Olympia Law, PC: Real Estate LitigationsHigh-value real estate litigation requires professionals with a sophisticated understanding for real estate deals, financing and ownership structures, and the rules and regulations that apply to real estate transactions. This knowledge is required in order to help clients achieve their objectives in the most efficient manner possible. Consult with our lawyers at Olympia Law, PC if you need legal assistance. Real estate litigation is a matter that you should entrust to a law firm that you trust.
Every real estate transaction can potentially end up in a lawsuit. Buyers and sellers may bring suits against their brokers or agents, for a number of reasons, including misrepresentation or nondisclosure of property conditions, breach of fiduciary duty, and unlawful discrimination, to name a few. When this happens, it would be best to call an experienced law firm in real estate litigation. Olympia Law, PC provides some of the most personalized real estate litigation services. Based on various cases, these are some of the most common real estate legal pitfalls:
Brokers are usually charged with misrepresentation
There is usually some confusion between misrepresentation and failure to disclose, though they are very closely related. Misrepresentation is the misstating of some material feature of the property; these can include structural features (foundation), property boundaries, and termite problems. Failure to disclose is just not revealing some important feature of the property; these can include easements, renovating without a permit, environmental problems, and title problems.
Olympia Law, PC can help suggest ways to avoid these kinds of scenarios. One easy way to avoid such situations is to use buyer/seller disclosure forms. Proper documentation encourages the use of other professionals, such as inspectors and attorneys, whenever appropriate.
Common environmental issues when it comes to real estate are: asbestos, lead-based paint, and groundwater contamination. These cases usually happen when a broker fails to recommend persons with the expertise to evaluate those hazards. For example, lead-based paint disclosure laws require that buyers or tenants are advised of any known lead-based paint hazards. They should also provide purchasers or tenants with a federal-approved, lead-based paint hazard information pamphlet, and include specific language in all sales contracts or leases.
The tenant needs to stay educated and know what the common environmental issues and hazards are in their area. A list of local environmental inspectors and resources can also be given to buyers/tenants upon property inquiry.
Realtors’ unauthorized practice of law
Whenever brokers or sales agents give legal advice, this is what’s commonly referred to as “unauthorized practice of law.” Article 13 of the NAR Code of Ethics states that, “realtors shall not engage in activities that constitute the unauthorized practice of law.” This simply means that realtors have no authority to dispense any legal advice whatsoever. At most, brokers are permitted to complete the blanks of a preprinted sales agreement that has been previously approved by an attorney. They may not, however, draft documents or give legal advice.
In order to avoid getting embroiled in such an agreement with your broker, do a little research and know the parameters and limitations when it comes to real estate transactions in your state. Our professionals from Olympia Law, PC are an inquiry away from helping you with all your real estate questions.