Real Estate & Land Use

We are an Idaho law firm, firmly based in Idaho land and Idaho real property.  Our presence across the state and our understanding of Idaho real estate law makes us the best approach to resolving Idaho real estate problems.  Also, our connection to local government in Idaho puts us in the best position to help clients navigate local land use permitting and development requirements.

Practice Profile

We help owners and developers of real estate in Idaho avoid and solve problems.  These problems come in many forms, including problems with title, easements, access, roads, rights of way, subsurface and mineral rights, environmental liabilities, water rights, development rights, land use restrictions, restrictive covenants, leases, foreclosures, evictions, property taxes, or condemnations.  We help owners of real property preserve their rights in real property, and document property transactions to avoid liabilities and maximize returns.

The lawyers of Moffatt Thomas have experience in dealing with nearly every type of real estate and land use issue imaginable.  Our clients range from individual property owners, to local and regional residential and commercial developers, to some of the largest corporate landowners within the state. We have been involved in countless transactions involving the acquisition or sale of real property, the entitlement of real property for specific usages, the negotiation and documentation of development and construction related agreements, the negotiation and documentation of loans and other financing transactions with respect to real estate, and the litigation of a myriad of real estate issues.

Real Estate Transactions.  Moffatt Thomas lawyers have been involved in the negotiation and documentation of the many types of written agreements required to take real property from raw land to a finished residential or commercial development.  We have reviewed, negotiated, and drafted purchase and sale agreements, exchange agreements, development agreements, construction agreements, easement agreements, loan agreements, lease agreements, and countless other forms of agreements and instruments pertaining to the ownership, development, and use of real property.

Land Use and Entitlement.  Lawyers at Moffatt Thomas have been involved in obtaining the necessary governmental permits for the development of everything from homes for the impaired, to residential subdivisions, to major commercial and industrial developments.  We work closely with our clients in resolving land use and entitlement issues to ensure that the governmental permitting process may be a means to an end, and not the end of a dream.

Dispute Resolution.  Whether through negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or litigation in the courts, Moffatt Thomas understands the need for creative solutions to disputes concerning real property.  Our lawyers have been involved in the successful resolution of disputes covering the breadth of real property law, including disputes pertaining to construction defects and liens, zoning and land use issues, title and escrow services, property tax valuations, slander of title claims, mortgage foreclosures, and a wide variety of breach of contract claims.

Those involved in acquiring, holding, developing, and selling real estate may be confronted with a nearly endless number of complex legal issues.  The lawyers at Moffatt Thomas have the experience to assist our clients in addressing and resolving these issues, whatever form they may take.


  • Assisted with the development of condominium projects in Idaho, including projects in Sun Valley and Ketchum (Lodge II, Cottonwoods, Wildflower, Elkhorn Village, Bonne Vie, Ridge, Fairway Nine, Snowcreek, Bluff, Indian Creek and Pennay’s at River Run), and in Boise (Chateau Les Bois, Bogus Basin Pioneer, Grove Hotel, Boulevard 255, Air Flow and CCDC Garages).
  • Assisted with the development, construction, and operation of a major value-added agricultural production plant that purchases Idaho agricultural products and sells product around the world.
  • Assist lenders in commercial and residential loan foreclosures to collect on loans secured by Idaho real estate.
  • Assisted a variety of major landholders in relation to property tax assessments and appeals.
  • Assisted Idaho water users to litigate and establish law regarding the authority of irrigation districts to control interferences with their canals and ditches.
  • Used litigation and legislative approaches to establish Idaho law regarding mineral and subsurface rights.
  • Assisted developer with condominiumized project composed of a 4-star hotel, residential condominiums, health club, events center with hospitality suites, restaurants and public parking garage.
  • Assisted developer with franchised hotel development, which included platting of the commercial subdivision, negotiation and documentation of a ground lease for the hotel site, negotiation and documentation of adjacent restaurant build-to-suit leases and a ground lease for a tenant-constructed restaurant, as well as construction and take-out financing secured by the hotel improvements (including a non-recourse securitized bond financing).
  • Led negotiation and documentation of AIA and ConsensusDOCS agreements for project owner with architect and contractor in connection with development of new $15 million building and renovations to existing building improvements.
  • Provided legal counsel to a mixed-use renovated warehouse development, including development of form leases for office tenants, retail tenants, and restaurant tenants; negotiated leases with local and national tenants.


