Commercial Real Estate Law in Iowa
In Washington, Iowa, "commercial real estate" is any type of land or building which is used for a business, as opposed to residential, purpose.
The Washington, Iowa laws governing 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 considerable number of legal protections. Many of these protections don't apply to buyers or renters of commercial property.
For example, commercial real estate typically isn't covered by rent control laws, nor does it carry with it an implied warranty of habitability (because people usually won't be living in it). Furthermore, it also doesn't come with a covenant of quiet enjoyment. However, some of the most basic legal protections (such as laws against fraud, and concealment of defects) apply in both the commercial and residential context.
Common Commercial Real Estate Law Issues in Washington, Iowa
Financing: Most small business owners in Washington, Iowa don't have the money to buy real estate with the cash on hand. However, there is a solution to this problem, allowing 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 purchased is used as collateral for the loan.
Concealment of Defects: if the seller of commercial property acts to conceal a significant defect in the property, and then sells the property, he will be responsible for any harm this defect cause, as well as the reduced value of the property, or the cost of repair.
Duty to Inspect: Buyers of commercial real estate are expected to be diligent, and a court will not reward a lack of diligence. Consequently, if the buyer fails to conduct a thorough inspection of the property before buying it, and thereby fails to discover defects which such an inspection could have easily revealed, he will not be able to sue the seller over these defects later on.
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 Washington, 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 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 Washington, Iowa Attorney Help?
Because of the importance and potential complexity of the issues surrounding commercial real estate, it's almost always advisable that, before engaging in any real estate deal, you pursue the counsel of a good Washington, Iowa real estate attorney.