Real Estate Law


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Real Estate and Property Law covers an extensive legal area, which is regulated by federal and state statutes, as well as common law. Many aspects of this area overlap with contract law. The terms “real estate”, “realty” and “real property” are generally used interchangeably, although many people associate “real estate” more closely with the structures or buildings and the land. However, real property/real estate encompasses more than just the obviously tangible aspects. It comprises land and that which is attached to or belongs with the land, such as the immovable structures like buildings, houses, trees, bushes and minerals permanently affixed to the land, But it also consists of the interests, benefits and rights that are legally considered attached to the real property, which can include certain rights to the air above the land, to drill in the ground beneath it, rights to live on the property for a specific timeframe or to acquire the real property in the future, and more.

The practice area of real estate and property law deals with a variety of related issues, including the following: rights and interests in real estate and real property; sales, purchases and other transfers of real estate and real property; legal aspects of rental property and landlord issues; tenants’, renters’ and homeowners’ rights; title to real property; settlement of claims against property rights; property development; zoning and land use; related agriculture issues; home loans and foreclosures; and various other relevant topics. This is a complex practice area, further complicated by the significant inconsistency in the laws throughout different cities and states. Real estate attorneys are versed in many different activities, from the mundane drafting of deeds and filing of liens, to handling boundary and zoning disputes and even assisting families in court when threatened with foreclosure. Copyright HG.org

Know Your Rights!

  • Can Foreigners Buy Real Estate in the United States?

    As the real estate market in the U.S. has made a strong indication of recovery, some outside of the United States have begun to look again at American real estate investments as a possibility. This leads some to wonder, though, whether it is even possible for a foreigner to buy real estate in the U.S.? If so, are there any special laws to be aware of or taxes that must be paid?

  • Dealing with Nuisance Neighbors

    We have all had the situation at some point: a neighbor that cares for nobody but themselves. Stereo blasting late at night, dogs barking or attacking others, construction that causes damage to our property...the list goes on. So what do you do in those instances when reasoning with the neighbor just is not working?

  • Failing to Disclose Environmental Defects in Property Sales

    Have you purchased a piece of land only to discover after the sale that there was pollution on the property? Are you thinking of selling a house and wondering how much you need to disclose? Understanding the laws related to environmental disclosures can mean the difference between a costly lawsuit and a smooth transaction.

  • How Do I Throw Someone Out of My House?

    Ever had the house guest you just cannot get to leave? Maybe someone you thought you could share a relationship with and things did not work out, or a friend or family member who just cramps your lifestyle, eats your food, and does not contribute to the bills? Whatever the case may be, getting someone out who has overstayed their welcome can sometime be a very difficult task. So, how do you throw someone out of your house?

  • Understanding Eminent Domain

    Eminent domain, or the process by which the government takes property from private owners, can be a confusing process for many. The most common use of eminent domain is to obtain title to property used for roads and other public facilities. But, this is changing. Cases have held that eminent domain can also be used for the purpose of economic development. So how does eminent domain work?

  • What is the Statute of Frauds?

    When dealing with a contract dispute, particularly in the case of an oral contract, one may hear the term “statute of frauds” used. This does not refer to the commission of an actual fraud, but rather, whether the contract had to be in writing or not. So what is the statute of frauds and when does it apply?

  • What To Do After a Tornado or Other Natural Disaster

    When any sort of natural disaster hits, it can be terrifying. Once it has passed, though, victims are often left wondering what they need to do to pick up the pieces. Is there anything they need to do in filing their insurance claims to make sure that they will get paid soon and as much as possible? This is especially important for those whose houses are destroyed and who have lost everything.

