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Advice to avoid commercial property zoning problems

One of the most important things to keep in your sights when deciding whether to purchase a piece of commercial property relates to zoning. Zoning rules regulate the types of activities you can use your property for. For example, if it's a residentially-zoned property, you can't use it for a factory, and so forth. Many business people and investors have lost a lot because they bought a property or agreed to a long-term lease on a property for a specific purpose, only to find out that they are barred from using for that purpose later.

Here are some tips to avoid probate problems:

Keep an eye on previous nonconforming use

Many people are using commercial property in a certain way because they were grandfathered in under previous zoning laws, but now the zoning rules are entirely different. This has caused problems for new buyers or leasers of a property who want to continue using it for the same purpose.

Check if the last tenant had a variance

Variances allow current occupants of a property to use it in a way that goes against existing zoning laws. However, variances only apply to the businesses who were granted these exceptions.

Is there a condition that applies to the property use?

Maybe the property is approved for a specific use, but a condition must be met. For example, that condition could require the maintenance of sidewalks or off-street parking. Know what the conditions are before you agree to rent or buy the property for your purposes.

These are just three strategies to avoid a commercial property zoning problem. Before you make a large investment in a commercial lease property, consider discussing the situation with an experienced commercial real estate attorney.

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