Land Use Law

Rickard, Denney, Garno & Leichliter has decades of experience in advising clients in matters concerning zoning ordinances, deed restrictions, easements, condominium regulations and the like. If you need help finding your way through a maze of land use regulations, give us a call.

Five Tips About Land Use Law:

1. KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY: Before you buy real estate, know and have an attorney review zoning, deed restrictions and condominium regulations that affect your property. It is too easy to buy property for a particular use only to find out after the fact that such a use is prohibited by the local zoning ordinance or the applicable deed restrictions or condominium regulations. Many local zoning ordinances are available on the Internet but know before you invest.

2. TALK TO THE LOCAL OFFICIALS: Prospective property buyers can often save themselves lots of grief if they check with the local zoning officials before buying property. If you do, you will often hear the unwritten background information on a piece of property.

3. FIND SOME “LOCAL EYES”: Find someone you trust who has observed this property over the years. Has the owner put “fill” material on the property and just covered it with nice grassy cover? Find a local attorney or resident who has had opportunity to observe the property over the years.

4. BEWARE DIRTY PROPERTY: Especially if you are buying commercial property, find out what the past uses of the property have been. Don’t be the unknowing buyer of contaminated property. You may need to hire an environmental study to protect yourself. An attorney can often help you decide whether a parcel is worth this expense.

5. SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS FOR LAND CONTRACTS: With credit standards tighter, many folks are considering selling or buying property on land contract. These deserve special precautions. If you are a seller – beware of trying to sell your house on land contract when you have an existing mortgage. If you sell on land contract without the consent of your mortgage holder, you can be considered in default on your mortgage and they can insist on immediate payment of the whole mortgage. If you are a buyer, insist on title work so you make sure there is no existing mortgage or, if there is, so you can insist on the mortgage holder’s consent and direct payments to the mortgage holder.