Real Estate Matters and Transactions
Commercial Lease Drafting and Review
It is important to understand that commercial landlord-tenant law differs from residential landlord-tenant law and some rights that residential tenants take for granted do not apply in the case of commercial tenants. Well drafted commercial leases protect the interests of both the Landlord (Lessor) and the Tenant (Lessee). We offer legal representation in lease drafting/review for both commercial lessors and lessees. We can prepare leases, review LOI’s and leases, and can aid in lease negotiations if needed.
An easement is a right to use or enter the property of another land owner without actually owning the property. Easements are granted for numerous reasons. Some easements are very common, such as a utility easement for telephone or electrical power lines. Other easements may provide access to otherwise land-locked property. Some easement agreements are written and recorded and will appear on your title report for your property. Other easement rights may arise from circumstances (an “implied easement”) and others may arise from use over time (a “prescriptive easement”). We can assist you with any type of easement concern or dispute including preparing or reviewing easement agreements, and we have substantial experience in litigating easement disputes in court if that is necessary.
Encroachments and Boundary Disputes
Boundary disputes can occur when there is a question over the actual location of a property line. Fences or other structures may have been constructed in locations where they should not have been. Encroachments often involve infringements on property rights where an adjoining property has structures (buildings, fences, gates) that interfere with your use of your property. We offer legal counsel and support in dealing with and resolving boundary disputes and encroachments.
Real Estate Document Review
Many real estate documents and contracts are lengthy and complicated. Selling or buying a home involves entering into contracts with a real estate broker/agent, a contract of sale, escrow documents, and loan documents. Do you understand those documents their legal and practical implications? We can review any of your real estate documents prior to you signing them. This can include a comprehensive review and explanation of all of the real estate documents involved in the process, allowing clarifications and changes to be made if necessary. A legal document review will help to protect your interests, providing you with piece of mind and a clear understanding of the legalities associated with your transaction. Many people sign real estate documents without fully understanding them and this may have legal implications later. For example, many real estate sellers and buyers agree to binding arbitration when buying or selling real estate and then are later surprised when they learn what that really means. Click here for a brief explanation of some of the “pros” and “cons” of binding arbitration.
Joint Ownership and Shared Ownership of Real Property
Joint ownership of real property, known in real estate law as a “joint tenancy” or a “tenancy in common,” are forms of ownership established by two or more persons of the same property. In creating a joint tenancy, joint tenants are given equal ownership of a property. Additionally, joint tenancy creates a ‘Right of Survivorship’ meaning that if one owner dies, their share of property is transferred to the survivor(s) by operation of law. A tenancy in common is another form of joint ownership, but tenants in common can own unequal interests and there is no right of survivorship. While a joint tenancy helps to avoid the probate process through the automatic transfer of property on death, there are many potential pitfalls associated with joint ownership and joint tenancy. It is important to consult a real estate attorney prior to initiating a joint ownership agreement. A real estate attorney can assist you in choosing between a joint tenancy, a tenancy in common, and other forms of shared ownership of property (such as partnerships and LLC’s). A real estate attorney can also assist you when dealing with disputes or legal issues associated with joint ownership, such as when one or more joint owners want to terminate the joint ownership. For a brief explanation of Partition (which is the legal process by which shared ownership is terminated) click here.
Real Estate Transactions
Whether you are buying, selling, owning, developing or financing residential and commercial real estate, all real estate dealings have legal components and can have important legal consequences. Having the support of an attorney experienced in real estate transactions can help you understand the process and can help prevent legal complications that can lead to disputes or litigation down the road.
The planning and development of commercial real estate projects can be easily complicated by legal issues. Title matters, easements, financing for acquisition and development, construction contracts, and sales and lease agreements are just some of the areas that can arise and delay or interfere with your project. We offer legal assistance and counsel in navigating through the process so that your project is given the best chance of success.