Commercial Real Estate Law in California
In Sonoma 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 governing commercial real estate in Sonoma County, California are quite different from those applying to residential real estate.
Buyers and renters of residential property enjoy a large number of legal protections. Many of these protections don't apply to buyers or renters of commercial property.
For instance, residential real estate is covered by laws concerning rent control, living conditions, and other things relevant to buildings where people will be living. Most of these protections don't apply to commercial real estate, because the law assumes that the average business person is a bit more sophisticated in such dealings than the general population, and because a place to do business is generally less important than a place to live. However, the most basic protections, such as protection from fraud and deliberate concealment of defects, still apply.
Common Commercial Real Estate Law Issues in Sonoma County, California
Financing: Most small business owners in Sonoma County, California don't have the money to buy real estate with the cash on hand. Nonetheless, there is a solution to this problem, permitting people without massive sums of money (but with a steady income) to buy real estate: the mortgage. A mortgage is a loan used to buy real estate, and the real estate being bought is used as collateral for the loan.
Disclosure of Defects: Sellers of real estate have an requirement to inform prospective buyers of any defects present in the property, such as water damage and other structural problems. Essentially, if the defect is significant enough that it might affect a reasonable buyer's decision on whether or not to purchase the property, and the seller knows about it, it must be disclosed. Failure to disclose such defects would give a buyer the right to sue the seller, and recover significant damages, including the cost of repairing the defect, compensation for any injuries or illness caused by it, and the reduction in the property's value caused by the defect.
Buyer's Duty to Inspect: generally, buyers of commercial real estate are expected to inspect the property before buying it. A failure to do so might prevent the buyer from prevailing in a lawsuit if he is harmed by physical defects that an inspection would have revealed, and that the seller didn't know about.
Encumbrances: Encumbrances are defects of a different type: rather than physical defects, they are defects of title. In Sonoma County, California, an encumbrance is an interest in a piece of real estate held by a third party, such as covenants or easements. An easement is a right held by someone to use the property of someone else for a certain purpose. For instance, a person might have an easement on the land of another person, allowing them to cross the land to access a public road.
Can a Sonoma County, California Attorney Help?
These issues can be very complicated, and most people consider such financially-weighty decisions to be very critical. If you are one of those people, it's a smart move to contact a Sonoma County, California real estate attorney if you are facing any of the issues discussed above.