Commercial Real Estate Law in Virginia
In Winchester, 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 Winchester, 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.
For instance, commercial real estate usually isn't covered by rent control laws, nor does it carry with it an implied warranty of habitability (because people generally won't be living in it). Furthermore, it also doesn't come with a covenant of quiet enjoyment. However, some of the most basic legal protections (such as laws against fraud, and concealment of defects) apply in both the commercial and residential context.
Common Commercial Real Estate Law Issues in Winchester, Virginia
Financing: Most small business owners in Winchester, Virginia don't have the money to buy real estate with the cash on hand. Nonetheless, there is a solution to this problem, permitting 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 bought 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 significant 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 significant consequences. 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: generally, 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 harmed by physical defects that an inspection would have revealed, and that the seller didn't know about.
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 Winchester, 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 Winchester, Virginia Attorney Help?
These issues are sometimes perplexing, and almost always very important. Therefore, it's essential to seek the assistance of a Winchester, Virginia real estate attorney if you have any dealings in this area.