District of Columbia Real Estate Lawyers
In District of Columbia, real estate law is a very broad area of law governing anything that has to do with the ownership of land and buildings.
Real estate law can apply to many different facets of a personal and professional life. It can apply to anything from the purchase of a vacant lot, to renting prime downtown office space.
District of Columbia real estate law can be very complex, because it's really a collection of a lot of different areas of law. These areas of law include property rights, contracts, land use, and many others.
Having a good general knowledge of District of Columbia real estate law can make a lot of transactions, such as purchasing a house or renting an apartment, much easier.
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Common Real Estate Issues in District of Columbia
Financing: Most people in District of Columbia probably can't afford to buy a house or a piece of land up front. Therefore, most individuals and business use some form of financing to purchase real estate, usually a mortgage. A mortgage is a loan used to buy a piece of real estate, with the purchased real estate simultaneously securing the loan.
Disclosure: When selling a house, the seller is under a specific legal duty to tell the buyer about any physical defects which the buyer might not be able to discover on his or her own. Sometimes, it isn't entirely clear if a given defect has to be disclosed. In such cases, it's ideal to disclose it anyway. It simply isn't worth the risk to fail to disclose it, and hope that a court agrees that it was the type of defect that you didn't have to disclose.
Warranty of Habitability: When renting property to be utilized as a dwelling, the landlord, as a matter of law, implicitly promises that the dwelling will be suitable for human habitation. It doesn't matter what the lease says on this subject - it's always a requirement. Thus, a rented unit must have the basic amenities required for modern life - it must provide adequate shelter from the weather, it must have running water, it must have heating, and it must have electricity. Of course, there are many more particular requirements, and a court will also look at the condition of the unit as a whole when deciding whether or not it is habitable.
Zoning Laws: Zoning laws regulate what type of structures can be built in particular parts of a town or city. Their general purpose is to ensure that a city is as livable as possible by ensuring that residential areas are not too close to the noise and pollution of industrial areas. It is very important that, before you make any improvements to a piece of property, you make sure that the proposed improvements comply with District of Columbia's zoning regulations.
Do I Need a District of Columbia Real Estate Lawyer?
These matters can be pretty complicated, and the above discussion only scratched the surface of the huge body of law that can affect real estate transactions. Therefore, if you think any business or personal plan you have might be affected by real estate law, you should consult with a District of Columbia real estate lawyer as soon as possible.
Washington, D.C., or the District of Columbia ("D.C."), is a federal district controlled by the U.S. federal government. It is the nation's capital and not part of any U.S. state. Congress approved the creation of D.C. in 1790. All three branches of the federal government have their centers in the District, and the area is full of historical museums and U.S. monuments.
The District of Columbia has powers of self-governance, as it has an elected mayor and a city council. The Home Rule Act of 1973 allows the District to operate a municipal government. However, the U.S. Congress ultimately has authority over the city and is empowered to overturn local laws as necessary. Residents of D.C. are subject to federal taxation, although they have no voting representative in the U.S. Congress.
Washington D.C.'s court system revolves around the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Most claims are filed through the Superior Court, which oversees local criminal and civil cases. There is also a U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which only presides over federal cases. D.C. maintains a Metropolitan Police Department, and several federal enforcement agencies operate there as well.
Lawyers in Washington D.C. understand the complex interaction of federal and state rules that govern the region. Washington, D.C. attorneys are members of the District of Columbia Bar Association, created in 1972. Legal claims may be directed to a D.C. lawyer, who can provide counseling and other services.