Commercial Real Estate Law in Virginia
In Woodstock, Virginia, commercial real estate is any parcel of land, or any building, which is used for business purposes, as opposed to residential, agricultural, or industrial use.
The laws in Woodstock, 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 example, 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 Woodstock, Virginia
Financing: Most small business owners in Woodstock, Virginia 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 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.
Duty to Inspect: While buyers of real estate have some significant 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 usually won't be able to successfully sue, if defects are discovered after the purchase.
Encumbrances: Undisclosed encumbrances are defects of another sort: defects of title. An encumbrance is any interest that a third party has in the Woodstock, Virginia commercial real estate. These usually take the form of easements, which are rights held by third parties to use the land for a specific purpose. Easements can have profound effects on how a new owner can use the land, so it is necessary to know about them before buying.
Can a Woodstock, Virginia Attorney Help?
These issues can be very complicated, and most people consider such financially-weighty decisions to be very necessary. If you are one of those people, it's a smart move to contact a Woodstock, Virginia real estate attorney if you are facing any of the issues discussed above.