Puerto Rico Real Estate Lawyers
In Puerto Rico, real estate law is a very broad area of law covering anything that has to do with the ownership of land and buildings.
Real estate law can apply to many different facets of a personal and professional life. It can apply to anything from the purchase of a vacant lot, to renting prime downtown office space.
Puerto Rico real estate law can be very complex, because it's really a collection of a lot of different areas of law. These areas of law include property rights, contracts, land use, and many others.
Having a good basic knowledge of Puerto Rico real estate law can make a lot of transactions, such as buying a house or renting an apartment, much easier.
Common Real Estate Issues in Puerto Rico
Financing: Most people in Puerto Rico probably can't afford to buy a house or a piece of land up front. Therefore, most individuals and business use some form of financing to purchase real estate, usually a mortgage. A mortgage is a loan used to buy a piece of real estate, with the purchased real estate simultaneously securing the loan.
Disclosure: When a house or other structure is for sale, the seller has to tell prospective buyers about all physical defects of which the seller is aware, and which the buyer couldn't be reasonably expected to discover. However, if you are selling a house, you should probably just disclose every defect you're aware of. This will save you a great deal of potential liability. Even if your disclosure of a particular defect wasn't required (because the buyer could have easily discovered it), the buyer might still sue, and the cost of defending this lawsuit, even if you win, will be very high.
Warranty of Habitability: All rented residential properties have at least one basic requirement: they must actually be fit for people to live in them. While the apartments they rent aren't required to be luxurious or pretty, landlords are absolutely required to ensure that their property meets some basic standards for human habitability. This applies whether the lease mentions it or not, and cannot be waived, under any circumstances. A dwelling will usually be found to be uninhabitable if it lacks running water, electricity, heating, or protection from the elements. There are many other ways that a dwelling could be uninhabitable, however.
Zoning Laws: Zoning laws state what can and cannot be built on a particular piece of property, usually based on the land's location within the town or city. Areas are usually zoned with the goal of ensuring that residential areas are not too close to industrial areas, among other things. If you have some kind of construction project planned on your property, you should make absolutely sure that it is in compliance with Puerto Rico zoning laws BEFORE you begin.
Do I Need a Puerto Rico Real Estate Lawyer?
Because of the potential complexity of the above-discussed issues, along with the many others that might come up in the real estate context, it would be smart to speak with a Puerto Rico real estate lawyer before engaging in any major real estate deal.
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean. The islands were ceded to the United States in 1898, as an outcome of the Treaty of Paris. Although Puerto Rico is not a U.S. state, U.S. federal laws apply to Puerto Rican citizens, who were declared U.S. citizens in 1917.
Puerto Rico has a republican form of government similar to that of the U.S. with its three branches. Its capitol is located in San Juan, and is home to the Legislative Assembly. Puerto Rican law is a hybrid system of common law (similar to U.S. case law) and civil law (statutes created by legislature). Thus, lawyers in Puerto Rico must study and examine these two overlapping systems when assisting clients.
Puerto Rico's court system is composed of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, a Court of Appeals, and the Court of First Instance. Selected fundamental rights from the U.S. Constitution apply to Puerto Rican citizens. U.S. Supreme Court cases have commented on which other specific rights apply to the territory. For example, residents of Puerto Rico generally do not have the right to vote in U.S. presidential elections
Lawyers in Puerto Rico assist clients by providing a wide range of legal services. Puerto Rico lawyers are available to assist with legal issues that can be very unique to the area. Attorneys in Puerto Rico are also available for representation in court during lawsuits and other types of legal claims.