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Overview

Consistent with Hirschler’s strong commitment to the real estate development community, its trial lawyers have special expertise in all facets of litigation involving property rights and real estate development including but not limited to the following areas:

Contract Disputes Involving Real Estate Agreements

The real estate development process typically begins with some kind of agreement whether it is engagement of a broker or agent, letter of intent to purchase, financing commitment, purchase and sale agreement or development agreement.  Hirschler Fleischer attorneys will assist in either enforcing our client’s contractual rights or in defending claims of contractual breach by other parties to the development process.

Title Disputes, Partition of Property and Contested Boundary Lines

With a large number of firm clients involved in the real estate industry, it is not unusual to encounter title issues or contested boundary lines.  Hirschler trial attorneys are well versed in handling actions to quiet title, ejectment, trespass and/or to establish boundary lines.  In addition, we frequently assist clients wishing to separate joint ownership interests either by physical division, allotment or sale.

Appeals of Land Use Decisions

Hirschler attorneys are among the most experienced trial attorneys in the state in the area of land use and zoning.  Several cases considered “landmark” decisions in this area were handled at trial and/or appeal by Hirschler attorneys.  In addition to handling land use matters in court, Hirschler Fleischer attorneys appear before Boards of Zoning Appeal, Architectural Review Boards and other administrative bodies as well as handle appeals of those decisions.

Defense of Eminent Domain Proceedings

Hirschler attorneys routinely represent landowners in defense of efforts by federal, state and local governments to take private property. Of particular note is the defense of an attempted condemnation for construction of a “public” parking deck by a Virginia locality in connection with a privately owned hotel development. The Court held the take to lack public purpose and dismissed the case. This is one of the very few successfully defended eminent domain cases in Virginia and is a leading case on public use.

Tax Assessment Appeals 

In the area of real estate taxation, our experienced lawyers are able to take a property owner’s case from informal discussions with local tax assessors all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court.  Our representations encompass a wide range of properties, including multifamily housing, office, retail, hotels, assisted living facilities, industrial plants, country clubs, and unimproved land.  We also have particular expertise in defending proceedings for collection of taxes and/or special assessments, including specifically those of Community Development Authorities.  In a recent decision, the Virginia Supreme Court called into question whether the enabling legislation governing CDA’s even authorized judicial enforcement of CDA assessments, resulting in “emergency” legislation being passed by the General Assembly.

Vested Rights and Regulatory Takings

A landowner acquires a vested right to proceed with development upon obtaining certain preliminary land use approvals notwithstanding intervening changes in local ordinance.  A regulatory taking occurs where federal, state or local land use regulation has the effect of denying a landowner of all reasonable and feasible use of their property and/or frustrates reasonable investment backed expectations.  Hirschler trial attorneys are well versed in all forms of vested rights and the enforcement of those rights including regulatory takings claims.

Landlord Tenant Disputes

Hirschler’s landlord-tenant attorneys assist in all facets of disputes arising between landlords and tenants.  Employing their knowledge of Virginia’s landlord and tenant statutes and case law, their knowledge of the laws pertaining to creditor rights and bankruptcy, and their experience in courtrooms throughout the Commonwealth, the attorneys in this group are involved in drafting default/collection letters, pursuing the recovery of possession, obtaining judgments for unpaid rent and other sums owed under the subject leases and post-judgment collection of those sums.

Experience

Experience

  • After a failed attempt to obtain relief from an exorbitant tax bill, Army Navy Country Club's tax consultant recommended contacting John Walk, co-chair of Hirschler’s litigation and alternative resolution practice.  John knows a thing or two about what’s fair and what’s not – especially regarding taxes on real estate.

Perspectives

Recent Decisions

Recent Decisions

CVAS 2, LLC v. City of Fredericksburg; 289 Va. 100; 766 S.E.2d 912 (2015)

City of Richmond v. Jackson Ward Partners, L.P.; 284 Va. 8; 726 S.E2d 279 (2012)

Army Navy Country Club v. City of Fairfax, Virginia; Civil Action No. CL2015-17941; Letter opinion of Judge Daniel E. Ortiz, June 5, 2018 

Riverside Hospital, Inc. / Appeal of Erroneous Assessment of Taxes, City of Newport News – Decision of Craig M. Burns, Tax Commissioner, July 12, 2018 

Professionals

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