We are all familiar with commercials and ads warning real estate owners (“Owners”) of title theft. What is described as title theft occurs when a fraudster forges an Owner’s name on a deed transferring real estate to themselves, later mortgaging or selling it to acquire money.

In a Solar Panel Purchase Agreement (“PPA”), a developer (“Developer”) finances and installs solar panels on an owner’s (“Owner’s”) property and stipulates that the Owner use the electricity generated which is often cheaper than the rate charged by utility companies. PPAs often serve as opportunities for Owners to save money on energy.

It is increasingly common for landowners and building owners (“Owners”) to be approached by a developer (“Developer”) interested in executing a “solar land lease” (“Solar Lease”) or a “solar power purchase agreement” (“Solar Power Purchase Agreement”). Solar Leases allow for a Developer to install solar panel systems on an Owner’s property in exchange for payment.  Conversely, in a Solar Agreement, the Developer finances and installs solar panels on an Owner’s property and stipulates that the Owner use the electricity generated which is often cheaper than the rate charged by utility companies.

The right to use solar energy has long been considered a property right in Missouri. See Section 442.012 RSMo. Even though the right to use solar energy is a property right, it may be subject to restrictive covenants, just like any other property right.

It’s May in Indiana, which means flowers are blooming, the Indianapolis 500 is here, and the spring installment of Indiana property taxes are due. Property taxes in Indiana are paid twice a year, with payments generally due on May 10 and November 10. However, the spring installment is most significant as it relates to the sale of land for unpaid taxes. This makes May the perfect time for a refresher on Indiana tax sales.

Can improvements to real estate, such as buildings, be owned separately from the land beneath them? This is not usual, although permissible, such as in a ground lease situation; however, a recent decision from the Indiana Court of Appeals has gone a step farther by recognizing separate real estate tax parcel numbers to improvements sold separately from the underlying real estate. The following case presents a cautionary tale for Indiana landowners in a ground lease scenario, and for any lender secured by land subject to a ground lease.

Part one of this series article addressed whether homeowners associations are required to allow support dogs in common areas where dogs may otherwise be prohibited. This article will address whether homeowners and condominium associations are required to make reasonable accommodations for “assistance animals”  which may otherwise be prohibited by the association’s rules and regulations.  Assistance animals, as defined by the Fair Housing Act (FHA), include more than just service dogs as defined by the ADA.

Service animals or service dogs in common areas of a homeowners association or condominium association have ADA considerations. 

Most residential homeowners and condominium associations have restrictive covenants or rules regulating the size, number or types of pets owners may keep in their residences. Some associations may prohibit pets in the common areas or amenities. Associations regularly enforce these restrictions by issuing notice to owners who are in violation requiring the owners to take some kind of corrective action. Sometimes owners respond that the animal is a service animal and therefore the owners are not required to comply with applicable restrictions, rules or regulations.

Welcome to In the Dirt: Real Estate Legal Update where attorneys from Amundsen Davis blog about all things related to real estate, zoning, real estate management and finance. 



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