The Three Most Common Types of Real Estate Litigation Disputes?
This article discusses the three most common types of real estate litigation disputes, the traditional context. In recent years, the statistics surrounding the number of small business involved in some type of real estate litigation have risen to a range between 36% to 53% according to a 2018 Forbes report. As reported by Forbes, as many as 90% of businesses were involved in some form of a legal dispute.
Real estate litigation is one of the fastest rising forms of litigation. It involves real estate agents and brokers, landlords and tenants and buyers and sellers, using the legal system to litigate disputes. Where appropriate, the system is used to correct perceived or experienced wrongdoing and establish legal rights, duties and responsibilities. Unfortunately, in the South Florida real estate industry, too many times we see the real estate litigation as a tool for bullying rather than to establish the lawful rights and correct actual wrongdoings. Too many times, we see individuals “cave” into the demands of an imposing party, because they fear the litigation process or having to retain an attorney. The three most common types of real estate litigation disputes, in the traditional context, are as follows:
1. Breach of Contract
In any transaction involving real estate, terms and conditions are memorialized into documents such as the terms of a contract, title insurance and disclosures, the terms specifying the details to the transaction, closing dates and performance issues, to name a few.
In such a lawsuit claiming a breach of contract, the party filing suit has the burden to demonstrate that while they have fulfilled their contractual obligations, the opposing party to the suit (i.e. the defendant) has not. Damages are established based on the types of losses suffered as a result of the breach described.
2. Failure to Disclose
In Florida, the seller is obligated to disclose any non-evident facts or defects that may affect the value of the property purchased. If a buyer discovers an undisclosed issue affecting the value of the property, the buyer has a cause of action against the seller. Here, expert testimony is frequently needed to testify that the defect was known at the time of the transaction, or what is referred to as reasonable “know or should have known” standard, and that despite this knowledge, it was intentionally concealed.
3. Breach of Duty or Negligence
This type of cause of action typically involves the real estate and brokerage firm. Real estate agents have a fiduciary duty to their clients, meaning they are obligated to act in the best interest of their clients and not that of a third party or themselves. Along these lines includes the same duty to disclose any information that may be of importance to the client. An agent must perform all the services to the best of his or her ability that will yield and are for, the best interest of their clients. Often, these types of cases are easier for the Plaintiff, because of the established list of violations constituting a breach of duty by an agent or brokerage firm. The real estate agent holding licensing by the State of Florida is governed by the Department of Business Regulation, which provides informational materials providing a list of all the obligations and requirements.
Contact Ferrer Law Group today if you find yourself in need of legal assistance involving one or more of the three most common types of real estate litigation disputes.
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