Experienced Property Litigators
Real estate and real property law is, to say the least, expansive. Real estate litigation and representation involves all legal matters having to do with property and the buildings on such property. This is a very broad area that covers many particular facets of property ownership, including (but not limited to) tax law, landlord and tenant representation, estate planning, insurance policies, property sales, and more.
Because real estate law is so comprehensive, it requires a varied skillset that can cater to the complex range of property regulations, potential problems, and specifics that arise in any given case. The professionals at Equity Legal are qualified to supply these skills, and have many years of hands on experience when it comes to real estate matters. We have worked both as attorneys and real estate developers on projects which gives us the unique perspective of what could and often goes wrong. Our experience and foresight into the areas of real estate law can reduce the risk you may face in any property situation.
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Our Experience As Real Estate Attorneys Improves Your Success
Before, during, and even after a real estate purchase, certain disputes might end up in litigation. The following are some types of real estate litigation that Equity Legal’s litigators can assist you in:
Use A Dedicated And Cost-Effective Litigation Attorney For Your Real Estate Dispute
Here at Equity Legal, real estate law is our specialty. We are prepared to assist our clients in their every real estate need. For more information on how we can help you address your question in real estate law, please schedule a free case evaluation.
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Real estate litigation is an inherently complex process. It's important to select attorneys who are well versed in your case, or situation. We have over 22 years of combined experience as lawyers, and several years experience as property brokers and developers. To further discuss solutions to effectively develop and protect your real estate equity please contact us online or call 619-724-4355 to schedule a consultation.
Adjoining Landowner Disputes
Adjoining landowners are subject to specific legal rules when they own connected land. Legal differences may arise over the following areas:
- Boundary disputes
- The maintenance of common property, such as a bordering fence
Property and Boundary Disputes, including Easement, Boundary, or Encroachment Claims in San Diego
Adjacent landowners can own land that is either commercial or residential. They also have certain duties to each other. For instance, one of the parties may have the right of easement over the other party’s property. An example might be the right to cross an adjacent property to get to a highway. The person who uses the easement also must share in the obligation of its maintenance.
In some instances, adjoining landowners may have restrictions placed on them on how high they can build a structure or fence. In California, structures cannot be built higher than ten feet without a specified reason. Therefore, one of the adjoining landowners may file a dispute if a building is higher than local ordinances allow.
Again, both adjoining property owners have equal obligations toward maintaining common fences or boundaries. Fences, in this instance, are called division fences. To be a division fence, the fence must be established on the boundary. If the fence is next to the boundary, but totally on the property of one of the landowners, it is not considered a division fence, and therefore no mutual obligation exists for both parties to maintain the structure.
The Definition of Encroachment
Encroachment occurs when one party unlawfully and gradually accesses a property without permission. For instance, if a building extends beyond the boundaries of a property onto the neighboring real estate, encroachment results. A dispute normally follows from this type of intrusion.
Resolving Boundary Disputes
If a division fence is already in place, it cannot be taken down by one of the parties, lest he or she be charged with trespass. As noted, boundary disputes are often common between adjoining landowners. The disputes arise when either party cannot agree on the boundary line. In order to resolve the issue, the parties may refer to county records or order a survey. Landowners, in these disputes, often resort to alternative resolutions, such as arbitration or mediation. At Equity Legal LLP we have experienced San Diego boundary dispute attorneys who can help you navigate the complex process of boundary property issues.
Catastrophic Building System Failures
Catastrophic building system failures are normally the result of one of the following:
- Human error (including ethical failure)
- Flaws in the design (which may also result from unethical practices)
- Extreme environments
- Material failures
With respect to failures or construction and design defects, residents in California, who file a claim, must mail a written notification to a builder that a construction violates certain standards. The written notice must underscore certain terms and provisions. After the notice is mailed, and following an inspection, the builder may offer to correct the flaw or defect to prevent litigation. The builder may also offer to reimburse the expense.
Construction and Design Defects
Design changes, deficiencies, and defects often lead to the filing of civil claims by the homeowner. Claims may cover fraud, breach of contract, or negligence, depending on the circumstances of the dispute. A claim for negligence must show that the contractor had a legal duty to the owner of the property. In turn, the builder breached the duty, which resulted in damages.
Claims of fraud normally focus on the underlying construction agreement, and require proof that the contractor convinced the owner of the property to enter into the agreement under false pretenses.
If the claim is for a breach of contract, the property owner must prove that the contractor violated the terms of the agreement, or that he failed to meet implied warranty and workmanship claims.
Breach of Contract in Commercial Real Estate Transactions
When a breach happens in real estate transactions, it is often due to a buyer getting “cold feet.” Because buyers tend to have more solutions available to them along these lines, sellers should add provisions in written contracts to prevent a breach on the part of the buyer.
One way to do this is to add a provision for liquidated damages. These damages represent a sum that is available to a seller in case a buyer breaches a contract. Adding this type of provision encourages a buyer’s cooperation in the purchase of commercial real estate.
