Month: August 2023

What Does a Commercial Real Estate Lawyer Do and Do I Need One?

All real estate transactions are complicated, but commercial real estate tends to be much more so. Be it a lease or a purchase, the legal considerations are more complex, and there is generally more money on the line than in a residential real estate transaction. For these reasons, having the aid of a real estate attorney is even more critical in commercial real estate.

But what exactly does a commercial real estate lawyer do, and do you need one?

Contract Review

There are many potential factors to consider in a commercial real estate deal, from zoning restrictions to infrastructure requirements to maintenance responsibilities. If you plan to lease the property, you can’t make assumptions about what is or is not covered by the lease. Unlike residential leases where numerous consumer protections apply, in commercial real estate, you will be presumed to be knowledgeable about everything included (or not included) in the contracts.

A commercial real estate lawyer will be familiar with how these contracts work and can explain to you the benefits and drawbacks of each provision. You can know exactly what you’re getting into, which helps avoid problems further along in the process.

Negotiation & Closing

Commercial leases tend to be more negotiable than a typical residential lease, partly because there are so many more potential variables. For example, who is responsible for maintaining common areas, and is the landlord prohibited from leasing nearby property to competitors? Each of these variables can affect the value of the transaction for both parties.

An experienced attorney can zero in on these factors and ensure you get the best deal possible. The owner may be willing to make concessions or lower the rent in return for your assurances. Also, a lawyer who knows the market can help you spot a deal that  may be too good to be true.

Having an attorney is even more important if you’re purchasing the property. If you’ve ever purchased a house or apartment, you know how many steps there are before closing the deal. Commercial real estate is no different. Hiring a lawyer to help close the sale will save you time and effort.


Financing can be  pretty complicated in commercial real estate transactions, especially in the real estate development world. Owners, investors, brokers, and lenders may enter the picture, and boilerplate contracts simply won’t do. Commercial real estate attorneys can negotiate these complex arrangements and ensure you are protected in various contingencies.

Dispute Resolution & Workouts

Not everything always goes according to plan. Disputes arise between tenant and landlord, investors back out of deals, or sometimes business just slows down. A lawyer can help resolve these issues by negotiating with the other party (who often have attorneys of their own)  to minimize disruption to your business. For example, a landlord may be willing to accept lowered rent in exchange for a longer lease term. If the conflict can’t be settled, your attorney can  represent you in court.

Do You Need a Commercial Real Estate Lawyer?

Given the complexity and expense of commercial real estate transactions, it’s almost always worth consulting with an attorney specializing in these matters. They can review your paperwork and give you advice on how to proceed. Even this small amount of legal assistance can save you from major headaches later.

Our real estate team has years of experience in various areas, from representing clients in zoning applications to complex litigation. Schedule an appointment with our office to discuss your situation and explore your options.

Boundary and Title Disputes in California: Legal Insights

Property lines are not always where you think they are, and sometimes, the owner of a piece of real estate is not clear. Such boundary and title disputes can completely upend your life, so it’s worth looking at some of their root causes and what can be done to resolve them.

What Is a Title Dispute?

A title dispute arises when two or more parties have competing claims to the same real property. For example, one person might build a house on a plot of land only to have another claim to own that very land. The legal proceeding for settling title disputes is called a “quiet title action” because the judge will determine the actual owner and therefore “quiet” any competing claims to the land.

Here are the most common causes of title disputes:

Boundary Disputes

Adjacent property owners can disagree on exactly where the boundary line is between their properties. See more details on this below

Problems with the Deed

Errors or discrepancies in the deed can create big problems later. Most commonly, the problem with the deed is an incomplete or inaccurate description of the parcel.


An easement is a non-possessory right in real estate, meaning the easement holder doesn’t own the land or have the right to live there but does have some right to use the land in a limited way. For example, a neighbor may have an easement that allows them to cross your property to access their land, or a municipal government may have an easement to build and maintain utility lines on your land.

What to Do in a Boundary Dispute

As mentioned above, boundary disputes are a type of title dispute in which two neighboring landowners can’t agree about who owns a particular part of their respective lands. Historical use, natural terrain features, and fence lines may contribute to this misunderstanding. The problem becomes even more complicated when one builds a structure, such as a home on the disputed part of the land.

If you find yourself involved in a boundary dispute, here is some guidance on handling the situation effectively.

1. Have the Land Surveyed

The first step in resolving the dispute is to determine where the official property lines are by commissioning a property survey. The surveyor will examine county records and plot out an accurate map of what you factually own.

2. Try to Come to an Agreement with Your Neighbor

It’s best to come to an amicable agreement with your neighbor if possible. This may be as simple as building a new fence or agreeing to stay off the property. However, some agreements, such as the granting of an easement, should be formalized in writing.

3. Bring in a Mediator

Sometimes, you may not be able to agree on your own, especially if structures are involved. Bringing in an outside mediator can often help both sides reach a reasonable resolution.

4. Litigation

Obviously, litigation is not anyone’s first choice; it’s expensive, time-consuming, and can breed animosity. In some situations, however, litigation may be your only recourse. If you haven’t already hired an attorney, you definitely should at this point.

Talk to a California Real Estate Lawyer

Real estate title disputes can be tricky to unravel, and they are best handled with the help of a real estate dispute attorney. Having a lawyer’s help can often prevent the situation from escalating and will ensure that your rights as a property owner are protected. To discuss your situation with an experienced professional and figure out how to move forward, contact our office today.