Iowa Real Estate & Land Use Blog

Dickinson Law is pleased to announce that 19 of the firms’ attorneys have been selected for inclusion in the 2020 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.  Attorney F. Richard Lyford was also recognized by Best Lawyers® as the Litigation – Real Estate  “Lawyer of the Year” in Des Moines. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence and is the oldest and…
Chambers USA has given the Dickinson Law Firm five high rankings for practice areas in Iowa.  Dickinson was recognized for exceptional performance in: Real Estate, Corporate/M&A, Corporate/M&A: Banking & Finance, Labor & Employment, Litigation: General Commercial. Firms were ranked in a limited number of categories and were evaluated by Chambers researchers and through peer review. In addition, Chambers researchers interviewed firm clients regarding their experiences with individual attorneys and practice areas. Thirteen…
Commercial Real Estate Loan Documentation Best Practices PART 1:  Commitment Letter Following credit approval, the formal real estate lending process typically starts with a commitment letter which seeks to establish the primary specific terms and conditions of the proposed financing. It is an opportunity for the parties to ensure that they are in basic agreement with the loan amount, repayment terms, interest rate, collateral, guaranty requirements, and fundamental representations and covenants. The commitment letter fleshes…
In a case of first impression, Walnut Creek Townhome Association v. Depositors Insurance Company, the Iowa Supreme Court has held that insurance appraisers may determine the cause of loss in addition to the amount of damage. Walnut Creek Townhome Association submitted a claim to Depositors Insurance Company for hail damage to the Association’s roofs.  Depositors felt that damage had been caused not by hail, but rather by defective shingles.  As part of the dispute,…
This past legislative session, the Iowa legislature created a sales tax exemption for the “sale or furnishing by a water utility of a water service in the state to consumers and users.”  Don’t get too excited about this tax exemption, though, the legislature created a new 6-percent Water Services Excise Tax (“WET”) under Iowa Code chapter 423G on the “sale or furnishing by a water utility of a water service in the state to consumers…
Dickinson Law is pleased to announce that 18 of the firms’ attorneys have been included in the 2019 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence.  Our attorneys’ commitment to client service and legal excellence has been recognized across 28 areas of law and our attorneys recognized by Best Lawyers have amassed over 170 years of recognition. Please join us in congratulating the…
A recent decision from the Iowa Court of Appeals highlights a significant trap for contractors working on commercial construction. LM Construction, Inc. v. HGIK Hospitality, LLC, began when property owner HGIK Hospitality (“Property Owner”) hired general contractor DDG Construction (“General Contractor”) to build a commercial hotel in Ames. General Contractor hired subcontractor ESC, LLC (“Subcontractor”) to perform work on the project. Subcontractor hired LM Construction (“Sub-Subcontractor”) to install drywall. Under Iowa Code § 572.33,…
Last week, KCCI in Des Moines reported that the new off-ramp being constructed on Interstate 35 near Ames must be torn down and rebuilt due to a mistake of “several inches.” As reported, the mistake was human error in the consideration of elevation issues. Aside from the frustration to those people who are anxiously awaiting the $23 million project to be completed for use in their daily commute, those “several inches” of error are likely…
The Cedar Rapids Gazette has published several articles critical of the University of Iowa’s handling of the construction of the new Stead Family Children’s Hospital. The hospital itself is impressive and life-changing; just take a look at ESPN’s segment on “The Wave” and its impact on children, fans, players, and coaches. No matter how much the new hospital means to the community and the children it serves, the University of Iowa is nevertheless receiving…
Buying a home is the most significant purchase most people will make in their lifetimes.  Because of its importance, the Iowa legislature removed the old adage “buyer beware” by enacting a seller’s disclosure law several years ago in Iowa Code chapter 558A.  Aside from a few exceptions, all sellers of residential property in Iowa must now complete a written disclosure statement which includes information regarding the condition and important characteristics of the property and the…