May 2021

An informative e-newsletter for the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan.

Tenants, Define Your Trade Fixtures


By Eric Maul, Cooper & Riesterer PLC

In Cassidy Rae Studio, LLC v. Bocks, (Mich App No. 345984, February 11, 2020, unpublished), the Court ruled the drafter of a commercial lease agreement can transform an item historically considered a trade fixture into a general fixture. In Bocks, Rae Do, the sole owner of Cassidy Rae Studio, LLC, entered into a commercial lease with SOF Holland Town Center, LLC in order to open a beauty salon. Pursuant to this agreement, SOF agreed to install certain improvements in the rented space at its own expense, including a color bar and a reception desk, and any improvements to the rental property would become part of the rental space and belong to SOF. The cost to SOF for these improvements was not to exceed $60,000. Pursuant to the agreement, Rae Do agreed to pay rental payments of up to $60,000 over the course of the lease.

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Real Property Law Academy I

May 18-21, 2021
Time: 9 a.m.-Noon

Virtual Program Sponsored by the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan

Real Property Law Academy I is being taught by some of the most respected and experienced Michigan real estate attorneys, each an expert in their field. The program will provide a basic understanding of fundamental aspects of a real estate practice. It is intended for real estate attorneys and attorneys who encounter real estate issues from time to time. The program is being presented in two parts (Academy I and Academy II). Each part will present two topics per day over a consecutive four-day period from 9 a.m.-noon.

Are You Ready for Real Estate?

This program will help you:

  • Gain a basic understanding of fundamentals of Michigan real estate practice
  • Develop confidence, attract clients, and impress partners
  • Meet some of the leading Michigan real estate lawyers
  • Take home time-tested, proven forms and explanatory materials you can put to use immediately
  • Network with other real estate practitioners

Tuesday, May 18

9-10:30 a.m.
Buying and Selling Commercial and Residential Property—Purchase Agreements Brandy L. Mathie, Kerr Russell

10:30-11 a.m.
Due Diligence: Environmental
Nicholas G. Maloof, Associated Environmental Services

11 a.m.-Noon
Title & Survey Michelle Donovan, Clark Hill

Wednesday, May 19

9-10:30 a.m.
Commercial Mortgages, Tenant Estoppels and SNDAs
Nicholas P. Scavone, Jr., Bodman

10:30 a.m.-Noon
Closings (Documents, Checklists, Coordination)
Thomas Kabel, Butzel Long

Thursday, May 20

9-10:30 a.m.
Richard D. Rattner, Williams, Williams, Rattner and Plunkett

10:30 a.m.-Noon
Stephen M. Guerra, Makower Abbate Guerra Wegner Vollmer

Friday, May 21

9-10:30 a.m.
Real Estate Litigation (Summary Proceedings, Quiet Title)
Benjamin J. Aloia, Aloia & Associates

10:30 a.m.-Noon

Commercial Leasing
John D. Gaber, Williams, Williams, Rattner and Plunkett

Academy II courses will be published in the near future and will be different from Academy I courses. Academy II will be held in the Grand Rapids area in fall 2022 and in the metro Detroit area in spring 2023. It is not required but highly recommended that you attend both Academy I and Academy II to get the full benefits from the program. Registration for each program is separate.


$200 (individual)

$80 (law school student)

Firm registration available

Register TODAY!  

Legislative Report

Join a Committee!

Take the opportunity to get involved by writing for one of our publications, presenting at a conference or seminar, or joining one of the committees that cover virtually every area in real estate law. See our committees and how you can join or see the committees you're already subscribed to.

Note to Committee Members:
Communication settings for RPLS Special Committee members have been changed to "Daily Digest." This means when a message is posted on your Committee page, you will receive the message the day after it is posted.

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Interested in writing an article for the e-Newsletter? Contact co-editors Samuel Kilberg at or Glen Zatz at

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We are also looking for suggested authors and topics for the Michigan Real Property Review. Please contact Chair-Elect, Mike Luberto at for suggested topics and ideas.

The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors, and they do not reflect in any way the positions of the State Bar of Michigan or the Real Property Law Section. These columns are meant for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by any person for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another person any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.