Residential Real Estate Disputes
Buying, selling, owning, modifying, or having work done to residential property can raise a myriad of issues related to contracts, legal obligations, construction, zoning, land use, association requirements, and other legal matters. These transactions, agreements, and the use of residential properties are regulated by a number of laws, which can be complex and confusing. Our residential real estate litigation attorneys will advocate for you when something goes wrong.
At Peterson, Martin & Reynolds LLP, real estate litigation is one of the foundations of our legal practice. If you are involved in a dispute involving residential property or you need to bring or defend a lawsuit in California, we will aggressively represent your interests. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.
Common Types of Residential Real Estate Disputes in California
In today’s real estate market, disputes are increasingly common. Wherever possible, it’s a good idea to cover all bases and minimize the risk of becoming involved in a costly and time-consuming court battle. But lawsuits are sometimes necessary or inevitable. We will help you effectively evaluate and craft an appropriate legal strategy.
Here are some of the most common types of residential real estate disputes our law firm handles for our clients:
1. Breach of Contract
When a contract to buy or sell real estate is made, the agreement will contain numerous conditions and terms that must be met, such as deposits, financing, disclosures, title clearance, contingency removals, closing date, and more. Failure to adhere to any terms may give the other party grounds to pursue a breach of contract lawsuit.
2. Failure to Disclose
In California, sellers must disclose material information, including defects, about the property being sold. Examples of defects include:
- water intrusion and mold
- foundation or other structural issues
- plumbing or drainage problems
- non-working systems or components
- neighborhood nuisance issues
- non-permitted improvements to the property
For example, if a homebuyer opens walls and discovers water intrusion, they might have a claim that the seller knew or should have been aware of the problem and failed to disclose it.
3. Breach of Duty or Negligence
In addition to sellers, real estate brokers and agents have duties that arise in real estate transactions, including accurate marketing, appropriate advice and advisories, visual inspections, disclosure of material conditions, and always acting in their client’s best interests. Many real estate disputes involve claims arising from these obligations.
4. Boundary Disputes
Issues often occur when a property’s practical boundary line isn’t consistent with the legal one or when property boundaries haven’t been recorded correctly.
Remedies Available in Real Estate Litigation
If a dispute arises involving a residential real estate sale, parties may be able to resolve the matter in various ways. The purchase and sales contract may govern how disputes can be resolved. Common ways for resolving these disputes include:
- Negotiation between the parties or their attorneys;
- Arbitration; or
- A civil lawsuit.
It’s important to note that few of these remedies are simply given the property rights and/or financial interests on the line. Likewise, determining damages in real estate litigation matters can be complex. If legal action is involved, some of the remedies available may include:
- Money damages — A party that proves its case in a real estate litigation matter will be entitled to receive, or avoid, the payment of monetary damages.
- Specific performance — Specific performance requires that one party perform their duties according to the contract terms.
- Injunctions — This requires that a party to the dispute either cease or take a certain action.
- Partition — The court might order a division of the property based on competing rights.
- Fines — If there is a land use or zoning violation, it might involve various fines and fees.
- Judicial sale — The court might seize and sell the property or place a lien on it.
Many real estate disputes are resolved without going to trial. Some are settled through mediation and arbitration. There are often damages awards, which compensate the non-negligent party for losses resulting from the dispute. The damages available and the type of dispute resolution process used will depend on the nature of the conflict as well as your particular goals and approaches.
Do You Need a Real Estate Litigation Lawyer?
Most residential real estate disputes are financial in nature, making them civil matters. The most efficient way to protect your interests and accomplish your goals will be with the assistance of a real estate litigation attorney, whether you are pursuing a civil action or defending against one. For most people, a home is one of their most valuable assets. The outcome of a real estate dispute can significantly impact the financial and property interests of all involved.
How Our Real Estate Dispute Attorneys Can Help
When you’re facing a residential real estate dispute, obtaining a positive result will often require some strategic legal maneuvering. This is where our seasoned real estate attorneys can help. We provide diligent representation and guidance through every step of your case, including:
- Evaluating the pros and cons of pursuing litigation
- Determining the appropriate administrative body or court to handle the case
- Identifying the best possible remedies and how to achieve them
- Collecting evidence to build a strong case
- Drafting the appropriate discovery and court documents
- Conducting pre-trial hearings and representing you in court
- Representing your interests in mediation and arbitration proceedings
- Negotiating a fair settlement if it is in your best interests
We work closely with you throughout your case to ensure you understand the legal process and your options. There may be different options for resolving a real estate dispute, and our goal is to deliver an outcome that best meets the circumstances and your specific needs and goals.
Contact a Northern California Residential Real Estate Litigation Lawyer Today
At Peterson, Martin & Reynolds LLP, we understand the high stakes involved in real estate transactions and disputes.
We take our role in resolving residential real estate disputes seriously. In most cases, our involvement can save you time, money, and additional stress. Call our office today at (415) 399-2900 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. We have offices in San Francisco, Oakland, and Lafayette, California.