Commercial Real Estate Law in Virginia
Commercial real estate is any type of land or structure in Bristol, Virginia which is used for business purposes, primarily the sale of goods and/or services to the public.
The Bristol, Virginia laws governing commercial real estate differ significantly from the laws that cover residential and other types of real estate.
People who buy and rent residential unites have a larger deal of legal protections not available to buyers of commercial property.
These include implied warranties of habitability, rent control, and covenants of use and quiet enjoyment, among several others. Of course, the most basic protections, such as prohibiting the seller from actively concealing defects, apply to both.
Common Commercial Real Estate Law Issues in Bristol, Virginia
Financing: Some small businesses in Bristol, Virginia find it necessary, at some point, to purchase a piece of real estate, for various reasons. However, 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 people have hundreds of thousands of dollars just sitting in the bank. One solution to this is a mortgage, which is similar to most other types 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, permitting the bank to foreclose on it in case the buyer defaults.
Concealment of Defects: Sellers and lessors of commercial real estate are under a duty to disclose any defects in the property which might impact the buyer's decision to purchase it, such as water damage, mold, or other structural problems. These defects are quite common, and the buyer has a right to know about them. If the seller doesn't disclose these defects, where they exist, the buyer can sue for any harm this causes.
Duty to Inspect: While buyers of real estate have some considerable protections with respect to defects, they also have some obligations. Before finalizing a purchase, buyers are expected to undertake a reasonable inspection of the property, usually by using a licensed building inspector. If the buyer fails to conduct an inspection, they normally won't be able to successfully sue, if defects are discovered after the purchase.
Encumbrances: Encumbrances are defects of a different type: rather than physical defects, they are defects of title. In Bristol, Virginia, an encumbrance is an interest in a piece of real estate held by a third party, such as covenants or easements. An easement is a right held by someone to use the property of someone else for a particular purpose. For example, a person might have an easement on the land of another person, allowing them to cross the land to access a public road.
Can a Bristol, Virginia Attorney Help?
Because of the complexity and importance of many of the issues concerning commercial real estate, it is almost always essential to consult with a Bristol, Virginia attorney before buying or selling commercial real estate.