Opelika Commercial Real Estate Lawyers
Commercial Real Estate Law in Alabama
In Opelika, Alabama, "commercial real estate" is any type of land or building which is used for a business, as opposed to residential, purpose.
The laws governing real estate in Opelika, Alabama apply differently when dealing with commercial, as opposed to residential, real estate.
When renting or buying residential real estate, renters and buyers have substantial legal protections which often don't apply to commercial real estate.
These include implied warranties of habitability, rent control, and covenants of use and quiet enjoyment, among several others. Of course, the most basic protections, such as prohibiting the seller from actively concealing defects, apply to both.
Common Commercial Real Estate Law Issues in Opelika, Alabama
Financing: The majority of small businesses in Opelika, Alabama can't afford to make large real estate purchases with the money they have in the bank. Still, buying real estate is sometimes imperative for a business' survival. This problem is sometimes remedied by taking out a mortgage; a loan used to buy property, with that same property being used to secure the loan.
Duty to Disclose Defects: It is of the utmost importance that sellers and lessors of commercial real estate be up front about any defects that might be present in the property. Failing to disclose them can be bad, and actively concealing them can be much worse. In general, if a defect is serious enough that it would influence a reasonable person's decision to buy a piece of property, and the seller knows about it, the seller should disclose it. Failure to disclose can have serious results. If the buyer later discovers the defect, they can sue for the cost of repairing it, or for any reduction in the property's value caused by it. And, of course, if it causes any injuries, the buyer can sue the seller for those, as well.
Duty to Inspect: While buyers of real estate have some substantial protections with respect to defects, they also have some obligations. Before finalizing a purchase, buyers are expected to undertake a reasonable inspection of the property, usually by using a licensed building inspector. If the buyer fails to conduct an inspection, they typically won't be able to successfully sue, if defects are discovered after the purchase.
Encumbrances: These are defects to title, rather than physical defects. They are legal issues which might make it difficult or impossible for a landowner to make full use of their land. In Opelika, Alabama, these might include easements. An easement is a right to use property held by a party other than the owner. This use is often very particular in scope, such as allowing the holder of the easement to cross the property to access a public road, or something similar. Such rights usually have to be recognized and honored by new owners, so if they buy property not knowing about them, they might be seriously inconvenienced.
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Can a Opelika, Alabama Attorney Help?
Because of the complexity and importance of many of the issues concerning commercial real estate, it is almost always essential to consult with a Opelika, Alabama attorney before buying or selling commercial real estate.