The Ohio Legislature passed House Bill 153 on May 5, 2011. H.B. 153—a budget bill—which includes significant changes for Ohio’s public construction projects. Some changes will become effective on September 28, 2011, but others are forecast to become effective in early 2012. As such, we will have to wait a while longer to experience the full effect

The Situation:

Certain covered dwellings that are not designed or constructed in strict compliance with the Fair Housing Act are increasingly subject to suit, with strict liability befalling developers, designers, and contractors alike.  In fact, contractors are strictly liable for FHA violations even if they correctly follow a designer’s noncompliant drawings.  Further, courts across America are consistently holding that potentially liable parties cannot sue each other for alleged contribution for a FHA defect, which enhances exposure for those sued directly by FHA protected class  members.  Needless to say, the financial risk of FHA noncompliance is grave.   

      

 


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 The Situation:

Certain covered dwellings that are not designed or constructed in strict compliance with the Fair Housing Act are increasingly subject to suit, with strict liability befalling developers, designers, and contractors alike.  In fact, contractors are strictly liable for FHA violations even if they correctly follow a designer’s noncompliant drawings.  Further, courts across America are consistently holding that potentially liable parties cannot sue each other for alleged contribution toward an FHA defect, which enhances exposure for those sued directly by FHA protected class members.  Needless to say, the financial risk for FHA noncompliance is grave.   

FHA Coverage:

The FHA applies strict liability to developers, designers, and contractors who participate in the design or construction of a covered dwelling.  Under the FHA, each participant in the design and construction of covered dwellings has an independent obligation to comply with the FHA.  The term "covered dwelling" is construed broadly and applies to points of access in popular mixed-use commercial, retail, and residential properties. 

Those held liable for FHA non-compliance risk more than a "slap on the wrist."  Rather, FHA damages include (1) the cost to rebuild a covered dwelling; and (2) the prevailing party’s attorney’s fees.  Thus, developers, architects, engineers, and contractors must take caution and ensure their own compliance with the FHA. 


 


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Ohio House Bill 292, which prohibits the future creation of transfer fee covenants, was signed into law on June 14, 2010 and will become effective on September 13, 2010. Transfer fee covenants in effect prior to September 13, 2010 are not affected by the new law.

Transfer fee covenants create revenue streams for real estate

Thank you to our friend Drew Stacey of First Place Bank for reminding us of the extension of the The First-Time Homebuyer Credit for the benefit of Military families for an additional year through May 1, 2011.  According to the IRS:

"In general, you can claim this credit if:

  • You bought your main home in the United States after 2008 and before May 1, 2010 (before July 1, 2010, if you entered into a written binding contract before May 1, 2010), and

  • You (and your spouse if married) did not own any other main home during the 3-year period ending on the date of purchase.

No credit is allowed for a home bought after April 30, 2010 (after June 30, 2010, if you entered into a written binding contract before May 1, 2010). However, if you (or your spouse) are on qualified official extended duty outside the United States for at least 90 days after 2008 and before May 1, 2010, you have an extra year to buy a home and claim the credit. In other words, you must buy the home before May 1, 2011 (before July 1, 2011, if you entered into a written binding contract before May 1, 2011)."


 


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