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Oakland County Real Estate Law Blog

Avoiding stress while buying new vacation property in Michigan

If you are thinking about buying a new vacation property in Michigan, you want everything to go smoothly. The last thing you need is to add extra stress to your life when you are trying to find a place where you can go to escape the stress of day-to-day life. Your vacation property needs to be that escape, and that means ensuring that there are no issues with the legal process of making the purchase.

There are many things that you need to know before buying the property, such as exactly where the property lines lie, what the taxes are going to be every year and if there are any issues with the property that you should know about beforehand. Gathering all of this information is the only way to make sure that you buy a property that you're going to love, and if the seller misleads you in any way, you need to know what legal action you can take to make things right.

How can a lawyer help me with landlord-tenant disagreements?

Michigan tenants may sometimes find themselves involved in a legal squabble with a property owner they are renting from. Indeed -- be it a rented house, apartment or a long-term office space lease -- a renter could find him- or herself in all manner of landlord-tenant disagreements. Often, in these situations, a lawyer can be of enormous assistance in helping to resolve the dispute.

Those who are currently mired in a disagreement with a landlord -- or simply want to know what their legal rights are in their landlord-tenant relationship -- can ask an experienced landlord-tenant attorney to review the matter. This way, one can be certain that his or her legal rights are being fully evaluated and protected.

What should you know about inventory checklists in Michigan?

When signing a lease in Michigan, the landlord is probably going to provide you with an inventory checklist. This could be important later, as these checklists are often cited in landlord-tenant disagreements. Understanding how the process works under local laws is crucial when it comes to protecting your rights.

The first thing to know is that the law stipulates that the checklists are supposed to be used twice. The first time is when you start living in the rental property, and the second time is when you move out. The checklist is also supposed to relate just to the property that you have given the landlord a security deposit for.

Commercial zoning and land use issues

City and county governments in Michigan create land use and zoning regulations in order to preserve the safety and health of a community. They also use zoning to control an area's growth. Land use regulations and zoning ordinances govern the way property is used. For example, certain types of businesses may only be permitted to operate in a specific area. Zoning ordinances can also regulate the appearances of buildings -- such as the height, color, building materials and how far the building must be built away from the roadway.

Most zoning ordinances categorize areas of the city as residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural and recreational. Residential areas are typically split up into multi-family and single family areas. Commercial areas are places where offices and retail stores are allowed to do business. Industrial areas typically house manufacturing businesses. Agricultural areas allow for farming. Recreational areas reserve land for recreational-type activities.

Federal real estate transaction dispute suit alleges kickbacks

Real estate customers in Michigan must be able to trust their real estate brokers. Moving land and property between parties is a large undertaking that sometimes requires a great deal of money, complex contracts and any number of fees. According to a federal lawsuit, one real estate team outside of the state is accused of pocketing funds from real estate transaction.

The team is reportedly one of the top teams in the country, and experts say the real estate transaction dispute and litigation should not be ignored by others. It provides an important lesson about the need for everyone involved in a transaction to understand the myriad relationships between titling agencies, brokers, insurance companies, buyers and sellers.

What lead-safety laws govern construction work in Michigan?

In most cases, Michigan landlords are required to provide some basic assurances of safety to tenants. Renting apartments in a building that is falling down is unethical and could be illegal. Gray areas exist with regard to landlord responsibility for tenant safety, often resulting in landlord-tenant disagreements over repairs or other issues. One area where some may disagree is on safety issues involving lead-based paint.

One law provides some details about how remodeling, rebuilding or repair work must be done in buildings that might contain lead-based paint. According to the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule, which was issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, any business or individual working to paint, repair or remodel residential and other structures must be certified in mandatory lead-safety training.

Experience is key to resolving commercial real estate disputes

The representation of any Michigan client in a commercial real estate law matter requires an in-depth understanding of common problems and concerns faced by landlords, commercial property owners, real estate management firms and commercial tenants. The more a law firm focuses solely on matters pertaining to real estate, the more that firm will be familiar with and capable of tackling the unique issues faced by these individuals and businesses. At our Huntington Woods firm, we pride ourselves on our dedicated specialization in matters that strictly pertain to real estate.

Most of the cases we taken on involve lease transactions and litigation. However, we also handle a wide variety of general commercial real estate matters. Our services include the creation of commercial lease agreements; the resolution of commercial lease violations and issues pertaining to commercial lease terminations. We also assist with commercial property management issues, the litigation of commercial real estate disputes and we assist individuals and companies to successfully complete purchases and sales of retail and office space buildings.

Real estate transaction disputes: Broker-placed liens

Both individuals and businesses in Michigan know that liens can be placed against property for a variety of reasons. Common reasons that come to mind might include tax issues or failure to make mortgage payments. When it comes to commercial property, the real estate broker has the power to place a lien if payment for real estate services or commissions is not made.

According to Public Act 201 of 2010, only licensed brokers can place the lien on properties in this case. The agents, employees or contractors of a licensed broker may not take such action, and the broker can only move forward with a lien if there is a written agreement regarding the commission entitlement. The broker must prove that the agreement was not adhered to and record a claim of lien that meets timeframes supplied by Michigan state law.

Michigan lighthouse property could be an interesting investment

An interesting lighthouse property is up for auction near Mackinac Island, Michigan. Historically, the lighthouse, which opened in 1948, marked the maritime passage between Round Island and Mackinac Island in Lake Huron. The lighthouse is still in operation, and the U.S. Coastguard will continue to maintain its solar panel powered signaling beacons despite any purchases and sales of the property.

According to a representative for the U.S. General Services Administration, which is managing the auction, the lighthouse investment property has potential for being turned into a bed and breakfast business or even a home. The structure is made of steel plate, and it includes a concrete base and a 71-foot high tower; however, the land on which it stands is not for sale.

Building foreclosed - what's a leasee to do?

Many businesses opt to lease the space in which they work for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they cannot afford the financial outlay required to purchase a space, or they plan to buy a space when the business grows. Whatever the rationale, there are pros and cons to renting office space.

One pro is that if something goes wrong in the building, for instance, there's a leak, the plumbing goes haywire or something else occurs, the business only needs to call the building owner to get the issue fixed. If the business owns the building then any repairs would be the business' responsibility to handle. On the flip side, if the owner of the building is slow to make repairs, this can have a negative impact on customers and the business could suffer. Another consideration is potential growth for a business. If the business is starting small, then a large space might not be necessary at first. Buying a building to meet current needs that might not meet the business's needs later could be an unwise business move.

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