Commercial Real Estate Law in Massachusetts
In Plymouth County, Massachusetts, commercial real estate is any type of real property (land or permanent structures) being used for business purposes.
The laws covering commercial real estate in Plymouth County, Massachusetts are quite different from those applying 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.
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 Plymouth County, Massachusetts
Financing: The majority of small business owners in Plymouth County, Massachusetts probably can't afford to buy much real estate outright, with cash paid up front, so most small business purchase commercial real estate with a mortgage. A mortgage is a loan taken out for the purpose of buying real estate, using that real estate as collateral for 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: This is a companion to the duty to disclose defects. Usually, 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 difficult or impossible for a landowner to make full use of their land. In Plymouth County, Massachusetts, 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 Plymouth County, Massachusetts Attorney Help?
Because of the complexity and importance of many of the issues concerning commercial real estate, it is almost always necessary to consult with a Plymouth County, Massachusetts attorney before buying or selling commercial real estate.