Real Estate Law in District of Columbia
Real estate law in Washington regulates almost everything involved in the sale and use of land.
The numerous laws affecting real estate in Washington can sometimes feel overwhelming in their volume and complexity. This might apply doubly when your case involves a foreclosure, or a construction dispute.
Thus, if you're planning on engaging in any kind of real estate transaction, it's essential that you learn at least the basics of real estate law in Washington.
Some understanding of the proper law can give you an advantage in almost any situation. In the real estate instance, it can help you spot illegal terms in lease agreements, give you some idea of what your rights are in a dispute, among other things. If nothing else, knowledge of the law can help you spot people who are willing to break it, so you can avoid dealing with them.
Common Real Estate Law Issues in Washington
Financing: Most persons, families, and small businesses in Washington cannot afford to buy a large piece of real estate with the money they have on hand. However, they generally can afford to pay for it over a long period of time, in installments, with interest. Consequently, most real estate is purchased using a mortgage - a loan for a specific purchase, using the item purchased as collateral.
Zoning: Zoning regulations control what types of structures are allowed on various parcels, based on their location in a municipality. For example, some areas in a city might be zoned only for residential use. Another area might permit industrial use. These rules are meant to keep property values up, and promote harmony among neighbors by preventing conflicts.
Duty of Disclosure: Sellers of homes are bound by a legal duty to disclose defects in the home to prospective buyers, before they purchase the house. Any defect which the seller knows (or reasonably should know) about, and which cannot be discovered by the buyer through an usual inspection, must be disclosed to the buyer.
Implied Warranty: All residential lease agreements in Washington carry with them an implicit promise by the landlord that the property is fit for human habitation. This warranty does not need to be explicitly stated in order to have effect, and neither the tenant nor landlord can waive it. Any arrangement claiming to waive this warranty is void. To be considered habitable, a building must not be so dirty as to pose a health hazard, it must have running water, it must have electricity, and it must provide adequate protection from the weather. There are many other requirements, but if a building or unit lacks any one of those, it will be considered uninhabitable.
Can a Washington Real Estate Lawyer Help?
These issues, along with many others, can sometimes be fairly confusing. Therefore, you should never hesitate to consult with a Washington real estate attorney if you have any questions.