Commercial Real Estate Law in Florida
In Pinellas 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 Pinellas County, Florida is managed by laws which differ significantly from state and local laws that apply 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.
Some 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 basic protections, however, 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 Pinellas County, Florida
Financing: Some small businesses in Pinellas 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, authorizing the bank to foreclose on it in case the buyer defaults.
Disclosure of Defects: Sellers of real estate have an obligation to inform prospective buyers of any defects present in the property, such as water damage and other structural problems. Basically, 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 substantial 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.
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 Pinellas County, Florida 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 necessary to know about them before buying.
Can a Pinellas County, Florida Attorney Help?
The issues surrounding commercial real estate in Pinellas County, Florida can get fairly complex. Therefore, it's never a bad idea to have the assistance of an efficient commercial real estate attorney.