Differences Between a Residential and Commercial Lease

Although state laws vary with respect to commercial and residential leases, each state consistently makes a distinction between the two which has a big impact for both the landlord and the tenant. Every state has laws protecting the rights of tenants in residential leases stemming from the landlord’s failure to provide required safe and habitable housing to the landlord’s failure to timely return a former tenant’s security deposit. In a commercial lease between a commercial tenant and commercial landlord, the thinking in most states is pretty much the same: commercial tenants are presumed to have the training, experience, knowledge and sophistication to enter into a written commercial lease and have access to skilled third party professionals to assist them in deciding whether to enter into a commercial lease or not.

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A Life Estate in Real Property

A life estate is an ownership interest in land that allows the holder of the life estate interest possession of the property until the death of the measuring person’s life.

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Partition of Jointly Owned Property

Where joint owners cannot agree on the whether or not to sell a jointly owned piece of real estate, the party or parties seeking the sale can go to court and file an action for “partition”. A partition action involves the division of property such as a home, farm, or undeveloped land (in some cases it can also apply to certain personal property as well).

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Real Property Defined

Real property is generally defined as land and things permanently attached to the land. Things that are permanently attached to the land include homes, garages, and buildings, and may also be referred to as ‘improvements.’ Substances that are beneath the land (such as gas, oil, minerals) are also considered permanently attached. Other items that can be attached to the land but that aren’t necessarily permanent, such as mobile homes and tool sheds, are not considered to be real property.

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Real Estate Syndications

Real estate syndicates create, sell, and operate real estate investments. This type of industry was especially popular in the ’80s, due to the favorable tax shelter treatment offered in the IRC. They offer a veritable myriad of investment scenarios, such as raw land speculation, new construction, new property or rehabilitation. A syndicate may be in the form of a corporation, or full or limited partnerships, with the latter being the most common format. Real estate syndications are not used like they were in years past, given changes in the IRS guidelines and the downturn in the country’s real estate market.

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Responsible Party for Home Repairs Following a Home Purchase

Whose responsibility is it to have the repairs done and paid for on unexpected problems with air conditioning, stove, roof, water heater, furnace, following a newly purchased home: the seller, the buyer, the home inspector/contractor who inspected the property before close of escrow or a combination? Transfer disclosure statement requirements, signed by the seller and given to the buyer, make sure that the seller discloses to the buyer all matters known by the seller about the property, about its conditions that would affect its desirability by a willing buyer, or the amount of money that a willing buyer would pay for the property. If the home was a newly constructed home, the developer will be responsible for the repairs at his or her own costs. If the buyer can prove that the seller knew of a known problem with the home that was sold and does not disclose this before close of escrow, the seller is responsible for all costs of the repair that failed after the home was purchased.

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Scroll down to find answers to the most common real estate law questions. General real estate law questions include learning the difference between residential and commercial leases, who is responsible for home repairs following a home purchase, understanding the risks of property ownership, and more. Enter your ZIP code if you need to get in touch with a real estate attorney near you.