Real Estate Law in Texas
Houston's real estate industry is governed by a huge body of laws. This is because almost any real estate transaction invokes laws concerning civil rights, consumer protection, land use, and contracts.
The several laws affecting real estate in Houston can sometimes feel overwhelming in their volume and complexity. This might apply doubly when your case involves a foreclosure, or a construction dispute.
Therefore, if you're planning on engaging in any kind of real estate transaction, it's important that you learn at least the basics of real estate law in Houston.
Some understanding of the appropriate law can give you an advantage in almost any situation. In the real estate situation, it can help you spot illegal terms in lease agreements, give you some idea of what your rights are in a dispute, among other things. If nothing else, knowledge of the law can help you spot people who are willing to break it, so you can avoid dealing with them.
Common Real Estate Law Issues in Houston
Financing: Most individuals, families, and small businesses in Houston cannot afford to buy a large piece of real estate with the money they have on hand. However, they usually can afford to pay for it over a long period of time, in installments, with interest. Thus, most real estate is purchased using a mortgage - a loan for a specific purchase, using the item purchased as collateral.
Zoning: Zoning laws establish rules saying what kinds of buildings are authorized in various areas of a city or town. These rules serve a variety of purposes. For example, they normally protect residents by making it illegal for industrial facilities to be built in residential areas. This also protects industries, allowing them to do their business without being bothered by constant complaints and lawsuits from their residential neighbors.
Duty of Disclosure: Sellers of homes are bound by a legal duty to disclose defects in the home to prospective buyers, before they buy the house. Any defect which the seller knows (or reasonably should know) about, and which cannot be discovered by the buyer through an ordinary inspection, must be disclosed to the buyer.
Implied Warranties: In Houston, every residential rental agreement carries with it a warranty of habitability, in which the landlord implicitly promises that the unit is fit for human habitation. This applies whether or not such a warranty is stated in the lease agreement, and it still applies even if the landlord tries to disclaim any such warranty. There are many conditions that might make a unit uninhabitable. A few examples are a lack of electricity, no running water, or no heating.
Can a Houston Real Estate Lawyer Help?
Because the issues discussed above can get complex for laypersons, if you have a real estate issue, such as an eviction, or a construction dispute, you should not hesitate to contact a Houston real estate attorney ASAP.