Commercial Real Estate Law in Virginia
In Richmond, Virginia, commercial real estate is any parcel of land, or any building, which is utilized for business purposes, as opposed to residential, agricultural, or industrial use.
The laws in Richmond, Virginia which govern commercial real estate differ significantly from the laws governing the rental and purchase of residential 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.
Several of the protections that don't apply to commercial property include warranties of habitability, rent control, and warranties of quiet enjoyment. There are others, as well. The most general protections, nonetheless, apply to buyers of both residential and commercial real estate, including remedies for fraud and concealment of physical or title defects.
Common Commercial Real Estate Law Issues in Richmond, Virginia
Financing: Some small businesses in Richmond, Virginia 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.
Concealment of Defects: if the seller or lessor of commercial real estate actively conceals a material defect in the real estate, they can be liable to the buyer or renter for any damages caused by this concealment.
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 any interest held in a piece of property by a party other than the seller and the buyer. These property interests might make it very difficult for the buyer to use the land as they intended when they bought it. A common type of encumbrance in Richmond, Virginia is the easement. An easement is some right that a third party has in a piece of property. For example, suppose that, many years ago, a neighbor adjacent to the land you want to buy, paid a previous owner for the right to cross his land to reach a public road. Unless the agreement states otherwise, this right will usually apply to subsequent owners, and has to be honored. Therefore, it might interfere with the intended use of the new owner.
Can a Richmond, Virginia Attorney Help?
The issues surrounding commercial real estate in Richmond, Virginia can get fairly complex. Therefore, it's never a bad idea to have the assistance of an experienced commercial real estate attorney.