Policymakers have several tools for addressing the rising issue of homelessness in their communities.  In City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson, No. 23-175603 (June 28, 2024), the U.S. Supreme Court (“Court”) had its first opportunity to address whether one of these tools, generally applicable laws that restrict camping on public property, constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment. 

The City of Grants Pass, Oregon (“City”) passed an ordinance prohibiting “camping” on “any sidewalk, street, alley, lane, public right of way, park, bench, or any other publicly-owned property or under any bridge or viaduct” (the “Ordinance”).  Dissent of J. Sotomayor at 8 (citing Grants Pass, Ore. Municipal Code §5.61.030 (2024)).  The City’s code defines “camp-site” as “any place where bedding, sleeping bag, or other material used for bedding purposes, or any stove or fire is placed, established, or maintained for the purposes of maintaining a temporary place to live.”  Id. (citing Grants Pass, Ore. Municipal Code §5.61.010(B) (2024)).  Fines for violating the Ordinance start at $295 and could result in criminal trespass if repeated. 

In a typical permitting process, the local government may place certain conditions on issuing a building permit to further a legitimate public purpose.  While the local government has “substantial authority to regulate land use,” its regulation cannot violate the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment.  The Fifth Amendment, in relevant part, states “nor shall private property be

In the world of real estate development, parties creating and negotiating real property documents—leases, easements, or purchase agreements—must exercise a great deal of care to ensure that the documents perform exactly their intended function at the time they are operative. Careful drafting can serve another end—to anticipate the developer’s future engagement with the relevant permitting

On December 12, 2023, Seattle’s former City Council passed Ordinance 126982 in an effort to increase commercial rent affordability for small businesses. The Ordinance, returned unsigned by the Mayor, became law on January 29, 2024. The new law places limits on the amount of personal guarantees, letters of credit, and security deposits to certain new

Originally published by the Daily Journal of Commerce on March 5, 2024.

In the ever-evolving landscape of business, flexibility is paramount. The recent widespread adoption of remote work has led companies across the country to shed office space. As companies navigate changes in market dynamics, the ability to flexibly manage real estate assets becomes increasingly valuable.

Adding solar energy facilities to a rooftop or a parking lot can put developed land to even more productive use while creating value for a property via a new revenue stream—rent payments—or from the energy savings and environmental benefits realized by using the generated power on site. Though similar to typical commercial leases and to

In addition to Washington’s real estate excise tax (REET), transferors of ownership interests in entities that own real property in Washington must also factor in Washington’s capital gains tax when making such transfers.  The Washington Supreme Court upheld the capital gains tax as a constitutional excise tax earlier this year. See Quinn v. State, 1 Wn.3d 453, 526 P.3d 1 (2023). The tax is a flat tax of 7% of all adjusted long-term capital gains over $250,000 allocated to the state. RCW 82.87.010.

Gains from the sale of real estate are generally exempt from Washington’s capital gains tax. RCW 82.87.050(1). The tax also does not apply to the sale or exchange of an interest in a privately held entity, if the gain or loss from such sale or exchange is attributable to real estate directly owned by such entity.  RCW 82.87.050(2). But what does this mean in the context of multi-tiered ownership structures, where a party desires to sell membership interests in a subsidiary that owns real estate?

In the busy world of commercial real estate, buyers and sellers may be unable to complete all contractual obligations before closing. In those instances, parties often identify certain “post-closing” matters in the contract. Typically, if those provisions are not carefully drafted to “survive” the closing, then the terms may merge with the deed and be deemed satisfied at closing. However, in a 2022 Oregon case, Freeborn v. Dow, the Oregon Court of Appeals identified a nuance to that rule and explained that certain contractual matters may survive closing and not merge with the deed, regardless of the presence or lack of a survival clause.

Washington’s legislators had their eye on common interest communities (CICs) during the 2023 regular session, which ended on April 23, 2023. Three bills relating to or affecting CICs become effective on July 23, 2023. One became effective immediately. Here is a brief summary of the new laws.

Originally published by the Daily Journal of Commerce on February 28, 2023.

Owning or developing a parcel of contaminated real property, or a “brownfield,” has historically been a risky endeavor. But brownfields are abundant in the United States, and there are several incentives available to those who develop clean energy facilities on a dirty project