Questions About Georgia Land Use or Real Estate Law?

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Real estate and land use laws are the cornerstone of commercial business in Georgia. Business owners, real estate developers, builders, engineers, brokers, architects, creditors and contractors have a long list of rules they must follow. Businesses that work with real property must comply with these statutes, regulations and ordinances on a day-to-day basis.. Due to Georgia’s broad range of complex laws, court rulings, and legal principles, a guiding hand can be essential.

Sound, seasoned legal guidance comes from experience and is imperative for those who deal with Georgia’s complex real estate laws. With more than a century of combined across-the-board legal experience, the attorneys at Hecht Walker, P.C. can work together with your team to offer comprehensive and sound advice. We represent clients who require help with a wide range of legal matters involving real property including but not limited to rezoning, permitting, variances, code violation defense, regulatory takings, quiet title work, liens, liability protection, inverse condemnations, encroachments, nuisances, runoff actions, commercial property tax appeals and many other real estate and land use matters.

How Can Land Use and Lease Transactions End Up in Court?

There are many scenario that can lead to litigation in land use and lease transactions. Some of the obvious areas for litigation include the denial of a use of a property owner’s property at a re-zoning hearing. Another obvious dispute than can lead to litigation is an alleged rent or other monetary default under a lease. Common Area Maintenance Fee Disputes and related expense disputes often end up in Court.

Sometimes, the purchase of a property can be inconvenient for two parties, so they enter into a long-term ground lease instead. These leases can be anywhere between 50 and 99 years long, and they have quite a few benefits. All expenses for the property are handled by the tenant rather than the landlord, allowing for tenant financing of construction projects on the land. However, certain problems can arise.

Under certain circumstances, if the tenant does not keep up with the financing they use to construct buildings on the leased property, then a portion of the property or all of the property, depending of the structure of the real estate project, could be foreclosed upon by the Tenant’s creditor. On the other hand, if there is no provision preventing the landlord from borrowing against the property’s equity, then the tenants could find themselves in a difficult position.

Conflicts like these present a risk that sometimes can only be addressed by litigation. Additionally, with Georgia’s real estate and land use laws, these conflicts can become particularly contentious.

Atlanta Real Estate and Land Use Attorney

What Does It Take to Enforce the Terms of a Commercial Lease?

In most cases, there will be several options for a client to consider. Depending on the specific performance or breach of lease provisions, many options could be available to the wronged party. In some cases, a writ of possession could be needed to regain the property and a dispossessory action may need to be filed to “evict” the tenant.

In most cases there is a need to recover unpaid rent. The Lease may allow for recovery of future rent based on a properly drafted remedies section of the Lease. However, one party may have transferred assets during the term of the Lease, near the time of default. In those instances, it may be necessary to see if a fraudulent or voidable conveyance occurred. Also, there may be instances when a counsel may need to seek to “pierce the corporate veil.” In these instances, a tenant can be investigated when there are concerns that he or she may have transferred assets away from the company in a furtive effort to avoid maintaining lease payment obligations. These actions leave tell-tale signs common to fraudulent conveyance claims, alter ego claims, and fraud from potential misrepresentations by a tenant. Hecht Walker practices in the areas of pursuing these claims and defending these claims for our clients.

In one case for a multi-billion-dollar commercial property assets manager, Hecht Walker, P.C. had to sue over 18 companies and three individuals on a fraudulent transfer lease litigation case. Through extensive discovery, we were able to track the wire transfers out of the company to the principal defendants involved in the case. Despite the best efforts of these companies and individuals to avoid their financial obligations, we were able to secure a judgment, protecting our client’s multi-million-dollar lease interest.

How Can a Re-Zoning Cause Regulatory Takings?

Sometimes a local government may go through a comprehensive re-zoning process. In that process, they may accidentally or intentionally take a use or portion of a use from an existing property owner. If that situation deprives property owners of the utility and value of their property, then they may have fallen into regulatory taking.

To establish a regulatory taking, you must be able to present evidence that a government zoning classification has at the very least caused a significant detriment to your property rights, although certain courts may require something closer to a complete taking of your property rights. Simply saying that a property is not zoned for its best use will not satisfy the standard for a regulatory taking. This area of the law continues to evolve and many details will have to be explored to prove a regulatory taking and denial of a property right, and we look forward to working with you on your team to see if the facts meet the legal standard of a regulatory taking.

How Can I Keep My Company Out of Court?

Whether you develop or build, lead a bank or own a business, you likely need to maintain your good reputation. Unnecessary court proceedings, even when you prevail, can damage your organization’s image and become expensive. Fortunately, you may be able to avoid the courtroom in certain situations. Either a company could seek counsel as soon as a problem is discovered or they can seek alternative dispute resolution like mediation.

Mediation, and other alternative dispute resolution services, can allow two conflicting parties to sit down and work out their dispute without going to court. This practice has saved many institutions money just by avoiding both the courtroom and filing fees. This can be especially effective when it comes to real estate disputes.

Questions? Call Our Atlanta Land Use Law Firm Today

We invite you to contact Hecht Walker, P.C. to discuss your case. Our Georgia law firm respects your privacy, so every consultation is fully private and confidential. We have offices in Atlanta and Stockbridge, for your convenience. Call (404) 948-6434 or contact us online today.

Disclaimer

This information does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. The law changes on a daily basis, and the reader should engage an attorney through a written agreement before taking action in this area of the law.