Real Estate Law in Massachusetts
In Cambridge, real estate law can affect just about anything involving the use, purchase, or sale of land and fixtures to land, such as buildings.
The many laws affecting real estate in Cambridge can sometimes feel overwhelming in their volume and complexity. This might apply doubly when your case involves a foreclosure, or a construction dispute.
So, if you're planning on engaging in any kind of real estate transaction, it's essential that you learn at least the basics of real estate law in Cambridge.
Knowing the law can serve you in a number of ways: it can put you in a better negotiating position, it can help you spot unlawful terms in lease agreements, and ensure that you know your rights if a dispute arises, among other things.
Common Real Estate Law Issues in Cambridge
Financing: Most people are unable to make major real estate purchases in Cambridge with cash, because few people have that kind of money on hand. Therefore, to buy real estate, most entities use a mortgage. This is a loan used to buy a piece of property. When the loan is issued, and the property purchased, the lender holds a security interest in the property until the loan is paid off, with interest.
Zoning: Zoning laws dictate what types of buildings can go on given pieces of property. These laws are generally designed to ensure that residential areas are as clean and as quiet as possible, thereby preserving property values. They accomplish this by ensuring that other uses that might be inappropriate in a residential area, such as heavy industry, are in different parts of town. This also ensures that industries will be able to go about their business without constant complaints from their neighbors.
Duty to Disclose: sellers of real estate, especially houses and other residential property, are legally bound to tell the buyer about any defects in the property that the seller knows about, and that the buyer couldn't easily discover on his own (mold or termite problems are common examples). If the seller fails to make such disclosures, he or she could be liable for any harm the defect causes to the buyer, as well as the cost of repairing it. If the seller intentionally conceals or lies about the defect, he or she might also face punitive damages.
Implied Warranties: In Cambridge, every residential lease agreement, whether it's explicitly stated or not, has an "implied warranty of habitability." This is a legally-imposed promise by the landlord that the rented dwelling (whether it's a house or apartment) is fit for habitation by humans. While there are many requirements for a place to be considered habitable, some of the most essential ones are electricity, running water, heating, and protection from the elements.
Can a Cambridge Real Estate Lawyer Help?
These issues, along with many others, can sometimes be fairly complicated. Therefore, you should never hesitate to consult with a Cambridge real estate attorney if you have any questions.