In the early 1980s, in an effort to generate much-needed revenue for the City of Boston to offset federal and state budget cuts, the Massachusetts Legislature passed legislation entitled, “An Act Establishing the City of Boston Funding Loan Act of Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Two and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority” (the “Act”). In addition to creating the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, the Act allowed the city to borrow up to $75 million and to issue and sell bonds and notes to try to bring the city out of a serious financial deficit, all of which was to be secured by the levy of several new taxes.
A recent article I co-authored and published in the New York Law Journal recaps and highlights the key takeaways in the federal district court’s decision in Cohen v. G&M Realty L.P. (E.D.N.Y, Feb. 18, 2018), relating to the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) and the street art on a group of buildings known as “5Pointz” in Long Island City, New York.
On July 27, 2017, the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority announced, without specifying a replacement, that it would phase-out the London Interbank Offer Rate (LIBOR) by the end of 2021. LIBOR, a rate measured by short-term borrowing among large banks, has for decades been the reference rate underlying trillions of dollars’ worth of global financial transactions. In real estate, LIBOR is common among floating rate loans, where interest on loan proceeds often accrues at LIBOR plus a spread. However, volatility during the 2007-08 financial crisis, manipulation scandals, and a scarcity of transactions on which LIBOR is based have hurt LIBOR’s relevance, hence the need for a replacement.
Following the acquisition or financing of a property, most parties to the transaction are happy to circulate the “Congratulations!” missives as soon as the closing has occurred – the seller has their proceeds, the buyer/borrower has their property and/or the loan funds, and the prior financing(s) have been paid off… but the champagne corks shouldn’t be popped quite yet. There is one crucial post-closing item that too often gets overlooked and, if not addressed, can cause headaches rivaling a hangover down the line – recording the satisfaction or discharge of mortgage.
Blockchains, best known as the technology behind digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, are beginning to be implemented in a variety of commercial applications. The technology is attracting not only financial institutions and stock exchanges, but fields as disparate as the music, diamond, healthcare, insurance, and shipping industries. The possible benefits of an organized, structured, secure, and efficient data management system that blockchain technology may be able to provide has also led governments and private companies to begin to explore using blockchains as a replacement for the current land title record systems used around the world.
California usury law is addressed in multiple places: the California Constitution, statutes, case law, and initiative measures. Due to the patchwork nature of this body of law, differing interpretations and ambiguity are commonplace. In one recent case currently on appeal, the Ninth Circuit has asked the California Supreme Court to clarify California law in order to resolve a split in the federal district courts around the obligation of lenders that are otherwise exempt from California usury limitations to disclose compound interest terms as part of a lending transaction. The determinations of the California Supreme Court are likely to impact existing and future commercial loans governed by California law.
Enacted by Congress in 1930 and revised in 1984, the Perishable Agriculture Commodities Act (PACA) protects sellers of perishable agricultural commodities, defined as “fresh fruits and fresh vegetables of every kind and character whether or not frozen or packed in ice, and cherries in brine as defined by the Secretary of Agriculture” by subjecting a “merchant, dealer or broker” of perishable produce to a trust on the proceeds on the sale of perishable produce, and products derived from that produce, for the benefit of all unpaid suppliers and sellers (a “PACA Lien”).
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is expected to finalize new lease accounting standards (“Standards”) within the coming months which will have very real consequences for owners and lessees alike. Under current accounting standards, a lease is classified as a “Capital Lease” or an “Operating Lease.” A capital lease is treated similarly to a loan; the asset is treated as being owned by the lessee and must be recorded as an asset on the lessee’s balance sheet. By contrast, an operating lease gives the lessee a right to use the owner’s asset without the requirement of including the lease on its balance sheet. The lessee never owns the asset and must return it to the owner after the lease ends. Most office building, retail, or other standard commercial leases are operating leases under the current standards.
The new Standards will, among other things, eliminate the above classification and instead classify most capital leases –including existing capital leases –as a “Type A Lease”, which will be accounted for in substantially the same manner as capital leases are accounted for under existing generally accepted accounting principals (GAAP), and most operating leases – including existing operating leases –as a “Type B Lease”, which will be accounted for in a manner similar to operating leases under existing GAAP, except that lessees will now be required to include lease obligations on their balance sheets increasing assets and liabilities. Shorter term leases, leases of 12 months or less, must also be included on balance sheet if, considering all relevant economic factors, the lessee is “reasonably certain” to exercise an option to extend the lease beyond 12 months. Continue Reading FASB Lease Accounting Changes
As a follow up to my colleague Allan Caggiano’s post here on the new 2016 ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey Standards, the Planning & Zoning Resource Company (PZR) has recently circulated an important advisory on the practical effects of the new survey standards and the interaction between the surveyor and the zoning report that is typically provided by a third party like PZR. Continue Reading Important Changes Resulting from New ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey Standards
Mintz Levin was a sponsor of IMN‘s 13th Annual Winter Forum on Real Estate Opportunity & Private Fund Investing held at the Montage resort in Laguna Beach. The IMN conference is the premier West Coast conference on real estate investing and is attended by the most influential voices in the real estate industry. Continue Reading Costs and Practicalities of Utilizing Alternative Sources of Capital for New Acquisitions, Refinancings & Development