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  • Jun 22, 2020Negotiating New York Restaurant Leases in the Wake of COVID-19

    Sharyn A. Tritto, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., will present the free webinar, “Negotiating New York Restaurant Leases in the Wake of COVID-19,” hosted by the New York State Restaurant Association. Jeanne Hamburg, also a Member of the firm and a member of the NYSRA, will introduce her and moderate throughout the program.

    About Negotiating New York Restaurant Leases

    As the Empire State has gradually reopened and businesses are starting the long road to recovery, the COVID-19 pandemic has left a lasting impact on commercial real estate leasing, most particularly for New York’s restaurant industry. Sharyn will explain how the landscape of commercial lease negotiations has changed due to the pandemic. In addition to sorting through the administrative changes that halted late penalties and evictions by executive order, this webinar will also review state and local legislation aimed at curtailing personal liability guarantees and their enforceability for existing lease agreements.

    When: Tuesday, June 30, 2020

    10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

    Registration: Zoom

    About Sharyn Tritto

    Sharyn specializes in all aspects of real estate litigation, particularly landlord and tenant law. As a real estate attorney, she also handles leasing and transactional matters.

    Sharyn has practiced in all courts at both the trial and the appellate levels. In addition, she handles matters before various administrative agencies, including but not limited to the Environmental Control Board and the Division of Homes and Community Renewal.

    Prior to joining Norris McLaughlin, Sharyn was the in-house counsel at Sol Goldman Investments, where she handled everything from nonpayment proceedings to complex real estate litigation matters in the Supreme Court.

    About Jeanne Hamburg

    Jeanne concentrates her practice in all aspects of copyright and trademark law, both in litigation and in the transactional area. She litigates copyright, trademark, and cybersquatting cases through trial and, if necessary, appeal. To this end, she has acted as national counsel in federal courts across the country to bring and defend infringement claims for clients, both foreign and domestic.

    In the transactional area, Jeanne counsels clients on intellectual property aspects of mergers and acquisitions. She is experienced in copyright and trademark clearance, prosecution, and enforcement, and has particular expertise with contentious and transactional issues arising from the Internet.

    Jeanne is a co-author of the firm’s trademark, copyright, and unfair competition law blog, More Than Your Mark. She is a frequent speaker and writer on intellectual property topics and is active in many trade groups in industries whose clients she serves.

    Posted in: Events, Food, Beverage & Hospitality, Jeanne Hamburg, Real Estate & Finance, Sharyn A. Tritto | Tags: , , ,

  • Jun 05, 2020Liquor License Laws, Medical Marijuana & Service Animals: Impact on Real Estate

    Richard B. Somach, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., along with the firm’s Associates Matthew B. Andersen, David C. Berger, and Alyssa M. Hicks, will present the livestream webinar, “Liquor License Laws, Medical Marijuana & Service Animals: Impact on Real Estate,” for Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS®, a trade association that represents nearly 3,000 real estate professionals.

    About the Impact on Real Estate

    Discussion topics will include:

    • What landlords must consider when renting a property to a tenant with a liquor license
    • The implications of leasing a property to a manufacturer of medical marijuana
    • The eviction process and the restrictions on property use
    • The legal vs. illegal uses of marijuana
    • The rights and responsibilities of landlords, tenants, and property buyers
    • The difference between a service animal and an emotional support animal
    • The responsibilities and liability of having an animal on their premises

    When: Monday, August 17, 2020

    1:00 – 4:30 p.m.

    Where: Greater Lehigh Valley Real Estate Academy

    10 S. Commerce Way, Bethlehem, PA 18017

    Registration: glvreacademy.com

    • Members: $45.00
    • Non-Members: $65.00

    About Your Attorneys

    Rich Somach

    Rich focuses his practice on real estate, commercial law, and creditors’ remedies, representing real estate development companies, shopping centers, and local banks. He has represented real estate owners, developers, and investors in a broad range of real estate transactions, including zoning matters,  subdivisions, and shopping center development.

