Commercial Real Estate Law in California
In Richmond, California, "commercial real estate" is any type of land or building which is used for a business, as opposed to residential, purpose.
The laws covering commercial real estate in Richmond, California are quite different from those applying to residential real estate.
Buyers and renters of residential property enjoy a considerable number of legal protections. Many of these protections don't apply to buyers or renters of commercial property.
For example, commercial real estate typically isn't covered by rent control laws, nor does it carry with it an implied warranty of habitability (because people usually won't be living in it). Furthermore, it also doesn't come with a covenant of quiet enjoyment. However, some of the most basic legal protections (such as laws against fraud, and concealment of defects) apply in both the commercial and residential context.
Common Commercial Real Estate Law Issues in Richmond, California
Financing: Some small businesses in Richmond, California find it necessary, at some point, to purchase a piece of real estate, for various reasons. However, most owners of small to medium-sized businesses can't afford to make a real estate purchase up front, with the cash they have on hand. Simply put, very few people have hundreds of thousands of dollars just sitting in the bank. One solution to this is a mortgage, which is similar to most other types of secured loans: a bank lends you money, and you put up some piece of property as collateral, so the bank has some security in the event of default. With a mortgage, however, the property being purchased with the loan also secures the loan, authorizing the bank to foreclose on it in case the buyer defaults.
Concealment of Defects: if the seller of commercial property acts to conceal a significant defect in the property, and then sells the property, he will be responsible for any harm this defect cause, as well as the reduced value of the property, or the cost of repair.
Duty to Inspect: Lest you believe that the duty to disclose defects relieves any duty of diligence on the part of the buyer, the law will not reward such lapses with a major cause of action. Buyers have a duty to conduct a reasonable inspection of the property before they buy it, typicallyy with a licensed building inspector. If the buyer fails to do this, they won't be able to recover any damages for defects which they could have discovered through a reasonable inspection.
Encumbrances: Undisclosed encumbrances are defects of another sort: defects of title. An encumbrance is any interest that a third party has in the Richmond, California commercial real estate. These typically 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 critical to know about them before buying.
Can a Richmond, California Attorney Help?
Because of the importance and potential complexity of the issues surrounding commercial real estate, it's almost always prudent that, before engaging in any real estate deal, you pursue the counsel of a good Richmond, California real estate attorney.