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Real Estate Law

Commercial Real Estate Acquisitions: Key Considerations

Commercial Real Estate Acquisitions: Key Considerations

John Daskam

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When considering a real estate acquisition, prospective buyers will face a host of issues that must be vetted to ensure the transaction is successfully executed. This blog post will focus on a few of the key considerations during this process.

1. Due Diligence Period

A key component of the purchase agreement is the period during which a prospective buyer will have the right to inspect the property while also having the right to a return of the earnest money pending its investigation. A buyer will need to ensure that there is adequate time to review all the relevant information related to the asset and to coordinate and review any third-party reports that are advisable or required to consummate the deal. For example, if there is a debt component to the purchase price (which is almost always the case), the lender will likely require a survey, lender title policy, property condition report, and environmental study. Though a buyer would be wise to obtain these reports, as applicable, in the absence of a loan, irrespective, the preparation of these various documents will take time. A seller will want to limit the time during which the earnest money is refundable, but ultimately the parties will need to agree to a reasonable period for due diligence to run its course.

2. Title & Survey

During the due diligence period, two key items for review will be the title commitment and survey of the property. These two reports work together and will give a buyer clarity regarding the status of the property. The title commitment (commitment by the title company to issue the insurance policy should the buyer meet all requirements) will include all instruments recorded in the public records against the property. Examples of these instruments include the plat, CC&Rs (restrictive covenants), easements, lease memoranda, etc. The surveyor will then plot any of these instruments that can be shown in the depiction, and a buyer can review how these recorded rights affect the property. An example of this is where a surveyor draws the area on the survey where a utility easement encumbers the property, and as a result, any incoming owner would have limited rights (or no rights at all) to the use of that portion of the property. This brings along questions related to access to the utility, and obligations to repair the surface of the land after any maintenance or replacement of the utility. Ideally, these third-party rights and obligations will be explained in the recorded instrument itself.

3. Tenant Estoppels

Typically, a commercial trade will implicate the current user or users of the real estate asset, and a prospective buyer will need to understand the status of the lease or leases in place at the property. Buyers use a tenant estoppel to ensure that any lease in place at the property meets certain criteria. A typical estoppel will be signed by the tenant and the seller and will reflect that the lease is in full force and effect, that there is no continuing default under the lease, the amount of the security deposit being held, the term and amount of rent, and any tenant rights of first refusal or extension rights. Though this is not an exhaustive list, a buyer will want to review any existing leases to properly request a tenant estoppel (as the lease will typically set forth the mechanism for obtaining an estoppel from the tenant) and to push for as much information from any tenant as possible.

There is much to navigate when acquiring commercial real property, and it is in the best interest of any prospective buyer to ensure that they have the right team to advise through the transaction

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

PARTNER

John Daskam joined Milgrom & Daskam as a Partner in January 2019. He focuses his law practice on real estate and corporate law. His real estate practice includes acquisitions and dispositions, landlord-tenant matters, leasing, financing, development, and contract preparation and negotiation.

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Understanding the LLC Structure: Key Considerations for Operating Agreements

Understanding the LLC Structure: Key Considerations for Operating Agreements

John Daskam

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Limited liability companies (“LLCs”) offer individuals a lot of flexibility when starting a new business while also providing the benefit of limited liability related to personal assets or assets that exist outside of the company structure. The LLC has become a favorite for forming new ventures due to its unique structure and single-level tax implications. However, when forming a new LLC, there are some key considerations to keep in mind related to its main governing document, the Operating Agreement (“OA”).

The OA for an LLC contains all of the rights and obligations of the individuals who are part of the LLC (“Members”). This blog post will focus on three main considerations for Members of an LLC when drafting the OA: 1) Management Rights, 2) Member Transfers, and 3) Deadlock.

1. Management Rights

As an initial matter, the Members will need to decide whether the LLC will be “member managed” or “manager managed.” In Colorado, this election will be included in the Articles of Organization which are filed with the Secretary of State. Typically, a “manager managed” LLC is advisable, as it provides for maximum flexibility for decision-making rights related to company matters. LLCs have two main associated rights: management rights and economic rights. Bifurcating the management rights from the membership base allows certain individuals to maintain control of the company’s major decision-making while allowing others to participate in ongoing company distributions (or required capital calls). Members who are Managers (though a Manager does not necessarily need to be a Member of the LLC) will want to think through what decisions can be made by an individual Manager and those that would require a majority or unanimous vote of all Managers (e.g., committing the LLC to a new loan or long-term contract).

2. Member Transfers

It is of the utmost importance that the Members understand how their interests in the LLC (“Membership Interests”) may or may not be transferred, assigned, hypothecated, or otherwise. Typically, there will be strong prohibitions on any transfer other than with some level of consent from the Members or Managers or for estate planning purposes. In almost all instances, the Membership Interests will not be registered securities, so it is important to avoid a triggering event that would require registration. Furthermore, the Members have entered into the LLC with a common goal, and finding themselves in the position of a unilateral transfer to an outside individual who may not have the same goal in mind can be highly problematic. Understanding that Membership Interests may never have a market value and are not readily saleable is a key foundational aspect of the LLC that Members must understand.

3. Deadlock

In closely-held LLCs (those with only a couple or few individual Members), it is vital that the Members are thoughtful about the scenario where there is disagreement over a major decision that will cause the business to struggle or fail (“Deadlock”). Typically, in a Deadlock scenario (which may further be defined in the OA), the Members will want to have a mechanism in the OA that allows for a path forward. One way that this scenario may be handled is a shotgun provision where the Members may elect to compel the buyout of the Membership Interests of the Member(s) who are withholding consent to a major decision. In this scenario, the withholding Member would have the option to sell or purchase the Membership Interests from the Members initiating the shotgun on the same economic terms. The buyout mechanism and triggering events would be built out specifically within the OA.

The considerations discussed in this blog are only a few of the many important aspects that must be addressed in the OA, and it is highly advisable to discuss with legal counsel when thinking about starting your new business.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Commercial Real Estate Acquisitions: Key Considerations

When considering a real estate acquisition, prospective buyers will face a host of issues that must be vetted to ensure the transaction is successfully executed. This blog post will focus on a few of the key considerations during this process.

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