    As a licensed title insurance agent, Rich is the founder of the title insurance and settlement company ABE Settlement Services, creatively serving client needs. He currently serves as legal counsel to the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS®.

    As a former Assistant Lehigh County Solicitor, Rich advised the Sheriff’s Office, the Tax Assessment Office, and the Tax Claim Bureau, and frequently writes and lectures on real estate matters, including sheriff’s sales, real estate tax sales, and lien priority issues for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. He has also presented numerous lectures at the annual Real Estate Institute program.

    Matt Andersen

    Matt concentrates his practice on business law and liquor law.

    In his liquor law practice, Matt works with all tiers of the alcohol industry, advising manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers. He assists breweries, distilleries, wineries, wholesalers, distributors, restaurants, and hotels on obtaining and transferring liquor licenses, obtaining state and federal manufacturing permits and licensing, complying with federal/state liquor regulations and laws, providing transactional counseling, and defending citations and protests before the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Matt has presented at numerous events held by the Brewers of Pennsylvania trade organization on subjects such as U.S. Food and Drug Administration compliance for alcohol manufacturers, legal updates affecting the industry members, and general compliance. Additionally, he has presented to a local and national audience on Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Federal laws affecting brewery and distillery businesses. Matt is a frequent contributor to the Norris McLaughlin Liquor Law Blog, Legal Liquor, and has been quoted by various newspapers and publications on liquor-related matters.

    As a business lawyer, Matt is involved in the day-to-day legal counseling of businesses, formation of business entities, general contract matters, drafting of agreements between partners, corporate restructurings, lending, and shareholder disputes. He has the experience to assist his business and liquor clients in matters that impact real estate, such as property acquisition, leasing, and zoning and land use issues. Matt’s liquor law and business law practices often coincide in the legal counseling of start-up businesses entering the alcohol industry. He frequently advises clients from the idea stage to the operational stage of their alcohol business and is well versed in discussing the issues that come up in between.

    David Berger

    David concentrates his practice on business, real estate, and liquor law. He actively counsels clients on general business topics including organization and formation, corporate governance, lease negotiations, restructurings, and finance.

    A licensed title agent, David works closely with lenders, real estate developers, and homebuilding companies. He handles both residential and commercial real estate development including acquisitions, land use and zoning matters, title review, and other due diligence requirements.

    In his liquor law practice, David handles sale and purchase of liquor licenses and provides transactional counseling, including defending licenses who have received citations from the Pennsylvania Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement.

    Alyssa Hicks

    Alyssa devotes her practice to business law and general civil litigation.

    Alyssa actively assists clients with commercial transactions, including financing and loan documentation; asset purchases and sales; entity selection, formation, and organization; and general contract drafting and review. She also counsels businesses in all aspects of employment law including discrimination, contracts, policies, and handbook reviews. Alyssa represents companies in employment-related litigation and handles administration matters before the EEOC and PHRC.

    In her litigation practice, Alyssa handles all aspects of litigation from pre-trial counseling, discovery, and drafting pleadings and motions to representation at depositions and judicial conferences.

    Posted in: Alyssa M. Hicks, Cannabis Law, David C. Berger, Events, Liquor Law, Licensing, Manufacturing and Distribution, Matthew B. Andersen, Real Estate & Finance, Richard B. Somach | Tags: , , , , , ,

  • Jun 05, 2020Liquor License Laws, Medical Marijuana & Service Animals: Impact on Real Estate

    Richard B. Somach, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., along with the firm’s Associates Matthew B. Andersen, David C. Berger, and Alyssa M. Hicks, will present the livestream webinar, “Liquor License Laws, Medical Marijuana & Service Animals: Impact on Real Estate,” for Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS®, a trade association that represents nearly 3,000 real estate professionals.

    About the Impact on Real Estate

    Discussion topics will include:

    • What landlords must consider when renting a property to a tenant with a liquor license
    • The implications of leasing a property to a manufacturer of medical marijuana
    • The eviction process and the restrictions on property use
    • The legal vs. illegal uses of marijuana
    • The rights and responsibilities of landlords, tenants, and property buyers
    • The difference between a service animal and an emotional support animal
    • The responsibilities and liability of having an animal on their premises

    When: Monday, June 15, 2020

    • 1:00 – 4:30 p.m.

