Commercial Real Estate Law in Pennsylvania
Commercial real estate is any form of land or structure in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania which is utilized for business purposes, mainly the sale of goods and/or services to the public.
The laws in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania which control commercial real estate differ substantially from the laws governing the rental and purchase of residential real estate.
People who buy and rent residential unites have a larger deal of legal protections not available to buyers of commercial property.
For instance, commercial real estate normally isn't covered by rent control laws, nor does it carry with it an implied warranty of habitability (because people typically 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 Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Financing: The majority of small business owners in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania probably can't afford to buy much real estate outright, with cash paid up front, so most small business buy 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 significant 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 significant outcomes. 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: Lest you believe that the duty to disclose defects relieves any duty of diligence on the part of the buyer, the law will not reward such lapses with a major cause of action. Buyers have a duty to conduct a reasonable inspection of the property before they buy it, normallyy with a licensed building inspector. If the buyer fails to do this, they won't be able to recover any damages for defects which they could have discovered through a reasonable inspection.
Encumbrances: Undisclosed encumbrances are defects of another sort: defects of title. An encumbrance is any interest that a third party has in the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania commercial real estate. These normally take the form of easements, which are rights held by third parties to use the land for a specific purpose. Easements can have profound effects on how a new owner can use the land, so it is critical to know about them before buying.
Can a Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Attorney Help?
The issues surrounding commercial real estate in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania can get fairly complex. Therefore, it's never a bad idea to have the assistance of an accomplished commercial real estate attorney.