Commercial Real Estate Law in Georgia
In Clarke County, Georgia, "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 Clarke County, Georgia is regulated by laws which differ significantly from state and local laws that apply to residential real estate.
People who buy and rent residential unites have a greater deal of legal protections not available to buyers 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 Clarke County, Georgia
Financing: Some small businesses in Clarke County, Georgia 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.
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 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.
Duty to Inspect: This is a companion to the duty to disclose defects. Generally, buyers of real estate are expected to inspect the property. If they fail to conduct a good inspection, they might not be able to recover damages if they are harmed by any defects which an inspection would have revealed.
Encumbrances: These are defects to title, rather than physical defects. They are legal issues which might make it difficult or impossible for a landowner to make full use of their land. In Clarke County, Georgia, these might include easements. An easement is a right to use property held by a party other than the owner. This use is often very limited in scope, such as allowing the holder of the easement to cross the property to access a public road, or something similar. Such rights usually have to be recognized and honored by new owners, so if they buy property not knowing about them, they might be seriously inconvenienced.
Can a Clarke County, Georgia Attorney Help?
Because of the complexity and importance of many of the issues concerning commercial real estate, it is almost always necessary to consult with a Clarke County, Georgia attorney before buying or selling commercial real estate.