Commercial Real Estate Law in Iowa
In Iowa City, Iowa, "commercial real estate" is any form of land or building which is utilized for a business, as opposed to residential, purpose.
The Iowa City, Iowa laws regulating commercial real estate differ significantly from the laws that cover residential and other types of 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 numerous others. Of course, the most general protections, such as prohibiting the seller from actively concealing defects, apply to both.
Common Commercial Real Estate Law Issues in Iowa City, Iowa
Financing: Most small business owners in Iowa City, Iowa don't have the money to buy real estate with the cash on hand. Nonetheless, there is a solution to this problem, permitting people without massive sums of money (but with a steady income) to buy real estate: the mortgage. A mortgage is a loan used to buy real estate, and the real estate being bought is used as collateral for the loan.
Disclosure of Defects: Sellers of real estate have an requirement to inform prospective buyers of any defects present in the property, such as water damage and other structural problems. Essentially, 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 challenging or impossible for a landowner to make full use of their land. In Iowa City, Iowa, 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 set 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 Iowa City, Iowa Attorney Help?
Because of the complexity and importance of many of the issues regarding commercial real estate, it is almost always crucial to consult with an Iowa City, Iowa attorney before buying or selling commercial real estate.