Real Estate Law in South Carolina
Charleston County'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 Charleston County can get pretty complicated, especially when things such as mortgages, disputes about construction defects, and conflicts over title are involved.
Therefore, it's a good idea to learn some of the basics of Charleston County's real estate laws.
If you have even a little bit of basic knowledge of applicable real estate law, your life will probably be a great deal easier. If you have some understanding of the law, your knowledge will likely put you in a better bargaining position.
Common Real Estate Law Issues in Charleston County
Financing: The majority of people in Charleston County can't afford to make a major real estate purchase by paying the full purchase price up front. Most people and small businesses, therefore, use a mortgage to make real estate purchases. A mortgage is a loan issued for the purpose of buying a piece of property, with the bank obtaining a security interest in that property until the loan and interest are paid off.
Zoning: Zoning regulations determine what types of structures are allowed on various parcels, based on their location in a municipality. For example, some areas in a city might be zoned only for residential use. Another area might allow industrial use. These rules are meant to keep property values up, and promote harmony among neighbors by preventing conflicts.
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 common 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 Charleston County, every residential lease agreement, whether it's explicitly 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 Charleston County Real Estate Lawyer Help?
These issues, along with many others, can sometimes be fairly perplexing. Therefore, you should never hesitate to consult with a Charleston County real estate attorney if you have any questions.