Real Estate/Land Use

How can business landlords benefit from an attorney?

Local, federal and Colorado state law defines the obligations and responsibilities that a landlord owes to their tenants. Additionally, the exact contours of the relationship are typically defined in the lease agreement. In Colorado, a landlord must ensure quiet enjoyment -- that the tenant has quiet and peaceful possession of the premises. Additionally, the landlord can be responsible for hidden defects in any part of the property and keeping common areas such as sidewalks, parking lots, stairwells and hallways clear from dangers. Aside from the previously mentioned landlord-tenant issues, commercial real estate landlords often struggle to understand and comply with zoning requirements, enforcement and eminent domain issues. At Hoban Law Group, we answer your legal questions and analyze your business processes to reduce your litigation risk.

Lawyers handle zoning issues for business landlords

Zoning issues can arise in numerous circumstances for commercial landlords and their tenants. To begin, zoning law typically restricts either the permissible uses or the characteristics of the structure. A use-based zoning scheme can only permit certain uses or, conversely, only restrict certain uses. A characteristic-based scheme limits permitted building aspects such as sign height and size, building height and parking availability. Overly restrictive zoning can negatively affect your real estate interests by limiting the types of businesses that can make use of your building.

While there are many ways we can assist your business with a zoning issue, the most common is securing a variance. A variance permits an exception to the zoning rules. A use variance permits an exception to the building purpose. An area variance allows for an exception to the zoning scheme for the physical characteristics of the building. Failure to follow the zoning scheme or secure the appropriate variance can result in serious consequences, including:

  • Daily fines
  • Lump sum fines
  • Jail time
  • Liens on the property
  • An injunction

Ultimately, mistakes in land use can even end up in the foreclosure and repossession of the property.

What if I have already received a notice of a zoning violation?

If you have received a notice of a zoning violation, it is essential that you take action to resolve the matter by contacting us at Hoban Law Group.  However, simply because you have received a notice of violation does not mean the use must cease immediately. Typically, the prosecuting attorney seeks an injunction to cease the nonconforming use and may also seek additional damages. Colorado state law requires all counties and municipalities to form a Board of Adjustment that hears some land use appeals. Although the Board of Adjustment cannot typically grant use variances, it may review the decisions of zoning authorities and grant a stay, or delay, to permit the landlord to comply with the requirement. If you do not agree with the board's decision, your attorney may appeal to district courts. Like in eminent domain law, it is absolutely essential that you take immediate action and do not wait for the problem to compound itself through additional fees, liens or risk of foreclosure.

Contact us to handle your commercial real estate issues

Managing a commercial real estate portfolio is fraught with legal challenges and concerns. Overly restrictive zoning can deprive you of the full value of your commercial real estate. To schedule your consultation at our Denver office please call us at 303-674-7000.