Category Archives: Landlord/Tenant

Safety First – Call Before You Dig

 

PA One Call“The arrival of warmer spring weather often marks an increase in construction and home renovation across the state, making this a prime time to highlight the importance of safe digging practices,” noted Commissioner John F. Coleman Jr. during the Commission’s Public Meeting today. “Every year, there are approximately 6,000 hits on our underground infrastructure across the state, and each one of these poses a risk to contractors, utility workers and bystanders, along with the possibility of service In conjunction with National Safe Digging Month, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today reminded homeowners, businesses and contractors of the importance of dialing 8-1-1 before digging to help ensure the safety of their excavation projects.interruptions, environmental damage and costly repairs to damaged lines.”

State law requires contractors and residents to contact the PA One Call system at least three business days prior to excavation – triggering alerts to all utilities within an intended digging area and prompting them to mark where their facilities are located. Pennsylvanians can dial 8-1-1 puc_sealto connect with the One Call system, while non-Pennsylvania residents can dial 1-800-242-1776.

“We urge everyone involved in excavation projects – whether it’s a small backyard improvement project or a large construction site – to ensure that utilities are marked before any digging begins,” Commission Coleman added. “A single call to 8-1-1 can go a long way toward preventing a potential tragedy or avoiding costly delays or repairs to underground utility lines.”

Governor Wolf and leaders from numerous counties across Pennsylvania have proclaimed April to be Pennsylvania One Call System Safe Digging Month, underscoring the invaluable nature of this service.

To learn how Prince Law Offices, P.C. can assist you or your business with real estate, construction, or PUC matters, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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First Step to Starting Your Business

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Prince Law Offices, P.C. attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin will be presenting at “First Step to Starting Your Business” in cooperation with the Kutztown University of Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center.
First Step to Starting Your Business (Lancaster, PA)
Date:Fri, February 17, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Point of Contact: Kutztown SBDC (877) 472-7232
Fee: None
Location: 454 New Holland Ave Suite 300 Lancaster, PA 17602
This workshop covers a number of critical issues relevant to starting and operating a small business. Professional presenters include attorneys, insurance agents, accountants, financial specialists and zoning and codes staff. The workshop is designed for both entrepreneurs thinking about opening their first business and existing business owners looking for a “checkup”.
Desire more specific assistance regarding your business formation, agreements, intellectual property, trademarks, zoning, real estate law, cyber security, insurance, etc., contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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Join Us at GlobalCon Energy Expo

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The GLOBALCON Expo will emphasize four critical areas of leading edge technology and related services:

  • Energy Management, HVAC and Smart Building Systems
  • Renewables, Alternative Energy and Onsite Generation
  • Lighting Efficiency and Integrated Energy Solutions
  • Plant and Facilities Management

GLOBALCON 2017, presented by the Association of Energy Engineers, is designed specifically to facilitate those seeking to expand their knowledge of fast-moving developments in the energy field, explore promising new technologies, compare energy supply options, and learn about innovative and cost-conscious project implementation strategies.  Get a Free Expo exhibits only pass for a limited time here: GLOBALCON Expo

March 22-23, 2017

Pennsylvania Convention Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Desire more specific assistance regarding CHP, Solar; renewable energy projects, energy law, or real estate law, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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SUNSHOT $$$ PRIZE: SOLAR IN YOUR COMMUNITY CHALLENGE

solar-in-your-community-challenge-heroThe SunShot Prize: Solar in Your Community Challenge is a prize competition that aims to expand solar electricity access to all Americans, especially underserved segments such as low- and moderate-income (LMI) households, state, local, and tribal governments, and nonprofit organizations. In order to make solar more accessible and inclusive for every American, the Challenge works to spur the development of new and innovative financial and business models that serve non-rooftop solar users such as community solar.

Offering $5 million in cash prizes and technical assistance over 18 months, the Challenge supports teams across the country to develop projects or programs that expand solar access to underserved groups, while proving that these business models can be widely replicated and adopted by similar groups.

Participation in the Challenge is open to:

  • Teams working to develop a portfolio of solar projects in their communities or create new solar programs that extend solar access to LMI households and nonprofits; and
  • Technical assistance providers (consultants and coaches) that assist teams throughout the 18-month challenge by providing the coaching and resources teams need to create innovative new business models.

The Solar in Your Community Challenge is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative and administered by The State University of New York (SUNY) Polytechnic Institute. Visit the Challenge website to learn more, apply, and get involved.

STRUCTURE AND PRIZES

Teams selected to participate in the challenge may receive three distinct types of awards: seed awards, technical assistance vouchers, and final prizes.

