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Top Causes of Real Estate Litigation 

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Top Causes of Real Estate Litigation 


The real estate market today is ever-changing.

While the market may not always be booming, the market has shifted in the last several decades. The average age for home purchases has increased, more individuals and investment companies are finding opportunities in purchasing and renting out properties as supplementary income, and today’s buyers are spending more.

Ownership rights, property interest and acquisition, and financial stipulations of a home purchase are important things to consider and plan out in real estate. If even the most minor detail is overlooked, it could cause a legal blunder.

No one looking to buy, sell, or rent a property is looking for legal trouble, but sometimes things go awry, and a dispute may arise.

What Is Real Estate Litigation?

Real estate litigation involves any dispute arising from real estate property ownership or interest in real estate. This also includes disputes over ownership rights or the acquisition of property of interest.

For example, any home ownership process typically includes a point-of-sale agreement, i.e., a purchase contract. Provided that both parties agreed to terms, the purchase and sale agreement would reflect terms represented prior to the sale of the property. If something is done differently during or after the sale that isn’t reflected in that contract, it could lead to real estate litigation.

Similarly, one could argue about the condition of a property upon acquisition that wasn’t reflected in the point of sale agreement. As a material real estate dispute, the purchasing party could claim that the seller didn’t disclose the property’s actual condition in the agreement.

When parties cannot reach a solution on their own, a legal dispute may be filed to come to a solution either in a settlement or court.

Common Types of Real Estate Litigation

Ownership Disputes-Quiet Title, Adverse Possession

A quiet title action is a court procedure used to resolve a dispute over the ownership of real property in California. It is often used to resolve boundary disputes, quiet title to property after the death of an owner, resolve competing claims regarding adverse possession, or remove a cloud on title. These clouds could include a lien, an easement, a boundary dispute or any other claim that could affect the title. A successful party must show that they have a better right to the property than the other parties claiming title. 

Adverse possession is a legal doctrine that allows a party to acquire title to real property owned by another party without purchasing the property from the record owner. Adverse possession may be established by occupying and using the property for a certain period of time. To successfully claim adverse possession, the party claiming it must show that they have been in actual and continuous possession of the property for the required amount of time. This means that the party claiming adverse possession must prove that they have exclusive possession of the property, that the possession is visible, and that it is hostile, meaning that it is without the owner’s permission or knowledge. The party claiming adverse possession must also prove that they have paid all taxes on the property during the required time period.

Breach of Contract

As a common dispute filed in any industry, a breach of contract can have serious legal implications. In real estate, a final contract must be agreed upon before the purchase/acquisition of a property.

This document should contain every term and condition of the sale. Failure to honor the terms of the sale provided in the agreement would result in a breach of contract.

As a buyer or seller, reviewing all provisions included in a real estate contract is essential. Going over said contract with an experienced real estate agent, real estate attorney, or mortgage lender could be very beneficial and potentially avoid litigation, as they may understand specific provisions included in a contract that are industry-related and not commonly understood. After the sale is complete, the terms of the contract still hold, so be mindful of the contract from start to finish in the sale process and beyond.

Failure to Disclose

Terms of a property sale and acquisition should always include relevant details of the property. This means disclosing anything the client requests information on.

The seller must disclose any previous or current defects to the property that could affect the clients as well as the overall property value. Failure to include this information gives the buyer every right to file a lawsuit for failure to disclose a known defect they might not see.

What information can be considered as failure to disclose?

Any roof leaks, flooding, permit issues, mold, or related issues can be classified as property defects that can affect the buyer and property value. As a buyer, you want to know you are acquiring property worth the price tag. (This is where an appraisal from an experienced professional can also factor in).

Trusted Real Estate Lawyer in Los Angeles

When it comes to running your business, there are plenty of things to consider, and it can be difficult to keep track of all the legalities required to operate efficiently. Enlisting the services of an experienced business lawyer can ensure that any legal issues that arise in your business are sufficiently addressed and resolved.

With Rokita Law, you can breathe a little easier knowing you have a business lawyer on your side that offers solutions to many legal needs with experience, passion, and integrity. Located in Los Angeles, California, we practice in many areas, like civil litigation, business law, real estate law, and intellectual property, to give you well-rounded support with trusted, professional lawyers.

Schedule a consultation today to find out how we can help, and watch your business thrive.