There are many fields of law, but there is a specific one that people rarely think of: real estate law. It’s something that’s far more integral and important to people in Canada, but is usually forgotten about. So, what is real estate law and when do people need a real estate lawyer?
First, a real estate lawyer is not a real estate agent. Real estate law is a term used to describe the field of law that covers the buying, selling, and using of land. It can get more complex than that, however. The issue of real estate law isn’t just limited to the ground itself, but everything on it.
Property law includes the structures on the land and how they are and can be used. Real estate covers deeds, estate planning, taxes, and even zoning. So, now that it’s becoming clear now that people need a real estate lawyer more often than they thought, here are the times when a property owner has to give one a call:
Property Titles – This is probably the most common time that people will need to hire a real estate lawyer. When a person sells a property to another person, they have to transfer the title to that other person to complete the sale. This is a complex process that requires a professional hand to ensure that there are no loopholes in the agreement and that everything is done according to proper procedure.
Doing this without a real estate lawyer could result in the transfer of title being done incorrectly. When this happens, the results could mean legal court proceedings and it could even mean that the transfer of title didn’t happen at all, meaning that your house is not legally your home!
Creating a Deed – In some cases, people aren’t buying a new home or business, but are instead building a new one. When the purchase of a property includes the completion of structures on that property, people need to have a deed drawn to show proof that they do, indeed, own the property and the structure, or structures, that have been constructed on it.
This is a delicate bit of work to do and can’t be done by just anyone. In other words, there has to be more on a deed then “I own this land.”! That’s where real estate lawyers come in. They are the experts who draw up a deed to sign, which will then be transferred to new owners as time passes.
Zoning – Zoning law is usually something that involves business owners more often than homeowners, but both can be affected. Most population centres have three different zones: residential, industrial, and commercial.
Commercial zones involve real estate for private homes, whereas commercial zoning is for businesses, and industrial is for warehouses and factories. It is when these zones are abused or someone is seeking to have an area rezoned that real estate lawyers are called in to argue their case.
Taxes – Seemingly the bane of everyone’s existence, property, like many other things, is subject to tax. In most cases, people grudgingly pay their property taxes every year, but for those who believe that what they’re being charged is unfair, it’s time to call in a real estate lawyer to resolve the issue.
Believe it or not, this is something that occurs more often than people think, especially for those who own commercial properties that are suddenly reassessed as being much more valuable than they were previously.
Leases and Tenants – Part of owning a property can also involve renting it out and renting it out means having tenants. When an owner needs to lease a property, be it commercial or residential, they need to draft a lease agreement for their new tenants to sign.
Creating an agreement without the help of a real estate lawyer can result in a court nullifying all or part of the document should a tenant challenge it. This can result in a mind-numbing number of problems for those who lease and rent out properties, so real estate lawyers are very important to have on hand for this area of the law.
Homeowner Associations – Ever wonder how those homeowner associations manage to get all of that power to decide who can do what with their lawns? Well, that’s because they have real estate lawyers who draw up an association agreement that people endorse.
Don’t want to sign on the dotted line? That’s also when people moving into an area with a homeowner association also call a lawyer to challenge any restrictions that are being imposed on them.
All in all, real estate law doesn’t affect a few people, it actually affects everyone at one or another time in their lives, whether they’re buying a new property, renting one, or are even building a house!