Real Estate, Land Use & TAx Appeals
At the law firm of Novins, York & Jacobus, we understand today’s increasingly complex and ever-changing real estate market. We’re committed to offering progressive, innovative and efficient real estate services to both our commercial and residential real estate clients. Our attorneys combine their knowledge of real estate, business, finance, tax, and land use to develop practical solutions to each real estate opportunity or challenge.
Buying or selling a house can be an exciting but stressful time in a person’s life. You will be making a large number of potentially life-changing financial and legal decisions. To make certain that you get the outcome you need and expect, you want an attorney who understands the intricate details of real estate transactions, including all of the risks involved and resources needed.
At Novins, York & Jacobus we have worked extensively with buyers and sellers of residential property. We know that real estate transactions can be complex and confusing involving both substantial investment and risk. When you hire us, our focus is on every detail of your transaction. We will promptly respond to your calls or e-mails and provide you with timely answers to your questions. Whether you are buying or selling, or entering into litigation involving real estate, we can provide the representation you need and deserve.
Our attorneys specialize in real estate transactions and real estate litigation and offer representation in the following areas:
- Real estate closings, including all aspects of transactional representation;
- For sale by owner (“FSBO”) transactions, short sale and bank-owned property transactions;
- Breach of contract; and
- Drafting and review of real estate contracts.
For purchasers of residential real estate, we meticulously review your contract, and make appropriate modifications to your contract that will be the most beneficial to you. Our goal with all buyers is to protect your rights and interests as well as all contract contingencies, including:
- Mortgage contingencies. This contingency makes the sale dependent on your ability to obtain a mortgage. If you are unable to gain approval for a mortgage, you have no contractual obligation to purchase the property.
- Home Inspection contingencies. This contingency makes the sale dependent on your satisfaction with the condition of the home. If your inspection reveals material defects that are unacceptable to you and that the seller will not remedy, you do not have to complete the closing or purchase the property.
- Home sale contingencies, if applicable. Under this contingency, your obligation to purchase the new property is dependent upon your ability to sell your existing home. If you cannot sell your existing home, you do not have to close on the new house.
We can also help you work with the seller to modify contingencies without waiving them. Waiver (including involuntary waiver) of a contingency can lead to many legal problems, including breach of contract, loss of deposit money or liability under the buy-sell contract.
For sellers of residential property, our primary goal is to ensure that you comply with contractual obligations to convey clear title and fulfill all of your existing obligations with respect to the property you are selling. We will also ensure that you have made all appropriate disclosures to the buyer, including information about lead-based paint, radon and mold. We will work to minimize closing costs, so that you maximize the proceeds of the sale while limiting any potential liability to your buyer.
We also represent sellers and buyers in actions for breach of contract or specific performance, where a buyer or seller has breached a contract by refusing to go forward. In these instances, we strive to have the court compel the buyer or seller to fulfill all obligations under the contract or pay you money damages.
In most situations, a real estate agent will complete a form contract. You need to make sure an experienced real estate attorney reviews that contract (or drafts it initially) and makes appropriate modifications to change the terms of the agreement so that it will benefit you and not leave you in a position you will regret at the closing table.
There is normally a limited time to do this, and it is usually three (3) business days from the date the seller signs the contract. A buyer normally has between ten (10) to fourteen (14) days to negotiate any inspection issues with the seller. We can help both buyers and sellers with all of these things, including:
- Approving or disapproving of the contract as drafted;
- Modifying the contract appropriately;
- Negotiating and resolving home inspection issues; and
- Keeping and protecting any unsatisfied contractual contingencies, including those mentioned above for buyers, i.e., mortgage, home inspection and home sale contingencies.
At Novins, York & Jacobus, we provide creative and sophisticated solutions for investors, developers, builders, owners, landlords, tenants, borrowers, property managers and brokers. Regardless of your commercial real estate interests, we have the knowledge and skills to help you achieve your goals.
Real estate transactions often involve the preparation of documents, contracts and agreements. We focus on commercial real estate transactions including:
- Purchase and sale agreements and other real estate contracts;
- Closing representation;
- Boundary and encroachment documents;
- Mortgages, deeds of trust and secured transactions;
- Title insurance and searches;
- Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions;
- Real estate financing proposals;
- Real estate development proposals;
- Building, safety and planning issues; and
- Contractor licensure.