Teams will compete to win $1 million in Final Prizes, including a $500,000 Grand Prize for success in demonstrating a replicable and scalable model for low income solar. In addition, selected teams will receive approximately 50 cash seed awards totaling $2 million, and benefit from technical assistance resources and mentoring worth an additional $2 million. Teams will be evaluated based on their innovation, impact, expertise, team composition, plan, and progress. As teams are selected, seed awards (up to $60,000 per team) will be disbursed in increments based on completed milestones over an 18-month performance period.

In addition to final prizes, technical assistance providers (consultants and coaches) will be compensated depending on the extent to which challenge teams choose to use their services throughout the 18-month performance period.

Learn more about the prizes on the Challenge’s website.

RULES

Competing teams need to design and deploy new and scalable business and financial models through the demonstration of solar projects and programs in their communities. These projects and programs must directly benefit:

  • LMI households, with at least 20% of the energy and benefits assigned to LMI households; or
  • Non-profit organizations; state, local, or tribal governments; or community service organizations, with at least 60% of the energy and benefits assigned to one of these types of entities.

Photovoltaic (PV) systems must be completed during the 18-month performance period and should aggregate between 25 and 5,000 kilowatts (peak DC capacity). A single entity cannot not be assigned more than 1,000 kilowatts from a single solar energy system.

While 20% LMI customers is the minimum, teams with over 50% LMI customers will receive a bonus cash prize. DOE will also show preference for teams that aim to reach 100% LMI households or have 100% of the energy benefit nonprofit/governmental organizations as outlined in the evaluation criteria for winning prizes.

Read the official rules and learn more on the Challenge’s website.

TIMELINE

Release of Official Rules: November 18, 2016
Informational Webinar: November 29, 2016, 2:00pm ET
Early Application Deadline: January 6, 2017
Application Deadline: March 17, 2017
Late-Start Application Deadline: August 1, 2017
Seed Funding and Vouchers Awarded: April 2017
Technical Assistance Marketplace Opens: April 2017
18-month Performance Period Begins: May 1, 2017
18-month Performance Period Ends: October 31, 2018
Accepting Applications for Final Prizes: November 2018
Announcements of Final Prizes Winners (Expected): January 2019

Desire more specific assistance regarding CHP, Solar; renewable energy projects, energy law, or real estate law, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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CHP-Equipped District Energy: A Winning Strategy for LEED and PEER

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Questions about energy efficiency LEED and PEER  and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) for your buildings?  Join us on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 2:00 PM EST for a free EPA CHP Partnership and U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) co-hosted webinar about CHP-equipped district energy in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal (PEER) rating systems.

This webinar will highlight:

  • The potential significant LEED point impact for buildings that connect to CHP-equipped district energy systems.
  • How buildings connected to district energy systems earn points in the LEED for Building Design and Construction: New Construction and Major Renovations rating system.
  • Overview of USGBC’s PEER rating system and how the energy-efficiency benefits of CHP-equipped district energy systems are recognized.
  • Opportunities to get involved with the development of LEED and PEER as they relate to district energy and CHP.

Register Now

Desire more specific assistance regarding CHP, renewable energy projects, energy law, or real estate law, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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Concerns on both sides when drafting a commercial lease for a medical marijuana business.

In the upcoming year, medical marijuana businesses will be applying for permits to conduct business in Pennsylvania as either a grower/processor or a dispensary. In my previous blog, I commented on how it may be significantly more costly to rent property for a medical marijuana business than a non-marijuana business as result of the risks landlords may face.

Because of the risks associated with leasing to medical marijuana business, it is in the best interests of both the landlord and potential medical marijuana tenants to tailor a commercial lease to address some of those risks.

From a landlord’s perspective, there are specific concerns which should be addressed in a commercial lease.

1. Use of the Premises. Pennsylvania will issue permits for both grower/processors and dispensaries. Any lease should designate what state lawful purpose the premises will be used for.

2. Indemnification. The business of growing, cultivating, and selling marijuana remains illegal under the federal Controlled Substance Act. A landlord should include in any commercial lease an indemnification clause requiring the tenant to defend and indemnify the landlord from any federal action against the tenant, including forfeiture.

3. Early termination. A landlord should seek to include an early termination provision in the lease which allows the landlord to terminate the lease should: 1) the tenant fail to comply with any state or local law; 2) the commencement of any action against the tenant; 3) entry of a judgment against the tenant; 4) seizure by any government authority, and 5) any event that cause the closure of the building.

4. Improvements. The MMA has specific requirements for any property housing medical marijuana businesses, including access and security requirements. Any potential lease should require the tenant to comply with all state and local regulations and ordinances, secure any all licenses, at the tenants own expenses, and require the tenant to remove, at its own expenses, any improvements and modifications made by tenant.

5. Utilities. Utility expenses for a medical marijuana business are likely to be very high, especially for a grower/processor. A landlord should require a tenant to reimburse landlord and/or pay directly if possible any all utilities that out of the ordinary and excessive.