Articles on HG.org Related to Real Estate Law

  • Four Tips on Negotiating Startup Office Leases
    Ready to move your startup out of the garage and into real office space? Here are some tips on negotiating your startup office lease.
  • Most Dangerous Industries for Workplace Injuries and Deaths
    Each year thousands of U.S. workers die and millions more are injured in workplace accidents. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 4,383 fatal work accidents and 3.7 million nonfatal work injuries in 2012.
  • Reviewing Residential Construction Contracts
    There are many high-quality contractors in Central Florida that do an outstanding job, building beautiful homes. They try to get their projects finished on schedule and within their client’s stated budget, as they know that their hard-earned reputations are on the line.
  • 20 Early Warning Signs Indicating Changes in Credit Profile
    After a vendor extends credit, it is vital that the vendor continually monitor the debtor for changes in its credit profile in order to minimize the vendor's risk of nonpayment. The following list of 20 early warning indicators, will help you see the risk coming before it happens.
  • Rules Change for Construction Arbitration
    The American Arbitration Association offers new rules to reduce fees and speed the decision making process for the arbitration of construction claims between $75K and $5M.
  • Are Foreclosure Rates Beginning to Decrease?
    There have been various reports in the media indicating that foreclosure rates have fallen to pre-bubble crisis levels.
  • Who Pays Medical Bills in a Forklift Work Accident Case?
    Workplace forklift accidents are one of the most common types of work accidents in the U.S. Injured workers often want to know how medical bills are paid. This article discusses how medical bills are paid after a workplace forklift accident with a focus on PA and NJ law.
  • California - Landlord Failure To Repair Allows Tenants To Pay For Repairs And Deduct From Rent
    A landlord is a person or entity that owns a rental unit. A tenant is an individual that rents or leases the unit on a month-to-month or fixed term basis. Before renting a unit, the unit must be fit to live in or be in a habitable condition. The legal term, “habitable,” means that the rental unit is fit for occupation and that it complies with state and local laws that materially affect tenants’ health and safety.
  • Dust Up Between Surfers and Kholsa Could Spell the End of Private Beach Access in California
    Should a property owner have to get a coastal development permit before he can close the gate to his private property? The Surfrider Foundation thinks so, and if it wins its current lawsuit against Vinod Khosla that could soon be the law of the land in California.
  • Sellers' Rules of Disclosure in CA Real Estate Sales
    This guide is a summary of the pertinent information that California homeowners and their agents are required by law to disclose to buyers.
  • All Real Estate and Property Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Real Estate including: construction law, eminent domain, foreclosure, homeowners association, land use and zoning, landlord and tenant law, property law, property management.

Property and Real Estate Law - US

  • ABA - Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section

    The Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section is a leading national forum for lawyers, and currently has over 30,000 members. The Real Property Division focuses on legal aspects of property use, ownership, development, transfer, regulation, financing, taxation and disposal. The Trust and Estate Division focuses on all aspects of trusts, estate planning, employee benefits, insurance, and probate and trust litigation.

  • DOJ - Fair Housing Act

    The primary purpose of the Fair Housing Law of 1968 is to protect the dwelling seeker from seller or landlord discrimination. It does this by protecting the buyer's or renter's right to discriminate.

  • DOJ - Guide to State Real Estate Laws and Regulations

    Ten states forbid buyers’ brokers from rebating a portion of the sales commission to the consumer. Eight states require consumers to buy more services from sellers’ brokers than they may want, with no option to waive the extra items. HUD recently clarified its rule that rebates are permissible under RESPA as long as they are reported on the HUD-1 form.

  • Home Affordable Modification Program

    In February 2009, the Obama Administration introduced a comprehensive Financial Stability Plan to address the key problems at the heart of the current crisis to get our economy back on track. A critical piece of that effort is Making Home Affordable, a plan to stabilize the housing market and help struggling homeowners get relief and avoid foreclosure.

  • HUD - Foreclosure Avoidance Counseling

    HUD-approved housing counseling agencies are available to provide you with the information and assistance you need to avoid foreclosure. As part of President Obama's comprehensive Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan (HASP), you may be eligible for a special Making Home Affordable loan modification or refinance, to reduce your monthly payments and help you keep your home.

  • National Association of Realtors - Legislative / Regulatory Issues

    NAR has experienced phenomenal growth in the past few years to reach a new milestone: over one million members. There has never been a better time to enjoy all that NAR offers to enhance your success as a REALTOR®.

  • Real Estate Law - Wikipedia

    Real estate is a legal term (in some jurisdictions, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, USA and The Bahamas) that encompasses land along with improvements to the land, such as buildings, fences, wells and other site improvements that are fixed in location—immovable.[1] Real estate law is the body of regulations and legal codes which pertain to such matters under a particular jurisdiction and include things such as commercial and residential real property transactions. Real estate is often considered synonymous with real property (sometimes called realty), in contrast with personal property (sometimes called chattel or personalty under chattel law or personal property law).

  • Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)

    HUD is requiring that loan originators provide borrowers with a standard Good Faith Estimate that clearly discloses key loan terms and closing costs and that closing agents provide borrowers with a new HUD-1 settlement statement.

  • Real Estate Transactions Law

    Real estate transactions are governed by a wide body of federal statutes and state statutory and common law. The requirements established by state law often differ significantly from one state to the next.

  • State Landlord and Tenant Law

    This website will help landlords understand and exercise their legal rights and gain knowledge about their state’s Landlord/Tenant Laws.

