Employment Law Issues for the Development Industry

employment-contractRecently, several of my colleagues have written articles on employment law issues, ranging from best hiring practices to Oregon’s new minimum-wage laws. Since employment issues are prevalent in all industries, including development, it dawned on me that I should capture and consolidate a few of these resources from time to time and share them on this blog. Below are three recent articles that you might find useful to your business. Continue Reading

Portland’s Booming Residential Market Remains Hot

portland-841428_960_720Zillow calls Portland the nation’s fourth “hottest” apartment market based upon a combination of new apartments as a percentage of total rentals (just 1.7 percent), the percentage of new apartments rented within three months (72 percent), and apartment rent appreciation over the preceding year (8.6 percent).

Not to be outdone, Axiometrics ranks Portland as the second strongest market for apartment rent growth, citing 10.1 percent annual effective rent growth for the year ending March 2016, an occupancy rate of 95.7 percent, and 9.5 percent revenue growth.

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Navigating Oregon Property Tax Exemptions for Charities and Landlords–Deadline April 1

taxes-1015399_960_720It’s tax season again. Every April, most Americans begrudgingly turn their attention to their tax obligations. April’s tax significance isn’t limited to one’s federal income tax return, however, April 1 marks the deadline for filing an application for exemption from Oregon property tax.

The state of Oregon imposes a property tax on all real and personal property located in the state. Yet the state also grants an exemption from property tax to certain organizations, including charities. Of course, to qualify for the exemption, a charity must satisfy certain requirements. Specifically, the organization must be a “charitable institution” under Oregon law. Continue Reading

Plan Now So That Excess Water Isn’t Trouble Later

drops-of-water-578897_960_720Water is a frequent topic of conversation these days, with valid concern over the growing scarcity of this resource. In the past few years, however, concerns about too much water have also arisen. From Hurricane Katrina to Superstorm Sandy to our own frightful storm during Halloween last year, unprecedented flooding is emerging as another water-related issue that must be addressed, as our weather patterns become even more unpredictable in the years to come. Continue Reading

Creative Way to Deal With Easement Dispute Fails

Boat_Dock_The_PoconosIn the recent Washington Court of Appeals case of Buchheit v. Geiger, property owners tried to prevent a neighbor from crossing over their lakeside lot with an antiharassment order.  The neighbor began using the lakeside lot without the owners’ permission, by attaching a floating dock to the lot, storing personal items on it, and walking across the owners’ lot to the dock.  The neighbor claimed that he had a right to use the lot through an easement. Continue Reading

Justice Thomas Signals that the Supreme Court May Review Inclusionary Zoning

2000px-Scale_of_Justice.svgJust days after the Oregon Senate approved a bill that would allow inclusionary zoning—i.e. permitting local governments to condition the grant of incentives to developers on the inclusion of affordable housing in new developments—at least one United States Supreme Court Justice has sent a signal that the Court may wish to review such laws (as well as, potentially, other legislatively enacted land-use measures that could be characterized as governmental takings). Continue Reading

New Property Owners Beware: Possible Shortened Time to Bring Defective Construction Claims

Hourglass_in_red_leather_covered_case,_second_of_two_views._Wellcome_L0011338The Oregon Supreme Court issued a decision on February 19, 2016, affirming a decision to dismiss a homeowner’s claim against a builder for defective construction.

In Shell v. Schollander Companies, Inc., 350 Or 552 (2016), defendant, a builder, began construction on a “spec” home in 1999. When the home was approximately 95 percent complete, plaintiff purchased the home from defendant. On June 22, 2000, defendant recorded a notice of completion, and the county issued a certificate of occupancy seven days later. Defendant, however, was still making repairs to the house until the sale closing date—July 12, 2000. Plaintiff subsequently commenced an action against defendant on June 25, 2010, alleging that the outside shell of the house had been negligently constructed. Defendant filed a motion arguing that plaintiff’s claims were time-barred. Continue Reading

Poorly Drafted Leases Can Cause Headaches for Tenants and Landlords (Part II of II)

4420456374_64a3d7e6aaContinued from Part I . . .

These 10 common problem areas can easily be avoided by paying attention to details.

6. Outside the Premises

A tenant should think beyond the four walls of the premises and consider whether it needs to use any amenities, such as parking and common-area conference rooms. Unless the lease directly grants the tenant the right to use such facilities, the tenant may find that they are unavailable when the landlord decides to convert the facilities to a different use. Continue Reading

Poorly Drafted Leases Can Cause Headaches for Tenants and Landlords (Part I of II)

lease-agreementThese 10 common problem areas can easily be avoided by paying attention to details.

It’s a dangerous world out there. We cannot eliminate all risks. But a well-drafted lease can minimize risk, and a poorly drafted lease can unnecessarily create serious problems for either a landlord or a tenant. Following are instances in which a serious problem would not exist but for a poorly drafted lease. Continue Reading

Does Homeownership Still Beat Renting?

11705392445_86c98890bc_bZillow, a real estate listing and analytics company, recently looked at the “break-even” time horizon for owning a house versus renting in a number of markets across the nation. “Breaking even” means the amount of time it will take for the cost of owning a home to be equal to the cost of renting. The calculus includes the down payment, interest rate, home appreciation, and rising rents.

In Portland, the break-even point is slightly more than two years. This is a little more time than most of the markets, where the break-even point is currently less than two years. Buyers in cities such as Washington, D.C., on the other hand, must wait four and a half years just to break even. Continue Reading