Practice Areas

Hanna & Van Atta specializes in the legal aspects of real estate development and transactions. The firm has extensive expertise in the field of condominium projects and other common interest developments and mixed use developments of all scales.  We represent a wide variety of clients, including developers and homebuilders, financing entities and investors, landlords and tenants, prospective purchasers and owners associations.   The firm represents clients in a wide variety of matters, including purchases and sales, joint ventures and partnerships, financing, commercial leasing, land use and development matters, and litigation.  We also serve as general counsel for common interest communities and developments.

Residential Condominium and Planned Development Projects

The firm's attorneys have particular experience in the field of condominium and planned development law.  We have represented many major homebuilders in California, as well as local builders, in preparation of residential project legal documentation, and assisted in processing documentation with state agencies for approvals required for marketing such projects.  Additionally, we have provided legal counseling and services for well over 4,000 residential common interest development projects of various types and sizes throughout California and have formed over 3,000 community and home owners associations. We have decades of experience working with the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act and the California Subdivided Lands Act. Mr. Hanna and Mr. Van Atta were involved in the writing of the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act and advised the legislative committee when the statute was enacted.

Owners Associations

We provide legal counseling and services to Common Interest Development owners associations for existing residential, commercial and mixed use developments.  We have formed over 3,000 community and home owners associations.  We are frequently asked to review, update and revise association documentation, particularly project declarations of covenants, conditions and restrictions and bylaws. We can advise owners associations as to the legal aspects and requirements of its operations, including rule making, meeting requirements and document enforcement.

Real Estate Development Practice

The firm's partners represent developers, financing entities, and investors in all aspects of commercial and residential development, including zoning, development permitting, state subdivision regulations, and complex project documentation.  Our expertise includes land use, subdivision, and development regulation throughout California.  The firm assists clients in negotiating, structuring, and properly documenting real estate development transactions, and we perform the necessary legal due diligence required for investment in real estate development ventures and properties.

Additionally, our attorneys have served as legal counsel for several large-scale multiple phase residential and mixed use master planned communities and developments, including formation and operation of continuing care retirement developments.  Representative clients include major home building organizations, lending institutions, title companies, international trade corporations, commercial, industrial, and residential real estate developers and investors.

Office, Commercial and Industrial

The firm represents clients throughout the country in the purchase, sale, development, construction, and management of office buildings of all sizes and types.  Additionally, we advise clients on the structure of joint ventures and with respect to financing of office and commercial properties.  Our representation has included representing both landlords and tenants in negotiations of occupancy and complex ground leases.  In particular, we have developed expertise in developing industrial parks, shopping centers, mixed use developments, and other commercial real estate ventures.

Hotel, Resort and Golf Course Transactions

We have extensive experience handling all aspects of acquiring, developing, operating, and marketing hotel and resort properties.  The firm offers a full array of services applying real estate law, including acquisitions, financing and development.  We represent lending institutions, developers, and investors with respect to hotel lending and prospective purchasers of hotel, resort, and golf course properties in their due diligence prior to acquisition with respect to a variety of legal issues.  We have assisted clients with acquiring, financing, developing, marketing, and operational aspects of many golf course facilities.

Leasing Transactions

The firm provides expertise in commercial leasing.  We represent and advise tenants leasing office, commercial, or industrial space.  Our attorneys provide guidance on a variety of business issues, including negotiations of tenant improvements and construction, insurance matters, tax matters, and governmental and utility company incentive programs.  We also represent a variety of commercial landlords in the leasing of office, retail, warehouse and industrial space.  We are expert in related documentation including reciprocal easement agreements, access and use easements, non-competition agreements, ground leases, equity participation leases and brokerage agreements.

Real Estate Lending

We are experienced in all areas of secured real estate lending for institutional lenders, developers and investors.  For financial institutions and commercial borrowers, we assist in the negotiation, structuring and documentation of real estate loan transactions, including permanent loans, construction loans and special purpose loans for unique projects.  We have considerable experience with a variety of real estate loan structures, including convertible mortgages, equity participation, contingent interest loans and similar such intricate transactions.  Using our expertise in land use, subdivision, development, and environmental law and experience in major real property acquisition and financing, we assist with the necessary legal due diligence required for complex real estate financing.  We have extensive experience in loan restructuring, work-outs and negotiations on behalf of real estate secured lenders.  Representative clients include major lending institutions, title companies, international trade corporations, commercial, industrial and residential real estate developers and investors.

Litigation

We provide comprehensive litigation services to our clients and have substantial trial, arbitration, mediation and administrative hearing experience and expertise in a wide variety of real estate and general business disputes.  Our experience includes representation of clients in commercial and real estate litigation matters involving purchase and sale agreements, CC&Rs, development rights and land use matters, loan agreements, foreclosures and loan workouts, easements and boundary disputes, title matters, construction contracts, leases and subleases, real estate brokers, partnerships, limited partnerships and limited liability companies.

We believe in exploring all means of alternative dispute resolution such as mediation and arbitration in order to save our clients both time and money, as well as to avoid tying up property or a project during the litigation process.  However, we are also prepared to assert and defend our clients' rights through trial, as may be necessary.

Corporate and Joint Venture Structures:

We provide advice our clients as to the appropriate legal entities and structure of acquiring and operating entities such as corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies and are skilled in negotiating documentation to structure the appropriate business entities for our real estate and business clients.

Environmental Matters:

We advise clients regarding environmental issues which affect real estate ownership and transactions, including the California Environmental Quality Act.  The firm advises regarding environmental law, including the laws pertaining to hazardous and toxic substances, as applied to real estate purchase, development and financing transactions.