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Foreclosures Hit 6-Year Low

Posted in Eminent Domain, Valuation

According to the firm RealtyTrac, national foreclosure filings fell to a six-year low in January. The report states that foreclosures dropped 7 percent in January from December 2012, with foreclosure activity down 28 percent from January 2012. It further found that U.S. bank repossessions dropped 5 percent from the previous month and were down 24… Continue Reading

Appraisal Foundation Releases New Pamphlets for Consumers and Lenders

Posted in Appraisers, Eminent Domain

The Appraisal Foundation, a national non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of professional valuation and protecting the public trust, has released two new pamphlets benefitting consumers and lenders. According to the Foundation, A Guide to Understanding a Residential Appraisal was developed specifically for consumers. This pamphlet is intended to provide consumers an overview of the… Continue Reading

Justices Appear Skeptical Of Takings Claim

Posted in Eminent Domain

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral argument a property owner’s claim that the denial of a permit to develop his land constituted an unconstitutional taking of his property. The Court seemed skeptical of the claim. As the National Law Journal reported, Justice Antonin Scalia asked the landowner’s counsel, "What has been taken?" This case,… Continue Reading

Rights and Obligations of Landlords and Tenants When Sandy Damages Leased Premises

Posted in Eminent Domain, Valuation

Sandy has created a number of difficult legal problems. One issue relates to the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants when leased premises suffer casualty damage. The obligations of a landlord as an owner of a commercial property to repair and restore casualty damage are generally found in two documents – (i) a mortgage… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Restates That Temporary Interference With Property May Cause Taking

Posted in Eminent Domain

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court released its unanimous opinion in Arkansas Game and Fish Commission v. United States. In that case, the property owner alleged that a taking occurred when government actions caused flooding on its property. The opinion states, “We rule today, simply and only, that government induced flooding temporary in duration gains no… Continue Reading

Fox Challenges Real Estate Tax Legislation

Posted in Assessments, Eminent Domain

Fox Rothschild has filed a class action on behalf of the owners of approximately 1,240 properties located in Philadelphia challenging recent legislation which “adopts” an artificially high Established Predetermined Ratio (EPR) for the 2013 tax year. Significantly, while the legislation expressly recognizes that real estate tax assessment in the City has become “increasingly at variance… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Considers Temporary Takings Case

Posted in Eminent Domain

The US Supreme Court recently heard oral argument regarding a condemnation case which could have significant impacts. In Arkansas Fish & Game Commission v. United States, the Court is considering whether a temporary “physical invasion” of property which causes permanent harm constitutes a taking warranting the payment of just compensation. Specifically, the Court is will… Continue Reading

Tax Court Eliminates Draft Reports from Discovery

Posted in Appraisers, Eminent Domain

One important issue for litigation experts to always consider is whether their draft reports can be obtained by another party via discovery. The rules vary by jurisdiction. Recently, the US Tax Court amended Rule 70 of its Rules of Practice & Procedure to exclude drafts of expert reports from discovery. This protection applies regardless of the form in… Continue Reading

Virginia Passes Eminent Domain Ballot Question

Posted in Eminent Domain

Earlier this year, I wrote about a Virginia eminent domain ballot question. That question passed yesterday with approximately 74% of the vote. Question 1 on the November 6, 2012 ballot in the state of Virginia was an amendment to its state Constitution restricting the power of eminent domain. It was passed by both houses of the VA… Continue Reading

Sandy Will Delay Loans And Require Reappraisals

Posted in Appraisers, Eminent Domain

Loans involving properties in the path of Hurricane Sandy will certainly be delayed according to National Mortgage News. In addition to the obvious business interruption, many properties will need to be reappraised to determine if the Hurricane caused a decrease in property value. Given the volume of reappraisals, the loan process will be severely impacted. David Stevens, president… Continue Reading

Foreclosures Reach Lowest Level Since 2007

Posted in Appraisers, Eminent Domain

The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance performed 173 examinations of mortgage licensees in 2011. According to National Mortgage News, these examinations concluded that 90 percent of the mortgage firms had some type of violation. The examinations showed a total 4,347 violations, or 25 per examination. The most common violations were deficiencies in loan… Continue Reading

