Author: John Roper

The Law Office of John Roper, PLLC represents businesses in construction, real estate, and business disputes.

Who Owns Construction Design Documents?

architect design plans copyrightFederal copyright law protects architectural work, including architectural plans, drawings, and buildings themselves.

Generally speaking, the architect owns the copyright to the design documents and the building’s distinctive design attributes.

The architect retains these copyrights unless he or she contractually conveys them to the owner or another. Architects often license the use of design documents subject to certain restrictions.

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

What are Estoppel Certificates?

texas landlord tenant real estate estoppel certificateAn estoppel certificate is a document containing representations about certain contractual matters, upon which stated matters third parties may place reasonable reliance. This instrument provides the third party increased confidence in the written representations because the person making them is effectively deprived of the ability to dispute those representations later.
Stated differently, “[a]n estoppel certificate is a signed statement by a party, such as a tenant or mortgagee, certifying for another’s benefit that certain facts are correct, [such] as that a lease exists, that there are no defaults, and that rent is paid to a certain date. A party’s delivery of an estoppel certificate estops that person from later claiming a different state of facts.” CJS Estoppel § 16.
Estoppel certificates are often required by third parties who intend to (a) make a loan to a landlord secured by an interest in the leased real estate; or (b) purchase a landlord’s property. In these situations, the landlord and its tenant(s) are required to represent in the certificate several issues related to their leasing relationship with one another.
Estoppel certificates are commonly used in other business transactions, too

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

Builder’s Risk Insurance Basics

Broadly speaking, builder’s risk insurance protects against unplanned risks to work under construction and to certain items on the construction site.

Builder’s risk provides first-party coverage, which means that the insured itself can make a claim directly against the policy.texas construction builders risk insurance

For additional reading, the Houston Chronicle has published an overview of builder’s risk insurance here.

Insurance is a specialized practice area, and the precise language of the insurance policy is very important to understanding rights and responsibilities. For this reason, it’s wise to visit with your insurance agent or attorney about your particular situation.

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

Contracts for Deed—Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid

texas contract for deed legal aidWhat is a contract for deed? Must you file it in the property records? Generally, what are a buyer’s rights under that instrument? When may the seller cancel the contract for deed?

These and other questions are answered by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc., and published by TexasLawHelp.org, here.

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid is a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to low-income residents in 68 southwest Texas counties. TRLA is the third largest legal services provider in the nation and the largest in the state of Texas. Donation information may be found here.

Our Tips & Resources posts are intended to provide general educational information. Like all other material on this blog, it is not a substitute for legal advice.

What is an Owner’s “Program” on a Construction Project?

A program is part of the communication process between the construction project owner and the company(ies) responsible for evaluating, designing, and building the project.texas construction law owner's program

In its most basic elements, an owner’s program contains the owner’s overall goals and limitations for the project, This may include items such as price/budget constraints, scheduling, space requirements, special equipment, safety issues, and more.

The program often serves as the foundation for further discussion about the feasibility of the project in light of the program’s substance. For example, in those instances in which the owner retains an architect for the project, that architect almost invariably provides feedback on the program as part of the schematic design phase, the first of several phases of the architect’s design process.

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.