How to Reduce Your Attorneys’ Hours in 2014, Part 2

Posted by Hecht Walker, P.C.
Posted on February 6, 2014

Part two of a two part article.

Advice from attorneys Greg Hecht and Mark Walker, principals at the Atlanta law firm of Hecht Walker, for the new year for businesses, local governments and other entities.

For Builders,  Developers and Purchasers

Builders, developers and purchasers of real property should work with cities and counties before buying property to determine if there are any local issues that will make permitting a problem, and to see if the design standards for the area are appropriate for the intended land use. Also, they should ensure that purchase contracts are contingent upon zoning appropriate for the property being purchased. Never count on a re-zoning to occur after the purchase. Once they  purchase the property, developers are stuck with the zoning in place at the time. In addition, if a change in the use of the property is planned, developers may lose any vested rights previously grandfathered for the property.

Also, it is important to check whether a potential purchase is within an overlay district. Overlay district designs and other requirements may destroy a proposed development and building budget as well as its proposed use. A developer can include a provision in the purchase agreement requiring the seller to materially represent that the zoning, design standards and district requirements are appropriate for the intended use, which should be spelled out in the contract. They should also be sure to have the latest set of covenants before entering into the Purchase and Sale Agreement.

Finally, builders should ensure that their workforce is I-9 compliant before entering a new jurisdiction. This includes determining whether the state has implemented a new work force development or workforce status check law. A project may not be feasible if the work force does not meet a local jurisdictions new work force development or status check law.

For Commercial Real Property Owners and Real Property Taxpayers

Property owners should watch out for higher valuations in property tax assessments this year, as cities and counties will most likely be tightening down on capitalization rates this year.

Says Greg Hecht, “In our property tax appeal practice, we believe property tax appeals are still effective tools to control certain operating costs for your projects for up to three years in relation to property taxes. As the economy rebounds, our fear is that many property managers and real property owners may ignore appeals in the upcoming year. An increase in the fair market value in an assessment may or may not be justified. The valuation should be reviewed in relationship to the income produced by the property and against comparative sales over the last few years.

For Clients with Insurance Coverage Issues

Says Greg Hecht, ” In our insurance coverage practice, we find bad faith denials of covered claims on a significant basis.” Individuals and businesses with coverage disputes need to be their own best advocates first, by reviewing their policy documents. Insured companies and individuals should not simply accept an insurers initial denial of a claim based on coverage limitations or claimed provision restrictions, but should check their insurance policy for coverage provisions and declarations, and have them readily available for transmission back to their insurer.

For All Clients and Potential Clients

Finally, in 2014, after doing everything to protect themselves within the confines of everyday business practices, clients should resolve to have an attorney review documents and changes in practice at the outset. Having an attorney in the process at the early stages of a contract, negotiation or issue, can often prevent larger problems or losses. This step can go a long way towards protecting individuals and businesses from liabilities and higher attorneys fees down the road.

With over 75 years of concurrent legal expertise, Hecht Walker’s team of attorneys can help you plan for the future and protect you from liabilities. And if you are facing a legal dispute, we can aggressively pursue your claims and your defense from any claims.

How to Reduce Your Attorneys’ Hours in 2014, Part 1

atlanta attorney Greg HechtThe wide range of areas in which attorney Greg Hecht focuses include business, commercial and real estate litigation, county, city and authority representation, loan and guaranty litigation, commercial property tax appeals, commercial landlord/tenant, contract, zoning, land use and employment law. In his more than two decades of service, Greg has been lead counsel in over 1000 hearings and over 300 trials, working tirelessly to achieve success for his clients.



Walker.Mark_-150x150Attorney Mark Walker is a partner at the law firm of Hecht Walker. In close to 30 years as an attorney, he has represented banks, creditors, lenders, landlords and businesses in commercial foreclosure actions, in lender liability matters and in bankruptcy proceedings. Mark has handled thousands of commercial foreclosure matters during his career, and has represented lenders and creditors in federal bankruptcy courts.

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