) set ups, many have no familiarity…
An owner violates the rules. The Board assesses fines to the unit owner.  Will the fines hold up in a court of law? In this case, they did—and your Association can take note of what this Court says the HOA did right. Facts.  In a 2017 case, an owner who lived in a subdivision with an HOA planted bamboo in their yard, which then spread and infested a neighboring owner’s yard and some common areas. …
Properties that qualify as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) have long presented a potential headache for unwary landlords, but from the start of this month the headache got bigger. Originally, the requirement for an HMO licence only applied to properties that comprised at least three storeys but under new rules, introduced on 1 October 2018, size is no longer relevant. The change was brought in to tackle sub-standard and overcrowded homes and poor management practices.…
In the latest decision in the long-running legal saga over the proposed Newhall Ranch development in Los Angeles County, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the Army Corps of Engineers’ EIS and Section 404 permit, giving substantial deference to the Corps’ decisionmaking. Friends of the Santa Clara River v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 887 F.3d 906 (9th Cir. 2018). Background Newhall Ranch is a proposed large-scale master-planned community in Los…
Customers will frequently want you to complete performance sooner than may be required by the contract.  When presented with such a dilemma, contractors face the challenge of keeping the customer happy while performing the work in a manner that will meet specifications and the contractor’s business expectations.  To navigate this process effectively, it is important for contractors to have a working knowledge of the circumstances in which an acceleration claim may arise and what to…
With full and complete credit to the Bard (Macbeth), and to Mr. Ray Bradbury who repurposed this line as the title for his 1962 dark fantasy (of which I was and still am a huge fan), there is just not a better title for this note. Trust me. A few weeks ago, I inked a note about whether the current expansion was soon coming to an end and whether it made sense to begin to…
Lawsuits by homeowners against their own insurance companies for failing to pay on damage claims that homeowners believe and argue are covered by their policies of insurance are quite common in Florida.  Frequently these involve claims for water-related damages—a typical example being a slow leak from piping in a kitchen or bathroom sink that is unknown to the homeowner but that occurs over an extended period of time and that ultimately causes damage to adjoining…
Proposition C—the Commercial Rent Tax for Childcare and Early Education—is set to take effect on January 1, 2019, and increase the Gross Receipts Tax (“GRT”) on commercial rents in San Francisco.  As discussed in our previous post, Proposition C competed with Proposition D—the Housing For All Commercial Rent Tax—and prevailed with San Francisco voters in June.…

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