Title insurance is purchased when property is bought or sold. Title insurance protects the buyers in case there is a defect in the title that results in expenses to the owner or that reduces the value of the property. When a mortgage is used to purchase property, lenders title insurance is generally also required as a condition of obtaining the mortgage loan.
Title insurance covers many different things, such as liens on the property or easements that are attached to the property. However, title insurance does not necessarily cover every single problem that could arise when it comes to your ability to use the property as desired. It is important to understand what is covered by title insurance in California when you purchase a title insurance policy. An experienced San Diego real estate lawyer at Sepahi Law Group, APC can advise you of your legal options and of the protections that title insurance provides to you. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more.
Are Zoning Issues Covered by Title Insurance in California?
Zoning laws can have a major impact on what you are permitted to do within the property that you buy. Zoning is the way that government authorities control how property is used and how land is developed. Depending upon where you live, the zoning laws may be quite restrictive. For example:
- Zoning laws specify whether a tract of land can be used for industrial, commercial, recreational or residential purposes.
- Zoning laws specify the density of homes and buildings that can be built. For example, zoning laws may restrict you to building only a detached single family home and may prohibit the construction of a duplex or apartment.
- Zoning laws may regulate the dimensional requirements for buildings on lots, and may limit how large buildings can be both in terms of height and in terms of the percentage of the property that the building takes up.
- Zoning laws can impose limits on the types of animals that you can have within your home. For example, zoning may prohibit chickens or horses.
Although zoning laws affect the ability to use and enjoy the property, some standard title insurance policies do not provide coverage for zoning issues. This means that if you find out after you have purchased the property that you cannot do what you want to based on the zoning laws, your title insurance is usually not going to help you.
The Los Angeles County Bar Association lists “violations of zoning or environmental protection laws” as a common exclusion from title insurance policies. This means that if you buy a property that is being used for a specific purpose and later discover that it is in violation of zoning laws, your title insurance is typically not going to provide coverage. For example, if you buy a home that the owners are using as a horse farm but it turns out that zoning does not allow horses, you cannot typically make a claim on a title insurance policy.
While zoning issues are a common exclusion, this does not mean that zoning problems are not ever covered by title insurance in California. You may be able to find a title insurance policy that includes coverage for zoning or that offers this type of coverage as an endorsement or attachment. This means you would pay more for extra coverage to ensure you had protection in case the zoning laws had an adverse impact on your enjoyment of your property.
A San Diego real estate lawyer at Sepahi Law Group, APC can advise you on what is covered by title insurance in California and on zoning issues you are likely to face. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more.