Category Archives: Real Estate

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Blocks CDC Moratorium On Evictions

Congress twice passed a law imposing a moratorium on certain types of eviction during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention each time extended the moratorium, claiming authority under Section 361(a) of the Public Health Service Act. That statute permitted the CDC to “make and enforce such regulations as . . . are necessary to prevent ... Read More

Real Estate Update: Easement drafting news in the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland

The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland has issued a decision giving a word of caution to easement drafters. In Joe the Grinder, Riva Road, LLC v. Riva, LLC, the Court held that an easement referencing a right of way for “vehicular ingress and egress” was ambiguous as the easement further described only a single-lane driving aisle “to” a traffic ... Read More

Client Alert: Watts-Dowd v. SJH Property Management, LLC

The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland has affirmed a trial court’s denial of an adverse possession claim in which the plaintiff submitted evidence as to each of the traditional necessary elements but failed to establish the location of the actual property at issue.  In Watts-Dowd v. SJH Property Management LLC, the Court was presented with an all too familiar ... Read More

Client Alert: Maryland Real Estate Commission Activity

Various bulletins and notices from the Maryland Real Estate Commission serve as important reminders: Real Estate Agents Not to be Paid by Title Company or Others – Must be Paid Through the Brokerage. Payment of real estate commissions to agents or associate brokers may not be from the settlement company's account.  Instead, payments of commissions need to be paid through the real ... Read More

Client Alert: Wheeling v. Selene Finance, LP

The Court of Appeals of Maryland has held that a protected resident need not be deprived of actual possession as a condition to suit against a loan servicer under the 2013 residential eviction amendments set forth in Maryland Code Real Property Article § 7-113. In Wheeling v. Selene Finance, LP, the Court weighed-in on claims from two families regarding the ... Read More

Client Alert: Wilson v. Eagle National Bank

The United States District Court for the District of Maryland has allowed a complaint alleging Sherman Act violations by a lender in purported conspiracy with its internal title company and competitor title company to proceed. In Wilson v. Eagle National Bank, the Court held that allegations of horizontal price-fixing in title and settlement services, if proven true, constitute per se ... Read More

Client Alert: A New Holding in the Court of Appeals of Maryland That May Affect Enforcement of Condominium Liens

Earlier this week, the Court of Appeals of Maryland held that condominium liens perfected under the Maryland Contract Lien Act cannot secure unpaid amounts which accrue subsequent to the recordation of the lien. In in re Anthony D. Walker, the Court answered a certified question from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland which had grappled with ... Read More

D.C. Court of Appeals Issues Decision On Condominium Lien Foreclosures And When An Appeal May Be Taken in a Consolidated Action

On March 25, 2021, the D.C. Court of Appeals issued its decision in RFB Properties II, LLC v. Deutsche Bank Company Americas (Nos. 19-CV-0529 and 19-CV-069). This decision has important ramifications on two fronts: (1) whether a party can appeal from a “final order” issued in only one of two consolidated cases; and (2) in the context of a D.C ... Read More

Client Alert: Yacko v. Mitchell

The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland has issued an opinion adverse to lenders decrying the “high volume of foreclosure cases” in which lenders “often treat these matters as routine and expect our courts to rubber-stamp the foreclosure with methodical expediency.”  In Yacko v. Mitchell, the Court noted that the Maryland Rules mandate that trial courts slow the foreclosure action ... Read More

Client Alert: Chicago Title Insurance Co. v. Allynnore M. Jen

Last Thursday, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland issued an opinion on an insurance coverage matter that only eight (8) jurisdictions have issued a published decision on since 1951. Fortunately for the title insurer, the Court of Special Appeals sided with the majority and joined seven (7) of those jurisdictions. While the case raises other issues such as the ... Read More

Client Alert: PennyMac Holdings, LLC v. First American Title Insurance Company

Recognizing that Maryland appellate courts have not previously issued a published opinion as to either whether a closing protection letter constitutes a policy of title insurance or when claims against a closing protection letter accrues for statute of limitations purposes, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland has issued a decision clarifying these, and other, areas of the law. In PennyMac ... Read More

Client Alert: Batstone v. Chicago Title Ins. Co.

Earlier this week, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland issued a decision interpreting Covered Risk 5 (“someone else has a right to limit Your use of the Land”). Given the relative rarity of written decisions interpreting title policies, it is worth a review of this decision. In Batstone v. Chicago Title Ins. Co., Louise and Griffith Batstone ... Read More

Client Alert: SGT Kang’s Group, LLC v. Board of County Supervisors

The Supreme Court of Virginia recently issued an unpublished decision interpreting a reservation of easements prior to a recorded dedication. While unpublished, the decision provides valuable insight into the mindset of the Supreme Court. In SGT Kang’s Group, LLC v. Board of County Supervisors, two adjoining property owners in Prince William County obtained special use permits to construct a car wash ... Read More

Client Alert: Easement Decisions in the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland

The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland has issued two new easement decisions of importance to real estate practitioners. Both decisions provide rare detailed analysis from the Court of Special Appeals into easements and are worth review. In Hejazi v. Sears, Hejazi’s predecessor-in-title conveyed an easement “over, upon and across” the subject property to Sears granting “exclusive rights to the use ... Read More

Client Alert: Dennis Hamilton v. Murray Rottenberg

The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland recently resolved a matter of first impression as to whether a judgment lien attaches on property during that brief period after a contract for sale has been executed but prior to legal title passing at closing. As this was the first level of appeal, it is likely that the losing party will seek ... Read More

