Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram

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Peace 2.0: Preserving the harmony between owners sharing a party wall

The following article segment by Barbara Anne “B.A.” Spignardo originally appeared in the September/October issue of Commercial Investment Real Estate magazine. To read the entire article in the digital edition of the magazine, click here.

Party walls are often seen and taken for granted. Picture row houses and commercial structures sharing walls. Which owner or owners can claim those walls? Although party walls may be quite common, Party Wall Agreements are unusual.

Often owners do not consider the party wall until a problem occurs. When an issue with a shared wall arises, the result suddenly becomes complicated, without an agreement outlining the responsibilities and obligations of the two owners.

Clarifying Responsibilities

A Party Wall Agreement provides clarification about the ownership and maintenance obligations for the shared wall. The focus is to prevent and avoid disputes before a problem with a party wall, which affects the adjacent owners.

A Party Wall Agreement between adjacent owners is a useful, effective tool in understanding the agreements and restrictions relating to the common wall. These Agreements define which party bears the obligation for the cost of maintaining the common wall, as well as the repercussions if the wall is not maintained.

Establishing Ground Rules

Consenting to a Party Wall Agreement prior to possible disputes benefits the owners. In a recent transaction, the attorneys requested an estoppel certificate relating to the Party Wall Agreement, provided by the adjacent owner, confirming no known defaults under the Party Wall Agreement or possible claims relating thereto, at the time of closing, which was received in time for closing. Those involved in the deal understood the rights, obligations, and the validity of the Party Wall Agreement.

The complete article can be found on page 18 of the digital edition of the September/October issue of Commercial Investment Real Estate magazine

Found In: Articles, Party wall

Did You Know . . .

Members of the SLS trial group have tried in excess of 50 jury trials and 75 bench trials?

The SLS construction group has worked on sports stadiums across the country including Orioles Park in Baltimore and Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati?

The SLS construction group has worked on power plant projects across the country?

In 2007 SLS was selected for an Honorable Mention as one of the Best Places To Work in Washington DC?

Ron Shapiro, Steve Schram and Judd Lifschitz have all been selected as SuperLawyers by Law and Politics?

The SLS office building is an historic townhouse constructed in the late 1800s?

SLS has been selected by Martindale-Hubbell as a Preeminent Law Firm?

SLS trial lawyers have argued appeals in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal for the 4th, 5th, 9th, D.C. and Federal Circuit?

SLS trial lawyers have been lead trial counsel in cases in Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia, - to name just a few?

Virtually all the cases that SLS trial lawyers mediated have been favorably settled at mediation?

The transactional group at SLS was lead counsel on one of the largest, most complex mixed-use projects in downtown Washington, DC involving 4 lenders and 6 property owners?

In appreciation for the outstanding efforts of each of its employees during 2007, SLS gave everyone (attorneys, paralegals, and staff) a 4 day/3 night expense paid trip to Key West, Florida?

The transactional group at SLS has represented tenants in more than 200 retail leases in the Mid-Atlantic region?

Every attorney in the transactional group at SLS has at least 15 years experience?

The transactional group at SLS has represented developers in the purchase, construction, financing and/or sale of more than 75 multi-family apartment projects?

The transactional group at SLS has represented real estate investors and developers with respect to property in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Michigan and the U.S. Virginia Islands?

Attorneys in the transactional group at SLS have represented eight national banks in commercial real estate loans?

Attorneys in the transactional group at SLS have represented the FDIC, the Resolution Trust Corporation and several banking institutions in loan workout transactions throughout the Mid-Atlantic region?

The transactional group at SLS has represented homebuilders and commercial real estate developers in work-outs of individual loans and also for work-outs of large portfolios involving dozens of properties in several states?

The trial lawyers of SLS have numerous reported decisions to their credit?