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NEWS
By Sheridan Lyons and Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF | November 12, 2001
Edward Azrael became a lawyer in 1930, after paying $5 a night for classes at the University of Baltimore School of Law. He went on to a legal career that spanned more than 70 years and included service as a state senator and a member of the city zoning board. Mr. Azrael, 94, a longtime Northwest Baltimore resident, died Saturday of pneumonia at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center & Hospital in Baltimore. He practiced in the Towson law firm of Azrael, Gann & Franz - with a son and a grandson - until August, when he was incapacitated after being injured in a fall, said son Jonathan Azrael of Towson, a member of the firm.
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BUSINESS
November 14, 2004
Dear Mr. Azrael: Our contractor has just informed us that a mistake was made when building our new town home. The middle floor was supposed to have 9-foot ceilings, and they are a foot shorter. As a way to compensate for this mistake, he is offering to enclose our patio for no additional charge. My husband and I were really looking forward to the high ceilings. How do we determine the value of what we've lost? Three of the six homeowners are willing to settle - one is stating that he'll sue, and there are two of us who are unsure what our next steps should be. Dear Reader: Clearly, there's a difference in building cost.
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BUSINESS
February 8, 1998
The Sun invites you to send your real estate questions to our weekly mailbag.Questions will be answered by Jonathan A. Azrael, principal at Azrael, Gann and Franz, a Towson firm that has a concentration in real estate law. Azrael chairs the State Board of Law Examiners, which is responsible for administering the Maryland bar exam.We ask that you keep questions brief and direct. Please include a daytime phone number for verification. Questions may be edited for brevity and clarity.Questions can be sent in the following ways:Mailing address: Real Estate Mailbag, Fifth Floor, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278-0001.
NEWS
By MICHAEL OLESKER | December 9, 2003
HOPE Quackenbush helped turn the lights back on in Baltimore's psyche. She insisted there could be life after death downtown. She turned the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre into a winner, and helped blanket the city's nervous emotional landscape with joyful City Fairs, and years later she said one of the sweetest things I ever heard. "Weren't you worried about that first City Fair?" I asked her one day. "No, no," she said. "We were so anxious for it to be great. All of us were running around and telling people, `Please love us.' We were trying so hard, who could resist us?"
FEATURES
By Neil A. Grauer and Neil A. Grauer,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | April 11, 2003
The most famous "embedded" war correspondent in Baltimore journalistic history was a man who traversed the killing sands of Omaha Beach three times on D-Day and thereafter became almost a member of the family in countless Baltimore homes: Lou Azrael. Louis Azrael (1904-1981) was the star columnist of the old News-American, which in its heyday as the largest circulation daily in Maryland was better known as the News-Post and Sunday American. His column, begun in the old Baltimore Daily Post in 1927, was required reading for politicians, lawyers, bureaucrats and the general public for more than half a century.
BUSINESS
January 2, 2000
Dear Mr. Azrael: I cannot get minutes and records from my townhouse homeowners' association. I would like to know what do I do now. Lewis Barach Baltimore Dear Mr. Barach: Maryland law requires that, with limited exceptions, all books and records kept by or on behalf of a homeowners' association must be made available for examination and copying by lot owners, or their duly authorized representatives, during normal business hours and after reasonable notice....
BUSINESS
October 11, 1998
Dear Mr. Azrael:I have recently purchased some investment property at 30 percent less than the market value [with a mortgage] at 10.5 percent for 30 years.I am looking at refinancing the properties at the full-market value at a lower interest rate. Would this be wise?I am thinking that I could possibly pay off the current mortgage and use the rest of the income to possibly purchase more properties.Please give me some advice.Wave TaylorBaltimoreDear Ms. Taylor:Interest rates are falling. Now is a great time for folks to consider refinancing their mortgages.
BUSINESS
October 4, 1998
Dear Mr. Azrael:What action can a ground rent owner take when the city demolishes rows of houses?Irwin ElliottBaltimoreDear Mr. Elliott:A ground rent owner has no control over what happens to the improvements (houses or other structures) built on the ground. The owner of the leasehold can choose to construct a Taj Mahal or allow the building to become vacant and boarded up -- or even demolished.A ground rent owner has one right only -- to collect the ground rent from the person or entity who owns the leasehold.
BUSINESS
August 8, 1999
Dear Mr. Azrael:I own a building lot which I intend to donate to church. What is an acceptable standard to use to determine value? And, how do you determine the amount to be deducted?Mark E. CooperRandallstownDear Mr. Cooper:When property held for more than one year is donated to a bona fide church, charity or educational institution, the donor is entitled to a deduction equal to the fair market value of the property on the date of the gift. For example, a $10,000 deduction is allowable if the property has a fair market value of $10,000 at the time the deed is signed and delivered to the church.
BUSINESS
September 26, 1999
Dear Mr. Azrael:I want to know if a child can own a home?William Larkey Glen BurnieDear Mr. Larkey:A minor child legally can own a house, but, in my opinion, it is a bad idea. A child under the age of 18 is a minor and lacks legal capacity to sell, mortgage or convey his or her interest in real estate.To sell, mortgage or convey real property owned by a minor, an adult guardian would have to be appointed by a court to act for and on behalf of the child. This is a time-consuming and relatively expensive process.
