Vermont Real Estate Lawyers
In Vermont, real estate law is a very broad area of law covering anything that has to do with the ownership of land and buildings.
Real estate law can apply to many numerous 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.
Vermont real estate law can be very intricate, 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 basic knowledge of Vermont real estate law can make a lot of transactions, such as buying a house or renting an apartment, much easier.
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Common Real Estate Issues in Vermont
Financing: Most people in Vermont probably can't afford to buy a house or a piece of land up front. Consequently, most individuals and business use some form of financing to purchase real estate, typically 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 a house or other structure is for sale, the seller has to tell prospective buyers about all physical defects of which the seller is aware, and which the buyer couldn't be reasonably expected to discover. However, if you are selling a house, you should probably just disclose every defect you're aware of. This will save you a great deal of potential liability. Even if your disclosure of a particular defect wasn't required (because the buyer could have easily discovered it), the buyer might still sue, and the cost of defending this lawsuit, even if you win, will be very high.
Warranty of Habitability: All residential property which is being rented must be fit for human habitation. This is typically not a difficult standard for a reasonably well-maintained unit to meet (or one would think), but violations of this rule still occur. When renting an apartment, the landlord is implicitly promising that the unit will be habitable, whether or not such a promise is actually written in the lease, or even if the lease disclaims it. There are many requirements for a dwelling to be habitable, and most of them are fairly obvious- they include heating, running water, electricity, and basic protection from the elements. There are many other requirements, however.
Zoning: Zoning regulations typically divide cities into sections, or "zones," and state what types of buildings can be built in the different sections. Zones will be categorized by the type of use permitted, such as residential, industrial, commercial, etc. If you own a piece of property and want to make improvements to it, you should check the local zoning ordinance to ensure that any improvements you plan on making comply with all of Vermont's zoning regulations.
Do I Need a Vermont Real Estate Lawyer?
The issues discussed above, as well as the many others that can affect real estate, can get very complicated. For that reason, it's probably a good idea to consult with a Vermont real estate lawyer before undertaking any major real estate transaction.
The state of Vermont is known as one of the more historic places in the U.S. As the 14th state to join the Union, Vermont was the first state apart from the 13 original colonies. Vermont rich in natural resources and its economy is supported by industries like manufactured goods and tourism.
One of Vermont's most important laws is the Land Use and Development Law of 1970 ("Act 250"). Act 250 creates nine separate environmental commissions whose task is to review any land development projects that might impact the natural environment. This law was the first of its kind in the U.S. and has helped to preserve much of Vermont's natural scenery.
In addition to its environmental laws, Vermont also has some very unique laws in the areas of alcohol control, trespass, gun control, and other fields. For example, in Vermont, a person has the right to walk, fish, or hunt on any unposted/unfenced land (trespass is not automatically assumed). Also, concealed and open carry of firearms is allowed for persons without a license, so long as they are over 16 years old. Vermont was also the first state to legalize same-sex marriage through the passage of legislation rather than through the courts.
Lawyers in Vermont have much experience in dealing with the state's distinct body of laws. A Vermont lawyer can provide valuable assistance when it comes to drafting documents, providing legal advice, and other tasks. Attorneys in Vermont also represent clients through the state's multi-tiered court system.