BUS206 Southern New Hampshire Contracts and Landlord Tenant Law Analysis

Question Description

For this milestone, you will review Case Study Two and compose a short report, applying your legal knowledge and understanding of the types of business organizations. Case Study Two concentrates on contracts and landlord-tenant law.

Real Property Law

The term real property refers to the actual physical land and any structures permanently situated on it, such as buildings, houses, and warehouses. Anything that can be moved and is not permanently affixed (such as vehicles, furniture, and equipment) is called personal property and does not constitute real property. Real property is, for all practical purposes, immovable and includes some of the airspace above the property, the ground and minerals underneath, and the trees and vegetation on the land.

In order to legally transfer real property, there are several steps that must be followed: execution of the deed, delivery of the deed, acceptance of the deed, and recording the deed at the appropriate governmental office.

Co-Ownership

An interest in real property may be owned by a single individual, two or more persons, or a corporation. When parties share ownership, they are said to have concurrent ownership. There are two principal types of concurrent ownership: tenancy in common and joint tenancy.

tenancy in common means that each party owns own an undivided interest in the whole property. This means that upon the death of a tenant in common, that tenant’s interest in the property passes to his or her heirs. Unless the co-tenants have agreed otherwise, a tenant in common can transfer his or her interest in the property to another without the consent of the remaining co-owners.

While a joint tenancy is similar, it is different in that a deceased joint tenant’s interest passes to the surviving joint tenants. Most married couples purchase property as joint tenants and thus receive ownership of the entire property via the right of survivorship, upon the death of one of the spouses.

Restriction on Ownership

Ownership of property does not mean that one can use that land in any manner one chooses. Government regulations, such as zoning laws, limit how property can be utilized. Zoning laws are what prevent a strip club from being built in the middle of a residential area, or an asphalt plant operating next to an elementary school.

While zoning laws were touted as a means to protect the health and welfare of citizens, they were often used to protect property value and to exclude certain groups and activities from employment as well as geographical areas. For example, zoning laws were first used in the United Sates to isolate Chinese laundries in California and thus limit opportunities for Chinese residents (Talen, 2012). The increased congestion of urban areas and competing interests—residential, commercial, and industrial—spawned the growth of local land-use regulations. The source of government’s power to regulate land use is rooted in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1926 decision of Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Company, which held that zoning is a constitutional exercise of a municipality’s police powers. This decision established the authority of a municipal body to create zoning laws and regulations that are rationally related to the health, safety, or welfare of the community.

Involuntary Transfer of Property

Property may also be involuntarily transferred. Someone may take possession of real property by treating it as his or her own, without interference or objection from the true owner. This is known as adverse possession. In order for this occur, several factors must be present. The possession must be actual, meaning the adverse possessor lives on or uses the land. The use must be open and visible, rather than secretive or hidden. The use must also be done without the owner’s consent—or “notorious.” Different states have various laws regarding the amount of time and what activity constitutes adverse possession. The usual term is 20 years.

Property may also be involuntarily taken from its owner through the authority of the government via the doctrine of eminent domain or condemnation. The U.S. Constitution, in the Fifth Amendment, allows the government to take private land for public use. Under the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment, the government must pay “just compensation” to the owner.

Landlord-Tenant Law

The property involved in a landlord-tenant relationship is called a leasehold estate. A landlord-tenant relationship is created by a lease contract. Lease agreements may be oral or written, but if the lease term is greater than one year, generally the contract must be in writing.

Each state varies in regard to its application of landlord-tenant law based on the type of tenant. A residential tenant rents property to be used as a home. A commercial tenant typically utilizes the property in order to conduct some type of business activity. The legal rights and obligations of parties to a commercial lease may be somewhat different from a residential lease, and thus it is important to consult one’s state laws on this point. For example, most commercial leases are not subject to an implied right of habitability, while this is an important right of residential tenancies.

That said, because many businesses rent space from another party or rent out their own property for use by others, it is important to understand your rights and obligations as either a property owner or a tenant. What if your business needs to rent office space or storage space? What rights does the property owner retain, and which rights are transferred to the renter? What rights does the owner have to enter the premises or to modify the floor plan? What happens if someone is injured on the premises? Is that the owner’s fault or the tenant’s fault, or might both be at fault? What happens if you sign a one-year lease and you need to leave after six months?

Liability for injuries on the premises of a business is of great concern to owners and tenants of commercial space. Businesses often experience much activity on their premises with many customers, employees, and delivery people coming and going. For example, a customer may get hit by falling merchandise, may trip on a poorly lighted stairway, or may be criminally assaulted while on the premises.