FEATURES
By Neil A. Grauer and Neil A. Grauer,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | April 11, 2003
The most famous "embedded" war correspondent in Baltimore journalistic history was a man who traversed the killing sands of Omaha Beach three times on D-Day and thereafter became almost a member of the family in countless Baltimore homes: Lou Azrael. Louis Azrael (1904-1981) was the star columnist of the old News-American, which in its heyday as the largest circulation daily in Maryland was better known as the News-Post and Sunday American. His column, begun in the old Baltimore Daily Post in 1927, was required reading for politicians, lawyers, bureaucrats and the general public for more than half a century.
NEWS
By Sheridan Lyons and Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF | November 12, 2001
Edward Azrael became a lawyer in 1930, after paying $5 a night for classes at the University of Baltimore School of Law. He went on to a legal career that spanned more than 70 years and included service as a state senator and a member of the city zoning board. Mr. Azrael, 94, a longtime Northwest Baltimore resident, died Saturday of pneumonia at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center & Hospital in Baltimore. He practiced in the Towson law firm of Azrael, Gann & Franz - with a son and a grandson - until August, when he was incapacitated after being injured in a fall, said son Jonathan Azrael of Towson, a member of the firm.
BUSINESS
August 12, 2001
Dear Mr. Azrael, I had a contract to sell a large barn in Maryland with settlement date set for April 2, 2001. The contract consisted of a bill of sale which did not mention a home inspection (or barn inspection). Two business days before settlement, I received a report from a home inspection company listing a substantial number of problems. Subsequently, I received a phone call from the buyer's lawyer desiring to lower the sale price. Since time was of the essence and no effort had been made to lease the barn beyond the settlement date, I reduced the price and went to settlement a day later on April 3, 2001.
BUSINESS
March 19, 2000
Dear Mr. Azrael, Is it appropriate for a condominium owner who resides in a mid-rise condominium to use the common areas for transporting via the lobby elevator her sizable amount of flea market merchandise each day? What are the condominium residents' rights in regard to her use of the common areas and her apartment for storage as well as the impression this makes on visitors seeing this occur? Cynthia Gold Baltimore Dear Ms. Gold: You and your neighbors don't have to sit there and take it while the flea market entrepreneur turns your condominium into a fleabag.
BUSINESS
January 2, 2000
Dear Mr. Azrael: I cannot get minutes and records from my townhouse homeowners' association. I would like to know what do I do now. Lewis Barach Baltimore Dear Mr. Barach: Maryland law requires that, with limited exceptions, all books and records kept by or on behalf of a homeowners' association must be made available for examination and copying by lot owners, or their duly authorized representatives, during normal business hours and after reasonable notice....
BUSINESS
November 7, 1999
Dear Mr. Azrael:I started looking for refinancing in August and found three companies to decide upon.In early September, I received a good faith estimate, truth-in-lending [statement] and servicing disclosure for all three companies. I decided to go with [a mortgage company with a 6.8 percent rate], and I informed the others of my decision.In mid-September, [the mortgage company] said the best rate they can give is 7.9 percent. Can they do this bait and switch after I've dismissed others, and what is my recourse, if any?
BUSINESS
October 18, 1998
Dear Mr. Azrael:I recently signed a contract on a house. We are scheduled to go to settlement at the end of [the month]. Being a single mom, I have a limited income. The contract contains the FHA addendum that states the seller is willing to pay for any repairs that the FHA inspector finds up to 2 percent of the selling price of the house.My question for you is that they are now asking me to pay for these repairs, and I feel that we have a signed "legal" contract.So, am I responsible for making these repairs if I want this house or are they legally responsible for these repairs?
BUSINESS
August 9, 1998
Dear Mr. Azrael:When we were living in Amherst, N.Y., (a suburb of Buffalo) we took advantage of a local statute that allowed Vietnam-era veterans to be exempt from a percentage of property taxes.Is there any similar statute for Baltimore City?Hadley GarbartBaltimoreDear Mr. Garbart:There is no similar tax exemption in Baltimore City or anywhere else in Maryland. Property tax relief for individuals exists in limited situations, all of which apply statewide.Here are some examples:* Homeowners Tax Credit: Eligibility for this tax credit depends on gross household income each year.
BUSINESS
October 3, 1999
Dear Mr. Azrael:I am a senior citizen living on a fixed income. I purchased a condominium about 15 years ago. I still have a mortgage and pay a condominium fee, which over the years has been steadily increased. In addition, I have paid several assessments over the years.Now, again, my board of directors has voted for and passed another assessment.I feel extremely strapped to pay this assessment. I made my position clear to the board and was told that I could pay it off over several months.
BUSINESS
September 26, 1999
Dear Mr. Azrael:I want to know if a child can own a home?William Larkey Glen BurnieDear Mr. Larkey:A minor child legally can own a house, but, in my opinion, it is a bad idea. A child under the age of 18 is a minor and lacks legal capacity to sell, mortgage or convey his or her interest in real estate.To sell, mortgage or convey real property owned by a minor, an adult guardian would have to be appointed by a court to act for and on behalf of the child. This is a time-consuming and relatively expensive process.
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