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The New York City Council voted to approve a modified version of the City of Yes for Economic Opportunity (“COYEO”) text amendment, the second in a trio of City of Yes initiatives which aim to: (1) promote sustainability (the City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality, which passed on December 6, 2023); (2) update the City’s zoning tools to support economic growth and resiliency (City of Yes for Economic Opportunity, which passed on June 6, 2024); and (3) spur the development of affordable housing (the City of Yes for Housing Opportunity, which entered public review on April
Continue Reading City Council Approves City of Yes for Economic Opportunity, with Modifications

Undoubtedly, development impact fees (DIFs)[1] can make or break the pro forma of any development project. Until this month, developers hoping to challenge the assessment of project-related DIFs were often limited in the causes of action that could be brought. For instance, in California, a DIF may be challenged under the Mitigation Fee Act (Govt. Code §§ 66000 et seq.), and only DIFs that were “imposed neither generally nor ministerially, but on an individual and discretionary basis” could invoke the Takings Clause embedded in the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.[2] This limitation on developers’ ability to
Continue Reading What the Sheetz: Where California Development Impact Fees Stand Following Recent Supreme Court Decision

Creating certainty in the inherent uncertainty of the future is the name of the game when it comes to drafting commercial leases. When courts overrule provisions that the parties to the lease have agreed upon, however, that supposed certainty goes out the window. This fact pattern played out recently in Epochal Enterprises, Inc. v. LF Encinitas Properties, LLC (4th Dist., Case No. D079905) (“Epochal”), when the California Court of Appeal ruled that a limitation of liability clause in a lease that purported to release the landlord from liability for failing to disclose asbestos was against public policy and not enforceable.
Continue Reading New Court Ruling Pokes Holes in Contractual Limitation of Liability Language in Commercial Leases

New York City’s rent-related laws have once again survived judicial scrutiny, and evaded Supreme Court review. In 74 Pinehurst LLC v. New York, a group of New York City landlords (“Petitioners”) filed suit in the District Court for the Eastern District of New York against the City and State of New York, the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, New York City’s Rent Guidelines Board, and multiple state and New York City officials (“Respondents”), seeking a declaration that New York City’s Rent Stabilization Law, as amended in 2019 (“RSL”), violates the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United
Continue Reading SCOTUS Declines to Review New York City’s Rent Stabilization Law

The California State Legislature is considering Assembly Bill (AB) 2216, a measure introduced by Assemblymember Matt Haney, that would force landlords to permit pets in residential rental properties. Specifically, the proposed legislation restricts a landlord from barring a tenant from owning or keeping a common household pet without valid justification. The bill also prevents landlords from charging tenants extra rent or security deposits for owning or keeping a common household pet. However, these restrictions do not apply to rental agreements signed before January 1, 2025.
Continue Reading Unleashing AB 2216: Will Fido Have a Leg Up on Landlords?

Brooke Miller and Shannon Mandich’s article “Adapting Underutilized Commercial Spaces for Residential Redevelopment: New Tools and Challenges” was recently featured in the NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Magazine Spring 2024 Issue. The article discusses the tools and challenges of adopting underutilized commercial spaces for residential redevelopment. This article sheds light on the pros and cons of adaptive reuse and California’s support of adaptive reuse through various California state laws such as Senate Bill 6, the Middle Class Housing Act of 2022, Assembly Bill 2011, and the Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act of 2022.
Continue Reading Adapting Underutilized Commercial Spaces for Residential Redevelopment: New Tools and Challenges

On February 7, 2024, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (the “Proposed Rule”) designed to combat and deter money laundering in the U.S. residential real estate sector, which has made it difficult for legitimate buyers to acquire real estate due in part to inflated prices resulting from an increase in buyers and the ability of those additional buyers to make “all cash” offers using ill-gained funds in lieu of financing. The public comment period for the Proposed Rule expires on April 8, 2024.[1]
Continue Reading FinCEN Proposes New Rule to Deter Money Laundering in the Residential Real Estate Sector

