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Why do you think many restaurants don’t allow smokers? Even those restaurants allowing smoking would have specific smoking sections permitted, but that’s it. Other than that, bringing in something that could disturb others would be at the discretion of the owner of the establishment, regardless of whether or not the disturbance, whatever it may be, is legal. Case in point: we have this subject of marijuana on our plate.

More and more states have jumped on the bandwagon to legalize pot one way or another, but that doesn’t mean homeowners’ associations can’t stipulate that you must not smoke or even grow the plant on your premises, even if you do have a supposed ‘license.’ It’s perfectly within the realm of real estate law for an association to simply say: “that’s not okay, and we don’t allow it.” I know that would get many marijuana smokers up in a rage over that after showing that they can legally smoke a joint wherever they like, but let’s face the facts: even associations would have specific ‘rules’ on what kind of colors you can use to paint your house!

As it stands, 23 states have some form of legalization. That doesn’t stop associations from putting their feet down, because the fact is pot does stink a bit, and it can be a disturbance to neighbors. It’s infectious. Imagine that stuff wafting over to playgrounds and porches. The kids playing wouldn’t be playing much in a matter of minutes – just lying down, doing nothing, and everyone would be wondering what was wrong.

It’s a practicality issue. Even behind closed doors, remnants of marijuana could easily escape, and it’s just good form to not ever smoke in your home if the association says so. Thankfully, though, if you were to put your own foot down and say, “no, I will NOT let go of my POT,” you most likely would face nothing more than a lawsuit, and not a conviction. A pricey lawsuit, but a lawsuit, nonetheless.

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This is a perfect example of how one law can open up a veritable Pandora’s box of plenty of derivations – and “loopholes,” if you will – for groups to try and get some kind of advantage out of it at the expense of others. An example of that would be this recent Florida real estate statute allowing condominium owners to essentially “terminate” their condo statuses for the purpose of quick sales and rebuilding of complexes due to damage by hurricanes and other natural disasters. It makes sense. However, that opens up other possibilities otherwise not applicable to the real intention behind the law, such as this address of specific units within the condos not selling well and allowing developers for those buildings to utilize the law to reclaim units, repair them, and rent them off as apartments. Interesting tactic. Condo owners, though, aren’t quite pleased with that.

A unanimous vote could make it so that developers would be rightfully (or not) allowed to proceed with that initiative. However, one single holdout could stymie the change. Why? A 2007 amendment mandated that only 80 percent of condo owners in a building would have to approve such a change. Any less, and they would be looking at a very annoying stalemate where developers wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything to resolve the issue of those unsold condo units.

This does all sound like litigation issues, debate, and policy, but underneath all of it is the fact that many would potentially lose a ton of money due to the change. Think about it. If condo status would ever be revoked, you can imagine those holding out on the change would be facing a slight change in the value of their units – once revoked, the units would be assessed at fair market value, as if they’re apartments. A 2-bedroom condo could easily go for $310K, whereas the same square footage and number of bedrooms for your standard apartment would be no more than $74K at appraisal. That’s a drastic drop.

So, yes, condo owners aren’t pleased. I wouldn’t be either. Still, you can see the other side of it as well, with developers seeking for ways to maintain revenue and profit and consolidate unsold units within a building. You be the judge. What do you think? Should forced sales of units be allowed?

The Real Estate Law Review on Students Moving Off Campus: Moving Scams

August 25, 2014
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Even criminal groups outside the realm of real estate with respect to landlords, roommates, and lease agreements can cause some legal problems if you’re not careful. You’ve done your due diligence in verifying the property, checking the lease agreement, ensuring all other participants are listed, and remained a responsible individual, which is great. What about all your stuff that you’re relocating into the new place? Should you be worried at all? Not unless you’re doing it all on your own….

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The Real Estate Law Review on Students Moving Off Campus: Rules Are Rules

August 22, 2014
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Finally, keep a cool head on your shoulders, and don’t go crazy. Just because you’re in college and going to school doesn’t mean the same rules will apply to you as they did in a dorm room or fraternity. That’s the funny thing about colleges, as they’re almost like plastic bubbles, their own cosmic universes with their own rules and regulations seemingly outside of the realm of municipal laws, such as illegal possession of alcohol by a minor.

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The Real Estate Law Review on Students Moving Off Campus: Multiple Roommates

August 21, 2014
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Don’t get me wrong: roommates are a normal thing in the rental space, especially for college students off campus. Sharing the bills helps tremendously, plus many properties are actually specifically suited to accommodate multiple roommates generally for that purpose. The demand is there: college students everywhere are looking for places to stay, so therefore you just might find many real estate properties with multiple rooms everywhere.

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