NJ Agency: 90 Percent of Mortgage Firms Violate Laws

Posted in Appraisers, Eminent Domain

The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance performed 173 examinations of mortgage licensees in 2011. According to National Mortgage News, these examinations concluded that 90 percent of the mortgage firms had some type of violation. The examinations showed a total 4,347 violations, or 25 per examination. The most common violations were deficiencies in loan… Continue Reading

Realtors Criticize ‘Excessive’ Appraiser Comp Requirements

Posted in Appraisers, Eminent Domain

Appraisers have been the target of complaints since the fiscal crisis began in 2008. As a result, some lenders started requiring that appraisers provide as many as eight to 10 comparable transactions in their reports. Prior to the requirement, lenders generally required at least three comps on most residential appraisals. The National Association of Realtors… Continue Reading

PA Considers Controversial Park Sale Bill

Posted in Eminent Domain, Redevelopment

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is considering a bill which would permit governmental entities to sell its public parks. The concern expressed by many – including newspaper columnists and groups such as the League of Women Voters – is that government officials will improperly use this as a “quick fix” to solve fiscal problems. For example,… Continue Reading

PA Court Allows Approval Of Second Plan During Appeal Of First Plan Approval

Posted in Eminent Domain, Zoning

The Commonwealth Court of PA has ruled that while an appeal of approvals for a development is pending, a municipality has the power to approve another development plan submitted by the same developer for the same property. In James DeFilippo v. Cranberry Township Board of Supervisors, the developer proposed to construct an automobile sales and… Continue Reading

PA Legislature Holds Property Tax Hearings

Posted in Assessments, Eminent Domain

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ bipartisan House Select Committee on Property Tax Reform held two days of hearings in Harrisburg to review local government property tax collection, reassessments and local tax structures. The committee is conducting a review of Pennsylvania’s local tax structure. According to an article in PA Law Weekly, State Representative Tom Quigley,… Continue Reading

VA Has Eminent Domain Const. Amendment On Ballot

Posted in Eminent Domain

Question 1 on the November 6, 2012 ballot in the state of Virginia is an amendment to its state Constitution restricting the power of eminent domain. It was passed by both houses of the VA legislature. It has significant eminent domain restrictions including prohibiting using the power of eminent domain for private enterprise, job creation,… Continue Reading

National Foreclosure Rates Down From Last Year

Posted in Eminent Domain, Valuation

Market researcher RealtyTrac reports that fewer foreclosure processes were initiated in August 2012 than in August 2011. Foreclosures reached a 17-year high in August 2011. RealtyTrac said the number of homes entering foreclosure is projected to continue decreasing gradually. Approximately 99,400 homes entered foreclosure in August. This was a 1 percent increase over July, but… Continue Reading

PA Court Permits Condemnation Benefiting Private Developer

Posted in Eminent Domain

In Reading Area Water Authority v. The Schuylkill River Greenway Association, the Reading Area Water Authority condemned land for the construction, maintenance and operation of utility lines and appurtenance of a water main. The property owners challenged the taking and alleged the facilities would be purely for the benefit of a private developer. Specifically, they… Continue Reading

PA Court Rules Highway Occupancy Permit Did Not Cause De Facto Taking

Posted in Eminent Domain

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania recent ruled that the issuance of highway occupancy permit did not cause a “de facto” condemnation of a neighboring property owner. In Ristvey v. Com., Dept. of Transp., the alleged de facto condemnees owned 23 acres of vacant, residentially-zoned land on the eastern side of Pennsylvania State Route 18 in… Continue Reading

Fed Report Examines Appraisal Processes

Posted in Appraisers, Eminent Domain

The Government Accountability Office recently released a report examining real estate valuations in the wake of the recent mortgage crisis. The report, used data from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and five of the biggest mortgage lenders. It revealed that valuations received through broker price opinions and automated valuation models take less time and are less… Continue Reading