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Dallas Real Estate Law Blog

Protecting your rights in Dallas common interest housing

Owning one's home is a popular aspiration in Texas. But, homeownership can take many forms. In recent decades many homeowners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area have chosen to live in condominiums, townhouses, retirement communities, gated communities and other common interest housing arrangements.

While the various forms of common interest ownership differ, these arrangements have several key factors in common. Homeowners own their individual units or buildings, but share ownership of common areas and facilities. The homeowners are generally required to sign an agreement that sets forth their rights and obligations in the community. And, there is usually a condominium board, homeowners association or similar governing body elected by the homeowners.

How is a joint tenancy created in Texas real estate?

Joint tenancy with right of survivorship is a common way for two or more people, especially married couples, to co-own real estate in Texas. In this form of ownership, when one party dies the surviving party becomes the sole owner of the property.

Joint tenancy with right of survivorship is distinct from tenancy in common, which is anther common form of co-ownership. Tenancy in common has no right of survivorship. When one party to a tenancy in common dies, the person's undivided share in the real property belongs to the person's estate and passes to the person's heirs through the person's will or trust. If there is no will or trust, it is distributed according to Texas' intestacy laws.

New Dallas rail line may affect downtown property values

Dallas Area Rapid Transit's proposed new rail line downtown is causing some concern in the local commercial real estate community. DART says the line is essential to improve service and ease congestion on the system. But the Real Estate Council, an industry group whose members comprise 95 percent of the region's commercial real estate businesses, wants to make sure the line does not adversely affect property values in the downtown area.

The industry group has proposed that the new rail line be built completely underground. The group says a surface line would cause disruption to downtown businesses, interfere with pedestrian traffic and cause property values to decline.

The importance of promptly recording deeds in Texas

In last week's post we discussed the use of quitclaim and warranty deeds to convey property in Texas. But, after the deed is signed and delivered to the buyer, there is another important step. The buyer should promptly record the deed -- file it in the public record -- at the office of the County Clerk in the county where the real estate is located.

In Texas, recording a deed is not required in order to make the transaction valid as between the seller and buyer. Under the Texas Recording Act, an unrecorded deed is binding on the parties to the deed and their heirs. But, it is important for the buyer to record the deed promptly in order to fully protect the person's interest in the property from claims by third parties.

What is the purpose of a quitclaim deed in Texas?

When one person transfers ownership of real estate to another, the document that consummates the transfer is a deed. There are a number of different types of deeds, each designed for particular transactions. Probably the two most common deeds in Texas are the warranty deed and the quitclaim deed.

A warranty deed transfers the land and also promises, or warrants, that the transferor has good title to the property. A quitclaim deed, on the other hand, contains no such promise. It merely transfers whatever right, title and interest the transferor has in the property -- which theoretically could be none at all.

Record for price of area office buildings could be set in sale

In Texas, commercial real estate can be big business, but those who are erecting a structure, selling units and purchasing them need to be fully immersed in the legal issues that will inevitably arise. When there is a large building for sale, with the attendant commercial matters, there will likely be a great number of suitors to purchase it and the profit can be enormous if the sale is handled correctly. With these matters, one of the key factors in having everything go according to plan is to have legal assistance from start to finish.

Recently, a 13-story office building in the Dallas area was targeted for purchase by a foreign investor, and its sale price could be a new high in its particular area. The property is being considered by an international purchaser and the amount that could be received for it is believed to have the potential for setting a record for office sales in the suburbs. The building was built in 2015 and is considered one of the best in the area. The foreign buyer might pay as much as $400 per square foot. That would be a new high; the previous highest amount paid was $375 per square foot.

Remedies for encroaching structures in Texas

Encroaching structures are a common source of real estate disputes between owners of neighboring properties in Texas. An encroachment occurs when one property owner puts up a structure -- such as a fence, driveway or a portion of a building -- that intrudes onto a neighbor's property.

Before going to court over an encroachment, a property owner should make sure they know where the property line really is. Paying for a survey is a small investment that could save the property owner a lot of money and headaches down the road, if it turns out the structure in question isn't really encroaching after all.

Dallas home prices reached an all-time high in June

The residential real estate market in Dallas has rebounded significantly since the depths of the mortgage foreclosure crisis that triggered the Great Recession almost a decade ago. According to a recent report from a real estate data firm, median house prices in the city reached over $240,000 in June of this year, the highest ever.

Nationwide, home prices hit a record high of $231,000 in the same month. That figure is higher than the peak price of $228,000 in 2005, before the housing crisis hit. June 2016 was the 52nd straight month of increasing prices nationally. Across the country, almost one-third of cities experienced record home prices in June. As home prices have risen, mortgage rates have fallen to their lowest point in three years.

Aggressive counsel for Dallas landlords

Owners of residential rental property in the Dallas-Fort Worth area understand that legal action is sometimes necessary when a tenant fails to pay their rent. Rent collection and eviction proceedings can be exasperating without the help of a knowledgeable and aggressive lawyer.

When rent payments are delinquent, landlords need to act promptly to protect their rights. At the Fell Law Firm, we represent Dallas landlords regularly in court. We represent property owners and managers in a broad spectrum of landlord-tenant litigation matters including eviction, collection of past due rent and disputes over repair, maintenance and security deposits.

When is a zoning change required in Dallas?

Cities around the country, including Dallas, use zoning rules and regulations to manage growth and development. Zoning laws help preserve the character of neighborhoods and the quality of life in the city by dividing the city into districts and requiring that property use within each zone be generally uniform. Most cities have zones for residential, commercial and industrial uses, with subcategories within each permitted use.

In Dallas, there are a number of types of zoning districts. These cover uses including agricultural, single family residential, duplex, multifamily residential, office, lodging, retail and personal service, light industrial, industrial research and industrial manufacturing, among others. Each zoning district has regulations governing land use as well as building height, setbacks, density, lot size, floor area ratio and coverage.

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