Category Archives: Real Estate

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 >

September Real Estate Update | Loch Levan Land L.P. v. Board of Supervisors of Henrico County

On August 22, 2019, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued an opinion denying a developer’s claim of vested rights in a dedicated road. In Loch Levan Land L.P. v. Board of Supervisors of Henrico County, the Court affirmed the Circuit Court’s judgment and brought major disruptions to plans for development of 1,089 acres of land located only a few miles... Read More >

Commercial Recordation/Transfer Tax Increase and Mandatory Use of New FP7

The Washington, D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue has issued an official notice of the increase on transfer and recordation tax on commercial properties where the consideration (real or imputed) is more than $2 million. The increase is effective on October 1, 2019 and is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2023. A... Read More >

The Best Lawyers in America 2020

Jackson & Campbell, P.C. is pleased to announce a number of our Directors have been named to The Best Lawyers in America© 2020 Edition. Congratulations to: Arthur D. Burger, Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law David H. Cox, Real Estate Law, Real Estate Litigation William E. Davis, Trusts and Estates, Trusts... Read More >

D.C. Superior Court Amends Landlord/Tenant Rules

On July 23, 2019, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia issued amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Branch Rules of Procedure. Generally, the amendments made stylistic changes that are consistent with the recent amendments to the Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure (i.e., the replacement of the word "shall" with "must"). Along with the stylistic changes, the amendments made several... Read More >

July Real Estate Update | Margaret Williams v. James Kennedy | Jane Robinson, Trustee v. Nels Nordquist

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Virginia have recently issued decisions which are significant for those in the real estate industry. Washington, D.C. On July 11, 2019, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals issued its decision in Margaret Williams v. James Kennedy regarding intra-owner transfers within the context of the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act... Read More >

Washington, D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue Homestead Unit Suspending Processing Of Homestead Applications

The division of the DC Office of Tax and Revenue that processes homestead, senior, and disabled applications (FP-100) has announced that, as of July 17, 2019, it will suspend the processing of applications, grant benefits, and tax account adjustments. This action was “taken to meet a demanding billing timeline to reconcile tax accounts” associated with the upcoming 2019 second half... Read More >

D.C. Court of Appeals Affirms Establishment of a Public Easement by Prescription Against a Tax Sale Purchaser Who Tried to Close Off an Alleyway

In Zere v. District of Columbia, the D.C. Court of Appeals restated the elements for a prescriptive easement in the District, with a particular focus on the element of adversity, by affirming a grant of summary judgment. Mr. Zere, an experienced tax sale purchaser, separately acquired five of six lots that formed a private alley. Mr. Zere then attempted to... Read More >

May Real Estate Update | SJ Enterprises, LLC v. Quander

On May 16, 2019, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals issued a new opinion in SJ Enterprises, LLC v. Quander that is of significant importance. In this matter, Dianne Quander leased commercial premises to SJ Enterprises, LLC for an initial term of five years with two additional five year renewal options. The initial term was set to expire on November... Read More >

Emotional Support Animals and Dangerous Dogs in Cooperative Apartment and Condo Communities

An emotional support animal (ESA) is a companion animal (typically a dog or cat) that provides therapeutic benefit to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability. An ESA is not the same thing as a pet. Rather, for a resident of a co-op or condo who is living with a mental or psychiatric disability, an ESA may provide him... Read More >

April Real Estate Update | Elm Cabin John, LLC v. United Bank

On April 19, 2019, Judge Messitte of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland issued an unpublished opinion in Elm Cabin John, LLC v. United Bank that is certainly noteworthy for real estate practitioners. In this matter, Ms. Nancy Long owned three parcels in Montgomery County. As an individual in her 80s during the subject transactions, she is... Read More >

DC Circuit Applies Discovery Rule To Erroneous Land Surveys Of Commercial Land

The case of Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company v. KCI Technologies, Inc., concerns a title insurance company’s suit against two surveyors whose surveys failed to find a 12-inch encroachment on a parcel of commercial real property. Before purchasing the property, ICG 16th Street Associates commissioned a land survey that found no encroachment. The next year, it purchased the property... Read More >

Congratulations to our Attorneys and Practice Groups

Jackson & Campbell, P.C. is proud to announce our 2019 Super Lawyers. Please join us in celebrating Nathan J. Bresee, Richard W. Bryan, Arthur D. Burger, David H. Cox, William E. Davis, Christopher P. Ferragamo, Robert N. Kelly, James N. Markels, Nicholas S. McConnell, and Brian W. Thompson; and... Read More >

Conservation Easements: Saving Our Green Spaces or Illegal Tax Shelters?

A property owner who donates an easement of his or her property to a charitable organization for conservation or historical purposes is permitted to take a charitable deduction for the value of that donated property easement. The statutory requirements are set forth in Internal Revenue Code §170(h). There are many conservation easements that are fulfilling the intent of the legislation... Read More >

Additional Practical Analysis: Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus LLP

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously on March 20, 2019 in Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus LLP that a law firm hired to pursue a nonjudicial foreclosure under Colorado law was not a debt collector under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). In a nonjudicial foreclosure, notice to the parties and sale of the property occur outside... Read More >

Court Upholds Validity of Foreclosure Sale in Light of Debtor’s Failure to Seek a Stay Pending Appeal

A recent decision issued by the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia underscores the importance for both debtors and creditors to be especially cognizant of procedural rules when dealing with a property subject to foreclosure. In re: Bobbie Upasna Vardan involved a property that had been affected by four bankruptcies filed by the debtor or members of her... Read More >

March Real Estate Update | Cushman & Wakefield of Maryland, Inc. v. DRV Greentec, LLC

The Court of Appeals of Maryland issued two recent decisions impacting landlord/tenant issues. Cushman & Wakefield of Maryland, Inc. v. DRV Greentec, LLC In Cushman & Wakefield of Maryland, Inc. v. DRV Greentec, LLC, filed on March 4, 2019, the Court of Appeals held that a commercial broker could not enforce an obligation to pay a commission against an owner’s assignee. In... Read More >

Revocable Trusts and Real Property in Washington, D.C.

When thinking about transferring a Washington, D.C. real property into a revocable trust, there are several considerations to take into account. Beginning Steps: To ensure the transfer occurs properly, a deed has to be recorded. A transfer is usually exempt from transfer and recordation taxes, provided that the trust is revocable and that the grantor remains the beneficiary. Deductions: In most circumstances, the property... Read More >

Virginia Supreme Court: Newly-Acquired Subsidiary Does Not Receive Coverage Under Owner’s Property Insurance

After EPC MD 15, LLC purchased commercial property fire insurance from Erie Insurance Exchange, it purchased another company that owned a separate building on another property. The new subsidiary was not a named insured under the original policy. When that building sustained fire damage, EPC submitted a claim, claiming that the purchase of the subsidiary made the subsidiary’s property “newly... Read More >

Pending Emergency Legislation to Affect Tax Sales and Recordation Tax on Leases

The Washington, D.C. Council is considering B22-922: Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2018 which, among many provisions, contains a few changes of interest to real estate practitioners which are found here. Recordation Tax: On leases in excess of 30 years, the Washington, D.C. government may determine the fair market value of the leasehold interest... Read More >