    Registration: glvreacademy.com

    • Members: $45.00
    • Non-Members: $65.00

    About Your Attorneys

    Rich Somach

    Rich focuses his practice on real estate, commercial law, and creditors’ remedies, representing real estate development companies, shopping centers, and local banks. He has represented real estate owners, developers, and investors in a broad range of real estate transactions, including zoning matters,  subdivisions, and shopping center development.

    As a licensed title insurance agent, Rich is the founder of the title insurance and settlement company ABE Settlement Services, creatively serving client needs. He currently serves as legal counsel to the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS®.

    As a former Assistant Lehigh County Solicitor, Rich advised the Sheriff’s Office, the Tax Assessment Office, and the Tax Claim Bureau, and frequently writes and lectures on real estate matters, including sheriff’s sales, real estate tax sales, and lien priority issues for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. He has also presented numerous lectures at the annual Real Estate Institute program.

    Matt Andersen

    Matt concentrates his practice on business law and liquor law.

    In his liquor law practice, Matt works with all tiers of the alcohol industry, advising manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers. He assists breweries, distilleries, wineries, wholesalers, distributors, restaurants, and hotels on obtaining and transferring liquor licenses, obtaining state and federal manufacturing permits and licensing, complying with federal/state liquor regulations and laws, providing transactional counseling, and defending citations and protests before the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Matt has presented at numerous events held by the Brewers of Pennsylvania trade organization on subjects such as U.S. Food and Drug Administration compliance for alcohol manufacturers, legal updates affecting the industry members, and general compliance. Additionally, he has presented to a local and national audience on Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Federal laws affecting brewery and distillery businesses. Matt is a frequent contributor to the Norris McLaughlin Liquor Law Blog, Legal Liquor, and has been quoted by various newspapers and publications on liquor-related matters.

    As a business lawyer, Matt is involved in the day-to-day legal counseling of businesses, formation of business entities, general contract matters, drafting of agreements between partners, corporate restructurings, lending, and shareholder disputes. He has the experience to assist his business and liquor clients in matters that impact real estate, such as property acquisition, leasing, and zoning and land use issues. Matt’s liquor law and business law practices often coincide in the legal counseling of start-up businesses entering the alcohol industry. He frequently advises clients from the idea stage to the operational stage of their alcohol business and is well versed in discussing the issues that come up in between.

    David Berger

    David concentrates his practice on business, real estate, and liquor law. He actively counsels clients on general business topics including organization and formation, corporate governance, lease negotiations, restructurings, and finance.

    A licensed title agent, David works closely with lenders, real estate developers, and homebuilding companies. He handles both residential and commercial real estate development including acquisitions, land use and zoning matters, title review, and other due diligence requirements.

    In his liquor law practice, David handles sale and purchase of liquor licenses and provides transactional counseling, including defending licenses who have received citations from the Pennsylvania Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement.

    Alyssa Hicks

    Alyssa devotes her practice to business law and general civil litigation.

    Alyssa actively assists clients with commercial transactions, including financing and loan documentation; asset purchases and sales; entity selection, formation, and organization; and general contract drafting and review. She also counsels businesses in all aspects of employment law including discrimination, contracts, policies, and handbook reviews. Alyssa represents companies in employment-related litigation and handles administration matters before the EEOC and PHRC.

    In her litigation practice, Alyssa handles all aspects of litigation from pre-trial counseling, discovery, and drafting pleadings and motions to representation at depositions and judicial conferences.

    Posted in: Alyssa M. Hicks, Cannabis Law, David C. Berger, Events, Liquor Law, Licensing, Manufacturing and Distribution, Matthew B. Andersen, Real Estate & Finance, Richard B. Somach | Tags: , , , , , ,

  • Feb 19, 2020Property Tax Appeals Can Save You Money in 2020

    One obvious reason for filing real estate property tax appeals is to obtain a lower assessment on your real property and thereby save significant tax dollars. Another important reason to lower your assessment and taxes is to help maintain the value of the property by making it more marketable to potential buyers.

