Commercial Real Estate Law in Pennsylvania
Commercial real estate is any type of land or structure in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania which is used for business purposes, primarily the sale of goods and/or services to the public.
The laws in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania which regulate commercial real estate differ considerably from the laws governing the rental and purchase of 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.
Some of the protections that don't apply to commercial property include warranties of habitability, rent control, and warranties of quiet enjoyment. There are others, as well. The most basic protections, however, apply to buyers of both residential and commercial real estate, including remedies for fraud and concealment of physical or title defects.
Common Commercial Real Estate Law Issues in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Financing: The majority of small business owners in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 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.
Disclosure of Defects: Sellers of real estate have an obligation to inform prospective buyers of any defects present in the property, such as water damage and other structural problems. Basically, if the defect is significant enough that it might affect a reasonable buyer's decision on whether or not to purchase the property, and the seller knows about it, it must be disclosed. Failure to disclose such defects would give a buyer the right to sue the seller, and recover substantial damages, including the cost of repairing the defect, compensation for any injuries or illness caused by it, and the reduction in the property's value caused by the defect.
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: An encumbrance is some small ownership interest in land held by a third party, or some right held by a third party to restrict the use of a parcel of land. A typical encumbrance is an easement. In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, an easement is some right of some third party to make limited use of land owned by someone else. For example, cable companies often purchase easements from property owners (or they are imposed by the government) allowing them to string cable wiring from the telephone wires on the street to nearby houses. Like any other property right, the holder of an easement can prevent others from interfering with it. Obviously, if a buyer doesn't know about an encumbrance on a piece of land, he might find that he's unable to make the use of the land that he was expecting.
Can a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 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 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania attorney before buying or selling commercial real estate.