Real Estate Disputes
Protecting The Rights of Those Facing Real Estate Disputes
Real estate disputes can arise anytime, derail transactions or projects, cause delays, and increase costs. Real estate contracts typically contain contingencies, provisions, and terms of conditions for all transaction parties. When one or more party violates the terms of the contract, the others suffer, usually financially.
Real estate disputes are complex legal matters, and having a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer saves you time, money, and effort. At Oliveri & Larsen, our Annapolis real estate litigation lawyers have an extensive and established track record of providing our clients with a wide range of services.
What Are Common Types of Real Estate Disputes?
Not all real estate transactions or agreements go as planned, causing disputes between the parties. Many disputes can be settled out of the courtroom, but some require litigation when an agreement cannot be reached. Some common types of real estate disputes are listed below.
Real estate is one of the largest investments businesses and individuals make. Title concerns, failure to disclose, and contract errors can escalate into serious legal disputes. Property owners who fail to disclose damage or defects or title impediments often lead buyers to pursue legal action.
When purchasing property, you acquire the title, giving you ownership rights and interests. To be legal, there must be a chain of title detailing all previous owners and the dates of all prior property transfers. Title transfers can be deeds, foreclosure, affidavits of survivorship, and court judgments. Multiple parties may claim ownership when these documents have not been adequately recorded. This is considered a title defect, often requiring litigation to determine the true property owner.
Disputes between adjoining property owners are common, typically residential property owners asserting that each owns a portion of the property. Boundary disputes should not require suing your neighbor. However, these disputes can get more complicated if the boundary was breached by previous owners long ago, mainly if structures have been constructed on the land in question.
Eminent Domain Disputes
Having the government deem all or a portion of your property “illegitimate for use” and taking ownership can be devastating. Eminent domain situations typically arise when the government has developed plans for the area where your property is located, such as constructing new roads. They have the right to pay owners the land’s fair market value; however, this is often at a loss to the property owner and frequently leads to lawsuits.
Material Latent Defect Disputes
Sellers are legally obligated to disclose material or latent defects to buyers, and buyers have the right to sellers for compensation if they fail to do so. Material defects adversely affect property values or pose risks to residents. Latent defects pertain to hidden defects that buyers do not detect, even with thorough inspections.
Common material and latent defects include structural and foundation cracks, electrical problems, window leaks, plumbing problems, mold, roof leaks, and wood rot. Sellers who purposely fail to disclose defects defraud buyers and put their lives at risk.
Property owners enter into construction agreements when building a home, commercial building, or renovating. Specific contracts generally contain how change orders and disputes will be resolved, though not all conflicts can be predicted during the contract stage. Problems such as time delays, difficulty obtaining materials, design problems, payments, and more may constitute a breach of contract.
Landlord-tenant disputes are some of the most common. Landlords may need legal assistance to enforce leases, issue eviction notices, and collect unpaid rent and utilities, and property damage claims. Tenants may require assistance in wrongful evictions, when the landlord fails to make repairs or maintain the premises, when they fail to return security deposits, and in other landlord-tenant contract violations.
Mechanic’s Lien Disputes
Contractors and subcontractors who have not received payment for work have the right to file a lien on the property, which prohibits the owner from selling the property until the bill is paid. In many localities, property owners are not notified if a lien is placed on their property and is discovered during the sale process. Mechanic’s liens can cause real estate negotiations to fail.
Owning property does not entitle you to use the property however you see fit. State laws and local zoning ordinances apply to all properties no matter where they are located and dictate how they may be utilized. Disagreements over property use are common and become complicated quickly.
Zoning disputes exist in various contexts, including parking, signage, and activities on the land, but most fall into specific categories, such as:
- Variance requests: Neighboring property owners are entitled to receive a notification when adjoining or nearby owners request an exception to zoning ordinances for their property. Exceptions typically pertain to a building the owner intends to construct or a particular activity they intend to perform on the property. Disputes arise when neighbors object.
- Nonconforming use: Property owners find themselves in disputes when they fail to research or ignore zoning ordinances and develop their property in violation, such as operating a business in a residentially zoned area.
- Setback and buffer disputes: Local ordinances dictate the distance between buildings and property lines, such as the placement of sheds or garages.
- Building restrictions: Zoning ordinances also dictate the size and number of buildings allowable on specific properties.
- Occupancy violations: Zoning ordinances also establish the number of people permitted to occupy a building or residence.
How Can Oliveri & Larsen Help With Your Real Estate Dispute?
Disputes can arise at any stage of a real estate transaction, causing delays, increased costs, or a potential complete breakdown entirely. At Oliveri & Larsen, our experienced and skilled real estate litigation lawyers in Annapolis provide sound legal advisement.
With decades of experience and a proven success record, we provide residential and commercial clients with excellent representation backed by our extensive knowledge of real estate law. We have assisted a range of valued clients, including:
- Multi-family housing providers
- Property management companies
- Title insurance producers
We will remain focused on protecting your rights and serving your best interests, regardless of the complexity of your real estate dispute case. We aim to provide the best possible outcome for every client we serve.
Annapolis Real Estate Litigation Lawyers at Oliveri & Larsen Represent Clients Embroiled in Complex Real Estate Disputes
A real estate dispute can cause delays, increase costs, or derail the deal entirely. If you are experiencing a dispute, our Annapolis real estate litigation lawyers at Oliveri & Larsen can help. Call 410-295-3000 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Annapolis, Maryland, we serve clients in Ocean City, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Calvert County, Harford County, Howard County, Queen Anne’s County, St. Mary’s County, Worcester County, Kent County, and the upper and lower Eastern Shores of Maryland.