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Wardley Corporation v. Welsh: Utah Court Holds Broker is a Finder

December 1, 1998: 

In Wardley Corporation v. Welsh, the Utah Court of Appeals found that the real estate broker did not have an agency relationship with the seller, and instead, was acting as a finder. This unusual case involved Grant Welsh, a developer (interestingly, he also was a licensed real estate broker and a real estate training class instructor). Randy Young, a real estate salesperson affiliated with Wardley Corporation, a real estate brokerage (together referred to as the “Broker”), inquired whether Welsh wanted to sell any property.

Shapiro v. Sutherland: Relocation Company Not Liable to Purchaser for Failure to Disclose Noise Problem

December 1, 1998: 

Shapiro v. Sutherland, a decision from the Court of Appeal of California, addressed disclosure obligations of a relocation company and the prior homeowners. David and Mary Sutherland had lived in their home in Burbank, California for 15 years when Mr. Sutherland’s employer, IBM, relocated him to another state. IBM had a relationship with a relocation company, Prudential Resources Management (“PRM”), and when the Sutherlands were unable to sell their home in a satisfactory manner, PRM stepped in and paid them $349,000 for the house.

McFarland v. Associated Brokers: Inspection and Discovery of Leak by Buyer Does Not Protect Licensee From Misrepresentation Claim

December 1, 1998: 

In McFarland v. Associated Brokers, a case involving a leaking roof, the buyer claimed that the listing broker knowingly concealed the extent of the problem. In this case, Bruce McFarland (the “Buyer”) bought a home listed by Associated Brokers (the “Listing Broker”). According to the decision, he was “assisted” in the purchase by another brokerage (the “Selling Broker”); there is no specific mention of whether the Selling Broker represented him or was acting as a subagent.

Rodriguez v. 551 West 157th Street Owners Corp.: Residential Landlord’s Refusal to Install Wheelchair Ramp or Lift Does Not Violate FHA

November 1, 1998: 

A recent U.S. District Court case involved the issue of whether a landlord’s refusal to make the entrance of an older apartment building wheelchair-accessible was unlawful in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act (the “FHA”). Rodriguez v. 551 West 157th Street Owners Corp. The apartment building in question, located in New York City, was built in 1910.

Franceschi v. Mautner-Glick Corp.: Property Manager’s Collection of Overdue Rent Is Exempt From Requirements of the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

November 1, 1998: 

In 1998 U.S. District Court case, Franceschi v. Mautner-Glick Corp., involved claims that a property manager and the property owner violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the “FDCPA”) when attempting to collect overdue rent. The purpose of the FDCPA is to protect consumers from unfair and abusive debt collection practices, and it regulates collections made by third parties, such as attorneys, on behalf of another.

Deckert v. Foster: Favorable Ruling for Licensees in Disclosure Case

November 1, 1998: 

A couple bought a new house from the contractor. The lot had a steep slope, and to control drainage and erosion, the contractor had built terraces and retaining walls and had contoured the site to direct drainage away from the house. The property had been listed with a real estate brokerage firm, and two of its sales associates (the “Sales Associates”) handled the sale. Subsequent to the closing, the drainage system failed and the buyers experienced excessive rainwater runoff and erosion problems.

Padgett v. City of Moultrie: Commercial Broker’s Lien Upheld by Georgia Court

October 1, 1998: 

In a case of first impression, the Court of Appeals of Georgia upheld the validity of a commercial broker’s lien under the Georgia Commercial Real Estate Broker Lien Act. Padgett v. City of Moultrie. In this case, a commercial real estate broker (the “Broker”), had entered into an agreement with Cambridge Health Care, Inc. (“Cambridge”) to provide services in connection with its purchase of a property in the City of Moultrie for conversion into a health care facility.

Lesniak v. Caulder: North Carolina Court Rules in Broker’s Favor, Citing Lack of Damages

September 1, 1998: 

Note: This case has not been included in an official reporter and may not be cited as legal authority. Consult with counsel before relying on this decision.

An unreported case decision from the North Carolina Court of Appeals, is a very favorable decision for the real estate licensee, but another court addressing similar issues might not reach the same conclusion.

Wells v. Poland: Neither Broker nor Property Owner Liable for Trespassers’ Injuries

September 1, 1998: 

This 1998 case out of Maryland involved a beach house in Ocean City, Maryland owned by David Polland. Polland had not seen the house in several years but was aware that it was in disrepair and had received notices from the city’s Code Enforcement Office about its dangerous condition. A Code Enforcement officer had put yellow "caution" tape across the front stairs of the house, which were deemed unsound, and had placed a sign on the house indicating that it was uninhabitable.

Empire Lumber Company v. Thermal-Dynamic Towers, Inc.: Negligent Tenant Is Liable for Fire Damage

September 1, 1998: 

A recent decision from the Supreme Court of Idaho involved the liability of a tenant for fire damage. Empire Lumber Company v. Thermal-Dynamic Towers, Inc. Empire Lumber Company owned a 32,000 square foot warehouse located in Post Falls, Idaho. It leased over a third of the space to Thermal-Dynamic Towers (“TDT”) for a short time while TDT was in the process of constructing its own facility. At the expiration of the initial term, the lease continued on a month-to-month basis.

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