Another provision that may be considered in case of a breach is to award attorney’s fees. Both parties to an agreement should make sure that any provisions along these lines include the phrase “reasonable attorney’s fees.” Otherwise, one of the parties could run up the fees to the extent they become prohibitive.
Legal remedies, in the case of a breach, often require that the party guilty of the breach fulfill the contract terms through specific performance. In this case, the court orders the party committing the breach to perform a certain act, such as delivery of the deed. Normally, this remedy applies to the seller.
On the other hand, damages are remedies that can be paid to either a seller or buyer. The damages are usually the difference between a property’s value and the agreed purchase price.
Avoiding Residential Real Estate Breaches
In residential real estate transactions, contracts of sale or purchase agreements feature contingencies that need to be met to transact business. Contingencies often include the following:
- The buyer must hire a property inspector and be satisfied with the results.
- The buyer must successfully obtain financing.
- They buyer must sell his current home
- The seller must find a home in which to relocate.
Dispute resolution in a contract can be handled through arbitration, mediation, or small claims court.
Breach of a Residential Real Estate Lease
Terminating a lease because a tenant fails to pay is often done in residential real estate leases. Therefore, the property owner must make the terms clear in a lease agreement as to what will happen should non-payment occur. A lease may also be terminated if the tenant breaks the lease by committing property damage. You need to work with a real estate attorney to make sure the correct protocol is followed for evicting a tenant.
If a lease is breached for a residential rental, the property owner can proceed with a legal action, known as unlawful detainer. This is a final move toward eviction. If the tenant continues to live in the property after a lease expires, or he or she was asked to leave, they can remedy the situation by moving. While he or she may still pay rent that is owed, they will not be violating the terms for occupancy.
Breach of a Commercial Real Estate Lease
Normally, a tenant or property owner can only break a commercial real estate lease by inserting a break clause into the contract. A break clause enables a property owner or tenant to terminate a lease, at least once, during the term of the agreement.
The interest of a party in a leased property may also be transferred before a lease expires. Usually, a provision is included in a commercial lease to permit termination if a material breach is committed by either party to the lease.
In some instances, an acceleration clause is added that requires the party breaching the lease to pay the amount due for the full lease term.
Eminent Domain and Inverse Condemnation Disputes
In California, when the government forces the sale of private real estate for public use, it is exerting its power of eminent domain. Property owners who challenge the government in these cases rarely succeed.
In most cases, a dispute associated with eminent domain involves a property’s value. California law defines fair market value as the price a seller would accept if he or she were not obliged to sell. Therefore, any disputes normally involve what is equitable compensation.
While eminent domain is an action facilitated by the government, inverse condemnation is initiated by a property owner when the government does not follow the eminent domain process for a taking of real estate. Land-use disputes of this type often occur when a property owner disputes development restrictions. The government must also compensate the property owner in this type of case.
Quiet Title Actions
Quiet title actions result when the title for a property must be resolved. In order to file a claim, the claimant must obtain a copy of the deed and see if any liens are attached to the property. He or she then meets with an attorney to proceed with the action. You need to use the services of a competent attorney, as the action can take as long as 10 weeks to resolve.
Mortgage fraud may occur when a borrower—frequently with the help of a lender—either omits or misrepresents details about his or her income, employment, or a property’s value. This is done with the goal of obtaining a mortgage. Normally, the desire for ownership or greed leads to the behavior.
Real Estate Partner Disputes
When buying real estate with a partner, you need to consider the other person’s integrity and financial ability. Disputes that often arise between real estate partners are associated with the following:
- Distributions, including profit and loss allocations
- Payments for maintenance, insurance, or taxes
- The sale of real estate
- Making decisions
- Rental increases
- Death or divorce
The best way to safeguard your interests in a real estate partnership is to draw up a partnership agreement. Depending on the real estate, an attorney can prepare the proper form or create the required entity. For example, he or she may establish a general partnership, limited liability company, joint venture, or investment trust.
The agreement should establish partner obligations, distributions, maintenance expenses, funding, and conditions for termination. By establishing an agreement, any risk for disputes can be minimized.
Real estate investors often direct their interests toward property development for a number of reasons. These reasons can include the following:
- Saving money
- Making money, or receiving sizable profits from large developments
- Receiving better rental returns, which assists in paying the financing
- Obtaining easier funding
- Realizing tax benefits from developing a new property
Property development entails a wide variety of processes and activities. These actions can include the development of facilities, building a structure, or purchasing land.
How We Can Help
Legal firms like Equity Legal LLP in San Diego can be used in a variety of real estate litigation actions or claims. Not only can we assist you in solving real estate boundary issues, we can reduce the risk of legal disputes. The team at Equity Legal LLP is transparent about the litigation process, which reduces the time spent on the legal process.
We have worked for banks. Therefore, we know all the insider secrets concerning the real estate and the foreclosure process. You can count on us to be on your side, regardless of the real estate transaction.
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