    Property owners often believe that their property is worth an amount equal to the assessment on the property. This misconception leads owners to overlook the different ratios of assessed value to true value applicable in each of the assessing districts of New Jersey and the fact that these ratios generally decline each year. For example, if a property worth one million dollars this year is located in a municipality with a 60% ratio, it should be assessed at $600,000 this year. If that ratio drops to 54% next year, its assessment should be $540,000. If the ratio drops, but the assessment remains high, it may be time for an appeal. The revaluation of all property within a municipality may increase the possibility of over-assessment on larger commercial and industrial parcels.

    Taxpayers with assessments in excess of $1,000,000 can file an appeal for direct review of their property’s assessed valuation by the Tax Court of New Jersey, without first filing an appeal with the local county tax board. Tax appeals on assessments of less than $1,000,000 must first be filed with the county tax board.

    If the taxpayer prevails in securing a tax appeal judgment reducing its assessment, the “Freeze Act” binds the municipality for the years covered by the tax appeal plus two additional years, subject to two exceptions. The first exception is a complete revaluation of all real property in the municipality. The second exception is proof by the municipality of a substantial increase in the property’s value. These exceptions aside, the assessment is frozen at the reduced level, at the taxpayer’s sole option. Thus, if a taxpayer wishes to appeal for a further reduction during the freeze period, he or she is free to do so.

    These points are merely intended to scratch the surface of this area of the law. This should also help to explain why property owners should have their tax assessments reviewed by legal counsel each year to determine whether a tax appeal is warranted. The experienced attorneys at Norris McLaughlin can help you review and analyze your real property valuations to determine if an appeal makes sense.

    For all counties, other than Monmouth and Gloucester, the deadline to file a tax appeal in 2020 is April 1st. For all towns subject to a revaluation or reassessment (other than those towns in Monmouth and Gloucester Counties), the deadline is extended to May 1, 2020.

    For additional information, contact one of our tax appeal attorneys, Nicholas F. Pellitta, Timothy P. McKeown, or Andrew D. Linden.

    This Real Property Tax Appeals Alert provides information to our clients and friends about current legal developments of general interest in the area of real property tax appeals law. The information contained in this Alert should not be construed as legal advice, and readers should not act upon such without professional counsel. Copyright © 2020 Norris McLaughlin, P.A.

    Posted in: Andrew D. Linden, Nicholas F. Pellitta, Real Estate & Finance, Taxation, Timothy P. McKeown |

  • Feb 11, 2020Julie Macomb Elected to Commercial Real Estate Women Network Lehigh Valley Board

    Julie M. Macomb, an Associate of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., has been elected to the Board of Directors for the Commercial Real Estate Women Network (CREW) Lehigh Valley, the premier commercial real estate network in northeast Pennsylvania. She is also past president.

    “I love being a part of this network and look forward to continuing the strong leadership we’ve always had to help further develop our cause,” said Macomb.

    About CREW Lehigh Valley

    CREW Lehigh Valley, whose purpose is to advance the success of women in commercial real estate, is recognized for professionalism, leadership, expertise, and commitment. Norris McLaughlin is a proud sponsor of the organization.

    About Julie Macomb

    Macomb devotes her practice to business, health care, and real estate law. She is actively involved in the day-to-day legal counseling of businesses, formation of business entities, general contract matters, corporate restructurings, and shareholder disputes.

    In her health care practice, Macomb works with hospitals and their affiliated corporations, physician groups, clinical laboratories, medical staff, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities. Her real estate practice is focused on commercial lending issues; leasing; leasing projects for the firm’s healthcare clients; and acquisition, zoning, and disposition of commercial, residential, industrial, and retail properties.