  • Foreclosures of mortgages and deeds of trust on real property in Idaho and loan workouts.
  • Litigation regarding the transfer of mineral and subsurface rights under Idaho law.
  • Prepare easements and access rights for real property.
  • Litigate issues regarding unrecorded easements and access across real property.
  • Develop and implement options to purchase real property.
  • Resolve property boundary disputes.
  • Litigate adverse possession claims brought against real property in Idaho.
  • Litigate issues regarding the establishment and maintenance of public roads.
  • Assist in obtaining land use entitlements, zoning rulings, planned unit development approvals, conditional use permits, and other rulings from local land use planning authorities.
  • Handle appeals of land use decisions by local government authorities.
  • Litigate issues of tribal jurisdiction over fee-owned real property held by non-tribal members inside reservation boundaries.
  • Administrative and judicial appeals of property tax determinations on Idaho real property.
  • Litigation involving CERCLA and RCRA remediation on real property in Idaho.
  • Develop restrictive covenants, and litigate the enforcement of restrictive covenants on real property in Idaho, and assist with homeowners’ associations and organizations.
  • Establish condominium ownership of properties.
  • Litigate issues regarding canals, canal companies, ditches, water delivery facilities, irrigation districts, and the impact of real estate development on irrigation water delivery.
  • Assist with urban renewal and tax increment financing with urban renewal districts in Idaho.
  • Litigate eminent domain and condemnation actions brought against real property in Idaho.
  • Handle issues involving real property infrastructure, including sewer, water, stormwater, electrical, and other infrastructure.
  • Assist with leasing of farm and agricultural lands in Idaho.
  • Litigation involving mechanics liens, vendors liens, and other non-consensual liens on real property in Idaho.
  • Litigate and assist with commercial leases, lease disputes, and evictions.
  • Litigate title insurance coverage issues.
  • Negotiate and draft real estate purchase and sale agreements.
  • Litigate disputes regarding real estate sales, including fraud and misrepresentation claims, real estate agent disputes, and disclosure disputes.
  • Structure and form business entities and organizations for the holding and management of real property assets.
  • Assist with real estate financing.
  • Represent clients involved in bankruptcies involving real property assets and security interests.
  • Assist with preservation of water rights, or litigation to enforce water rights.
  • Assist with documentation of wind energy leases.


Chirstine E Nicholas

Christine E. Nicholas, Moffatt Thomas President, Inducted into Prestigious Real Estate and Finance Organizations: ACREL and ACMA

Moffatt Thomas President, Christine E. Nicholas, has been inducted into both the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL) and the American College of Mortgage Attorneys (ACMA).

Read More
Norman M Semanko

Moffatt Thomas attorney, Norm Semanko, to provide update on Federal lands and Idaho water issues at North West Property Owners Alliance Dinner & Auction

Norman M. Semanko, Moffatt Thomas water law attorney, will be the guest speaker at the second annual North West Property Owners Alliance dinner and auction in Coeur d'Alene. March 14, 2015. He will update the group on the Coeur d'Alene Spokane River Basin Adjudication Process.

Read More
Chirstine E Nicholas

“BREAKING UP IS (NOT SO) HARD TO DO” — TENANT EVICTIONS — Idaho Real Estate Management Association presentation by Christine Nicholas

Moffatt Thomas attorney, Christine Nicholas, will be the featured presenter at the May 13, 2015 meeting of the Idaho Real Estate Management Association, Snake River Chapter No. 107.

Read More


Moffatt Thomas attorneys were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America© 2016.

Read More

Moffatt Thomas Attorneys Named By Best Lawyers® 2015

Eleven Moffatt Thomas attorneys were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America© 2015 (copyright by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC), for their accomplishments in the fields of commercial litigation, banking and finance law and litigation, environmental law, bankruptcy and creditor rights, construction litigation, corporate governance law, employment law-management, insurance defense, medical malpractice law, professional malpractice defense, personal injury defense, mergers and acquisitions law, mining law, and real estate law.

Read More
Mark S Prusynski

Moffatt Thomas Wins Dismissal of Case Challenging School Fees

On May 24, 2013, Judge Richard Greenwood dismissed claims against 65 Idaho school districts in a lawsuit seeking a ruling […]

Read More

Moffatt Thomas Named 2014 “Best Law Firm” by Best Lawyers

Moffatt Thomas is ranked Tier 1 in Best Lawyers 2014 publication for the practices of Commercial Litigation, Corporate Law, Employment […]

Read More

Moffatt Thomas Lawyers Included in 2014 Best Lawyers Publication

Moffatt Thomas has once again had attorneys selected for inclusion into the publication Best Lawyers in America (Copyright 2012 by Woodward/White, […]

Read More

Moffatt Thomas Partners Selected as 2014 Best Lawyers of the Year

Congratulations to Moffatt Thomas’s attorneys who have been recognized by Best Lawyers as the Best Lawyer Of The Year in their […]

Read More