Commercial real estate transactions tend to be very complex. There are numerous issues that could result in future commercial real estate litigation that are seldom seen in transactions involving single family homes. While there are always risks involved in any property transaction, the goal is to lessen risks as much as possible.
Prior Use of the Property
One of the hazards that can be encountered with commercial property is what may have been done on the property by previous owners. Were hazardous materials dumped somewhere on the property in the past? Regulations were much more lenient formerly, permitting businesses to act in ways that are now prohibited. If the property has been commercial for a very long time, an environmental inspection could reveal problems caused by waste-water discharge or fuel contamination in the soil, for example.
When environmental cleanup is needed, the primary responsibility lies with the current property owner, even if the problems were caused by a previous owner. An underground storage tank may not be visible, but could have been slowly leaking for many years. Cleanup of contaminated property could cost millions, so anyone who once owned the property could become involved in a legal dispute over cleanup costs
A title search is normally performed when property changes hands. Even though there had been title searches done for previous sales of the property, a thorough title search can find a previously undiscovered problem that now needs to be corrected. In theory, every deed is recorded, so that there is a record of who owns what or who has a lien against a piece of property.
A previous sale of a partial interest in a piece of property may not be recorded. Someone may have been given an easement to travel over or use the property that was not found on a quick title search. A judgment against a previous owner may be a still-existing lien upon the property. An owner who is trying to sell a piece of property can suddenly find that the sale of the property cannot be concluded until a previously unknown legal issue is resolved. The fix will probably be expensive and time-consuming.
When commercial real estate litigation is a concern, experienced legal representation is mandatory. Christopher A. Hogan is a Grand Rapids, MI attorney who has the legal experience needed in these complex situations. For more information, visit Hogan-law.com. You can olso like them on Facebook!