Commercial Real Estate Law in Texas
Commercial real estate is any type of land or structure in Jefferson County, Texas which is used for business purposes, primarily the sale of goods and/or services to the public.
The laws covering commercial real estate in Jefferson County, Texas are quite different from those applying to residential real estate.
Buyers and renters of residential property enjoy some pretty substantial legal protections, because the law of most states presumes that shelter (being necessary to survive, for the most part) is more important than business. Therefore, many of these consumer protections don't apply to commercial real estate.
These absent protections include rent control, and warranties of habitability, among others. The most basic protections, such as prohibiting sellers of real estate from lying about the property to the buyer, apply in any context, however.
Common Commercial Real Estate Law Issues in Jefferson County, Texas
Financing: Most small business owners in Jefferson County, Texas don't have the money to buy real estate with the cash on hand. However, there is a solution to this problem, allowing people without massive sums of money (but with a steady income) to buy real estate: the mortgage. A mortgage is a loan used to buy real estate, and the real estate being purchased is used as collateral for the loan.
Duty to Disclose Defects: It is of the utmost importance that sellers and lessors of commercial real estate be up front about any defects that might be present in the property. Failing to disclose them can be bad, and actively concealing them can be much worse. In general, if a defect is serious enough that it would influence a reasonable person's decision to buy a piece of property, and the seller knows about it, the seller should disclose it. Failure to disclose can have serious results. If the buyer later discovers the defect, they can sue for the cost of repairing it, or for any reduction in the property's value caused by it. And, of course, if it causes any injuries, the buyer can sue the seller for those, as well.
Buyer's Duty to Inspect: usually, 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 injured by physical defects that an inspection would have revealed, and that the seller didn't know about.
Encumbrances: These are defects to title, rather than physical defects. They are legal issues which might make it difficult or impossible for a landowner to make full use of their land. In Jefferson County, Texas, these might include easements. An easement is a right to use property held by a party other than the owner. This use is often very limited in scope, such as allowing the holder of the easement to cross the property to access a public road, or something similar. Such rights usually have to be recognized and honored by new owners, so if they buy property not knowing about them, they might be seriously inconvenienced.
Can a Jefferson County, Texas Attorney Help?
Because of the importance and potential complexity of the issues surrounding commercial real estate, it's almost always advisable that, before engaging in any real estate deal, you pursue the counsel of a good Jefferson County, Texas real estate attorney.