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Investing in Real Estate: Where Do You Start?

Investment in real estate, whether residential or commercial, is a great vehicle for building wealth. For many people, however, the most difficult part of building a portfolio of real estate investment is knowing just where to begin. There are more options and moving parts than may be evident at first blush, so new investors might be either hesitant to enter the field or far too brash in diving into an investment without a definitive road map. Both paths are fraught with difficulty and failure. More >

A Supreme Court Denial Creates an Uncertain Foundation for Affordable Housing Attempts

Often, United States Supreme Court cases have repercussions and wide-ranging effects that are a predictable outgrowth of the particular holdings. What is not always so clear, however, is the way in which denying certiorari (turning down the opportunity to hear and decide a case) can affect those with a stake in the outcome of a particular interpretation. In the case of California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose,[1] the denial of certiorari by the Supreme Court may have a profound impact on both affordable housing and the housing industry itself in the short term.


[1] 61 Cal. 4th 435 (2015) More >

City planning board votes “no” to garbage transfer station on Lisle Industrial

BY BETH MUSGRAVE

Lexington Herald-Leader

April 26, 2016

A Lexington planning body rejected a bid by Republic Services to put a garbage transfer station on an 8-acre site on Lisle Industrial Avenue after a more than three-hour hearing.

The Board of Adjustment voted unanimously Friday after hearing testimony from Republic Services of Kentucky officials and a dozen neighbors who opposed the transfer station. Republic Services requested a conditional use permit to put the transfer station at 203 and 205 Lisle Industrial Avenue, which is zoned heavy industrial. The site was previously used by Wise Recycling. More >

A Primer on “Safe by Design” Land Use Planning

One of the more interesting facets of land use planning is its ability to impact our lives in a multitude of ways. We can intuitively understand and grasp the concepts of keeping certain types of land use apart – the landfill and the residential neighborhood, for example. These are facially obvious ideas, even if they can still generate controversy from time to time. What is not so obvious, however, is how and where land use planning can impact us in more subtle ways, especially with regard to public health and safety. More >

New 2016 ALTA/NSPS Survey Standards Now In Effect

In the real estate survey world, boundaries are shifting. In October of 2015, the American Land Title Association (“ALTA”) and National Society of Professional Surveyors (“NSPS”)[1] approved the 206 Minimum Standard Details Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys, and these became effective as of February 23, 2016. There are a number of changes to the required surveys designed to create a more easily understood plat and thwart potential miscommunication among surveyors, title companies, clients and lenders.


[1] It should be noted that the NSPS is a successor organization to the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (“ACSM”), so these standards are an update to the prior “Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys.” More >

New Accounting Standards from FASB Create Big Changes for Leases

In February, The Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued an Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) addressing financial reporting about transactions involving leases. These new accounting standards have been in gestation for many years, and any company that leases any property, from equipment to real estate, will be affected by them. More >

Regulatory Takings Cases and the Relevant Parcel: Murr v. Wisconsin

This summer, in Murr v. Wisconsin,[1] the United States Supreme Court will make an important decision on property rights and regulatory takings under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. At issue in the case is whether two legally distinct parcels of land can be treated as one for regulatory purposes if they share common ownership. In a time when planning and zoning regulations change sporadically, this case has broad implications for owners of commercial property, farmers, developers, mining operations and others that hold legal title to adjoining properties, so these groups should pay particular attention to this case.


[1] Murr v. Wisconsin, 359 Wisc. 2d 675 (Wis. App. 2014), rev. denied, 862 N.W.2d 899 (Wis. 2015) More >

Lexington Approves Local Minimum Wage Ordinance

Lexington2




Per the Bluegrass Hospitality Association: More >

IRS: Bad News for REIT Spin-off Conversions

In late September, the IRS sent up as large of a red flag as possible concerning Real Estate Investment Trust (“REIT”) spinoffs in IRS Notice 2015-59 and Rev. Proc. 2015-43. While these issuances did not change existing law, they did state a new no-rule policy with regard to tax-deferred PropCo/OpCo spin-offs under Section 355 of the Internal Revenue Code (In these types of transactions, a property-holding company (“PropCo”) which is a subsidiary of an operating company (“OpCo”), purchases real estate owned by OpCo, then leases it back to OpCo and claims status as an REIT). Under the latest word from the IRS, unless there are “unique and compelling” circumstances, IRS will not issue private letter rulings on these types of transactions if real property owned by either PropCo or OpCo is the basis for REIT election for either company. Coupled with statements from the agency that these spin-offs and conversions give the agency “significant concerns,” these proclamations create significant market uncertainty as to the validity of such transactions. More >

Halloween Ghouls, Zombie Nativities, Toilets with Antlers, and other Offensive Holiday Displays: Zoning Law, the First Amendment and the Right to be Offensive

It’s that time of year again. Seasonal holiday displays are beginning to dot our subdivisions and public spaces. Although most will conform to mainstream cultural, religious and societal norms, the ones that don’t create discomfort or even outrage, spurring calls for government authorities to order them to be removed.  When governments do not act, it is not unheard of for citizens to take on the task themselves by removing or destroying the offensive display, risking criminal charges or even arrest in doing so. More >

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