REAL ESTATE, ZONING & LAND USE
At Howland Hess O'Connell, our experience with real estate matters goes back more than a century. The law firm is actually the successor to an old time "conveyancing" firm which prepared the documentation for title transfers and mortgages. In our capacity as attorneys, we now handle all forms of real estate transactions, 1031 exchanges and real estate litigation. We incorporated a local Real Estate Board and later its multiple listing service. We acted as Solicitor to both the Board and the MLS for approximately 50 years. The head of our real estate practice group, John Howland, is a past chairman of the Real Property Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association. Over these many years, Howland Hess O'Connell has represented thousands of clients in buying and selling real estate, from their own homes to major commercial or industrial buildings, and even shopping centers. Our clients range from the first-time home buyer to the most sophisticated of investors. For those of our clients who are investors, the need for a tax-free 1031 exchange often arises. For those of our clients who are simply buying or selling a home, a knowledge of the modern intricacies of residential sales is essential, including state and local laws concerning Seller Disclosure, sewage facilities, home inspections, certificates of occupancy, and the limits established by local zoning.
Our attorneys also have a depth of experience in all aspects of real estate disputes. We have represented our clients for a century in matters involving breach of contract or other Agreement of Sale disputes, fraudulent misrepresentation, failure to disclose, serious termite damage, adequacy of water supply, operation of on-site septic system, specific performance, violation or enforcement of Deed restrictions or restrictive covenants, easements, boundaries, rights-of-way, private streets, paper streets, and almost any other imaginable area of real estate disputes. One of our most fulfilling areas of practice is helping land owners obtain just compensation when their land is taken by the government in condemnation proceedings.
Sometimes, for purposes of maximizing value, it will be in the client's best interest to create a condominium. We have prepared and recorded the condominium documentation for many such projects, from the simple two-unit residential condominium to large condominium complexes and commercial condominiums.
In addition to all forms of real estate transactions, 1031 exchanges, and real estate litigation, our practice is also concentrated in all aspects of zoning, subdivision and land development. Howland Hess O'Connell attorneys assist our clients in evaluating the best approach to obtaining desired or necessary special exceptions, variances, or conditional uses, and we will guide the matter through the approval process by meeting with the applicable public officials, and representing the client before the necessary Municipal body, including the Commissioners, Supervisors, Planning Commission, Historic Review Board and Zoning Hearing Board. Similar to our varied legal practice in the area of real estate transactions, our clients range from homeowners who simply want a side or rear yard variance to permit the construction of an addition or a swimming pool to complicated use variances to permit new business uses or to establish the legality of an existing non-conforming use. We also handle minor subdivisions involving the split off of a single building lot from an existing oversized residential property, and complex subdivision for large residential new home developments or other projects.
Remember, should you be contemplating the purchase or sale of real estate, think you might wish to acquire or form a condominium, are involved in a real estate dispute or litigation, or wish to obtain approval of a zoning variance, special exception, subdivision or land development, please contact us online or by calling (215) 947-6240.