2018 Texas Property Tax Deadline Change

BY PAUL BETTENCOURT

Protesting your property taxes every year offers a great opportunity to save money. In Texas, property taxes represent approximately 40% of total business taxes. This is a large component
of expenses that can be challenged and changed.

Protesting your property taxes every year offers a great opportunity to save money. In Texas, property taxes represent approximately 40% of total business taxes. This is a large component of
expenses that can be challenged and changed.

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Vested Rights: Fair Play by the Government

How do concepts of fair play apply to Land Use Regulation?

By: Reid C. Wilson
Wilson Cribbs + Goren

When engaged in a real estate deal, most would agree that parties should both stand behind their representations and not change any rules of engagement, or be subject to legal challenge. But what if the other party is a government? Is the government subject to the same rules of fair play? The answer is no, but the state legislature has added a significant protection for land owners/developers through vested rights.

In the private context, there can be both written and oral agreements. In Texas, a clearly drafted written agreement between private parties is, except in a few exceptions, enforceable in accordance with its terms. Oral agreements are problematic, but a well-established body of case law provides for enforcement of certain oral agreements. Where a representation is made by one party to another party in the context of a business relationship, and the receiving party reasonably relies upon that representation to their detriment, the legal concept of estoppel bars the party making the representation from reneging on it, notwithstanding the lack of a written contract. The theory is that it is equitable to enforce these type of non-written business understandings. Therefore, a private party could be bound to what it represented to another party as the rule of engagement for a deal.

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Tackling Tax Reform: How Changes to the Law Impact CRE

BY BRANDI SMITH

Just before Christmas, Congress offered up to President Trump what is arguably the best gift lawmakers could have presented: a major legislative victory in the form of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The sweeping reform of the U.S. federal tax system will mean significant changes for individuals and businesses, including those in commercial real estate.

Some particulars of the bill are being worked out at the IRS and are expected to be clarified this month. Ahead of that, Marcus & Millichap,a national CRE brokerage firm, broke down how
investors will be impacted by the changes with a forum of experts.

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Property Tax Reductions: Senate Bill 1 and Hurricane Harvey

REDNews Interviews Senator Paul Bettencourt for an update

BY MICHAEL PAVIA

Senate Bill 1
Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), is proposed legislation allowing for property tax rate elections if county property tax revenues exceeded 4% of what was taken in the year before. Basically, as values go up,
SB1 proposes to roll back tax rates to provide property tax relief. SB1 proposed to decrease the rollback rate from the current 8% to 4%. The Texas Senate endorsed SB 1. Members from the Texas
House and Senate met in a special session on July 26th to vote on the rollback. According to Senator Bettencourt, Speaker of the House Joe Straus was unwilling to appoint a conference committee so the bill was defeated.

Per Lieutenant Governor Patrick, “Whenever the Senate convenes again, either a special or regular session, it is our intention to pass that bill one more time. There will be a lot of reform measures
associated with it, as well. Governor Abbott is supportive and is hopeful that it will pass.”

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Know Your Rights: New Limits on City Government

BY OMAR IZFAR, ATTORNEY

Cities have enormous inherent and statutory powers to regulate land development.

Zoning regulations, economic development regulations, general police powers to regulate for the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the City,\ and many other sources of authority all greatly impact property owners. Every two years, the Texas Legislature is presented with numerous bills designed to change what cities can and can’t do. The 2015 Legislative Session prevented cities from instituting fracking bans. The most recent legislative session continued the trend of reigning in municipal power by enacting several bills specifically limiting a city’s authority over land development. 

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Where Have All the Golf Courses Gone?

BY REID WILSON, CHAIRMAN | WILSON CRIBBS + GOREN

America’s love affair with golf is waning. There are too many golf courses and not enough golfers. The average age of the active golfer is increasing…and the cost to maintain the courses is increasing as well.

Few people realize the golf courses periodically require significant capital infusion to upgrade their facilities in order to successfully compete with newer courses. Physical amenities age and must be remodeled. New high quality residential communities use lakes and other passive greenspace, and even urban farms, as amenities instead of the traditional golf course.

Buyers of golf course lots should be wary and conduct careful due diligence before purchase, so they accept the risk of the adjacent golf course terminating operation and changing use.

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