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REIT dispute over back taxes

National Health Investors, Inc. entered a lawsuit with Sunrise Senior Living, a senior housing operator, regarding property back taxes. The lawsuit arose in the context of NHI’s purchase of a facility previously owned by the affiliate of another large senior living real estate investment trust. The facility was leased to and operated by Sunrise during the period of prior ownership. The dispute arose after a facility had been purchased by NHI and after Sunrise’s lease of that facility had ended, and Pennsylvania taxing authorities assessed substantial back taxes. From the taxing authority perspective, back taxes are the responsibility of the owner. Sunrise asserted that it had no liability for the taxes, notwithstanding the terms of its lease, and that the taxes were the responsibility of the new operator.

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Travis Parham
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