  • US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

    HUD's mission is to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination. To fulfill this mission, HUD will embrace high standards of ethics, management and accountability and forge new partnerships--particularly with faith-based and community organizations--that leverage resources and improve HUD's ability to be effective on the community level.

Property and Real Estate Law - International

  • Canadian Real Estate Law

    Real property refers to land which includes not only the face of the earth but everything of a permanent nature over or under it. This also includes structures and minerals. For the most part, the provinces have exclusive jurisdiction over the land within their borders not the Federal Government.

  • Global Property Guide

    International property buying is here big time. British people buy in France, Spain, Portugal and in Bulgaria. Germans buy in Croatia. Asian entrepreneurs buy in Australia and Canada. U.S. citizens buy in the Caribbean. Yet people often don't get the information they need. They rely on realtors, who are self-interested and frankly sometimes not even very well informed.So we sat down and thought: What should we have known?

  • International Real Estate Digest (IRED)

    IRED is a consumer advocate. Consumers of real estate services as well as practitioners of real estate comprise the market to whom IRED is geared.

Organizations Related to Property and Real Estate Law

  • Affordable Housing Investors Council

    The Affordable Housing Investors Council is a non-profit organization comprised of corporations engaged in the investment of funds for affordable housing. Our membership is comprised of corporate tax, financial, accounting and real estate professionals who are involved with effecting tax credit investments in affordable housing properties.

  • AIR Commercial Real Estate Association

    AIR Commercial Real Estate Association is the nation’s largest and most respected organization of industrial and commercial real estate brokers. Founded by visionary industry leaders in 1960 as the American Industrial Real Estate Association, AIR has since broadened its outreach while distinguishing itself through two overriding and central ideas.

  • American Land Title Association (ALTA)

    The American Land Title Association®, founded in 1907, is the national trade association and voice of the abstract and title insurance industry. ALTA members search, review and insure land titles to protect home buyers and mortgage lenders who invest in real estate.

  • American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association's (AREUEA)

    The American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association (AREUEA) was originated at the 1964 meeting of the Allied Social Science Association in Chicago. AREUEA grew from discussions of individuals that recognized a need for more information and analysis in the fields of real estate development, planning and economics. The continuing efforts of this non-profit association has advanced the scope of knowledge in these disciplines and has facilitated the exchange of information and opinions among academic, professional and governmental people who are concerned with urban economics and real estate issues.

  • American Real Estate Society (ARES)

    The American Real Estate Society (ARES), founded in 1985, is an association of real estate thought leaders. Members are drawn from academia and the profession at large, both in the United States and internationally. The Society is dedicated to producing and disseminating knowledge related to real estate decision making and the functioning of real estate markets.

  • American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA)

    The American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) was formed in 1991. Members of ASHA are executives involved in the operation, development and finance of the entire spectrum of seniors housing – independent living, assisted living, and continuing care retirement communities.

  • Association of Commercial Real Estate (ACRE)

    The Association of Commercial Real Estate, ACRE, is a non-profit, professional association formed to promote working relationships and professionalism within the Sacramento commercial real estate community. ACRE brings together commercial brokers and affiliated professionals for business networking, educational presentations and discussion of industry developments.

  • National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO)

    The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) is the leading housing and community development advocate for the provision of adequate and affordable housing and strong, viable communities for all Americans—particularly those with low- and moderate-incomes. Our members administer HUD programs such as Public Housing, Section 8, CDBG and HOME.

  • National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM)

    Our Mission is to support the professional and ethical practices of rental home management through networking, education, and designation. We are an association designed for real estate professionals who know first-hand the unique challenges of managing single-family and small residential properties. NARPM offers an effective, professional learning environment for owners of property management companies, property managers and their office staff.

  • National Council of State Housing Agencies

    State Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs) are state-chartered authorities established to help meet the affordable housing needs of the residents of their states. Although they vary widely in characteristics such as their relationship to state government, most HFAs are independent entities that operate under the direction of a board of directors appointed by each state's governor. They administer a wide range of affordable housing and community development programs.

  • Real Estate Investors Association (REIA)

    National REIA's mission is to develop, support and promote local real estate investor organizations while serving the interests of the real estate investment industry through networking, education, leadership on legislative issues, and promoting professionalism and standards of excellence in our industry.

  • US Green Building Council

    USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building certification program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities.

Publications Related to Property and Real Estate Law

  • CNN Money - Real Estate

    Presents nationwide articles, publications and information regarding real estate.

  • RIS Media

    The latest in homeownership tips and topics, brought to you by RISMedia.


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