The Fell Law Firm

"Small Firm Values and Big Firm Fight"

How Can We Help You?

Bold labels are required.

  • I have read the disclaimer.
    Privacy Policy

Dallas Real Estate Law Blog

Grapevine, Texas is attracting mixed-use development

Grapevine's historic downtown has long been one of the more popular spots for shoppers and tourists in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Recently Grapevine has been experiencing an upswing in development activity, spurred in part by the planned TEX Rail commuter line between DFW International Airport and downtown Fort Worth.

The city is planning a mixed-use project and a commuter rail station near the old Cotton Belt rail line. The project will include a hotel and a plaza between Main Street and the new station. The city's director of economic development is hopeful that the project will interest other developers to locate projects in the area.

Percentage rent allows Dallas landlords to share tenants' success

Dallas commercial property owners have a number of options for calculating rent. In retail buildings, a common calculation method is percentage rent, in which the rent payment is based on a percentage of the tenant's sales.

Percentage rent is typically calculated based on gross sales. Under most leases it does not become payable until the tenant's gross sales exceed an agreed-upon minimum, known as the breakpoint. For example, a building owner and a retail tenant might agree on a rent equal to 5 percent of gross sales, with a breakpoint of $100,000. Under this agreement, percentage rent will not be payable until gross sales hit $100,000. The rent payment would be 5 percent of the amount by which gross sales exceeded $100,000.

Negotiating commercial lease agreements in Dallas

For commercial property owners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, negotiating favorable lease terms can be critical to the bottom line. Unlike residential tenants, who are often presented with a form lease on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, commercial tenants generally expect some negotiation over the lease terms. Knowing which lease terms to negotiate and which to stand firm on takes experience and an understanding of landlord-tenant law.

As we discussed in last week's post, commercial lease agreements vary in terms of what expenses are to be borne by the landlord or the tenant. The tenant may prefer a gross lease, in which a single monthly payment covers base rent, taxes, insurance and maintenance. Landlords often prefer a net lease, in which the tenant has responsibility for some or all of these expenses.

What is the difference between gross and net lease agreements?

Owners of commercial property in Dallas know that prospective tenants expect that some lease terms will be negotiable. In the commercial context, there are a several types of lease a landlord can offer to prospective tenants. They differ in terms of whether the landlord or the tenant will be responsible for certain expenses associated with the property.

The two broad categories of commercial lease are the gross lease and the net lease. In a gross lease, the tenant pays a fixed amount per month and the landlord is responsible for maintenance, property taxes and insurance. In a net lease, the tenant pays for some of these expenses.

Eviction attempt delayed by 2 weeks on judge's order

One of the biggest issues that arises in landlord-tenant matters in Dallas has to do with the incomes of the residents and attempts on the part of the landlords to maximize profits. People who are vulnerable to such tactics are often left to fend for themselves without the knowledge of how to try and achieve justice and receive fair treatment. It is with this in mind that people who are subjected to poor behavior in these circumstances know how to pursue compensation and help through landlord-tenant litigation.

An attempt on the part of the company that owns broken down homes in Dallas to evict low-income residents was stopped for the time being by a judge. The landlord has tried to get 300 tenants out of the properties. The properties are rundown and the perception is that the owners -- a father and son -- would like the people to get out of the homes so they can be redeveloped for more profit. The people who are being asked to leave say that they are being forced to depart and it is difficult for them to find other housing they can afford. The judge granted an extension of two weeks in the case.

Residential development spurred downtown Dallas' turnaround

Residents who were around in the 1980s and early 1990s may remember a downtown Dallas very different from that which exists now. Downtown Dallas began stagnating in the 1960s as middle class residents and businesses moved to the suburbs. An ill-conceived urban renewal project, involving a network of underground tunnels, only made things worse. The 1980s economic downturn had a significant effect on the Dallas real estate market. Companies fled downtown, until Dallas had the highest number of office vacancies in the nation in the early 1990s.

Many believe the turnaround of recent years has been due in large part to the development of thousands of residential apartments downtown. Today, about 10,000 people live in the urban core, and about 50,000 in the greater downtown area. Most of the residential units added in recent years are apartments built in old office buildings. The buildings were no longer suited for commercial use but turned out to be very popular as homes for young professionals.

Real estate litigation is sometimes unavoidable

Most Dallas-area real estate owners and developers try to avoid litigation at all costs. Real estate litigation can be costly and there is always an element of risk. But, sometimes a real estate dispute that puts an entire investment or development at risk cannot be resolved through negotiation. And, sometimes litigation is thrust upon a party, when the other party strikes first and files suit.

There are countless types of real estate disputes that end up in litigation. Title to a parcel of land may be contested, for example. Co-owners of real estate may have a falling out. In the development world, disputes can and do arise at every stage of a project. Construction disputes, claims for breach of contract and financial disputes often end up in court. When a development gets into financial difficulties, interested parties often resort to litigation to salvage their investment or cut their losses. Lenders may begin foreclosure proceedings.

What constitutes landlord retaliation under the Dallas City Code?

Owning and managing residential rental property in Dallas can be challenging. Disputes with tenants can be costly and disruptive, especially if the dispute leads to landlord-tenant litigation. When dealing with tenant disputes, property owners and managers need to be careful not to inadvertently run afoul of the law. One of the laws that can trip up an unsuspecting landlord is the Dallas City Code prohibition on tenant retaliation.

Under the City Code, a landlord is guilty of retaliation if the person increases a tenant's rent, reduces services to a tenant or tries to evict the tenant within six months after certain events. Those events include the tenant filing a complaint with the City alleging a violation of the city's minimum standards for residential buildings, the issuance of a citation or written notice of such a violation, the filing of a legal action against the landlord by the city attorney relating to any such violation on property the tenant occupies; and the completion of repairs, in compliance with a citation, notice or court order, on the property the tenant occupies.

Sale of Dallas retail site sets Uptown price record

A recent commercial real estate transaction in the Uptown area just north of downtown Dallas shows that investors view the area as a significant opportunity. The sale set a new record for price per square foot in the area. An unnamed investor, represented by an Illinois real estate company, paid over $375 a square foot for the site at 2501 North Field Street. The total price was just short of $15 million for the one-acre property. The site was most recently valued at less than $3 million for property tax purposes.

The site is home to a brand new CVS Pharmacy building. CVS has a 25-year lease on the building. Single-tenant properties are in high demand, especially in core markets like Dallas. Prior to this sale, the highest sale price per square foot in the Uptown area was a site on the northwest corner of Woodall Rogers Freeway and Pearl Street, which went for over $300 per square foot.

Remedies for breach of contract in Texas real estate dispute

Conducting business can be a tricky operation. Whether a real estate deal has been in the works for months, or even years, it can be a time consuming goal. The best feeling is when the person or business who has worked on those deals finally witnesses their plan coming to life by the signing of a contract. But, what if a real estate party backs out of that contract, leaving people with a financial loss?

Most likely the party would be in breach of contract, which is outlined per the agreement signed. If people are unsure if a party is in breach of contract, the best place to start is the contract itself, where a party may be able to answer their own question. Once it is determined that the party is in fact in breach of contract during the contract dispute, the question is how can people recover if their business has suffered financial losses associated with their breach of contract? If a business didn't hold up their end of the deal and people are in a purchase dispute, there are a few things an injured party can do.

Our Office

3021 E. Renner Road Suite 140 Richardson, TX 75082
800-789-1672 toll free 972-664-0470 fax Map & Directions