Overview of Real Estate and Property Law
Real Estate and Property Law includes a wide amount of topics, such as buying and selling residential or commercial property to residential or commercial leases. Common Real Estate and Property Law disputes involve maintenance of condominiums and cooperatives, establishing property title and boundary lines, and zoning and property land use. Real estate and property law also comprises the financing aspects of property, such as mortgages and foreclosures.
Buying or Selling Property
- Brokers: Buying and selling property is usually done through brokers. Brokers are people who help people find properties, help owners sell property, and help with all the paperwork involved with property transactions.
- Disclosure: If you are selling a home, you must be sure to reveal all the property's defects you are aware of, such as structural or electrical problems. This duty is called "disclosure" or "disclosure of material defects".
- Buyer's Duties: A buyer should also inspect the property for defects that the seller is unaware of. Additionally, buyers should check to see if there are any mortgages or liens on the property. This check can be done at the country recorder's office.
Duties of the Landlord and Tenant in Residential Property
The landlord owes the tenant several duties, including:
- Habitability: The landlord guarantees the property is habitable, which means it is in good shape by regularly maintaining the property and repairing any problems that arise - also known as an "implied warranty of habitability".
- Ordinances: The landlord guarantees the property conforms to city and state laws
As a tenant you must:
- Pay rent on time
- Adhere to your lease's restrictions (i.e. no pets, no nuisance, etc.) Failing to fulfill these duties could result in eviction
Does My Property Have to Conform to Local Zoning Ordinances?
Most localities have a Planning or Zoning committee that regulates land use. When this committee passes a zoning ordinance, all properties in the locality must follow them unless one of the following exceptions applies:
- Variance: You can apply for a variance, which means that your property would be excused from conforming to the ordinance. The zoning committee has discretion over whether or not the variance will be granted.
Non-Conforming Use: New zoning laws do not affect existing buildings. So a building that predates the new zoning law is a non-conforming use of