About Real Estate Matters


Real estate transactions can be bewildering. When buying or selling real estate, there is no substitute for independent legal advice and personal attention.

Buying Real Estate

The decision to purchase real estate is an exciting one. Independent legal counsel can help you avoid prospective pitfalls. Here are some of the potential issues for a buyer:

  • Should the boundaries be surveyed?
  • Are there rights of way you should know about?
  • Are there legal restrictions on how the property may be used?
  • Is the property zoned for the use you intend, like a business?
  • If a multi-family or duplex, are all the units legal?
  • Did the seller make any promises which should be in writing but are not?
  • If the property is commercial, are the leases good?
  • Is there legal access to the public road?
  • If the property is a condominium, do the condo documents restrict how you can use the condo? Is the owners’ association adequately funded? What are your parking, storage and common facility rights?

Other Real Estate Services

Landlord/Tenant Issues

Eviction: It may be necessary if a tenant has stopped paying rent or is damaging the property or is using it for an illegal purpose. Eviction is a relatively quick procedure under Maine law, four to eight weeks, but the price of speed is strict compliance with the technical requirements of the law.  One small mistake and the judge could dismiss the case.

Lease Review and Drafting: Before you sign a lease, it is essential to review it carefully and negotiate necessary changes. Here are some of the common issues in lease review:

  • Does your lease spell out the landlord’s maintenance obligations? Many do not.
  • Does it allow you to sublet?
  • If you are a commercial tenant and sell your business, do you need the landlord’s consent?

Residential Leases: If you are a residential landlord, apartment leases must comply with Maine law.  Some lease forms are woefully inadequate. Others go too far in the other direction and, in the case of the Maine Attorney General’s form, are written to favor the tenant over the landlord. I can provide a standard form of residential lease that is legal under current law but also tailored to the client and the building.

Commercial Leases: If you are a commercial landlord, a well drafted lease is essential to stable cash flow. There is no standard form of commercial lease. I can provide a lease that is tailored to the business needs of the client and the configuration of the building. Commercial tenants should know that the lease thrown at them has been carefully tailored to suit the landlord.

Zoning and Land Use Problems: If your property does not comply with zoning or land use laws, a variance, though difficult to obtain, may be the solution.  Other solutions may involve the purchase of land from an abutter.