Commercial Real Estate Law in California
In Contra Costa County, California, "commercial real estate" is any form of land or building which is utilized for a business, as opposed to residential, purpose.
The laws regulating real estate in Contra Costa County, California apply differently when dealing with commercial, as opposed to residential, real estate.
Buyers and renters of residential property enjoy some pretty considerable legal protections, because the law of most states presumes that shelter (being necessary to survive, for the most part) is more important than business. Therefore, many of these consumer protections don't apply to commercial real estate.
Several of the protections that don't apply to commercial property include warranties of habitability, rent control, and warranties of quiet enjoyment. There are others, as well. The most general protections, nonetheless, apply to buyers of both residential and commercial real estate, including remedies for fraud and concealment of physical or title defects.
Common Commercial Real Estate Law Issues in Contra Costa County, California
Financing: The majority of small business owners in Contra Costa County, California probably can't afford to buy much real estate outright, with cash paid up front, so most small business buy commercial real estate with a mortgage. A mortgage is a loan taken out for the purpose of buying real estate, using that real estate as collateral for 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 significant 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 significant outcomes. 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 considerable 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 normally won't be able to successfully sue, if defects are discovered after the purchase.
Encumbrances: Undisclosed encumbrances are defects of another sort: defects of title. An encumbrance is any interest that a third party has in the Contra Costa County, California commercial real estate. These normally take the form of easements, which are rights held by third parties to use the land for a specific purpose. Easements can have profound effects on how a new owner can use the land, so it is crucial to know about them before buying.
Can a Contra Costa County, California Attorney Help?
The issues surrounding commercial real estate in Contra Costa County, California can get fairly complex. Therefore, it's never a bad idea to have the assistance of an accomplished commercial real estate attorney.