Common Causes of Real Estate Litigation

Legal Article

Common Causes of Real Estate Litigation

Real estate litigation is any kind of dispute that stems from or concerns real property or an interest in real property. Real estate litigation could include a legal issue occurring during the buying, selling, or leasing of a property, hidden property defects, or questions regarding the ownership of a property concerning real estate agents, brokers, buyers, sellers, landlords, or tenants.

Further, real estate litigation can occur in both residential and commercial real estate. No matter what issues you are facing, it is vital to contact an experienced and knowledgeable real estate attorney immediately. Below are the most common causes of real estate litigation, how to quickly resolve these disputes, and those who may encounter real estate litigation.

Causes of Real Estate Litigation

Common causes of real estate litigation stem from many different scenarios including but not limited to:

  • Breach of a lease or sales contract
  • Landlord/tenant disputes
  • Breach of construction contracts or terms
  • Zoning disputes
  • Encroachments
  • Easements
  • Title disputes/defects of title
  • Land use disputes
  • Failures to disclose
  • Mortgage disputes or default (including foreclosure)
  • Condominium issues (e.g., the conflict between condo boards and owners, or between condo association and management company)

However, the most common causes for real estate litigation include; breach of contract, failure to disclose property defects, and negligence or breach of duty.

Breach of Contract

A breach of contract is typically the most common cause of real estate litigation. In a real estate transaction, the contractual terms might state specific details regarding the title clearance, closing date, assets included in the transaction, and more. If a breach of contract is the cause of real estate litigation, the wronged party—referred to as the plaintiff—must show that they abided by the contract while the other party—referred to as the defendant—has not. If the plaintiff successfully proves these facts, they will be entitled to financial compensation for any losses they suffered resulting from the breach of contract. The easiest way to avoid a breach of contract real estate litigation case is to consult an experienced real estate attorney to review and clarify any questions you have surrounding your agreement.

Failure to Disclose Property Defects

When selling property, the seller must disclose any non-evident and known defects that could lower the value of the property. Thus, if the buyer of the property finds an undisclosed defect after closing, they have the legal right to sue the seller by claiming a failure to disclose. However, for a failure to disclose lawsuit to be successful, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant knew about the defect—or reasonably should have known—and purposefully concealed the issue. Unfortunately, litigation stemming from a failure to disclose property defects is caused entirely by the seller, there is nothing buyers can do to mitigate this issue.

Negligence or Breach of Duty

Negligence or breach of duty real estate litigation cases commonly stem from real estate agents. Real estate agents must act in the best interest of their client—not the property seller or another third party. Further, these entities are legally required to keep sensitive client information such as financial details private. Not only do real estate agents and realtors have to keep sensitive client information secret, but they must also disclose any information about a property or seller that may benefit their client. The culmination of these requirements means that real estate agents and realtors must perform all their services to the best of their knowledge and abilities. Thus, going against any of these rules or acting in a negligent way may result in a loss of license.

Who May Need Representation for Real Estate Litigation

Most people go into a real estate transaction hoping and expecting it to go smoothly with no conflicts or disputes. However, despite many people’s intentions, there are certain issues that occur during a real estate transaction that warrant real estate litigation. If you are currently dealing with real estate litigation or believe you will soon be entangled in a lawsuit concerning real estate, you should contact a real estate attorney immediately.

A real estate attorney can help you receive the outcome you desire. However, they can also help you understand the unique issues you are dealing with. Contacting a real estate litigation attorney is the first crucial step to ensure your success if you are a:

  • A current homeowner
  • A buyer
  • A seller
  • A tenant
  • A landlord
  • A condo association
  • A developer
  • A lender

Contact Our DC Law Office for More Information

Finally, for more information on what is real estate litigation, contact us at 202-803-5676. You can also directly schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys. Additionally, for general information regarding real estate law, check out our blog.