In a blow to private property rights, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a municipality can use its power of eminent domain to take unblighted property that will be used for private development, so long as that local government determines that the development benefits the entire community.
A Georgia appellate court has ruled that although a seller’s dog attacked potential buyers during a showing, the real estate professionals involved had no reason to know that the dog posed a threat to potential buyers.
A New York appellate court has ruled that a trial court acted properly in allowing a buyer’s lawsuit involving the presence of a seasonal bat colony in the attic of a property to proceed to a jury. The court determined that although NewYork is a caveat emptor (“let the buyer beware”) state, the doctrine does not permit sellers to actively conceal defects as had occurred in this case.
Under federal statute, a brokerage is responsible for disclosing the possible presence of lead-based paint to a prospective purchaser or renter of homes built before 1978. But this duty doesn’t extend to subsequent transactions involving the same property but not the broker.
A California appellate court has reversed a trial court’s ruling in favor of a real estate salesperson and stated that the salesperson owed a duty to both the property buyer and a tenant and could be liable if the trial court finds she aided the property buyer’s alleged attempt to circumvent the city’s rent-control ordinance.
A federal court in Maine has ruled that a real estate broker could collect a commission if a jury concludes that a seller prevented the closing of the transaction after the broker had obtained a ready, willing, and able buyer.
A federal appellate court has supported a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development statement of policy that markups on loan-related services provided by third parties are illegal unless additional settlement services are provided.
Minnesota’s highest court has decided that if a brokerage was the procuring cause of a transaction, the broker is entitled to a commission even though the sale came after the listing agreement had been terminated.
An Ohio appellate court has ruled that sellers and their sales associates who were both unaware of the presence of lead-based paint in a home weren’t liable for negligence in failing to tell buyers about the paint.
A North Carolina appellate court has determined that because two commercial licensees had a business agreement on a commission split, whether or not one of the brokers was a procuring cause in the sale was not the deciding factor on whether he should receive a commission.
A federal court ruling that administrative assistants working for a solo practitioner lawyer were employees instead of independent contractors may raise a possible tax issue for many real estate practitioners who use assistants.