Real Estate & Construction

When a contractor is hired by a commercial tenant to improve the leased property, the contractor’s lien will ordinarily attach only to the leasehold interest, and not the property itself. In a recent Court of Appeals decision, however, the Court clarified in what circumstances the contractor can file a lien against the owner’s interest in the property.  Ferrara v. Peaches Café, 32 N.Y.3d 348 (Nov. 20, 2018). In Ferrara, the tenant leased the commercial property…
Yesterday, our colleagues Alex Ginsberg, Travis Mullaney and Meghan Doherty published their Client Alert titled Government Contract Acquisitions and the Pending Proposal Problem. Their Alert discusses the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) decision in Wyle Laboratories, Inc., a decision raising significant questions as to the viability of proposals that are submitted before or during, and remain pending after, a government contract acquisition. Takeaways from the Wyle decision include The GAO held that the…
Early this month, the federal district court for the Southern District of New York ruled that a New York City law requiring food service industry employers to provide a payroll deduction system for their employees to make donations to non-profit organizations did not violate the First Amendment rights of such employers. New York City’s law became effective in late 2017.  Fast food establishments are required to create and maintain deduction systems.  Upon request from an…
Consumer access to remedy has long been a neglected part of what many consider to be an already broken housing market. Housing disputes are heard in a number of different legal settings and the process is often convoluted and opaque. As a result, this vulnerable part of the real estate sector (private renters, social housing residents, leaseholders and buyers of new build homes) can face insurmountable barriers in bringing their cases to justice.  Following a…
When the government announced in 2018 that foreign investors into the UK property market were to be targeted with an additional SDLT levy, we said that the devil would be in the detail. The consultation document published this week gives that detail. But just how devilish is it? The government is going ahead with a 1% SDLT surcharge on top of the existing SDLT rates for non-UK residents purchasing residential property in England or Northern…
The Chabad House for Towson University and Goucher College, pictured above, has filed a lawsuit against Baltimore County, Maryland (the “County”), following a state court order requiring demolition of a newly-constructed addition to the Chabad House. The Complaint alleges, among other things, violations of RLUIPA’s substantial burden, equal terms, nondiscrimination, and exclusions and limitations provisions.…
The new Opportunity Zones program that came to us in 2017’s major tax reform offers investors the chance to roll the capital gains from the sale of any appreciated property into new investments, located within specially designated areas known as Opportunity Zones, and defer—and potentially partially eliminate— capital gains taxes on such sale. The program is similar to a 1031 Exchange, but with a socially conscious geographic focus, that applies broadly to investments across asset…
Yesterday, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) reported on the case of Garden State Islamic Center v. City of Vineland.  The case involves Garden State Islamic Center’s plans to build a mosque.  The United States filed a Statement of Interest in the case to address the issue of what qualifies as a “land use regulation” under RLUIPA.  RLUIPA applies only to land use regulations, which the statute defines as “a zoning or landmarking law,…
Courts across the country have been hearing cases about short-term rentals of homes and condominium units, and there is not much consistency in the decisions made. Sometimes, it is the homeowners’ association that is trying to enforce its covenants in a manner that prohibits short-term rentals, and sometimes it is a municipality trying to enforce its zoning ordinances.  In the two cases discussed below, we have one of each—and in both cases, the language of…
Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed a lower court’s decision dismissing a church’s religious discrimination claims.  In doing so, the Fourth Circuit found that the church had properly alleged claims under RLUIPA based in part on the community’s ethnic bias against the church’s connection to associated church’s in Kenya, as well as the fact that many of the church’s congregants were born in Africa.  (We previously posted about…

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