f you’re a landlord or involved in the purchase of property, it’s easy to see how it would be in your best interests to know as much about real estate law as you can. But this area of the legal field isn’t just for those who make their livings off buying or renting property. It affects everyone who owns or rents a home or apartment. One of the oldest aspects of Western legal tenets, the legalities surrounding the purchase and sale of property can be very complex. You may not need a lawyer to rent an apartment, but it never hurts to know the basics.
Whether you’re renting a house or an apartment, real estate law will govern what you can and cannot do. Perhaps more importantly, it governs the limitations of your landlord. Because they fail to look into it themselves, many tenants don’t realize that their landlord or management company is out of bounds. They allow things to happen that are completely illegal. Each state has its own set of laws regarding this common relationship, and it pays to familiarize yourself with them. Without knowing where the boundaries are, you won’t know if you’re being taken advantage of.
If you’re interested in becoming a Realtor or property agent of any kind, real estate law will have a direct effect on your success. Unbeknownst to many, not just anyone can go out tomorrow and start showing houses. They must be regulated and licensed by the state. Experience, moral character requirements, and the passing of an exam all play a role in determining whether a person will qualify to be licensed. If you want to get into that line of work, check into your state’s prerequisites for licensing.
Both the state and the city create zoning districts for their locale. These zones determine what can and cannot happen within them. For instance, if you want to build an office building on a plot of land you purchased in a gated neighborhood, the city is going to tell you that your plans are about to be shut down. Cities are zoned into residential and business districts. Sometimes, these zones are enforced more strictly than even the residents would prefer. Even yard sales have been shut down for doing business in residential zones, although this type of overzealous enforcement of real estate law is relatively rare. Still, it never hurts to check with the city before you attempt to build or do something on questionable property.