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McBrayer Blogs

Showing 40 posts from 2014.

“Is this the airport, Clark?” – Aunt Bethany

Your guests have arrived and you’ve just spent that last ten hours Griswolding your home and now you and your company are standing in the front yard ready to bask in the warm glow of a million tiny lights, when your neighbor strolls over and says, “I wouldn’t do that. The homeowner’s association won’t allow it. Oh, and you can’t park there.” What? But you nearly died placing those reindeer on the roof! And where are all these people supposed to park?? More >

Tenant Absence During the Lease Term: Protecting Your Property

Every landlord’s goal is to have his/her rental property under lease and occupied by tenants who will not only pay their rent on time, but who will properly use and maintain the property. After all, the property is an investment by the landlord of both time and money. While landlords typically relate property damage to tenants’ use of the property (i.e. throwing wild parties or vandalism), nonuse can also result in significant damage to the property, not only causing damage to the structure itself, but a diminution in value of the property overall. This is especially true during the winter months. For example, a tenant may take an extended vacation for the holidays or even abandon the property altogether. Any time a property is unoccupied for an extended period of time, maintenance issues may go undetected and/or other problems may arise unbeknownst to the tenant(s) or the landlord. These issues/problems may include the heat being turned off by the tenant, running water left on, a leaky faucet, a stove being left on, an electrical issue, or the shut off of one or more utilities by the respective utility company for nonpayment. Such issues can result in damage to the property, including, but not limited to, frozen/burst pipes, flooding, or fire. Moreover, the damage can extend to other units and/or affect the safety of neighboring tenants. Thus, it is important for a landlord to know when a tenant is going to be gone for an extended period of time. More >

Reading The Writing On The…Yard? Regulating Political Signs

Many local governments have ordinances on the books that regulate the number, size, location, and duration of political yard signs. However, many of these regulations probably do not pass constitutional muster and are not enforced. The difficulty with enacting yard sign regulations is that the signs constitute political speech which is one of the most precious and protected forms of free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Courts across the country have consistently ruled that political speech cannot be regulated more stringently than commercial speech. For example, a local ordinance that sets time limits on how long political yard signs can be placed prior to an election and a time to remove them after the election are typically invalidated because other types of signs, such as real estate signs, have no durational limits. Similarly, ordinances that limit the number of political signs to no more than two per property have been struck down. Limiting the number of signs restricts free speech because the household residents may have different political viewpoints. Further, many election seasons are to fill the seats of many different offices, thus limiting the number of signs impermissibly limits the number of candidates that a property owner can support. Regulating the size of political yard signs is problematic too if the local sign ordinance limits political signs to a smaller size than permitted for other types of signs. More >

“How Do I Find My Property Lines?”

Knowing the location of your property lines is crucial when determining where to erect new structures, such as a fence or pool, on your land. It can even come in handy when doing such things as cutting the grass or trimming trees. Not knowing your land from your neighbor’s is a surefire way to end up in a dispute – even litigation. Finding out where the lines are is not necessarily difficult, but if you are considering taking drastic action that involves time and/or money, it is certainly worth it to double-check with a professional about whose land is whose. More >

‘Tis The Season To Think About Your Retail Lease

With November nearly upon us, the holiday shopping season is right around the corner. For retailers, the peak season can bring a whole host of issues to be considered in connection with a commercial lease. The best time to think about these issues is now – before the droves of eager customers start lining up at the doors. So, if you are a retailer and lease a space for your business, take a few minutes and consider the following: More >

National Association of Realtors Pushing For Drone Use in Industry

Currently, pursuant to Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) policy, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAVs”, also known as “drones”) for commercial use is strictly prohibited. The National Association of Realtors (“NAR”) is hoping to change that very soon. On September 23, the President of the NAR sent a letter to the Director of the FAA, compelling him to consider the ways in which drones can benefit all industries. According to the letter, drones have the unique potential to be a “game changer for the real estate industry.” More >

Here One Minute, Gone The Next: Temporary Retail Tenants

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A sure sign that fall is approaching: Halloween costume stores start popping up in retail centers. These stores are only around for a short period, but they can certainly draw a crowd in the time that they are there. It seems that temporary tenants (also called “pop-up stores”) have become commonplace over the last few years…and they are opening more than the standard Halloween shop. More >

Finding the Perfect Fit the Right Way

Many of the issues that landlords encounter with problem tenants can be avoided or, at least minimized, by using a comprehensive screening process. This is sometimes easier said than done. Screening applicants in order to find the right fit is legal. However, landlords must be mindful that, under the Fair Housing Act and other applicable state and federal laws, a landlord cannot refuse to rent or lease to a person or otherwise discriminate against a person based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, disability or national origin. Furthermore, while background searches and/or credit checks can be an effective screening method, a landlord must adhere to certain procedures during the application process. It is important to have the process outlined beforehand and carefully follow it with each prospective tenant to ensure fairness and consistency. The following are some helpful guidelines to keep in mind in the screening process: More >

The Rise of Agritourism & Important Considerations

Agritourism is becoming an increasingly popular way for rural property owners to earn additional income from agricultural properties.   In additional to more traditional farm tours and seasonal activities such as hay rides, corn mazes and u-pick fruits, farm owners are devising new ways to bring people to their door by offering more entertainment-oriented activities. Some farmers are offering their barns as venues for weddings, parties, dances and other special events.  Others are opening their homes to visitors for vacations so guests can experience life on a working farm by helping out with routine farm chores such as feeding or herding the livestock, milking the animals, making cheese, collecting eggs, picking vegetables and preparing farm fresh meals.   This may sound simple and easy to accomplish but often those who want to offer agritourism activities on their rural properties are blindsided when they run in to unanticipated difficulties with regulatory authorities over building code, fire code or zoning issues. More >

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