Land Use, Development, Planning & Zoning Issues
Local land use laws often dictate that land in a particular area can only be used for certain purposes or contain certain types or numbers of structures. Our land use attorneys can help landowners identify applicable zoning and permit regulations, apply for the necessary permits, and seek the permission of regulatory boards, planning commissions, town councils, and other agencies or boards when a variance is needed. We will work with qualified land use consultants and local planning departments to ensure all requirements are met.
Commercial zoning laws pertain to commercial properties including office buildings, industrial and warehouses, retail and shopping center and mixed-use properties. Single family homes, apartment, townhouse and condominium zoning laws are generally covered under residential zoning laws.
Our attorneys specializing in land use and zoning can help you resolve zoning issues with the town or county, represent you at the zoning hearing and handle contract negotiations with the seller.
When you are purchasing and/or developing property, you need to be concerned with the following zoning issues:
- Building setbacks;
- Height and density;
- Parking restrictions;
- Use restrictions;
- Deed restrictions; and
- Noise and air space restrictions.
Local zoning laws are strictly enforced. Zoning laws change all the time. Existing dwellings and buildings may be grandfathered in under previous laws. However, if you are planning on making additions to structures or tearing them down and building new structures, then the new additions and building structures will have to comply with current zoning laws.
It may be necessary to obtain a zoning variance from the local town or county planning and zoning commission or to ask for a rezoning hearing. A land use and zoning attorney can help you resolve zoning issues with the town or county, and represent you at the hearing and with contract negotiations with the seller.
Getting a development project entitled, permitted, financed, and built often requires navigation through the complex layers of federal, state, county, and local regulatory schemes. We provide strategic legal guidance in securing project support. Our attorneys also review project plans and have appeared before various boards and agencies on behalf of clients seeking zoning changes and approvals for subdivisions, special permits and site plans.
Our years of experience afford us the ability to address the individual property needs of our clients while achieving the best possible outcome.
It is common knowledge that property values across the nation have drastically fallen in recent years. However, what most property owners don’t realize is that they have the right to appeal their tax assessment each year, based on the current value of their homes. The deadline to file a property tax appeal is April 1st each year and January 15th in Monmouth County.
The major factor considered in determining your property taxes is the tax assessor’s assessment of your property value. The higher your assessment, the higher your property taxes will be. When the assessment doesn’t match the current value of your property, our experienced tax appeal attorneys can represent you throughout the property tax appeal process, including appeals to the state Tax Court.
You may not know whether pursuing a property tax appeal is worth your time or the legal fees involved. At Novins, York & Jacobus, we will look at all of your options and all relevant information regarding your property before making a recommendation to appeal your property tax assessment.
Disputes between landlords and tenants are a very common occurrence. Disagreements arise over matters regarding services that people failed to deliver, nonpayment of rent and wrongful eviction. In many cases, the parties involved are unable to resolve their disputes alone. It often takes a legal professional to help negotiate a satisfactory resolution for one or both of the parties.
Novins, York & Jacobus can assist in preparing a thorough lease or rental agreement that will protect the interests of the client. With knowledgeable drafting of an agreement that leaves little room for misinterpretation, you can rest assured you have the legal protection you need should a dispute arise in the future.
Navigating through the myriad of regulations governing landlord tenant relations can be daunting, as can appearing in proceedings before courts. At Novins, York & Jacobus, we recognize the challenges that owners, landlords, property management companies and tenants face in legal matters and aggressively represent them, while providing practical and cost-effective advice.
Landlord tenant disputes can be related to any number of lease violations. However a majority of the cases we handle are related to:
- Failure to pay rent;
- Continued disorderly conduct;
- Willful destruction or damage to property;
- Habitual lateness in paying rent;
- Violation of rules and regulations, after written notice to comply, as outlined in a lease or other document; and
- Tenant’s conviction for a drug offense.
