New Apartments Fighting Condo Owners Associations

Houston is an unusual city for many reasons, but one of the most visibly apparent reasons is that there are no zoning requirements. This means that grocery stores can go up next to houses, but it also places a higher burden on homeowners and condo owners associations. Because there are no zoning requirements, these organizations are often the only thing standing in between a new development and residents. This is the case for the condominium owners association at the Cosmopolitan apartment complex, which is fighting the development of a 39-story building.

The Dinerstein Cos. is a development company in the process of building a 39-story luxury apartment building. The project, called Arise Post Oak, has been embroiled in litigation since its inception. When the project was first proposed, residents next door at the Cosmopolitan apartments objected to the building. Residents claimed the new building would be too high and wanted the building’s size to be cut in half.

The dispute between the condo association at the Cosmopolitan and Dinerstein reached a fever pitch in 2016 when Dinerstein asked a judge to declare its rights to develop the land. The condo association was claiming the building would be a nuisance. Under Texas law, both public and private entities can file a nuisance lawsuit if another building, company, or individual is interfering with their right to the use of and enjoyment of their property. The lawsuit has gone through a number of appeals and remains pending.

Business and condo owners associations can learn from the lawsuit that this type of litigation is not only extremely common in Houston, but is also incredibly complex. These legal battles can draw out for years and end up being extremely costly for both sides. Whenever these types of disputes arise, only experienced legal representation can help resolve matters quickly and efficiently.

Houston Commercial Litigation Lawyers

At Feldman & Feldman, we understand the complexities of commercial litigation. Our attorneys work closely with clients to understand their needs and protect their rights. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced Houston commercial litigation lawyers to see how we can help.

Not All Real Estate Agents Are Bound By Fiduciary Duty

If you’re thinking of buying a house, it’s easy to assume the real estate agent or agency you’re working with has your best interests at heart. Whether you’re buying or selling, it’s hard to imagine that these entities would only think of themselves, right?

Recently, Consumer Federation of America (CFA) posed a national survey question to a group of adults who were asked whether or not they assume realty agents are required to represent the best interests of the home buyer or seller with whom they are working. Around 50 percent answered yes, and 16 percent said, “yes, almost always.” Leaving two-thirds of consumers in the survey with roughly the same impression.

A new report from CFA found that in fact, “real estate agents often are not required by law to represent the interests of buyers or sellers.” Meaning that clients of these agents can fall prey to poor transactions or self-dealing, as real estate agents are not legally obligated with a fiduciary duty to their clients.

The author of the report and immediate past executive director of CFA, Stephen Brobeck, says the vast majority of consumers don’t understand the varying types of representation by realty agents. He says the key question they need to ask before agreeing to work with any agent is: Will you be representing us exclusively throughout the transaction and have a fiduciary duty to us?

“The holy grail is to capture the entire commission,” says Brobeck. “The listing agent might say to the seller, we’ve got a hot buyer for your house.”

Common forms of representation examined in the CFA study:

  • Single agent: The agent works solely for the client and has a fiduciary responsibility to the client.
  • Subagent: The agent works with the buyer but has a fiduciary duty to the seller.
  • Transactional agent: The agent works with both the buyer and seller to facilitate a sale but has no fiduciary responsibility to either party.
  • Dual agency: An arrangement whereby “the agent somehow is expected to represent the interests of both the seller and the buyer in a home purchase.”

Breach of Fiduciary Duty Attorneys

The attorneys at Feldman & Feldman handle allegations of breach of fiduciary duty very carefully. We understand these claims often involve delicate situations, so we work efficiently to protect your interests while exploring all options for resolution. If you have been accused of breaching your fiduciary duty or if you believe your fiduciary’s actions constitute a breach, contact us today to schedule a consultation.