The law firm of Goodrich & Reely, PLLC, serves clients throughout Montana.

Key Montana real estate laws to consider

On Behalf of | Aug 16, 2023 | Real Estate

If you are buying or selling real estate in Montana, it is important that you become well acquainted with the state’s applicable laws. In Montana, there are many relevant property and real estate laws for leases and rental agreements, owned property, adverse possession laws and civil statute laws. We will look at them individually.

  • Homestead protection laws: Homestead protection laws protects individual property owners. This includes homeowners as well as others from losing their main residence property when times get rough. If a homeowner is having financial difficulties, they still need to live somewhere, whether or not they have had to make the difficult choice of declaring bankruptcy. Homestead laws let the person register a part of their real and personal property as a homestead, which means that the law considers the property as off limits and, therefore, safe from creditors. In many cases, homestead laws go hand in hand with bankruptcy. The amount of exemption is typically based on acreage, equity or both.
  • Lease and rental agreement laws: A lease agreement is a legal contract between the landlord and the tenant (or renter). The lease will list the responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant, milestone dates when rent is due and other important pieces of information. Some leases may vary from others but there is also information that they share in common. Most leases share the following:
    • The names of the people in involved in the agreement
    • Property address and description
    •  The duration of the lease
    • Amount of rent and when rent is due
    • Amount of security deposit
    • Policy regarding pets
    • Which utilities are included, if any
  • Adverse possession laws: These are laws that cover if someone moves into a property that has been neglected and makes improvements to the property, open and above board. Under some circumstances, the person has the right to claim the title to the property. These laws were enacted to prevent properties from just sitting there and being considered a waste to the community. There are different types of adverse possession laws, depending on the circumstances:
    • Exclusive and continuous: This is for a specific amount of time. It must be occupied by one person only.
    • Hostile possession: This is property that has been taken over without permission of the property’s owner.
    • Actual possession: With this type of possession, the person must live on the property to claim the title.
    • Open and notorious: This means that the property is in plain sight for everyone to see. There is nothing hidden.
  • Statute of limitation laws: In Montana, if you wish to file a civil action lawsuit, you have from one to three years in most cases. On the other hand, if you wish to file an action on the value of a judgment of the court, you have 10 years to do so.

Getting appropriate legal support

Real estate property transactions can be complicated so it will probably make your life much easier if you get advice from someone who understands the laws and the process very well. It is essential that you protect your rights and that your experience is as smooth as it can possibly be.