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Questions about Industrial Property Law

There are various laws governing industrial property. You may have several questions about industrial property such as issues related to starting a new venture, the permits that will be required, the licenses, and so on. Both property owners and tenants have their own rights and opportunities with respect to industrial property as well as to the assets on the property. Listed below are a few questions answered by Experts on industrial property.

Can a children’s retail store be opened on an industrial property in Broward County, Florida? Is it legally permitted?

In most cases, commercial use is permitted. In order to be completely sure, you can apply for a permit or “Certificate of Use”. A certificate of use is required when there is a new tenant or occupancy change in a commercial or industrial property. This document would certify that you are permitted to use the property and the use is not in violation of any provisions in the Florida Building Code, the County Zoning code, and Fire Marshal’s Office. Laws can vary from state to state.

A tenant has made improvements on the industrial property by adding utility installations and communication systems. In the event of vacating the premises, is the tenant eligible to remove these installations? Can the tenant forego one month’s rent if they feel the security deposit will not be returned?

In most cases, utility installations can be claimed by the landlord unless there is a special provision in the agreement that says the tenant can retain them. Removing these installations without such a provision could be a breach of contract. Utility installations can include window coverings, blinds, lights, wiring for phones, electrical panels, and so on. The tenant has a right to take such things as easily removable cubicles, sign plates. and so on as these are considered trade fixtures.

Technically, a tenant cannot avoid paying the rent due or rely on the security deposit as a final rent payment. In case of non-payment of rent, the eviction process would be initiated and this could take over a month.

Can the buyer of an industrial property which is in the process of foreclosure evict the previous owner prior to the finalization of this process?

A property owner can only be asked to leave or forced out when the property ownership has officially transferred to the new owner—meaning all the paperwork and proceedings are complete—or if the bank takes over the property.

Since an industrial property can be converted to a sports arena, can one build an ice skating rink in Sitka, Alaska?

Per the definition at the following link, a skating rink is considered a sports arena if “spectator sporting events” are going to be held in the rink. If it is a skating rink for general public ice skating, it would most likely not qualify as a sports arena. In order to be an arena, it must be a venue where there will be spectator seating and competitive sports events. In such a scenario, the industrial property can be converted to a sports arena.

Can a township employee inspect a light industrial property without any prior information or warrant, even if the industrial property is not being used for any business and is a personal space of the owner?

Yes, a city township employee can do so. They could be doing so to check for any suspicious activity or the visit could be related to real estate tax appraisal. Ideally, the city employee should knock before entering and introduce himself/herself along with identification and request permission to inspect. However if he/she has not done so, you cannot sue them. Only a complaint can be lodged with the city authorities. In general, a commercial or industrial property owner does not have the same right of privacy that a homeowner does, but the commercial/industrial property owner still has 4th Amendment rights. If the owner refuses entry to the property, the city authorities will need to obtain a warrant for inspection.

The previous owner of industrial land has abandoned property such as shipping containers and a car. Since the land now belongs to a new owner who has leased it to a third party, can the previous owner leave this property and not be liable for anything?

This matter can be settled outside of court if both parties can talk and sort the issue out. If this option is not viable, the other option is to sue the owner of the abandoned property for trespass. Damages can be claimed due to inability to use the land constructively because of the presence of the abandoned property. A small claims court is appropriate for this kind of litigation. The vehicle can also be removed from the premises by following the provisions as per the vehicle code as mentioned here:

Industrial property law is varied and complicated. Individuals may have different intentions, questions, or issues that can be from the point of view as owners, leaseholders or tenants. This can lead to confusion or a dilemma on the best possible course of action. This is when clarifying doubts with a legal expert can be very valuable.
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