Commercial properties pave the way to long-term wealth growth. This is why many real estate investors often find themselves delving into this property type. However, beneath its profitability lies a complex world of laws that investors must navigate in order to ensure compliance. This includes regulations on a commercial property’s use, contracts, tenant relations, and much more.
In this article, we’ll uncover some standard legal requirements that commercial property owners must abide by. Gaining an understanding of these legal challenges will allow you to ensure that you stay compliant for years to come. That way, so you can maintain your property’s value, and operate your rental business for as long as possible.
If you don’t have the time to dive into these regulations yourself, or if you need the guidance of professionals in navigating these laws, consider partnering with a commercial property management firm in Florida.
Zoning and land use
You may have invested in a commercial property, however, that does not give you the right to use it however you want. Often, state laws will dictate how your property—more specifically, the land it’s on—can be used based on its location. These laws are enforced to ensure the safety of the community, especially if your commercial property is within or near a residential area.
While you can attempt to convince the local government to change the zoning of a particular property, do note that it’s a tedious process. With that being said, it would be wise to do your homework on a particular commercial property you plan to invest in.
Building codes and fire safety
All real estate investors have to abide by building codes set by local legislators. This ensures that the commercial property is structurally sound, is constructed with industry-standard materials, and is maintained year-round. Building codes vary by state and may change over time, so it’s crucial to consult a property manager to ensure you continuously meet your legal obligations.
In addition to building codes, note that you must also abide by fire safety standards. This includes tasks like installing fire alarms, emergency lighting, fire sprinkler systems, and more. Furthermore, you must have an evacuation plan in place, and position them strategically throughout your property to guide people in case of a fire.
Like most laws, disclosure laws vary by state. However, these laws are generally designed to ensure that tenants are fully aware of the property’s condition, from the inside-out. For example, if your commercial property was constructed using potentially toxic substances (e.g. lead paint), you must disclose this detail to your tenants before they sign their rental contract.
It can be helpful to hire a Florida property management firm that can handle these interactions on your behalf. Not only will they be familiar with your local laws, but they can also help you obtain information on your property and determine if any of its parts were made from harmful materials.
It’s no secret that commercial property owners deal with more contracts than residential property owners. For instance, they handle contracts with tenants, maintenance companies, investors, contractors, and more. Unfortunately, the more contracts you have, the higher the risk of contract-related disputes and disagreements over the agreed-upon conditions.
To address these disputes, you may have to undergo court-mandated mediation, and in some cases, litigation. In these scenarios, it would be beneficial to have a lawyer who specializes in commercial real estate by your side. Fortunately, when you work with Luxury Property Care, you’ll have access to a team of attorneys who are experts in commercial real estate law. Not only will they represent you in court, but they’ll also be the ones to commercial contracts to ensure that you and your assets are protected.
Landlord-tenant laws are designed to protect the parties who sign an agreement. While the terms may vary by state, you’ll generally find clauses about payment of rent, termination of tenancy, duration of tenancy, taxation, and much more. It’s crucial to outline all of these clauses in the rental contract, otherwise, they may not be enforceable.
Do note, however, that just because it’s in the contract, doesn’t mean it’s automatically valid. The terms that can be found in your contract must be complemented by state, local, and federal laws.
Premises liability laws
It’s a common misconception that commercial property owners are immediately liable for injuries that occur on their premises. In reality, it depends on who was at fault, and the property’s condition at the time the injury occurred.
With that in mind, it’s important to ensure that all of your property’s areas—especially common areas—are well-maintained and safe at all times. That way, you can prevent accidents on your property. In case an accident does occur and you’re blamed for it, you may be able to challenge that by proving that you’ve sufficiently ensured your property’s safety.
You can do this by partnering with a full-service commercial property management firm. They’ll carry out all tasks related to maintenance and repairs, so you can steer clear of accidents such as slip-and-falls.
It’s crucial to obtain insurance for your commercial property, as you’d undoubtedly want to protect your asset and yourself. However, while most policies will cover liability (i.e. accidents that occur on your property), structural issues, and other common perils such as theft, they will only apply to you. This means that your tenants are not covered by it, and they’ll have to obtain their own insurance.
Be sure your tenants are aware of this by outlining their responsibilities in the rental contract. That way, they won’t assume that you’ll cover the cost of their losses resulting from theft or other reasons. Consider consulting with a property management firm to ensure that all parties’ rights are properly protected.
Hire a commercial property management company in Florida
Navigating the laws and regulations can be a tricky task to undertake on your own. That’s why you should consider partnering with a property management firm that can walk you through it. At Luxury Property Care, we provide all of our clients with comprehensive legal guidance, ensuring that you stay compliant at all times, and that you have a good grasp of the laws and regulations that apply to your property.