Commercial Real Estate Law in Pennsylvania
Commercial real estate is any type of land or structure in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania which is used for business purposes, primarily the sale of goods and/or services to the public.
The laws in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania which govern commercial real estate differ significantly from the laws governing the rental and purchase of residential real estate.
Buyers and renters of residential property enjoy some pretty significant 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 usually isn't covered by rent control laws, nor does it carry with it an implied warranty of habitability (because people generally 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 Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
Financing: The majority of small businesses in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania can't afford to make large real estate purchases with the money they have in the bank. Nevertheless, buying real estate is sometimes essential for a business' survival. This problem is sometimes remedied by taking out a mortgage; a loan used to buy property, with that same property being used to secure 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 consequences. 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, usuallyy 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: An encumbrance is any interest held in a piece of property by a party other than the seller and the buyer. These property interests might make it very difficult for the buyer to use the land as they intended when they bought it. A common type of encumbrance in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania is the easement. An easement is some right that a third party has in a piece of property. For example, suppose that, many years ago, a neighbor adjacent to the land you want to buy, paid a previous owner for the right to cross his land to reach a public road. Unless the agreement states otherwise, this right will usually apply to subsequent owners, and has to be honored. Therefore, it might interfere with the intended use of the new owner.
Can a Luzerne County, Pennsylvania Attorney Help?
Because of the complexity and importance of many of the issues concerning commercial real estate, it is almost always essential to consult with a Luzerne County, Pennsylvania attorney before buying or selling commercial real estate.