Commercial Real Estate Law in Florida
In Lee County, Florida, "commercial real estate" is any type of land or building which is used for a business, as opposed to residential, purpose.
Commercial real estate in Lee County, Florida is regulated by laws which differ significantly from state and local laws that apply 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.
These include implied warranties of habitability, rent control, and covenants of use and quiet enjoyment, among many 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 Lee County, Florida
Financing: Some small businesses in Lee County, Florida 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, allowing the bank to foreclose on it in case the buyer defaults.
Concealment of Defects: Sellers and lessors of commercial real estate are under a duty to disclose any defects in the property which might impact the buyer's decision to purchase it, such as water damage, mold, or other structural problems. These defects are quite common, and the buyer has a right to know about them. If the seller doesn't disclose these defects, where they exist, the buyer can sue for any harm this causes.
Duty to Inspect: While buyers of real estate have some significant 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 usually won't be able to successfully sue, if defects are discovered after the purchase.
Encumbrances: An encumbrance is some small ownership interest in land held by a third party, or some right held by a third party to restrict the use of a parcel of land. A common encumbrance is an easement. In Lee County, Florida, an easement is some right of some third party to make limited use of land owned by someone else. For example, cable companies often purchase easements from property owners (or they are imposed by the government) allowing them to string cable wiring from the telephone wires on the street to nearby houses. Like any other property right, the holder of an easement can prevent others from interfering with it. Obviously, if a buyer doesn't know about an encumbrance on a piece of land, he might find that he's unable to make the use of the land that he was expecting.
Can a Lee County, Florida Attorney Help?
These issues are sometimes complex, and almost always very important. Therefore, it's essential to seek the assistance of a Lee County, Florida real estate attorney if you have any dealings in this area.