Real Estate Law in North Carolina
Durham's real estate industry is governed by a huge body of laws. This is because almost any real estate transaction invokes laws concerning civil rights, consumer protection, land use, and contracts.
Real estate law in Durham can be fairly complicated, especially when it comes to things like mortgages and the resolution of disputes over construction defects.
Accordingly, it's a good idea to learn some of the basics of Durham's real estate laws.
If you have even a little bit of basic understanding of applicable real estate law, your life will probably be a great deal easier. If you have some understanding of the law, your knowledge will likely put you in a better bargaining position.
Common Real Estate Law Issues in Durham
Financing: Most people are unable to make major real estate purchases in Durham 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 given, and the property purchased, the lender holds a security interest in the property until the loan is paid off, with interest.
Zoning: Zoning regulations govern what types of structures are allowed on various parcels, based on their location in a municipality. For example, some areas in a city might be zoned only for residential use. Another area might authorize industrial use. These rules are meant to keep property values up, and promote harmony among neighbors by preventing conflicts.
Duty to Disclose: If you're buying a house in Durham, you have particular legal protections. The seller has a duty to tell the buyer about any defects that the property has. All defects which the seller knows about, and which the buyer can't be expected to discover through an ordinary inspection, must be disclosed. If the seller fails to disclose a defect, and the buyer later discovers it, the seller can be sued for any diminution in the property's value caused by the defect, the cost of repairing it, and any injuries the buyers suffers as a result.
Implied Warranty: All residential lease agreements in Durham carry with them an implicit promise by the landlord that the property is fit for human habitation. This warranty does not need to be explicitly stated in order to have effect, and neither the tenant nor landlord can waive it. Any contract claiming to waive this warranty is void. To be considered habitable, a building must not be so dirty as to pose a health hazard, it must have running water, it must have electricity, and it must provide adequate protection from the weather. There are many other requirements, but if a building or unit lacks any one of those, it will be considered uninhabitable.
Can a Durham Real Estate Lawyer Help?
The issues briefly discussed above, as well as many others, can be very convoluted. Accordingly, if you are engaged in any real estate transaction, it's never a bad idea to first consult with an experienced Durham real estate attorney.