Experienced Chicago Lawyer For Real Estate Litigation
When two parties enter a commercial real estate relationship, they often have the best intentions. They may have closely negotiated a detailed agreement and have had months or years of relatively smooth contract performance. In commercial real estate, like any complex transaction, things can happen. You are not always in control of the circumstances, whether it is an extreme weather event or a significant economic downturn.
Nor can you control whether the other party will fulfill their obligations to you. You may also be surprised when someone accuses you of not living up to your end of the deal. Regardless of the nature of the dispute, commercial real estate disagreements have high stakes attached.
The real estate litigaton lawyers at King & Jones have experience with commercial real estate litigators who are not wedded to the idea of litigation in your case. We work with you to creatively problem-solve. If litigation is necessary, you can have confidence that we are aggressive and hard-hitting litigators. Contact us today to discuss your matter with an attorney.Free Case Evaluation
How King & Jones Can Assist You?
Commercial real estate disputes have high stakes, as someone’s investment is very much on the line. It is no surprise that these disputes often make it to court, with each party trying to protect their own interests. You need the right legal representation, and you can look no further than King & Jones.
For 30 years, our firm has providd cost-effective yet aggressive litigation representation for many types of commercial disputes. We can assist you in resolving your commercial real estate dispute, whether we can reach an agreement or file a lawsuit in civil court.
The Contract Is King in a Commercial Real Estate Transaction
Like every transaction, a contract governs a commercial real estate deal. This document assigns rights and responsibilities to both parties during (and potentially after) a transaction. There is no such thing as an oral contract for real estate - everything is down on paper and in writing.
After any dispute regarding the terms of the deal or the performance of the contract, a court will look at the exact words of the document first. Hopefully, you obtained help from a commercial real estate lawyer when you were negotiating the contract to minimize the chance of any ambiguities. Still, there may be disputes in interpreting any contract, no matter how much professional help you have gotten beforehand.
Along the way, other evidence may become a part of your case. For example, how each party views the bargain they struck at the time is an integral part of any dispute. You can supplement the contract with evidence that includes emails and communications between the parties. The court only cares about additional evidence when the contract’s language is unclear.
Examples of Commercial Real Estate Transactions
Boiled down to the simplest of terms, commercial real estate transaction is money in exchange for land or premises.
Commercial real estate transactions can include:
- Land transactions
- Building sales
Any of these can lead to a legal dispute.
Potential Parties in a Commercial Real Estate Transaction
Besides the two direct parties to the deal, there might be numerous other players who can affect the deal’s success. Many things can happen along the way to the exchange of land and money or while it is occurring.
Various other parties to the process also play a role, including:
- Real estate agents or brokers
- Banks that provide financing
- Governmental entities that issue permits or approvals
- Investment bankers assisting with the business part of the transaction
Any of these parties can also be the subject of a real estate lawsuit based on the services they provided or how they played their role in the transaction. For example, a bank may be trying to improperly foreclose on the property. The government may have denied you regulatory approval to use the property for your specified purposes.
Alternatively, two people or companies owning the same property can end up in a dispute over each party’s rights or obligations. They can disagree over their business or the nature of their relationship. Here, there is also a document that outlines the relationship between the parties to the dispute.
Commercial Real Estate Disputes with the Government
A separate category of disputes involves matters with the local, state, or federal government. The government may regulate commercial real estate. A governmental body may tell the owner they can only use the land for specific purposes. The federal government can act against a landowner for alleged environmental law violations. The government may require landowners to seek a permit for particular land uses. Finally, the government may be trying to seize your land entirely for public use.
Regardless of the nature of the dispute with the government, you have legal rights. The government cannot do whatever it wants without giving you notice and the chance to say your piece. If the government will not listen to you and they continue with its course of action, you may file a lawsuit against the government.
However, it is not always easy to be the government in court. Although they are subject to the law, courts often give their actions and regulations some degree of deference. You will need an attorney to have the best chance of winning in court.
Breach of Contract Allegations in a Commercial Real Estate Dispute
Many commercial real estate disputes result from breach of contract allegations, where one party may have failed to fulfill their obligations under the contract. Either one party does not pay the money they owe the other on time, or the other party does not deliver what the agreement requires in exchange for the money.
Here are some examples of commercial real estate disputes that can lead to litigation:
- Co-owner disputes - Two or more people own property in an LLC or partnership and cannot agree on their business decisions, or one person breaches their obligation to the business.
- Failure to pay rent or eviction proceedings - Landlords may evict tenants when they do not pay their rent. They can also take action to collect unpaid rent.
