Commercial Real Estate Dispute Attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Buying or leasing a commercial property is much different than buying or renting a residential property. State and local laws usually provide protections for residential buyers and lessees, including details like disclosing defects before the transaction concludes. Governments generally assume that those involved in commercial property transactions are more sophisticated, so there are fewer legal shields in place.
Buying a residential property is also much different than a commercial property. You can place a down payment in escrow, search for a lender, and get a 30-year mortgage at the going interest rate. For commercial property, you may still have to put a down payment into escrow, but your lender is unlikely to give you a 30-year window. They may want full repayment, or refinance, in as little as two or three years.
Commercial real estate transactions can run into hiccups on several different fronts. If there is a group of investors seeking to lease or buy a property, for instance, one or more investors may disagree on what the others see as a great opportunity. Just like residential properties, a commercial property may have title defects. Contracts can be breached. In other words, all sorts of disputes can erupt in a commercial real estate transaction.
If you’re involved in a commercial real estate transaction in or around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, or have already concluded one and you’re facing a dispute or other obstacle, contact Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C. I can guide you through the purchase or leasing process to help it go smoothly, or after a transaction, I can evaluate the situation and present your best options for a resolution.
In addition to Pittsburgh, I also help commercial real estate clients throughout Allegheny County and all of the surrounding counties, including Butler, Westmoreland, Beaver, Armstrong, and Washington.
Common Commercial Real Estate Disputes
For anyone involved in a commercial real estate transaction, the term caveat emptor—“buyer beware”—applies whether it’s a purchase or a lease. You must make sure the piece of property, whether land, an office building, a factory, an apartment complex, or anything else, is truly what it is built up to be.
That’s a major reason you should work with a commercial real estate attorney from the very start through the closing of the deal: details, details, details. Everything from permits and zoning to boundary disputes to title defects to environmental concerns can plague you even after closing the deal.
That being said, some of the more common commercial real estate disputes involve:
BREACH OF CONTRACT: A breach of contract can occur when one party to an agreement, such as a purchase agreement or a lease, fails to live up to something agreed to. The seller or lessor of a commercial structure may agree to repair the parking lot potholes and fail to do so. That’s a breach and needs to be addressed.
CO-OWNER DISAGREEMENTS: If you’re entering into a commercial transaction with others, one or more partners may have reservations and seek to nix the deal.
ZONING/PERMIT ISSUES: Depending on the use of the property you’re seeking to acquire, you need to make sure that it is zoned for that use and also determine if you need any special permits. Until you’re certain, don’t close the deal.
PROPERTY DEFECTS: You need to conduct your due diligence before acquiring a commercial property. You don’t necessarily have the same protections a residential buyer does when it comes to disclosure of defects.
CONSTRUCTION ISSUES: If you’ve acquired the commercial property you’re seeking and then engaged in remodeling or refurbishing what you now own, the contractor you hire can fall short on the promised time frame or even on the quality of work. This could be another breach of contract.
Resolving Commercial Real Estate Disputes
Litigation can be costly in terms of money and time spent in court. You probably want to start with alternative dispute resolution (ADR) approaches. Mediation is non-binding and fairly informal. A trained mediator will listen to both sides of the issue and urge a kind of reconciliation. At the end of the process, the mediator will propose a solution, which, as mentioned, is not binding.
Arbitration is a step above and is almost always binding. Arbitration also resembles more of a courtroom battle in that both sides can present evidence, call witnesses, make closing arguments, and the like. The arbitrators, or arbitrators, will then issue a decision that binds both parties.
It’s better to head off disputes before they happen, and for that, an experienced commercial real estate attorney can help you navigate the process. Disputes may still arise, but you have the help you need already at your disposal if they do.
Commercial Real Estate Disputes Attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
In or around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for all your commercial real estate transaction questions and concerns, contact Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C. I will work with you closely every step of the way and help you address any disputes with the best resolution possible.