Commercial Real Estate Law in Pennsylvania
Commercial real estate is any form of land or structure in Washington County, Pennsylvania which is utilized for business purposes, mainly the sale of goods and/or services to the public.
The laws regulating real estate in Washington County, Pennsylvania apply differently when dealing with commercial, as opposed to residential, real estate.
People who buy and rent residential unites have a larger deal of legal protections not available to buyers of commercial property.
These include implied warranties of habitability, rent control, and covenants of use and quiet enjoyment, among numerous others. Of course, the most general protections, such as prohibiting the seller from actively concealing defects, apply to both.
Common Commercial Real Estate Law Issues in Washington County, Pennsylvania
Financing: Some small businesses in Washington County, Pennsylvania find it necessary, at some point, to purchase a piece of real estate, for various reasons. Nonetheless, most owners of small to medium-sized businesses can't afford to make a real estate purchase up front, with the cash they have on hand. Simply put, very few individuals have hundreds of thousands of dollars just sitting in the bank. One solution to this is a mortgage, which is similar to most other forms of secured loans: a bank lends you money, and you put up some piece of property as collateral, so the bank has some security in the event of default. With a mortgage, however, the property being purchased with the loan also secures the loan, permitting the bank to foreclose on it in case the buyer defaults.
Concealment of Defects: Sellers and lessors of commercial real estate are under a duty to disclose any defects in the property which might impact the buyer's decision to purchase it, such as water damage, mold, or other structural problems. These defects are quite typical, and the buyer has a right to know about them. If the seller doesn't disclose these defects, where they exist, the buyer can sue for any harm this causes.
Buyer's Duty to Inspect: typically, buyers of commercial real estate are expected to inspect the property before buying it. A failure to do so might prevent the buyer from prevailing in a lawsuit if he is hurt by physical defects that an inspection would have revealed, and that the seller didn't know about.
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 hard for the buyer to use the land as they intended when they bought it. A frequent type of encumbrance in Washington 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 Washington County, Pennsylvania Attorney Help?
The issues surrounding commercial real estate in Washington County, Pennsylvania can get fairly complex. Therefore, it's never a bad idea to have the assistance of an accomplished commercial real estate attorney.