Commercial Real Estate Law in Iowa

In Fort Madison, Iowa, "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 Fort Madison, Iowa 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 some pretty substantial legal protections, because the law of most states presumes that shelter (being necessary to survive, for the most part) is more important than business. Therefore, many of these consumer protections don't apply to commercial real estate.

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 Fort Madison, Iowa

Financing: The majority of small businesses in Fort Madison, Iowa can't afford to make large real estate purchases with the money they have in the bank. Still, buying real estate is sometimes imperative for a business' survival. This problem is sometimes remedied by taking out a mortgage; a loan used to buy property, with that same property being used to secure the loan.

Duty to Disclose Defects: It is of the utmost importance that sellers and lessors of commercial real estate be up front about any defects that might be present in the property. Failing to disclose them can be bad, and actively concealing them can be much worse. In general, if a defect is serious enough that it would influence a reasonable person's decision to buy a piece of property, and the seller knows about it, the seller should disclose it. Failure to disclose can have serious results. If the buyer later discovers the defect, they can sue for the cost of repairing it, or for any reduction in the property's value caused by it. And, of course, if it causes any injuries, the buyer can sue the seller for those, as well.

Duty to Inspect: While buyers of real estate have some substantial 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 typically won't be able to successfully sue, if defects are discovered after the purchase.

Encumbrances: Undisclosed encumbrances are defects of another sort: defects of title. An encumbrance is any interest that a third party has in the Fort Madison, Iowa 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 Fort Madison, Iowa Attorney Help?

The issues surrounding commercial real estate in Fort Madison, Iowa can get fairly complex. Therefore, it's never a bad idea to have the assistance of an efficient commercial real estate attorney.