- Rent increases;
- Return of security deposits;
- Nonpayment of rent; and
If you are faced with a tenant who is refusing to pay rent or is found to be subleasing without authorization, our attorneys can help you resolve the situation or begin eviction proceedings
Financing & Mortgages
Novins, York & Jacobus represents buyers, sellers, investors and lessees in their negotiations with financial institutions and lenders. Whether for acquisition funding or refinancing, appropriate financial structures are crucial to the success of real estate transactions and business operations. We carefully review financing documents to properly assess risks and to ensure that contract terms are fair and will achieve our clients’ short-term and long-term goals.
As part of the financing process, we assist clients through the processes of loan origination, loan purchase and sale, restructuring and workout as they pertain to each clients’ situation and needs. We also work side-by-side with attorneys in our estates and trusts and tax departments to anticipate issues that may arise as part of financing a purchase, sale or lease agreement.
Litigation & Property Disputes
Defects in Title
Novins, York & Jacobus has represented title insurance companies and land owners in litigation concerning defects in chains of title. A defect in the chain of title is a problem that results in the owner not having good, clean title to the land. This problem could be a judgment against a former owner of the property that was not satisfied, or a deed to another person years in the past.
“Red Tag” Violations
A “red tag” is a notice from a city or county that a property owner has violated local land use laws in some way. The alleged violation may involve building without a permit or use of land that has not been zoned for that use. We’ll review the details of the “red tag” violation and help land owners correct any mistakes.
A deed restriction is a covenant or promise that is part of the deed to land. It most often is a promise not to take action to use the property for a particular purpose, or to build upon the land in a manner that is inconsistent with the purpose of development. For example, a residential development may have deed restrictions banning commercial buildings. If one of the residents decided to turn his home into an office complex, the homeowners’ association may sue for an injunction, a court order blocking the non-permissive use. The attorneys at Novins, York & Jacobus have successfully represented homeowner’s as well as homeowners’ associations in enforcing and defending lawsuits involving deed restrictions.
Boundary & Property Disputes
These may range from a simple dispute between neighbors about whose property a particular tree or fence sits on to a serious oversight that may adversely affect the property’s marketable title. Our attorneys will seek the assistance of highly qualified title officers, land surveyors, and other experts to help neighbors settle boundary disputes.
We work with clients to limit their exposure to legal and financial liabilities. When controversies arise, we advise buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants of the best course of resolution. Our team of attorneys includes negotiators, mediators, arbitrators and trial attorneys, all of whom have experience handling commercial and residential real estate contract disputes, commercial landlord-tenant disputes, title and boundary disputes, as well as disputes among property owners.
Our attorneys also are well-versed in construction lien and payment disputes, having represented general contractors and subcontractors for many years. We handle matters related to construction contract disputes and collections, ensuring our clients understand their legal rights to collect payments owed to them for labor, equipment or materials.
As part of this process, we keep our clients informed of important statutory deadlines affecting their rights to collect payments or assert claims against adverse parties in court. Our experience representing contractors and subcontractors in this arena gives us added insight when representing property owners from the other side of such disputes.
Novins, York & Jacobus has represented both sides in mortgage foreclosure actions. A foreclosure is where the holder of a mortgage seeks title to the real estate in order to sell it to pay off the unpaid loan on the property.
A foreclosure is a process that terminates the rights of the homeowner, covered by a mortgage, and the estate then becomes the property of the lending institution. The numbers of foreclosures in America are growing daily. There are more than one hundred and twenty million homes in the United States and it is estimated that about 4% or about 4.8 million of them are facing foreclosure.
The process of foreclosure begins when a homeowner struggles to make their payments. This can be due to unemployment, medical challenges, death, divorce or even the terms of the loan. This then typically leads to the property being seized and sold.
To learn more about foreclosure and the options available to you don’t hesitate to call our office. Our team is here to help you through this process in any way we can.
From simple to complex foreclosures, Novins, York & Jacobus attorneys have the sophistication and experience to assist with all aspects of commercial foreclosures. Our attorneys have successfully represented banks and other lenders and borrowers in foreclosure litigation. We handle cases involving mezzanine loans, major commercial properties, and multiple liens. We have also assisted our lender clients in liquidating apartment, office and industrial complexes, development projects and residential properties ranging from small condominium and cooperative units to more sizable estates.
During a century of changing legal and economic conditions, the firm's commitment to integrity, responsiveness and client service has never wavered. That’s our goal, and that’s what we have been doing for more than 80 years.