Prior to 2008, when the Great Recession and its aftereffects brought about a sea of changes in the mortgage lending arena, it was not an uncommon scenario, post-closing on a sale or refinance of real estate, to see a mortgage signed by only one of multiple owners of the real estate. In most of these instances, it was one spouse signing the mortgage and the real estate titled in both spouses’ names, but the spousal scenario was not the only one. Unmarried co-owners and other family members might be on title, but missing from the mortgage encumbering such title.
Continue Reading Mortgage Reformation in Pennsylvania

Traditionally, in Pennsylvania, an agreement of sale between seller and buyer “seals the deal” for the purchase of real estate. However, a prospective seller may also choose to have the buyer take possession of the property and “pay as he goes,” i.e. enter into an installment purchase agreement for the real estate. The core of

The old Woody Guthrie song emphatically proclaiming “this land is your land, this land is my land” could well have its roots in the concept of a prescriptive easement in Pennsylvania. As recently explained in a Bucks County Court of Common Pleas case, Slice & Hook Enterprise v. McGonigal, 87 Bucks Co. L. Rep. 321, 329 (2014), a prescriptive easement exists when one establishes a right to use another’s land for some purpose, through “open, notorious, continuous, uninterrupted, adverse and hostile use” (although not inconsistent with the landowner’s use of the property), for twenty-one (21) years.
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In the case of B.N. Excavating v. PBC Hollow-A, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that it is not always necessary to show that a structure has been erected in order for a mechanics lien to be filed in Pennsylvania. Rather, the majority of the Court ruled that where land excavation is an integral part of the overall construction plan for a building, a mechanics lien could possibly be filed for that work, even where no structure has been built. The en banc panel noted that the seminal case of Sampson-Miller Associated Companies v. Landmark Realty Co. does not stand for the proposition that a mechanics lien can never be filed if a structure has not been erected.
Continue Reading A Mechanics Lien Can Potentially Be Filed Without an Erected Structure

In the case of In Re Appeal of Chester County Outdoor, LLC, the applicant, Chester County Outdoor LLC (“CCO”), desired to erect a billboard on certain property in Penn Township. CCO filed a challenge to the validity of Penn Township’s Zoning Ordinance pursuant to Section 916.1 of the Municipalities Planning Code, alleging that that Section 1800G of the Ordinance excluded billboards. Section 1800G stated that no sign could be erected in the Township except one for a business or merchandise for sale on the same premises as the billboard.
Continue Reading Zoning – Site Specific Relief and Standing

The Pennsylvania Senate approved legislation on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 that would require contractors and subcontractors to verify legal employment status for all employees working on public building projects. Senate Bill 637, which passed 47-7, makes use of the federal E-Verify system, operated by the Department of Homeland Security, mandatory to confirm that all employees are eligible to work in the U.S.
Continue Reading Pennsylvania Senate Amends Procurement Code to Provide for Verification of Legal Employment Status

In Pennsylvania, “The Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951” (“The Act”) governs all residential leases entered in Pennsylvania. The Act provides certain terms in the relationship between a landlord and tenant that cannot be waived by the tenant, even where the written lease has provisions contrary to the Act.
Continue Reading Return of Security Deposits Under the Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act