    Macomb is on the Board of Directors of the Downtown Allentown Business Alliance and the Board of Directors of Community Music School, as well as the Board of Managers of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem. She has been recognized in Philadelphia Magazine as a “Rising Star,” a distinction for lawyers age 40 and under or who have been practicing for fewer than 10 years and reserved for no more than 2.5% of all attorneys in Pennsylvania. In 2017, Macomb was honored by Lehigh Valley Business as a “Woman to Watch,” an award for someone age 30 or under who is stepping up to help shape tomorrow’s Lehigh Valley. She received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Widener University School of Law and her B.A., magna cum laude, from The University of Maryland.

    Posted in: Julie M. Macomb, News, Real Estate & Finance | Tags: ,

  • Nov 27, 2019Ray Lahoud and Rich Somach to Speak at Pennsylvania Bar Real Estate Institute

    Raymond G. Lahoud, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Chair of its Immigration Law Practice Group, and Richard Brent Somach, a Member of the firm, will present at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s Real Estate Institute on Thursday, December 5, at The CLE Conference Center Wanamaker Building in Philadelphia.

    About the Presentations

    “With the rapidly increasing number of immigrants in Pennsylvania who seek homeownership and real estate investment opportunities to the growing interest of foreign investors in Pennsylvania real estate development projects, immigration law has become increasingly relevant in the real estate industry. Given this, it is necessary that we continue to educate the real estate industry and others affected by today’s immigration climate, as well as the potentially lucrative means of the intersection of real estate and immigration law” said Lahoud. He will speak on “The (Hidden) Lucrative Intersections of Immigration Law and the Real Estate Industry,” 1:00 – 2:00 p.m., in the West Room.

    “There is a myriad of local rules and practices associated with sheriff’s sales and real estate tax sales. I look forward to participating once again for the PBI to answer questions and clarify misconceptions about buying properties at these sales,” said Somach. He will co-present “Advanced Sheriff Sale Jeopardy,” 1:00 – 2:00 p.m., in Room A.

    The two-day event is being held Thursday, December 5, and Friday, December 6, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Each day will offer sixteen courses. For more information and to register, visit pbi.org.

    About the Presenters

    Ray Lahoud

    Lahoud focuses his practice exclusively on immigration law and deportation defense for individuals, families, small to large domestic and multinational businesses and corporations, employers, international employees, investors, students, professors, researchers, skilled professionals, athletes, and entertainers, in every type of immigration or deportation defense matter—whether domestic or foreign. His immigration practice is broad, ranging from areas of corporate and employment immigration and related compliance to immigration litigation before agencies and courts across the United States, for corporations and individuals alike.

    Lahoud’s corporate immigration practice includes representing businesses of all sizes, in all corporate immigration and employer immigration compliance matters. He has served nearly every industry, including healthcare, education, manufacturing, global and domestic employment/talent recruitment, warehousing and distribution, pharmaceutical, economic development, local, county, and state government agencies, non-profit, religious, information technology, marketing, entertainment, sports, and real estate development and EB-5 investor financing. His experience includes EB-5 investor visas serving investors, regional centers, and project developers.

    Lahoud received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 2009 and his B.A., English, summa cum laude, from Lehigh University in 2006.

    Rich Somach

    Somach focuses his practice on real estate, commercial law, and creditors’ remedies, representing real estate development companies, shopping centers, and local banks. He has represented real estate owners, developers, and investors in a broad range of real estate transactions, including zoning matters, residential subdivisions, and shopping center development.

    A licensed title insurance agent, Somach is president of the title insurance and settlement company ABE Settlement Services. He is legal counsel to the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS®, and serves as Assistant Lehigh County Solicitor, advising the Sheriff’s Office, the Tax Assessment Office, and the Tax Claim Bureau.

    Somach frequently writes and lectures on real estate matters, sheriff’s sales, and real estate tax sales. He received his B.A., with honors, in 1971 from Lehigh University, and his J.D. in 1974 from Hofstra University Law School.

    Posted in: Immigration, News, Raymond G. Lahoud, Real Estate & Finance, Richard B. Somach | Tags: , , ,

  • Oct 15, 2019Triple Play REALTOR® Convention & Trade Expo

    Norris McLaughlin is proud to have Raymond G. Lahoud, Chair of the firm’s Immigration Practice Group, present “What to Know About the EB-5 Real Estate Investor Visa Program” at Triple Play REALTOR® Convention & Trade Expo.

