While purchasing land should be a joyful occasion, many property sales are ruined by costly and time-consuming lawsuits. The simplest approach to avoid a lots-for-sale lawsuit is to review the land and the sale contract thoroughly before closing the purchase.
However, if you run into a problem, whether it’s a land defect, a property line disagreement, or a breach of contract dispute, you should contact a real estate attorney right away.
Lots Available for Purchase
Individuals may choose to purchase undeveloped lots of land instead of previously constructed property. The property owner can then do whatever they choose with the land, such as leave it desolate, cultivate it, or build a house on it. Undeveloped land is far less expensive than purchasing land with houses or other property already built on it.
Lots are pre-mapped, and deeds for the lots are lodged with the state’s tax office. Every few years, a tax appraiser will inspect the land to determine the fair market value of the lot. The tax office has formal property lines that can be used to determine where a lot begins and ends.
When you buy a large tract of land, you want to be able to enjoy complete ownership rights. However, property purchasers may uncover lot flaws that the seller did not disclose to them prior to signing the contract. Potholes on the property’s surface are a common occurrence.
Potholes are unsafe and significantly reduce the value of a lot. Buildings cannot be built on potholed soil because the earth is not stable enough to sustain a structure.
Normally, past owners are aware of these pre-existing flaws but keep them private from prospective purchasers for fear of losing a transaction.
A seller commits fraud if they misrepresent the condition of a lot prior to a sale in order to entice a buyer to sign a contract.
Disputes Over Property Lines
Lots of land typically lack distinct demarcations between the beginning and end of the lot.
If you do not own the neighboring lot, you may have disagreements with your neighbor about property lines and the local government or others about your use of the property.
These disagreements include:
- Disputes Over Boundaries: The owners of two adjacent lots differ on where the lines should be drawn. A court will almost certainly have to resolve this.
- Disputes Over Zoning: Without a clear historical use for the site, determining how the property is designated may be challenging, and the owner may wish or need to dispute the applicable zoning regulations to use the lot. The property’s zoning determines whether it can be used for commercial or residential purposes.
- Disputes Over Title: A disagreement about who owns what on the property may arise. If the previous owner transferred an easement to a third party and then sold the lot, the new owner may have disagreements with the easement owner.
- Breach of Contract: A breach of contract lawsuit is the most typical sort of lots-for-sale case. Contract breaches are common in real estate sales. When a seller refuses to provide title to a lot after the parties have executed a legitimate contract, the seller must pay the buyer expectation damages. Expectation damages put the buyer in the same situation as if the contract had been fulfilled.
- As a result, the seller may be forced to either turn over the lot to the buyer or pay the buyer monetary damages equal to the fair market worth of the land. If the buyer had originally negotiated to acquire the land at a low price, this could be a windfall.
What Are Some Common Reasons for Filing a Lawsuit in Real Estate?
If property and real estate problems cannot be resolved outside of court, they frequently lead to lawsuits. Real estate disputes are legal disagreements about constructions attached to land or a piece of land itself. Many real estate conflicts include breach of contract, which is frequently associated with selling or renting property.
Other issues include:
- Disagreements between neighbors about the exact placement of the boundary between their properties;
- Neighbors purposely blocking the view of other neighbors using spite fencing or other barriers, such as a row of trees or hedges, in order to bother their neighbors;
- Landlord and tenant conflicts, such as who is accountable for damages and repairs to a rental property;
- Mortgage lenders and other creditors contesting foreclosures on a specific property;
- Land use and zoning violations
- Failure to pay monthly mortgage payments, which leads to foreclosure;
- Failure to pay rent, which leads to eviction;
- Fraudulent transfers of real estate titles and other frauds in real estate transactions are other prominent grounds for action in real estate cases.
- An owner or tenant who makes an illegal use of land or property, resulting in zoning regulations or covenants being enforced;
- Disputes with mortgage lenders, which may involve foreclosure, mortgage fraud; predatory lending practices, or discrimination; and
- Title disputes.
The majority of real estate issues are governed by state law. With a few exceptions, the majority of real estate law is state law.
While each state’s real estate laws may differ, basic concepts are found in most states’ laws. If a person is facing a real estate litigation, they should speak with a local real estate attorney to ensure that they understand the law in the state where the property is located.
In fact, a lawsuit involving real property concerns must be filed within the state in which the land is located, according to the common law doctrine of local action. As a matter of federal common law, federal courts must also apply the local action concept. Any civil case involving properties in many federal districts within the same state may be filed in any of the districts.
What Are Some Common Real Estate Lawsuit Remedies?
Real estate disputes are frequently resolved by awarding monetary damages to compensate the party who is not at fault for any losses. However, as previously stated, real estate lawsuits vary, and lawsuits can frequently lead to other specific remedies, such as:
- Injunctions, such as a court order to stop construction;
- Eviction from a tenancy;
- Foreclosure mortgage loan;
- Mediation or arbitration, which would involve a neutral third party facilitating a resolution between the disputing parties;
- Various fines or levies, which are frequent for zoning and land use offenses in cities and states;
- Specific performance, which requires one party to execute as agreed under a contract;
- A court ruling that a judicial lien be placed on a property in order to satisfy a debt.
The nature of the conflict determines the sort of dispute resolution accessible. For example, a breach of real estate contract action may require the party to select between monetary damages and a particular performance award. Furthermore, depending on the nature of the specific issue, state laws may impact which forms of remedies are accessible.
Is a Lawyer Required in a Lots-for-Sale Lawsuit?
Real estate conflicts are a mash-up of real estate, tax, and contract law, and they can be extremely complex and time-consuming.
A knowledgeable property attorney will be able to explain your rights, evaluate any contracts or paperwork, negotiate a settlement, and advocate for your best interests in court.