Real Estate Law - What You Need to Know

Real Estate Law – What You Need to Know

Real estate law covers everything from buying and selling property to resolving disputes. It establishes legal requirements and procedures for real estate transactions and regulates zoning and land use.

Moreover, it includes laws on deeds, purchase financing, taxes, and estate planning. It also addresses restrictions on property usage and antitrust issues.



Ownership refers to the legal right to possession of a property and the rights that come with it. Property owners may use their property as they see fit within the law, but they can also transfer it to other parties during their lifetime or upon death through a deed, gift, or will.

Many real estate transactions involve complex arrangements of different forms of ownership. Understanding these arrangements can help you achieve your financial, tax, and estate planning goals. Ownership rights can be restricted or limited by deeds, zoning laws, and municipal regulations. The terms of contracts or covenants can also regulate them.


Liens give creditors a legal stake in property or assets. Creditors can use liens to secure a judgment or enforce a court ruling. They can also seize and sell the property if the owner doesn’t pay. Liens are often voluntary, such as a mortgage lien granted voluntarily by the lender when a homeowner closes on their loan. However, there are other kinds of liens, such as taxes, that can’t be resolved voluntarily.

For example, a municipal utility lien can result from failure to pay water or electricity bills. A specific, involuntary vendee’s lien can be placed on a home to keep builders accountable to buyers.


The real estate law includes all the legal issues related to property ownership and transfer. It establishes procedures for buying and selling land, leasing and constructing buildings. It also addresses the limitations on those rights, such as zoning laws, environmental conditions, and fair housing requirements.

The traditional bundle of property rights comes with any homebuyer. Still, real estate law may restrict some aspects of that bundle, such as how and when a landlord can collect security deposits or evict tenants. It also regulates condominium and homeowner association agreements. Construction regulations and environmental concerns are regulated under real estate law as well. This includes addressing when a building must undergo an inspection and how the results of that inspection are reported.


The commercial real estate law prevents real estate professionals from discriminating based on race, religion, sex, and familial status when selling or renting properties. A qualified real estate lawyer will know your state’s laws and ensure you don’t run afoul.

A New York Times investigation found that residential brokers in Long Island regularly steer white customers toward neighborhoods with the highest representation of whites and minority buyers into communities with lower segregation. This practice is known as racial steering.

It’s also illegal to impose any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on disability when selling or renting dwellings. This includes not accommodating a disabled person or refusing to make reasonable accommodations.


A person who buys property typically gets the traditional bundle of rights that comes with it. These rights allow them to use the property as they see fit, within certain limitations.

Leasing is another everyday real estate activity, with companies renting out equipment, vehicles, and technology. Whether you’re the lessor or the lessee, keeping up with lease accounting standards and how they impact your financial statements is essential.

A good lawyer can help you prepare a thorough and legally sound lease that protects you against unexpected price increases, property damage, or other issues. They can also guide you through the complex rules surrounding fair housing and antitrust laws.


Zoning regulations determine what structures can be built or changed on a property. They are designed by local governments, often a county or municipality.

Residential zones usually limit how many people can live in a building and what animals are allowed on the land. They may also restrict how high buildings can be.

Commercial zones typically allow office buildings, shopping centers, and restaurants. Industrial zoning includes warehouses and loud manufacturing facilities and is determined by environmental concerns like noise and air quality. Historic zoning laws focus on maintaining the architectural integrity of an area or residences. They may also limit how much money can be spent on a renovation.

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