Category Archives: Real Estate & Property Law

Mass App: Regulatory Takings Claims Don't Get A Jury Trial

Rather than sum up the issue and the Massachusetts Appeals Court's** conclusion in Smyth v. Conservation Comm'n of Falmouth, No. 17-P-1189 (Feb. 19, 2019), here's the first part of the opinion: GREEN, C.J. A land owner brought this action in the Superior Court, claiming that local land use regulation effected a taking of her property, requiring just compensation under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and art. 10 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. This appeal presents a question of first impression in Massachusetts: whether the land owner is entitled to have her regulatory taking claim decided by a jury. We conclude that the jury right does not attach to such a claim, and that the judge erred in denying the defendants' motion to submit only the question of damages to a jury. We further conclude that the evidence presented at the trial did not, as matter of law, support a claim of regulatory taking. We accordingly reverse the….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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Want to Learn the Number of Fair Housing Complaints Filed with HUD in a year? Or the Protected Class With the Highest Percentage of Complaints? Read On.

Our friends at the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) publish a myriad of reports concerning the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the efforts of the Department to enforce the law. One of the reports I like to review is a compilation of the number of discrimination complaints filed each year as well as the percentage of cases filed for each of the seven protected classes under federal law. Although the report is a year or so behind, here is what HUD discloses concerning the number of and percentage of fair housing cases filed with the Department and its partner agencies. First, the total number of fair housing complaints filed in fiscal year 2017 was 8,186 (6,878 with HUD and 1,308 with HUD partners). My point here is that if a discrimination complaint was filed against your company, well, you are not alone. Does not make you feel any better, but thousands of complaints get filed each year. Which means lots of companies need to speak with a lawyer like me. Sorry….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT: 160th CityLaw Breakfast with Jeremy Travis, Arnold Ventures & Former President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Dean Anthony W. Crowell and Professor Ross Sandler, Director cordially invite you to the 160th CityLaw Breakfast. Presenting   Jeremy Travis Arnold Ventures and Former President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice Speaking on “Crime and Justice Trends: the New York City story 1981 – 2018” Date Friday, March 8, 2019 Time 8:15 a.m.   Place 185 […] The post EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT: 160th CityLaw Breakfast with Jeremy Travis, Arnold Ventures & Former President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice appeared first on CityLand... To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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I Surrender! Here’s Your Property Back: As-Is. Sue Me

PrintWe are no fan of a particular type of “surrender” clause commonly found in leases, the “style” that calls for a tenant to “leave the property in as good condition as when it moved in, save normal wear and tear.” These clauses come in a variety of flavors, none of which Ruminations will offer today. In 2014, we shared some thoughts on this same topic in a posting that can be seen by clicking: HERE. We’ve also said (too) much about “wear and tear.” For those Ruminations of ours, search the blog site for (what else?) “wear and tear.” For the most part, our earlier writings have focused on the downside to tenants of this type of lease clause. Today, we’ll introduce a court decision that illustrates a giant shortcoming of the “same or better” condition requirement, one that should make landlords leery. Even readers who take a different approach to the condition of the leased property when its….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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Say What? Gov't Occupying Property Under Claim Of Right Is Only A Tort, Not A Taking

If you can make sense of the Montana Supreme Court's analysis in Letica Land Co. v. Anaconda-Deer Lodge County, No. DA 18-0249 (Feb. 5, 2019), we are all ears, because we sure cannot. The court concluded that the county's actions in furtherance of its claim to own a road located on Letica's property — including removing a dirt berm and encouraging the public to use the road — could not be a taking, only a tort.  The county's defense to the takings claim was "that a temporary physical invasion was done under claim of right and therefore did not amount to a taking of Letica's private property." Slip op. at 4-5. The court agreed, relying on Langford v. United States, 101 U.S. 341 (1880) for the proposition that "if the government mistakenly asserts the right to use its own property, and the property in fact belongs to another, the true property owner's remedy is in tort and the mistake does not amount to an unconstitutional….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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