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Oakland County Real Estate Law Blog

What lead-safety laws govern construction work in Michigan?

In most cases, Michigan landlords are required to provide some basic assurances of safety to tenants. Renting apartments in a building that is falling down is unethical and could be illegal. Gray areas exist with regard to landlord responsibility for tenant safety, often resulting in landlord-tenant disagreements over repairs or other issues. One area where some may disagree is on safety issues involving lead-based paint.

One law provides some details about how remodeling, rebuilding or repair work must be done in buildings that might contain lead-based paint. According to the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule, which was issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, any business or individual working to paint, repair or remodel residential and other structures must be certified in mandatory lead-safety training.

Experience is key to resolving commercial real estate disputes

The representation of any Michigan client in a commercial real estate law matter requires an in-depth understanding of common problems and concerns faced by landlords, commercial property owners, real estate management firms and commercial tenants. The more a law firm focuses solely on matters pertaining to real estate, the more that firm will be familiar with and capable of tackling the unique issues faced by these individuals and businesses. At our Huntington Woods firm, we pride ourselves on our dedicated specialization in matters that strictly pertain to real estate.

Most of the cases we taken on involve lease transactions and litigation. However, we also handle a wide variety of general commercial real estate matters. Our services include the creation of commercial lease agreements; the resolution of commercial lease violations and issues pertaining to commercial lease terminations. We also assist with commercial property management issues, the litigation of commercial real estate disputes and we assist individuals and companies to successfully complete purchases and sales of retail and office space buildings.

Real estate transaction disputes: Broker-placed liens

Both individuals and businesses in Michigan know that liens can be placed against property for a variety of reasons. Common reasons that come to mind might include tax issues or failure to make mortgage payments. When it comes to commercial property, the real estate broker has the power to place a lien if payment for real estate services or commissions is not made.

According to Public Act 201 of 2010, only licensed brokers can place the lien on properties in this case. The agents, employees or contractors of a licensed broker may not take such action, and the broker can only move forward with a lien if there is a written agreement regarding the commission entitlement. The broker must prove that the agreement was not adhered to and record a claim of lien that meets timeframes supplied by Michigan state law.

Michigan lighthouse property could be an interesting investment

An interesting lighthouse property is up for auction near Mackinac Island, Michigan. Historically, the lighthouse, which opened in 1948, marked the maritime passage between Round Island and Mackinac Island in Lake Huron. The lighthouse is still in operation, and the U.S. Coastguard will continue to maintain its solar panel powered signaling beacons despite any purchases and sales of the property.

According to a representative for the U.S. General Services Administration, which is managing the auction, the lighthouse investment property has potential for being turned into a bed and breakfast business or even a home. The structure is made of steel plate, and it includes a concrete base and a 71-foot high tower; however, the land on which it stands is not for sale.

Building foreclosed - what's a leasee to do?

Many businesses opt to lease the space in which they work for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they cannot afford the financial outlay required to purchase a space, or they plan to buy a space when the business grows. Whatever the rationale, there are pros and cons to renting office space.

One pro is that if something goes wrong in the building, for instance, there's a leak, the plumbing goes haywire or something else occurs, the business only needs to call the building owner to get the issue fixed. If the business owns the building then any repairs would be the business' responsibility to handle. On the flip side, if the owner of the building is slow to make repairs, this can have a negative impact on customers and the business could suffer. Another consideration is potential growth for a business. If the business is starting small, then a large space might not be necessary at first. Buying a building to meet current needs that might not meet the business's needs later could be an unwise business move.

Developers making purchases and sales with students in mind

Developers are eying East Lansing, Michigan, for the construction of apartment complexes and numerous projects are already underway. The target market they are seeking to profit from in their purchases and sales and development projects are students.

Developers are adding fitness centers, basketball courts, study lounges and tanning beds to their properties in order to appeal to the younger student demographic. The addition of granite countertops, hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances and other perks put these apartments into the luxury category. Indeed, they are being rented at prices of $600 to $1,000 a person. Interestingly, East Lansing is not the only college community that is seeing the rise of high-end student apartment complexes; the trend is happening in college towns throughout the nation.

Michigan commerical property owners turn to online sale

Across one city in Michigan, property owners are turning to the Internet and online auction to move sales. A building in downtown Detroit isn't your standard eBay listing, and the property owners are using property-based selling sites such as, but the principles of the Internet auction remain the same. By going to the Internet, property owners reach a larger audience and are more likely to sell a property at a decent price point.

Chinese bidders won a building that dates back to 1920, when it was constructed as offices. As of the 1990s, the building had been leased as apartments, and in December 2013, the bid was close to $2.8 million for the property. Another property was purchased by Chinese developers for $9.4 million in October 2013. That property was a 38-story brick skyscraper.

Sotheby's opens new Michigan office

As real estate markets in Michigan and the rest of the country improve, new real estate offices and residential and commercial real estate investment opportunities are popping up all over the place. Indeed, in recent events, Sotheby's International Reality has announced the opening of a new real estate office in Grand Rapids.

According to the manager of the location, he is excited to bring Sotheby's luxury brand to downtown Grand Rapids. He said that Sotheby's will provide Grand Rapids homeowners with the ability to show their homes to international buyers through the latest in technological resources. Among the selling strategies employed by Sotheby's is the creation of professionally edited video tours, which online buyers can use to evaluate a property from afar.

Oakland County sees increase in home sales values

The economic recession hit the United States hard, but some areas of the country suffered more than others did. One such area was the Detroit-metro area. However, a recent report by Crains Detroit Business shows that the same area is now seeing a boost in residential real estate sale prices. In fact, the average sale price has increased by more than 20 percent from last year according to June numbers from this year.

The increase in the number of houses hitting the market is also significant. According to Realcomp II Ltd., there has been an overall increase of 29.7 percent in Oakland, Wayne and Livingston counties.

Real estate purchases and sales: Michigan landmark up for auction

When it comes to purchases and sales of Detroit area real estate, there is one historic building that numerous people have admired -- and it used to be the headquarters of the Detroit Club. Built in 1892, the four-story building is made of red brick and stone and it was recently scheduled for auction. The building was constructed for the exclusive purpose of being the historic Detroit Club's home and it served as its clubhouse from the day it opened until it was sold in 2013.

The current owner of the building is no stranger to purchases and sales of real estate for investment purposes. The real estate investor purchased the building at a price of $1 million late last year. In preparation to sell the property at auction, it has been renovated. New bathroom fixtures and flooring were installed and the club's ornate woodwork was refinished.

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