6. Access. Under the MMA, there are very strict rules as to who may have access and enter into a medical marijuana business. The right of a landlord to enter the premises must be clearly outlined and comply with state law.

7. Environmental, debris and waste. Under the MMA, there are very strict procedures for storage and removal of marijuana waste which any lease will have to incorporate. Additional, any grower/processor will have to store, use, and dispose of materials which are subject to environmental regulation including pesticides and fertilizers. Any commercial lease will require compliance with all environmental laws and regulations.

From a tenant’s perspective, a tenant should address in a commercial lease the following.

1. Term. With the federal government’s position towards marijuana unclear and the state’s position on marijuana evolving, a tenant may not wish to lock into 5 – 10 year lease terms with multiple automatic renewals. Shorter 2- 3 year terms and less automatic renewal periods may be more practical.

2. Permits. Medical marijuana businesses will be granted permits from the state after application and compliance with all state regulations. Any commercial lease should require a landlord to reasonably cooperate with tenant in complying with all regulations in the application process and not to take any action which could negatively affect the tenants application for a permit, operation and renewal of the permit.

3. Occupancy and commencement. Any potential medical marijuana business will have to present an operating plan and a lease to obtain a permit from the state.  The problem is there is no guaranty that a permit will be granted by the state. A tent should look to include an out clause or contingency clause to allow the tenant to terminate the lease should tenant not be granted a permit. The tenant should also look to include a rent abatement provision pending approval of the tenant’s application for a permit.

4. Dispute resolution. Typically commercial leases will have a confession of judgment clauses and specify where the dispute will be heard and under what laws a dispute will be decided. A tenant will have to be careful and tailor any confession of judgment clause so it  is not triggered by a violation of federal law and/or violation of the CSA. Additionally, a tenant may want all disputes to be submitted to private arbitration and have Pennsylvania state law govern due to the federal illegal status of marijuana.

Both landlord and tenant will need to make sure there are medical marijuana related outs drafted into the commercial lease to protect from federal prosecution. Additionally, any lease should incorporate a waiver by both parties acknowledging that neither will use against the other marijuana’s illegal status under federal law as a claim or defense to any dispute arising under the lease.

When drafting a lease, both landlord and tenant will have to carefully navigate federal, state, and local statutes and ordinances.  The aforementioned are just some concerns which should be considered by both landlord and tenant in drafting a medical marijuana lease.

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PA PUC ‘Be Utility Wise’ Events; Increasing Awareness about Utility Customer Assistance Programs

puc_sealThe Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is hosting its second of five statewide annual PA “Be Utility Wise” events on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at Mohegan Sun, 1280 Highway 315, Wilkes-Barre, PA. The outreach events will continue across Pennsylvania through October and November, including Reading on October 31, 2016.

PUC Vice Chairman Andrew Place is the opening speaker at the Wilkes-Barre event, which will focus on the importance of increasing awareness throughout Northeastern PA about the many assistance programs intended to help lower-income residents afford and maintain utility services.

“It is essential that we work to connect all the different programs in a community to more effectively serve as many people as possible,” said Vice Chairman Andrew Place. “We need to stay connected to each other to best serve those residents. Our driving focus is to keep these families connected to essential utility services.”

According to data compiled by the PUC, Pennsylvania utilities spent nearly $459 million on various customer assistance programs last year, not counting private assistance or the federal Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Every year, these programs helped reduce the monthly bills for more than 280,000 electric customers and over 160,000 natural gas customers across the state – and enrollment and annual spending for these programs has increased dramatically over the past decade.

Additionally, PUC-required assistance services also support programs to help low-income customers modernize their heating systems and reduce their energy consumption – making current and future utility bills more affordable. Utilities, and their customers, also contribute several million dollars per year in hardship funds, assisting thousands of in-need families.

In addition to networking opportunities, the free “train-the-trainer” event will feature presentations from state agencies, local utility companies and other financial assistance programs in order to share ideas and services.

This year’s participants include the PUC, United Way of Greater Hazleton, PPL Electric Utilities Inc., UGI Utilities Inc., Dollar Energy Fund, North Penn Legal, Commission on Economic Opportunity, Weinberg Regional Food Bank, the state’s Office of Consumer Advocate, and the Luzerne County Assistance Office.

The remaining PUC’s Be Utility Wise events include:

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton – Oct. 20, 2016, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Mohegan Sun

1280 Highway 315

Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702

Johnstown – Oct. 28, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

450 Schoolhouse Rd.

Johnstown, PA 15904

Berks County – Oct. 31, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Double Tree by Hilton

701 Penn Street

Reading, PA  19601

Harrisburg – Nov. 15, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Red Lion Inn

4751 Lindle Rd.

Harrisburg PA 17111

To learn how Prince Law Offices, P.C. can assist you or your business with PUC matters, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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