Real Estate Law in Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh's real estate industry is controlled by a huge body of laws. This is because almost any real estate transaction invokes laws regarding civil rights, consumer protection, land use, and contracts.
The law controlling real estate in Pittsburgh can get pretty complicated, especially when things such as mortgages, disputes about construction defects, and conflicts over title are involved.
Thus, it's always good to have at least some knowledge of Pittsburgh's real estate law.
Having at least some knowledge of real estate law will be to your advantage in practically any real estate transaction. Knowing the law can give you a bargaining advantage and prevent you from being saddled with obligations that you don't have to assume.
Common Real Estate Law Issues in Pittsburgh
Financing: Most individuals are unable to make major real estate purchases in Pittsburgh with cash, because few people have that kind of money on hand. Thus, 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 laws dictate what types of buildings can go on given pieces of property. These laws are typically designed to ensure that residential areas are as clean and as quiet as possible, thereby preserving property values. They accomplish this by ensuring that other uses that might be inappropriate in a residential area, such as heavy industry, are in different parts of town. This also ensures that industries will be able to go about their business without constant complaints from their neighbors.
Duty to Disclose: sellers of real estate, particularly houses and other residential property, are legally bound to tell the buyer about any defects in the property that the seller knows about, and that the buyer couldn't easily discover on his own (mold or termite problems are frequent examples). If the seller fails to make such disclosures, he or she could be liable for any harm the defect causes to the buyer, as well as the cost of repairing it. If the seller intentionally conceals or lies about the defect, he or she might also face punitive damages.
Implied Warranties: In Pittsburgh, every residential lease agreement, whether it's clearly stated or not, has an "implied warranty of habitability." This is a legally-imposed promise by the landlord that the rented dwelling (whether it's a house or apartment) is fit for habitation by humans. While there are many requirements for a place to be considered habitable, some of the most essential ones are electricity, running water, heating, and protection from the elements.
Can a Pittsburgh Real Estate Lawyer Help?
These issues, along with many others, can sometimes be fairly difficult. Therefore, you should never hesitate to consult with a Pittsburgh real estate attorney if you have any questions.