Commercial Real Estate Law in Texas
Commercial real estate is any form of land or structure in Travis County, Texas which is utilized for business purposes, mainly the sale of goods and/or services to the public.
The Travis County, Texas laws regulating commercial real estate differ significantly from the laws that cover residential and other types of real estate.
Buyers and renters of residential property enjoy a large number of legal protections. Many of these protections don't apply to buyers or renters 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 Travis County, Texas
Financing: Some small businesses in Travis County, Texas 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, allowing the bank to foreclose on it in case the buyer defaults.
Disclosure of Defects: Sellers of real estate have an requirement to inform prospective buyers of any defects present in the property, such as water damage and other structural problems. Essentially, if the defect is significant enough that it might affect a reasonable buyer's decision on whether or not to purchase the property, and the seller knows about it, it must be disclosed. Failure to disclose such defects would give a buyer the right to sue the seller, and recover significant damages, including the cost of repairing the defect, compensation for any injuries or illness caused by it, and the reduction in the property's value caused by the defect.
Duty to Inspect: Lest you believe that the duty to disclose defects relieves any duty of diligence on the part of the buyer, the law will not reward such lapses with a major cause of action. Buyers have a duty to conduct a reasonable inspection of the property before they buy it, usuallyy with a licensed building inspector. If the buyer fails to do this, they won't be able to recover any damages for defects which they could have discovered through a reasonable inspection.
Encumbrances: An encumbrance is some small ownership interest in land held by a third party, or some right held by a third party to restrict the use of a parcel of land. A common encumbrance is an easement. In Travis County, Texas, an easement is some right of some third party to make limited use of land owned by someone else. For instance, cable companies often purchase easements from property owners (or they are imposed by the government) allowing them to string cable wiring from the telephone wires on the street to nearby houses. Like any other property right, the holder of an easement can prevent others from interfering with it. Obviously, if a buyer doesn't know about an encumbrance on a piece of land, he might find that he's unable to make the use of the land that he was expecting.
Can a Travis County, Texas Attorney Help?
Because of the importance and potential complexity of the issues surrounding commercial real estate, it's almost always recommended that, before engaging in any real estate deal, you seek the counsel of a good Travis County, Texas real estate attorney.