Client Alert: Dwight Deloatch v. Robin Deloatch

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals recently highlighted a United States Supreme Court decision that went largely unnoticed in the real estate industry. As the highlighted rule stems from the highest court in the land, real estate practitioners in all jurisdictions should take note. In Dwight Deloatch v. Robin Deloatch, Mr. Deloatch noted an appeal nearly four (4) years after ... Read More

Client Alert: District Court of the District of Columbia Denies Traditional Legal Defenses Raised by Title Companies

On May 22, 2020, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued an important decision denying an early motion to dismiss against a title company for its actions preceding a troubled transaction. The decision is significant in that the District Court denied each of the traditional legal defenses typically raised by title companies at such an early ... Read More

The Court of Appeals of Maryland Clarifies a Receiver’s Ability to Sell Real Property

Similar to other businesses that are slowly beginning to reopen, the appellate courts are increasing the amount of decisions being issued. On May 12, 2020, the Court of Appeals of Maryland issued an important decision which reversed the intermediate appellate court and clarified a receiver’s ability to sell real property. In Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. Prime Realty Associates, ... Read More

Client Alert for Commercial Landlords: “Control The Space” and Pre-Bankruptcy Contractual Termination of Lease

When the economy weakens, as with the unprecedented effects of the current COVID-19 pandemic, certain office and retail tenants will be unable to satisfy their lease obligations, vacate or file bankruptcy. Landlords should anticipate the consequences of these developments and some may choose to be proactive rather than reactive, and one way is to consider sending notices of default and ... Read More

Client Alert: The Impact of COVID-19 on Commercial Leases – Force Majeure and Curtailed Court Operations

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the ability of many businesses to satisfy payment and other obligations under leases and other contracts.  As tenant income has precipitously dropped over the past few weeks, often as a result of government mandated closures or restrictions on operations, landlords and tenants are taking a hard look at “force majeure” provisions in leases.  First and ... Read More

Client Alert: Important Decisions Limiting a Carrier’s Duty to Defend

In difficult times, it is good to see courts continuing with their dockets and issuing favorable decisions for the industry.  On March 23, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a very important decision limiting a carrier’s duty to defend. In Security Title Guarantee Corp. of Baltimore v. 915 Decatur St NW, LLC, ... Read More

The Council of the District of Columbia Approves Emergency Bill Expanding Foreclosure Protections

On March 3, 2020, the Council of the District of Columbia approved an emergency bill amending certain portions of the Housing Finance Agency Act to extend the Agency’s Reverse Mortgage Insurance and Tax Payment Program (ReMIT). ReMIT is a pilot program crafted to address seniors facing foreclosure on a reverse mortgage by providing subsidy payments (up to $25,000) to help ... Read More

February Real Estate Update | Gan v. Van Buren Street Methodist Church

On February 13, 2020, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals issued an opinion which expressly declined to follow a troubling earlier decision regarding tacking in the context of adverse possession. The decision is significant because the Court clarified the confusing and contradictory prior decision, which muddied the adverse possession waters in Washington, D.C. In Gan v. Van Buren Street Methodist ... Read More

Davis v. Echo Valley Condominium Association, 945 F.3d 483 (6th Circuit Court, December 19, 2019)

In a recent case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the court heard a matter involving the intersection between fair housing law and community association governance. In this case, Phyllis Davis purchased a second-floor unit in a four-unit condominium building within the Echo Valley Condominium Association in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Davis suffers from asthma and chemical ... Read More

Settlement Considerations on Acquisitions of DC Commercial Property – Plan Early and Keep Lines of Communication Open Between Settlement Company and Lender

The settlement process on commercial transactions and, more particularly, the completion of the FP7/C (Real Property Recordation and Transfer Tax Form) is markedly different than residential transactions. One particular pitfall has recently come to light that has plagued and delayed some transactions and has resulted in more money being due for recordation taxes than the buyer or lender had anticipated ... Read More

Expansion of Home Purchase Assistance Program to Include Construction/Repair Money

A new bill has been introduced before the Council of the District of Columbia that would amend the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP). This program provides assistance to first time home buyers of lower and medium income households by offering interest free loans towards down payments and some assistance towards closing costs. These loans generally take the form of ... Read More

December Real Estate Update | Rae Lee Davis v. J. Garnett Davis, Jr.

On December 5, 2019, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued an opinion invalidating three gift deeds executed and delivered in 2013. The decision is significant in that evidence outside of the recorded documents – and, presumptively, outside of the review of any title examiner – was relied upon by the Court in reaching its decision. In Rae Lee Davis v. J ... Read More

Virginia Supreme Court Adopts Partial Subordination Rule

The case of Futuri Real Estate, Inc. v. Atlantic Trustee Services, LLC involved a question of first impression in Virginia regarding what should happen when a first-priority position lien subordinates itself to a third-priority position lien. Under the complete subordination rule, the first-priority position lien becomes junior to the other two liens on the property, the second-priority lien moves ... Read More

Is the Lender’s Title Policy Coverage Triggered in the Underlying Battle Between the Lender and the Homeowners Association in a Super-Priority Lien State?

In Wells Fargo Bank, NA, as Trustee v. Fidelity National Insurance Company, Case No. 3:19-cv-00241-MMD-WGC in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada (decided October 29, 2019), the trial court was recently confronted with an issue which has been brewing over the past several years in those states that provide Homeowners Association (HOA)/condominium liens with a super-priority ... Read More

October Real Estate Update | Lawrence R. Carver, Jr. v. RBS Citizens, N.A.

On September 27, 2019, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland issued an opinion reversing a judgment against Security Title Guarantee Corp. of Baltimore. The decision is significant not merely for what the Court held, but for what claims were not raised by the property owners. In Lawrence R. Carver, Jr. v. RBS Citizens, N.A., Nancy and Lawrence Carver purchased multiple ... Read More