The courts use the standard of reasonable care in deciding whether the controlling party is at fault. For example, a tenant restaurant would likely be liable to a customer who slipped and fell on a wet floor in the dining room. On the other hand, the landlord might be liable if a lighting fixture he negligently installed fell on a customer.

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BUS 206 Milestone Two Guidelines and Rubric Overview: Business law impacts our everyday lives, both personally and professionally. Businesses enter contracts, manufacture goods, sell services and products, and engage in employment and labor practices—activities that must all adhere to certain laws and regulations. Recognizing and evaluating legal issues is a fundamental skill that will help you navigate commercial relationships and avoid potential problems in the business world. Prompt: Imagine yourself as a paralegal working in a law office that has been tasked with reviewing three current cases. You will review the case studies and compose a short report for each, applying your legal knowledge and understanding of the types of business organizations. In each of the three reports, you will focus on areas of law covered in this course. Case Study Two concentrates on contracts and landlord-tenant law. Case Study Two: Sam Stevens lives in an apartment building where he has been working on his new invention, a machine that plays the sound of a barking dog to scare off potential intruders. A national chain store that sells safety products wants to sell Sam’s product exclusively. Although Sam and the chain store never signed a contract, Sam verbally told a store manager several months ago that he would ship 1,000 units. Sam comes home from work one day and finds two letters in his mailbox. One is an eviction notice from his landlord, Quinn, telling him he has to be out of the apartment in 30 days because his barking device has been bothering the other tenants. It also states that Sam was not allowed to conduct a business from his apartment. Sam is angry because he specifically told Quinn that he was working on a new invention, and Quinn had wished him luck. The second letter is from the chain store, demanding that Sam deliver the promised 1,000 units immediately. Specifically, the following critical elements must be addressed: A. Analyze the elements of this case to determine whether a valid contract exists between Sam and the chain store. Support your response by identifying the elements of a valid contract in your analysis. B. Assume there is not a valid contract between Sam and the chain store. Analyze the elements of a quasi-contract and a promissory estoppel to determine whether the chain store would prevail on a claim of either. Why or why not? Include support for your analysis. C. Identify the rights and obligations of both the landlord and tenant under a standard residential lease agreement. D. Based upon those rights and obligations, does Sam’s landlord have grounds to evict? Why or why not? E. Further, what defenses might Sam raise to an eviction action? Support your response. Guidelines for Submission: Your submission should be a three- to six-page Word document with double spacing, 12-point Times New Roman font, and one-inch margins. Citations should be formatted according to APA style. Rubric Critical Elements Case Study Two: Valid Contract Exemplary (100%) Meets “Proficient” criteria, and analysis is well qualified with concrete examples and is well supported and plausible Proficient (85%) Analyzes the elements of the case to determine whether a valid contract exists between Sam and the chain store and supports response by identifying the elements of a valid contract Case Study Two: Quasi-Contract Meets “Proficient” criteria and cites scholarly research to substantiate claims Analyzes the elements of a quasicontract and a promissory estoppel to determine whether the chain store would prevail on a claim of either, logically explains why or why not, and includes support for analysis Case Study Two: Rights and Obligations Meets “Proficient” criteria and is accurate in effectively discussing nuanced rights and obligations in the relationship between the landlord and tenant Correctly determines the rights and obligations of both the landlord and tenant under a standard residential lease agreement Case Study Two: Grounds to Evict Meets “Proficient” criteria and provides a thorough, step-by-step analysis with specific supporting evidence applied to each element of the relevant legal test Correctly determines whether Sam’s landlord has grounds to evict based upon the previously stated rights and obligations Case Study Two: Defenses Meets “Proficient” criteria and cites scholarly research to substantiate determination Accurately determines what defenses Sam might raise to an eviction action and effectively supports the response Submission is free of errors related to citations, grammar, spelling, syntax, and organization and is presented in a professional and easy to read format Submission has no major errors related to citations, grammar, spelling, syntax, or organization Articulation of Response Needs Improvement (55%) Analyzes the elements of the case to determine whether a valid contract exists between Sam and the chain store, but analysis is incorrect or does not support response by identifying the elements of a valid contract Analyzes the elements of a quasicontract and a promissory estoppel to determine whether the chain store would prevail on a claim of either and explains why or why not, but the explanation is cursory and/or illogical or does not include support for analysis Determines the rights and obligations of the landlord or the tenant under a standard residential lease agreement (but not both) or is incorrect in which rights and obligations apply Determines whether Sam’s landlord has grounds to evict but does not base determination on the previously stated rights and obligations