Shining a Light on Home Resale Fees
Tuesday, June 7, 2011 11:46 am | By Kelsey Zahourek

At the height of the housing crash, developers found themselves strapped for cash to build new developments. Over the last few years, a few financial firms rode to the rescue of developers, but with a questionable catch. In exchange for a percentage of the take and other undisclosed benefits, the developers agreed to insert provisions into home sale contracts that required that every time the home is sold for the next 99 years, a percentage of the sale price (usually 1%) would be paid to a third party.

Covenants in home sale contracts are nothing new: for instance, homeowners’ and condo associations frequently levy resale fees on property. However, these fees benefit the property and its value in the form of maintenance, infrastructure and amenity improvements. The transfer fees at issue here do nothing to benefit the property or its rightful owner. In fact, the opposite is true: since these transfer fees are calculated as a percentage of the sale price each time the property is sold for the next 99 years, any improvements made by the original and subsequent homeowners that increases its value further enriches a third party at the expense of homeowners’ equity in the property. Further, a prospective buyer would be remiss not to leverage the home transfer fee as a bargaining chip, thereby reducing the sale price and further decreasing the sellers’ realized equity in his or her own property.

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Plain Packaging Doesn't Work
Monday, June 6, 2011 4:00 pm | By Grant Morgan

The government of Australia is currently studying legislation which would mandate the removal of the trademarks and logos of tobacco producers from cigarette packages. This legislation, if it becomes law, would violate the intellectual property rights of the producers as well as being contrary to several international treaties.

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Congressional Anti-Piracy Caucus Calls for Strong International IP Protection
Friday, May 27, 2011 2:30 pm | By Grant Morgan

The Congressional Anti-Piracy Caucus released the 2011 edition of its watch list on Thursday, identifying some significant U.S. trading partners as sources of concern due to weak copyright laws and inconsistent enforcement.

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