    Triple Play REALTOR® Convention & Trade Expo is tailored to meet the professional needs of serious real estate professionals in the tri-state area. Combining education, networking, and fun, this premiere event is a must-attend. Brought to you by the New Jersey, New York & Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS®.

    Course Description

    This program will provide an overview of the EB-5 program, including a background of the EB-5 program; entry into the program; legal, financial, and practical requirements; project vetting; investment structures; business plans; and examples of qualifying direct and regional center projects. Ray will also discuss the benefits and obligations that the EB-5 program offers local, regional, and state economies, as well as residential and commercial realtors and brokers, economic development professionals, real estate developers, and real estate investors.

    When: Wednesday, December 11, 2019

    9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

    Where: Atlantic City Convention Center

    1 Convention Boulevard
    Atlantic City, NJ 08401

    For more information and to register, please click here!

    Posted in: Events, Immigration, Raymond G. Lahoud, Real Estate & Finance | Tags: , ,

  • Sep 12, 2019Thinking of Renting Out Your House in Pennsylvania? Think Again

    By: Norris McLaughlin, P.A.

    Thinking about going into the web-based rental business in Pennsylvania (or trying to stop your neighbor from doing it)? Read this article first.

    Introduction

    A recent Supreme Court of Pennsylvania case, Slice of life, LLC vs. Hamilton Township Zoning Hearing Board, held that purely transient use of the property is not permitted in residential zoning districts restricted to “single housekeeping units.” In Slice of life, LLC, the property in question was governed by a 1985 Hamilton Township Zoning Ordinance permitting use for “single-family” dwellings and further defining single family as “a single housekeeping unit.” The owner of the property was an LLC whose sole member never lived at the property and purchased it entirely for use as a for-profit commercial enterprise. The property was advertised as a rental with a maximum stay of one week. The property’s use as a short-term rental resulted in noise complaints, instances of public urination, nudity, lewd conduct, bonfires, and fireworks. There were multiple police complaints related to the property. Eventually, a zoning officer issued an enforcement notice because of the property’s use for “transient tenancies.”

    Property owners generally have the right to enjoy their property limited only by things like zoning ordinances substantially related to the protection of public health, safety, morality, and welfare. Residential zoning districts are a historically acceptable way to promote the residential character, amenity, stability and safety of “family” oriented neighborhoods (e.g., quiet, desirable levels of density, residents engaged in the neighborhood and invested in maintaining the quality of the community). Slice of Life, LLC, explains that “single housekeeping unit” is a phrase commonly used to mean family within zoning ordinances that require occupants to both:  (i) behave functionally as a family unit, thereby cooking and living together, sharing access to the entire house, attending social functions together, etc., and (ii) remain for substantial periods, moving only for health or personal preference reasons.

    At the Commonwealth level, the court in Slice of Life, LLC, found that the person signing the short-term leases was a family for purposes of the ordinance, and any other persons staying at the property were guests of the family. Because “transient” was not used or defined in the ordinance, the court reasoned that where short-term rentals were not specifically prohibited, they were permitted, as ordinances needed to be interpreted to allow for the broadest possible use of the land. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania clarified that “web-based rentals of single-family homes to vacationers and other transient users for a few days at a time” is a purely transient use of the property that is not permitted where a zoning ordinance requires use as a “single-family dwelling.”

    Conclusion

    While Slice of life, LLC, dealt with an extreme set of facts, the holding in the case clearly indicates that “single-family dwelling” restrictions within zoning ordinances prohibit the use of property as short-term rental property investments. Had the tenants in question behaved in a more discreet manner, the use would have been no less transient in nature. If you seek to purchase property for the purpose of renting the premises for short-term stays, or you are concerned about the “transient tenancies” in your neighborhood, make sure to consult with a real estate attorney to determine the regulations your municipality has in place concerning the property in question.

    If you have any questions about this post or any other related matters, please email me at jlushis@norris-law.com

    Posted in: Real Estate & Finance |

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