A land use lawyer is one of those things you often do not realize you need until it is too late. You are drowning in code violations and noncompliance. Your project is put on hold. Your profits are being eaten away at. With the rise of small business, entrepreneurship, and real estate development in recent years, it is helpful to know how to stay ahead of the game, so you can avoid unnecessary trouble.
The reasons to hire a land use and zoning attorney are myriad, but to understand why you need to hire one, it is essential to first understand what a land use lawyer or a zoning lawyer do.
Land Use Lawyer
A land use lawyer has a specific niche area of expertise. She is familiar with her local municipalities. She has worked with city councils in her region. She is well versed in not only federal regulations or even state law but also county, city, and district codes.
A land use lawyer must be a local figure in the area. Unlike many areas of law, where, with the exception of a few changes here and there, you can pretty much practice across the same state, land use and zoning law require not only familiarity with the area but also with the people of the area.
Because a land use lawyer is highly knowledgeable about all the local building codes, land use restrictions, compliance laws, and real estate regulations for the area. That is a lot of law to wade through. A land use lawyer can mean the difference between a smooth home renovation and delays and fines in the thousands. She can make the difference in building a small business and losing one.
Any time you are considering working with land or real estate of any type, a land use lawyer on your side can only be a benefit.
Benefits of a Land Use Attorney
So what are those benefits? It depends. All people involved in land use and zoning can benefit from hiring and even retaining a land use lawyer. But the benefits vary depending on your position.
Say you want to add a bedroom and bathroom to your house. It seems like a simple addition and should not be a problem, right? Wrong. Maybe you want to put a secondary dwelling on your property to earn a little Airbnb income. No big deal. It’s your property. You can do what you want with it, right? Wrong again.
What many people do not realize is that even if you own your property outright and the city, state, or federal government, or any bank, has any claim to it whatsoever, you are still confined to local, state, and federal regulations. Some cities will not allow certain areas to build above a certain height. Others will not allow more than one dwelling on a residential property. You might have to look into zoning laws and have the nature of your property changed from residential to commercial, which may or may not even be possible.
The benefit of a land use attorney is that she will figure all of that out for you, and it is her job to find ways to get what you want done for you, with minimal hassle.
If you own a business, anything from a sole proprietorship to a corporation, especially if your business has anything to do with real estate development, you will want to have a land use attorney.
Small Business Locations
If you’re just starting your business, or moving from an existing location to a new one, a land use attorney can help ensure your new location is zoned properly for the type of business you run. The last thing you want is to sign a lease or buy property only to find out you cannot use it for your business purposes.
When you are ready to grow the physical size of your business, a land use attorney is the key to success. She will help you decide if you want to add on to your existing building or if you will need to find a new location. Zoning laws will restrict whether you can build out or move up, and you want to be sure to comply to avoid unexpected costs and delays.
Real Estate Development
Anyone in real estate development, even if it is your very first house flip as a happy couple looking to make a side income, must have a land use attorney in their plans and in their budget. Far too many people’s dreams of real estate development get crushed by land use and zoning laws. If you are even considering a business in real estate development, get a land use attorney lined up before you do anything else.
In the end, you are setting yourself up for success by hiring a land use and zoning attorney. The reality is that you just don’t have a grasp on the intricacies of land use and zoning, and that can be to your detriment. Rather than try to wade into what can be a murky and muddled experience, hire an expert to have in your corner and on your side through all your ventures.
From compliance to potential conflict, a land use attorney is on your side to your advantage the whole way.
Why Rebecca A. Valk
Rebecca A. Valk is not only a land use and zoning attorney with more than ten years of experience in her field, but she is also native to the Hudson Bay, from a long line of dairy farmers, with deep ties and connections to the community. Rebecca is not just an attorney, she is the right land use and zoning attorney for all your Hudson Bay land use needs.