- Foreclosure - When the purchaser falls behind in their mortgage payments, the bank may foreclose on the property and either own it or try to sell it. The bank does not always have the right to foreclose, or they can act improperly in the process.
- Disputes over maintenance - There may be uncertainty over which party has an obligation to cover repairs and maintenance to the property. Alternatively, the landlord may not provide the services required by the terms of the contract.
- Contracts that fall through - Commercial real estate transactions take time and require extensive negotiation. Sometimes, one party may not complete the transaction because they have chosen to walk away or because financing has fallen through. One party can ask the court to order specific performance of the real estate contract or to receive damages.
- Lawsuits against commercial real estate brokers - Real estate brokers owe duties to their clients to act in their best interests. When a broker or agent has been negligent or placed their interests first, they can face a lawsuit and owe damages personally.
- Failure to disclose defects in the property - the seller has a legal obligation to disclose defects to the buyer, where they knew of the defect, and the buyer can not have known. The buyer can seek damages or rescission of the entire transaction in a lawsuit.
It is common for both parties to have claims against each other. For example, the property owner may accuse the lessor of not paying their rent. In turn, the lessor may accuse the owner of not providing the services required under the terms of the contract. If you sue another party, there is a definite possibility that they may countersue you. Similarly, you can still have your day in court for your allegations when you face a lawsuit.
Why You Need a Lawyer for a Commercial Real Estate Transaction?
Commercial real estate disputes are more complex than residential real estate disagreements. There is often more money at stake. In addition, there is often an extensive and customized contract that governs the transaction.
In a lengthy contract, a missing clause or even a missing comma can spark a disagreement. Two parties can also disagree over the meaning of a contract. One misplaced comma can change the meaning of an entire contract term.
Commercial real estate litigation often occurs at the end of a long dispute between contractual parties. They may have a protracted disagreement that they cannot resolve. In other words, these lawsuits rarely happen out of the blue.
Your Dispute Does Not Have to Result in a Full Trial
You can always work to avoid litigation through communication with the other party. Commercial real estate litigation can be expensive and disruptive to your business, even if you do not get everything you want. There is an incentive to continue talking with the other party until you reach a settlement agreement.
Talking to the other party can be challenging, especially when your property rights and finances are at stake. The other side may also be firm in their position without much “give” on their part.
An intractable dispute does not always have to end up in court. When you hire an experienced commercial real estate attorney, they can help you communicate with the other party. Sometimes, not dealing directly with someone you are involved in a dispute is the best way to resolve it. A third party can help remove the emotion from the picture and focus on a practical solution to your dispute.
How a Commercial Litigation Attorney Can Help You?
Your attorney can assist you if you mediate the commercial real estate dispute. Some contracts may have a clause that requires mediation before one party can file a lawsuit. Even if there is no such clause, mediation can be a good idea to facilitate talking. The mediator can attempt to help the parties bridge gaps in their position, highlighting any points of common ground.
Here are some of the things that our commercial real estate litigation attorneys can do for you:
- Review the terms of your contract to understand your rights and obligations.
- Communicate your position to the other party, engaging directly with their attorney to exchange viewpoints.
- Potentially negotiating a settlement to your dispute, which can involve a contract modification or other type of agreement (you can still negotiate a settlement even after a lawsuit has been filed - in fact, it is very rare for a commercial real estate case to end up going to trial)
- Explain your options and help you decide the best path forward.
- Analyze whether any outside-the-box solutions can help you resolve the dispute.
- File a lawsuit on your behalf in court, or help you defend a lawsuit someone filed against you.
Never attempt to handle a commercial real estate dispute alone. Contracts can be complex, and you may make a mistake that harms your legal position. Every communication matters when you are involved in a dispute. You can be certain that the other side is taking notes and gathering every piece of evidence that they can potentially use against you in court.
Contact an experienced commercial real estate lawyer at the outset of the dispute. There is no reason why you should take time from your business to deal with the disagreement when an experienced lawyer can help you do it effectively. Conflict can be draining, and mishandling the conflict can be financially ruinous.
Call a Chicago Real Estate Lawyer Today
If you are involved in any real estate dispute, call the attorneys at King & Jones today. We can effectively handle large-scale disputes for our clients, leaving no stone unturned in pursuing your case’s best possible legal outcome.
To speak with a business litigation attorney in Chicago, you can message us online or call us today at (312) 372-4142.
We have a history of providing successful representation in high-stakes business matters, and we can bring our skills and experience to the table for you.