or is incorrect in determination Determines what defenses Sam might raise to an eviction action but is not accurate in determination or support is ineffective Submission has major errors related to citations, grammar, spelling, syntax, or organization that negatively impact readability and articulation of main ideas Not Evident (0%) Does not analyze the elements of the case to determine whether a valid contract exists between Sam and the chain store Value 18 Does not analyze the elements of a quasi-contract and a promissory estoppel to determine whether the chain store would prevail on a claim of either 18 Does not determine the rights and obligations of both the landlord and tenant under a standard residential lease agreement 18 Does not determine whether Sam’s landlord has grounds to evict 18 Does not determine what defenses Sam might raise to an eviction action 18 Submission has critical errors related to citations, grammar, spelling, syntax, or organization that prevent understanding of ideas Earned Total 10 100% BUS 206 Milestone One Template To simplify completing this milestone, utilize this template to help you write your essay. You may use each heading as a starter sentence and then discuss the legal issues presented in the fact pattern, using the following terms. Be sure to explain and elaborate how each term applies to the story. Be sure to incorporate the facts of the case into your explanation and analysis. Remember that the document you submit should follow the formatting guidelines described in the Milestone One Guidelines and Rubric document. A. The appropriate court for this lawsuit depends upon several factors. Three important considerations include the following: 1. Personal jurisdiction. Define personal jurisdiction and explain how it applies to the facts of this case. 2. Subject matter jurisdiction. Define subject matter jurisdiction and explain how it applies to the facts of this case. 3. Minimum contacts. Define minimum contacts and explain how it applies to the facts of case. (Chapter 3) B. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) may be an option to resolve this dispute. 1. Define ADR. (Chapter 4) C. Language on the Funny Face website appears to limit any claim filed to arbitration as a means of resolving the dispute. 1. Explain the pros and cons of arbitration for at least two parties to the case. 2. Explain mediation and whether it has any benefits in this case. D., E., and F. Chris, Matt and Ian could be subject to corporate criminal liability. The primary crime that exists in this case is that of fraud. 1. Define fraud and why or why not one or more parties might be held responsible for this crime. 2. Can you identify any other defendants and/or possible crimes in the story? Elaborate and explain. (Chapter 7) G. The ethical process of decision-making involves consideration of three key elements. 1. Identify the elements and discuss how they apply to some of the facts of this case. (Chapter 3) BUS 206 Milestone Two Template To simplify completing this milestone, use this template to help you write your essay. You may use each heading as a starter sentence and then discuss the legal issues presented in the case study using the following guide, if you choose. Be sure to explain and elaborate on how each term applies to the story. Be sure to incorporate the facts of the case into your explanation and analysis. Remember that the document you submit should follow the formatting guidelines described in the Milestone Two Guidelines and Rubric document. A. Various elements must be present to prove that a valid contract exists between Sam and the chain store.  The four elements to a contract are  The first element of are or should be present].  The second element of that are or should be present].  The third element of are or should be present].  The fourth element of that are or should be present].  If the elements of a contract did exist between these parties, there could still be some possible reasons why a contract might not be valid based on facts not present in the scenario. For example, if Sam was a minor at the time he made the agreement with the chain store, the contract would not be valid because . List some other reasons and elaborate on why a contract might be invalid.  Discuss and explain any other information you deem relevant to this answer. . (Chapter 13) would be deemed to exist if [describe facts that would be deemed to exist if [describe facts would be deemed to exist if [describe facts that would be deemed to exist if [describe facts (Chapters 13, 14, 15, and 16) B. Even if there is not a valid legal contract between Sam and the chain store, there may still be a quasi-contract (Chapter 13) or elements of what is called a promissory estoppel. (Chapter 15)  A quasi-contract is defined as if the following facts are true:  A promissory estoppel is defined as case if . (Chapters 13 and 16) . In this case, a quasi-contract may exist . (Chapter 13) . This principle might apply to this  Discuss and explain any other information you deem relevant to this answer. C. The rights and obligations of both the landlord and tenant depend upon the term of their contract. Such a contract may be verbal or in writing under a standard residential lease agreement. (Chapters 13 and 50)  Some facts that may support that Sam is in breach of that contract are .  Some facts that may support that Sam is not in breach of that contract are . (Chapters 16, 17, and 50)  Discuss and explain any other information you deem relevant to this answer. D. Based upon those rights and obligations, Sam’s landlord has/does not have grounds to evict because .  Elaborate and explain. E. Some defenses Sam might raise if his landlord tries to evict him include because .  Elaborate and explain for each reason offered. Discuss and explain any other information you deem relevant to this answer. (Chapters 13, 14, 15, and 16) …

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