Freddie Mac announced that it will utilize automated collateral evaluations to determine when an automated appraisal can be used for new home mortgages and refinancing. ACE uses data from multiple listing services, public records and historical home values to determine collateral risks. This decision was criticized by the Appraisal Institute. “Since 1994, the government sponsored enterprises have been exempted from appraisal requirements established by Congress on the basis that they would make responsible decisions,” said Appraisal Institute President Jim Amorin, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS. “Last week’s announcement to waive appraisals in blind loan purchase decisions calls this privilege into question, as it will undoubtedly result in a race to the bottom and create more risk for taxpayers.”

A Florida developer petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a $10 million takings case against the Florida Department of Environmental Protection  The developer alleged that the DEP’s denial of a development permit for a beachfront parcel was an unlawful taking. The developer intended to build 17 luxury townhouse units Fort Pierce, Florida

The trial court found the DEP’s denial constituted a taking. However, the Florida Court of Appeals reversed that decision and the Florida Supreme Court denied the developer’s petition to hear the case. The Court of Appeals found that the developer should have applied for a variance or waiver after its permit was initially denied even though the trial court found that a request for variance or waiver would have been futile. Therefore, the Court of Appeals held, the case was not “ripe.”

The developer’s petition for writ to Scotus states, “This Court should grant Beach Group’s Petition for writ of certiorari to address the miscarriage of justice resulting from the court of appeal’s reversal of the trial court’s order of taking, and to address the important federal questions of (1) whether landowners must submit and be denied economically impracticable development plans to ripen a regulatory taking claim, and (2) whether regulatory taking ripeness always requires pursuit of a variance, essentially doing away with this Court’s futility exception.”

NC has announced that the following counties will begin the tax reassessment appraisal process of real properties in January 2018:

BEAUFORT COUNTY                  MITCHELL COUNTY

CLAY COUNTY                              ONSLOW COUNTY

FRANKLIN COUNTY                   ROBESON COUNTY

GRANVILLE COUNTY                 WATAUGA COUNTY

 

 

 

Federal agencies are considering raising the threshold for commercial real estate transactions requiring an appraisal from the current level of $250,000 to $400,000. The agencies including the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have stated that they believe raising the floor will greatly reduce the number of transactions that require an appraisal and save costs and expenses in these transactions.  The proposal requires that commercial real estate transactions at or below the threshold receive an “evaluation” which are less detailed than appraisals and do not require completion by a state licensed or certified appraiser.

 

New Jersey has adopted a “property taxpayer bill of rights” seeking to assist property owners with the real estate assessment process. New Jersey has one of the nation’s highest property taxes. Bill A-4007 requires the state division of taxation director to list taxpayers’ real property rights “in simple and nontechnical terms” and post it on the website of the various county tax boards and municipalities in the state. It also provides taxpayers with the “right to understand the calculation of the assessment on their real property, the right to detailed information about how to appeal an assessment of real property and the right to view the real property assessment of any other parcel of real property in the municipality in which the taxpayer’s property is located.”

The Utah legislature is considering policy changes regarding the acquisition of land for new charter schools and further expansions of existing schools. Specifically, there currently is uncertainty as to the eminent domain powers of charter schools in that state.

The Utah Administrative Rules Review Committee questioned what authority charter schools have to call on the state to seize property through eminent domain laws. Kristen Elinowski, a spokeswoman for the State Charter School Board, said because Utah’s eminent domain statute predates Utah’s charter schools policies, there is need for specific clarification of whether it is the state board of education, the charter school board or the charter school that should be the entity involved in approving the use of eminent domain.

The Georgia Supreme Court is considering an important case involving the state’s 2006 Landowner’s Bill of Rights statute. At issue is whether certain provisions of that statute are mandatory or merely advisory. The GA appeals court ruled that the City of Marietta violated that statute by not providing the property owner with details of the city’s appraisal of his property. The Landowner’s Bill of Rights says that the condemning authority should give the property owner an opportunity to accompany the appraiser during inspection, and provide the owner with “a written statement of, and summary of the basis for,” the offered amount. Marietta argues that these are not mandatory requirements. Oral argument was done last month.

Oregon has enacted legislation establishing a specific statute of limitations on civil actions against appraisers and appraisal firms for real estate appraisal activity. The law takes applies only to appraisals performed after January 1.  It requires that any civil action against an appraiser or an appraisal firm commence within six years after the date of the “act or omission giving rise to the action.” The limitations will not apply to actions that allege fraud or misrepresentation.

Property owners whose land will be taken for the Sabal Trail Transmission LLC’s natural gas pipeline should be compensated under Florida law rather than federal rules, a Florida federal judge ruled.

In Sabal Trail Transmission LLC v. Real Estate et al, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker denied the pipeline’s request that eminent domain compensation be determined pursuant to the federal “just compensation” standard.   The primary difference is that Florida’s just compensation includes attorneys’ fees and other expenses. Federal procedure does not provide for those expenses.

The New Jersey Appellate Division has held that the government can condemn easements for beach projects. In that case, the DEP sought voluntary easements from the landowners as part of a dune-and-berm system spanning the entire 18-mile length of Long Beach Island and 14 miles along Ocean County. The Court rejected the challenges of Ocean County property owners. The Court stated that the question was whether the specific eminent domain law at issue, N.J.S.A. 12:3-64, restricts the DEP to acquiring only a “fee simple” and not an easment. The appeals judges’ decision was based on the plain language of the statute and rejected the landowners’ arguments that the Legislature must have intended to limit the DEP’s authority to acquire only a fee simple.