Jodi Stein, Eva C. Schneider and Samuel Zarkower’s article “We Say ‘YES’ to the ‘City of Yes’ for Economic Opportunity” was recently featured in the New York Law Journal. The article discusses the City of Yes for Economic Opportunity (COYEO), the second in a trio of Mayor Eric Adams’s City of Yes initiatives to revamp New York City’s Zoning Resolution. This article describes the 18 proposals the comprise COYEO, which aim to support economic growth and resiliency by (1) making it easier for businesses to find space within the city and grow their operations; (2) supporting growing industries; (3) making business-friendly streetscapes that are
Continue Reading We Say ‘YES’ to the ‘City of Yes’ for Economic Opportunity

Whether you are a hotel owner, operator, or developer, or anyone who has an interest in an LLC, corporation, or limited partnership, you should be aware of your new compliance obligations under the Corporate Transparency Act (the “CTA”). To put a finer point on this, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), the bureau under the Treasury Department tasked with enforcing the CTA, believes that over 32 million businesses, both foreign and domestic, will be required to comply with new reporting requirements or be subject to civil fines or even criminal penalties. 
Continue Reading Hospitality Alert: Quick Facts on the Corporate Transparency Act

Illinois may have just opened a new door for developers and owners for insurance coverage when it comes to defective construction work and commercial general liability (“CGL”) coverage. Based on the recent Illinois Supreme Court ruling in Acuity v. M/I Homes of Chicago, LLC, 2023 IL 129087, insurance companies may now have a duty to defend under CGL policies with respect to defective work and certain property damage caused by the same.
Continue Reading A Potential Big Win for Real Estate Developers in Illinois: CGL Coverage for Property Damage from Defective Work

Last year, California became the first state to pass laws requiring companies to make disclosures about their greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions as well as the risks that climate change poses for their businesses and their plans for addressing those risks. These new laws now face funding and legal hurdles that are delaying their implementation.
Continue Reading Recent Updates to State and Federal Climate Disclosure Laws

In its recent decision in Hilltop Group Inc. v. County of San Diego, California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal issued a number of holdings that resulted in a strong ruling in support of streamlined environmental review for projects that are consistent with and within the scope of a program environmental impact report (EIR) for a general plan. The Court clarified that CEQA Guidelines section 15183 (“Section 15183”) does not permit additional environmental review for such projects except as necessary to determine whether a project will have significant effects that are peculiar to the project or the site that were
Continue Reading A Win for Consistency Evaluations Under CEQA Guidelines 15183: Court Rules that Public Controversy is not a Basis for Additional Environmental Review

Has the final bell rung for PFAS in food packaging? On February 28, 2024, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that all grease-proofing agents containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)[1] “are no longer being sold for use in food packaging in the U.S.”[2] A complete elimination of chemical substances is an uncommon FDA measure, and academics studying PFAS have heralded this FDA announcement as a victory for the public.[3] However, because it is a voluntary phase-out, food companies should not rely on this statement or assume that the packaging they use going forward is PFAS-free. Although California
Continue Reading PFAS in Food Packaging: The Beginning of the End?

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, a non-profit, non-partisan think tank, California is facing a jaw-dropping 3.5 million unit housing deficient for the current population. This despite several legislative sessions enacting a large number of bills aimed at boosting housing production. 2023 was no different. During its first year of the current 2-year legislative cycle, Governor Newsom signed an unprecedented 56 housing bills into law, reflecting the California Legislature’s continued effort to respond to the housing crisis, and the multi-dimensional approach to developing, retaining, and permitting housing options for Californians. In sum, the housing bills intend to incentivize
Continue Reading California Continues Trend of Pushing Housing Legislation to Address Ongoing Housing Shortage

On January 30, 2024, the San Diego City Council approved an ordinance implementing Mayor Todd Gloria’s proposal to establish an extensive project labor agreement (“PLA”), which is slated to impose various conditions and restrictions on most City-funded construction projects. Most notably, the PLA establishes conditions of employment and minimum wage requirements, additional safety protocols, and other regulations imposed on contractors and their subcontractors. The PLA also sets goals and introduces incentives for the hiring of certain “Targeted Workers,” which include homeless people, the undereducated, and those that have spent time in jail or prison.
Continue Reading San Diego City Council Approves Union-Friendly Citywide Project Labor Agreement Restricting Most City Construction Projects