Every real estate deal involves a contract. Often these are so long and complex that they are open to interpretation, which means a legal dispute. There are other methods, or the contract may outline protocols for equitably resolving the dispute, but litigation may be the only viable option when the other side is being unreasonable.
Some common examples
There may be applicable local, state and federal laws – in cases with more than one set of laws in play, the federal law takes precedence. Issues commonly litigated include:
- Breach of contract: A developer may argue that the contractor did not meet the terms of the contract, or a buyer may allege that the seller misrepresented the property in some way. Whatever the dispute, there must be a contract in place between the two parties.
- Negligence or breach of duty: The plaintiff will often claim that their realtor or real estate broker did not meet their fiduciary duty in protecting the plaintiff or client’s interests. This may involve paying too much for or not selling a property for a fair price. The plaintiff’s claim will allege that defendant knowingly misinformed them or did so out of incompetence. It may also be a matter where materials did not perform as promised.
- Failure to disclose a defect: Those working on a property or professionally involved in some way are obligated to notify the buyer or owner of a defect – this could include evidence of flooding, leaking, or the presence of mold.
Valid contracts make disputes easier to resolve
Real estate deals and disputes can involve millions of dollars, so the contract should cover all potential issues, addressing the matters in clear and concise language. It also should follow all applicable laws. A valid contract can also be the difference between quickly resolving a matter and getting embroiled in a lengthy and expensive dispute that you may lose.