Real Estate & Construction Updates

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FHFA House Price Index Shows Increases for Fourteen Consecutive Quarters

On February 26, the FHFA House Price Index showed that U.S. house prices rose 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. This marked the fourteenth consecutive quarterly price increase in the purchase-only, seasonally...more

Best in Law: Tug-of-War Over Changing Prop. 13 Remains Intense

A “split roll” might sound like something you would find in a bakery. But in fact, it is a real property tax concept that has been the subject of a tug-of-war since Proposition 13 was overwhelmingly passed by California...more

Can a Condominium Association Ban Smoking in an Individual Unit?

States, cities and businesses are banning smoking in more and more places. Can condominium associations do the same by prohibiting residents from lighting up in their own homes? Many American smokers may think that’s...more

Western District of Washington: Insured That Violated Duties of Notice and Cooperation Could Not Make Out Claim for Bad Faith...

Granite State Ins. Co. v. Integrity Structures, LLC, No. C14-5085BHS, 2015 WL 136006 (W.D. Wash. Jan. 9, 2015). The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington held that an insurer did not act in bad faith...more

Affordable Housing is an Economic Development Benefit

When we think of economic development opportunities that lead to greater prosperity, we are likely to think of major employers such as factories, corporate offices, universities or health care centers. ...more

UDAAP Council Weekly UDAAP Standards Report - 2/25/2015

Every week, courts around the United States issue decisions addressing aspects of civil UDAAP claims. In an effort to illuminate the UDAAP standards, below is a sampling of some of this week’s UDAAP decisions on the meaning...more

Does micro housing present opportunities for affordable housing?

Two recent news stories highlight a possible surge in the development of housing in high cost rental markets like New York and Washington, DC. A New York Times article and NPR story featured approaches to living in small...more

Chapter 40 Reform Provides Relief for Nevada Homebuilding Industry

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed into law AB 125 (2015) ushering in critical reforms for Nevada’s construction defect laws. The law, which the Nevada Legislature passed this past Friday, Feb. 20, 2015, provides crucial...more

The Electronic Communications Code - Some Basics

The Electronic Communications Code (“Code”) provides statutory rights to telecommunications operators to install and maintain electrical communications apparatus in, over or under land. The principle of the Code is that no...more

Sixth Circuit: Growing Marijuana is Not the Same as Buying a Houseplant or Entertaining Visitors

Half of the states in this country have now legalized marijuana for medical use, and that has led to a number of small-scale growing operations in policyholders’ homes.  While not nearly as dangerous as cooking meth on the...more

Prospective Real Estate Purchasers Should Demand ASTM E 1527-13 Environmental Phase I Reports

Beginning on October 6, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will require prospective purchasers of real estate to use the new ASTM E1527-13 Phase I Environmental Assessment (Phase I) standard (2013...more

Florida’s Fifth District Affirms Summary Judgment for Insurer, Finding that “Vandalism” and “Malicious Mischief” include “Arson”

In Botee v. Southern Fid. Ins. Co., 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 1566 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 5th Dist. Feb. 6, 2015), the Fifth District affirmed an Orange County trial court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of the insurer. Botee...more

When "Shall" Means "Shall": Wisconsin Supreme Court Requires Mortgage Lenders to Sell Abandoned Properties in Foreclosure

Last week the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued its decision in Bank of New York v. Carson, 2015 WI 15. The case is significant for its potential lasting effects on mortgage foreclosures in Wisconsin. The Carson case involves...more

Colorado Legislature Tries Again on Construction-Related Litigation Reform

As the Colorado Legislature begins its 2015 session, construction defect reform legislation is again at the fore. Senate Bill 177 was introduced on February 10 in an effort to spur condominium projects by providing developers...more

Authenticating Evidence In Support of Summary Judgment

Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal recently filed an opinion that emphasizes the importance of properly authenticating evidence in support of a motion for summary judgment. In Colon v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. et al.,...more

Appellate Court Notes

- SC18927 - State v. Gonzalez - AC35406 - Rodriguez v. State - AC35570 - Tremper v. State - AC35972 - Bouchard v. Deep River [Dumpster diving can be hazardous to your health. As a devotee of the...more

California Amends Mortgage Originator Testing and Education Requirements

The state of California has made significant changes to the testing and education requirements for its mortgage loan originators licensed under the California Finance Lenders Law and the California Residential Mortgage...more

Injunctive Relief for Building Encroachment. Do I Have to Move the House?

When a land owner mistakenly builds a house or other building or structure that encroaches on a neighbor’s property, what is the remedy? Does the offending land owner have to physically remove the structure from the...more

New HECM Rules For Surviving Spouses Fall Short

The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently published Mortgagee Letter 2015-03, which provides servicers of FHA-insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgages a way to proceed after a borrower dies and is survived by a...more

Florida Court Holds Arson is a Type of Excluded Vandalism and Malicious Mischief

Earlier this month a unanimous Florida appellate court joined a number of other states that have held that an all-risk policy exclusion for vandalism and malicious mischief operates to bar coverage for an arson loss. ...more

Is Your Liquidated Damages Provision Sufficient to Make You Whole?

The obvious purpose of a liquidated damages provision is to make your client whole in the event that your business partner breaches the agreement. Nevertheless, K.G.M. Custom Homes. v. Prosky highlights that simply having a...more

Senate Bills Tackle Construction Defect Litigation Reform

Two bills recently introduced in the Colorado Senate propose to change Colorado’s construction defect claims process. If passed, Senate Bill 15-177 would amend Colorado’s Common Interest Ownership Act, C.R.S. §...more

Montana Amends Mortgage Licensing Requirements

On February 17, Governor Steve Bullock of Montana signed S.B. 98 into law, which amends the Montana Mortgage Act to clarify licensing requirements. Among other things, the revised Montana Mortgage Act (i) modifies education...more

Land Subsidence Damage Caused by Groundwater Withdrawals in Arizona: Who Pays?

Land subsidence is a problem that affects many areas of the world, with well-publicized case studies in Mexico City, Tokyo, and certain areas within California and Arizona. ...more

FDIC Releases Final Technical Assistance Video to Cover Mortgage Servicing Rules

On February 13, the FDIC released the third and final technical assistance video intended to assist bank employees to comply with certain mortgage rules issued by the CFPB. The final video addresses the Mortgage Servicing...more

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