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Philadelphia Real Estate Law Blog

The problems mechanic's liens pose to homebuyers

Homebuyers in the Philadelphia area have a lot to worry about when they are finishing up the purchase of their new residence. Aside from the practicalities of re-locating one's family, there are a lot of financial and legal problems that have to be addressed.

One of these hurdles is a check for hidden liens that are against a piece of real estate. Although the more common types of liens are things like mortgages or liens from a court judgment, there are also other liens that can be hard to spot, even after a thorough title examination.

Representing Philly businesses in commercial leases

Previous posts on this blog have discussed how many business owners in Philadelphia, who are looking to start a new business or move, may consider leasing a place for their business rather than buying a piece of property outright.

Those who do choose to lease are going to have a lot thrown at them at once. Commercial leases are not like the lease one signs to rent a home or an apartment as they have a lot more layers of complexity to them. There are, for instance, several additional issues that a good commercial lease should address which might not be important for someone just looking for a home. Moreover, commercial leases are much more likely to include terms which are open to negotiation.

Overview of Historical Commission's rules and processes

A previous post on this blog discussed the controversy surrounding the proposed demolition of an old Philadelphia church. The controversy pits the current owners of the church and the proposed buyer, which wants to demolish the church and build condominiums, against activists who think losing the church will cost the neighborhood a lot of its historic character.

The story raises the question of what developers can and cannot do with vintage buildings and other historic property. These questions are different than zoning and rezoning questions, as they fall under the jurisdiction of a different city department and can affect any number of different types of property.

What are industrial development loans and how can they help me?

Seeing the need to promote economic development, such is in parts of the Philadelphia area that could use some economic revitalization, the state has created the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority as a source for government-backed capital that aspiring businesspeople can access to fund their businesses.

Residents of Pennsylvania can apply for a loan through the Authority in order to purchase commercial property. Incidentally, they can also use these industrial development loans for the purchase of equipment and other capital as well as a line of credit. The advantage to these types of loans is that, like other government-backed loans, they come with a lower interest rate than what one might get on the private market. Although collateral is required, such requirements are also relatively easy to manage.

Debate over land use at forefront of historic church's future

A historic church in the Bella Vista neighborhood of Philadelphia faces an uncertain fate due to a dispute about whether a developer should be allowed to destroy it in order to make space for some new townhomes that would likely attract new residents, and wealth, to the neighborhood.

The sale of the property began simply enough, with the congregation of the church, which was once a mission church targeting Italian immigrants, putting the building up for sale. The congregation wants to move and expand, and it says the building is not in good repair.

The essential terms of a commercial lease

A previous post on this blog discussed the difference between leasing commercial real estate or buying a property when a Philadelphia resident decides either to start up a new business or re-locate an existing one.

When it comes to leasing commercial property, it is important for those in the Philly area and throughout Pennsylvania to remember that commercial leases are not at all like the residential leases one might sign to rent an apartment or even a house. Commercial leases tend to be more prone to being negotiated, are typically longer in duration and have some added legal complexities to them that some people, who have to that point only rented for residential purposes, might find overwhelming.

We help lift the burden of title defect litigation

As a recent post on this blog discussed, one of the nightmare scenarios a homeowner or, for that matter, the new owner of a piece of Philadelphia property, can face is the realization that another person or business has a lien or some other valid claim to the property and is now threatening to exercise their ownership rights.

This in many cases leads to full-blown courtroom disputes. No one is guaranteed to win a legal fight involving who owns title to a piece of land, and the fact that someone thought he or she had bought the property fair and square often has little impact on the result. Moreover, even if someone does manage to "win" his or her case, a long and expensive legal fight could mean there is, practically speaking, nothing left fighting for by the time the dust settles.

What do I do if I discover a title defect on my home?

Although Philadelphia residents may choose not to think of such a scenario, it is always possible that they could buy a house in either the city or somewhere else in southeastern Pennsylvania, move in and start fixing up the home and not find out until later that someone else has either a lien or some claim of ownership over the property, a scenario that in the legal world is referred to as a "title defect".

Even when there is a thorough title examination, items can get overlooked. Moreover, there are many types of title claims that may never appear in the public records, meaning that it would be hard for a buyer of property to know about them.

Arrival of tech giant in Philly could increase costs for some

When a new business moves into town, it is generally something Philadelphians want to celebrate. After all, especially if the business is offering high-paying jobs, it may mean more people coming in to the city who will have plenty of money to feed in to the city's economy.

What some might not realize, however, is how a big, lucrative company can impact the prices of residential real estate when the company moves into town. Prices tend actually to increase in these sorts of situations, meaning some residents or would-be residents of the city are going to get pushed out of the market.

What constitutes a 'public use' in eminent domain law?

The federal Constitution as well as Pennsylvania's laws, protect the rights of citizens to enjoy their private property by using it in a way they see fit. Of course, there are some exceptions to this general principle, and one of those is the eminent domain exception.

As this blog has discussed previously, Pennsylvania and even local authorities have the right to take private land and put it to public use so long as they pair a just price for the land, which is generally considered to be fair market value.

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