Commercial Real Estate Law in Georgia
In Clayton 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 Clayton County, Georgia is managed 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 several 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 Clayton County, Georgia
Financing: Some small businesses in Clayton 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: 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 Clayton County, Georgia, 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 Clayton County, Georgia Attorney Help?
Because of the importance and potential complexity of the issues surrounding commercial real estate, it's almost always prudent that, before engaging in any real estate deal, you seek the counsel of a good Clayton County, Georgia real estate attorney.