Few law firms match Epstein Becker Green's capabilities in addressing issues related to condominium/co-operative development in projects. We add value to our clients through our extensive experience in preparing condominium documentation, public offering statements and in the registration process. We understand the legal complexities that must be resolved in hotel and resort condominiums; mixed-use condominiums containing residential, hotels, retail and, often, public components; conversion and loft condominium projects, involving the re-use of multi-family residential, commercial or industrial space; conservation related development and experience with conservation easements and historical façade agreements; air rights and transferable development rights transactions; as well as secondary mortgage market and federal land sales requirements that might have an impact on future sales. In addition, we frequently provide advice to co-operative/condominium boards and sponsors.
The federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) requires all parties involved in the design and/or construction of new multi-family housing such as condominiums to make the dwelling units (all ground floor units in non-elevator buildings and all units on floors with elevator access), and all of the common facilities that serve them, accessible to individuals with disabilities. Compliance with state and local building codes usually does not ensure compliance with the FHA. Although the FHA's requirements have been in effect since 1993, numerous complexes built after this date do not comply fully with the FHA's accessibility requirements, leading to lawsuits against developers, architects, and contractors by the U.S. Department of Justice and private litigants who may also sue under applicable state law. The liability for non compliance can be millions of dollars for retrofits, damages, and attorneys' fees.
Epstein Becker Green's attorneys – some of whom oversaw the enforcement of the FHA at the Department of Justice -- have provided the following services to its real estate clients in connection with FHA:
- Pre-construction plan review for compliance with FHA requirements;
- Advice and counseling regarding FHA requirements;
- Representation of developers in fair housing investigations conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and state fair housing authorities; and
- Defense of lawsuits and/or administrative enforcement proceedings brought under the FHA and similar state laws.