Real Estate Law

Real estate law governs not only how land can be used but also who may own or possess it. This includes determining how foreclosures should be processed and whether parties can obtain easements across other people’s property.


Real estate law also addresses issues such as non-resident ownership restrictions on agricultural land and the splitting of legal title to property between trustees and beneficiaries.

Buying or Selling a Home

Real estate law encompasses a broad range of statutes, cases and legal decisions related to land ownership. Generally speaking, it deals with the rights to possess, transfer, use and enjoy land and permanent man-made additions to it such as buildings. It also covers things like real property financing such as mortgages and deeds. It also regulates the building and construction of commercial and residential properties.

When a homeowner or business owner wishes to sell a piece of real property, they often must enter into a contract. This is when a real estate attorney can be very beneficial. They can help review the contract and negotiate any issues with it to benefit their client.

For instance, a homeowner may have concerns with the home inspection process or problems they have with their new neighbors. They may also have issues with their homeowner’s association or zoning laws. They may even be dealing with a foreclosure or eviction. A real estate lawyer can help resolve all of these issues. They can work with local government officials and zoning boards to challenge restrictions that are limiting their clients’ ability to use the property.

Landlord and Tenant Law

In real estate law, landlord-tenant laws govern the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in leasehold estates like apartments. It includes elements of both property and contract law, and many state laws are based on common law.

Landlord-tenant laws vary by state, and even cities have their own rules. For example, in some states landlords must disclose specific things to their tenants such as bed bug infestations, lead-based paint hazards or meth contamination. They must also include certain provisions in their lease agreements.

Generally, an owner of residential property may rent it to anyone for almost any term they choose, but they cannot discriminate on the basis of race, age, religion, disability, familial status or sex. They also must substantially comply with housing codes and give an implied warranty of habitability, which means that the unit is fit to live in and will not pose unreasonable health or safety hazards. Landlords can only enter a tenant’s home after giving proper notice, and in most cases, they must have a legitimate reason for doing so.

Construction Law

Construction law is another specialized area of real estate practice that involves working with contractors, builders and property owners. It involves the drafting and reviewing of contracts, assisting clients with regulatory issues and finding solutions when disputes arise. It can involve construction litigation as well as other forms of dispute resolution. Large firms, small firm and solo practitioners all have dedicated practice areas devoted to construction law.

The legal issues that can arise during construction are numerous, from zoning to permitting. Employment law is also an issue for construction companies because workers are a significant cost and they must be carefully managed and paid in accordance with state and federal laws.

Attorneys that specialize in this area often work with clients who have projects that are running over schedule or budget. This can include issues related to labor costs, materials, insurance, and environmental concerns. The attorneys on the Construction Counseling & Dispute Resolution team at Pillsbury have the experience to anticipate friction and help clients find successful paths through any obstacles that may come up during the construction process.


Real estate law covers a wide area of laws dealing with the rights to possess transfer use and enjoy land and the permanent man made additions to it such as buildings. It also deals with property financing such as deeds and mortgages. Each state will have its own unique real estate laws but generally the same basic principles will be observed. The availability of funds for financing real estate transactions is largely dependent on economic conditions, both locally and nationally. The four primary sources of funding for real estate include savings and loans, banks, insurance companies and financial middlemen such as mortgage brokers and mortgage bankers.

Savings and loans associations, local banks and federally chartered banks normally deal directly with the borrower when they supply capital for real estate financing. These institutions are highly regulated by both the federal and state governments. Insurance companies and large investment companies also play an important role in the financing of real estate as providers of equity capital from a mortgage standpoint. They usually deal through mortgage brokers and mortgage bankers since they are not able to provide funds for each individual real estate transaction.

Title and Boundary Disputes

Property and boundary line disputes can arise from a variety of reasons. Often times, they occur when neighbors aren’t on the same page as far as what should be considered part of their respective properties. Other times, it can be a result of inaccurate documentation. This can include design plans, plotted land documents and deeds that don’t match up with what is currently on the ground.

When a dispute arises, the first step is typically to review all existing surveys and deeds and determine what is being encroached upon and how long it has been going on for. If there is a way to resolve the issue through peaceful means, this would be the best way to move forward.

However, if this isn’t possible, it can be necessary to bring in an expert to help with the process of determining where the property lines are and who owns what. This could include a land survey, an appraisal and a full title search. Once these processes are complete, a lawyer can assess the situation and determine what to do next.