Real Estate Litigation Lawyers: When Do You Need One?

If you have encountered a contract error or dispute, misinterpretation of the law, fraud, or difficulties with rights or restrictions, you may need real estate litigation lawyers to help you with your claim. A lawyer specializing in real estate litigation may be able to help you clear up your real estate claim quickly with excellent results and the least amount of stress.

What Issues Can Real Estate Litigation Lawyers Handle?

Your real estate lawyer can handle a wide range of disputes, claims, and illegal actions pertaining to real estate matters and your property rights. This may include, but is not limited to, issues such as:

  • Boundary disputes
  • Lease disputes
  • Quiet title actions
  • Adverse possession
  • Breach of sales agreement

Real estate law is complicated. Having an experienced real estate litigation attorney advocating for you can make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim.

Some common issues that real estate attorneys regularly handle include:

  • Boundary line disputes and partition actions
  • Breach of contract or breach of lease disputes
  • Real estate contract disputes
  • Breach of duty
  • Defect litigation

Depending on your situation, you may be able to settle your claim out of court, or your real estate lawsuit could travel through state or federal courts before a final verdict is handed down. Having a high-quality real estate litigation lawyer on your side can be the deciding factor between receiving your rightly due payout or not. 

Boundary Line Disputes and Partition Actions

A boundary line dispute occurs when two neighbors disagree on where the property lines are drawn, with one party falsely believing their land extends into the other party's property. These issues are understandably common. Often property markers may be unclear, like using a tree, marker post, or pond to mark the boundary. 

You may first become aware of the issue when you notice your neighbor using your property for his or her purposes, or building a fence in the wrong location. It's best for both parties to quickly have the issue resolved before money is put into an ill-placed fence that must be moved.

Breach of Contract or Breach of Lease Disputes

A breach of contract or breach of lease could occur in various ways. For example, a tenant may:

  • Fail to pay rent or expenses according to the lease
  • Make unapproved changes to the property
  • Fail to upkeep the property as per the contract or lease

In these cases, the tenant often has their own set of complaints. This may include accused breaches on the property owner's behalf, or they may be based on misunderstandings. A skillful real estate litigation lawyer can help you resolve the matter as quickly and beneficially as possible while explaining your legal rights and options.

Real Estate Contract Disputes

Of course, disputes may arise in the buying and selling of real estate. One common issue occurs when a property seller erroneously refuses to transfer the title to the buyer. Another common issue occurs when the seller or buyer defaults on the purchase agreement or another contract connected to the property transaction. These situations can for example involve a failure to make infrastructure improvements as required by your contract. 

Sometimes the best option is to terminate the contract and allow for the refunding of the buyer's deposit and incurred expenses. Other times, it may be prudent to pursue damages in court. A third option is to seek an action requesting specific performance of the contract. If successful, the court can compel the opposing party to complete their contractual obligations.

Understanding which path to choose is complicated and laced with legal intricacies that are not readily apparent to the average layperson. 

Breach of Duty

A breach of duty can involve your real estate agent doing something they should not have done, such as:

  • Receiving profits not disclosed to the client
  • Failing to inform their seller of other existing offers after acceptance
  • Failing to advise their client of property defects

Real estate agents hold a fiduciary duty to their clients. The most common types of fiduciary duties are the duty of loyalty, the duty of good faith, and the duty of care. The Real Estate School of Chicago defines six fiduciary duties for their students, the duties of:

  1. Care
  2. Obedience
  3. Loyalty
  4. Disclosure
  5. Accounting
  6. Confidentiality

A real estate agent could breach their fiduciary duty by putting their interests above their clients' interests. For example, if an agent purposely fails to negotiate a lower price for their buyer because it would reduce their commission, this would constitute a breach of fiduciary duty.

If a real estate agent breaks their fiduciary duty to you, you may be able to seek legal recourse to recover damages for your losses. 

Defect Litigation

Defect litigation is one of the most common causes of real estate litigation. Defect litigation occurs when the seller fails to disclose a latent problem with the property. 

A latent defect is a major hidden but known defect that is not evident to the buyer. Latent defects are often associated with the physical property and often not discoverable through reasonable inspections. A latent defect may substantially decrease a property's value. Latent defects are also sometimes called inherent defects. 

Some of the most common defects are:

  • Termite damage
  • Plumbing issues
  • Structural problems
  • Water damage
  • Electrical issues
  • Roofing issues

Sellers are required to disclose any known latent defects affecting their property. If the seller was aware of the defect but failed to disclose it to you, you may be able to take legal action to recover your losses.

Find a Law Firm With Extensive Experience for Your Real Estate Dispute

If you have recently been involved in a real estate transaction or dispute that has gone wrong, you may be entitled to legal recourse. An experienced real estate lawyer can listen to your story and explain your rights and available options. It is essential to choose a firm with extensive real estate litigation experience.

If you are a Chicago area business with real estate interests, we at King & Jones have a team of business litigation lawyers who are also highly skilled real estate litigation attorneys. Call today for a consultation to see how our team can best support you. 

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