Real Estate Litigation
Real estate is a source of many different types of litigation. People and businesses view real estate as a valuable asset. Consequently, real estate involves substantial financial stakes for all parties involved. Therefore, real estate lawyers can find themselves advocating for clients in intense and extremely adversarial litigation over commercial and residential properties.
Real estate litigation also spills over into many other different aspects of litigation. One of the most prominent of these is construction-related lawsuits. However, real estate cases can also involve partnership disputes and fraud cases. Real estate investing often involves a substantial commitment of funds, so it is an area where unscrupulous people have significant incentive to cheat or swindle a partner or other parties. This may involve stolen equity, illicit collection of rent, fraudulent deed transfers, or conduct that denies another involved party the income from real estate.
Underhanded investors and parties may pursue another person’s money as fair game. As such, real estate litigation can involve fraud perpetrated on friends and family. Those people are closely tied to each other by the trust established in the family or friendship relationship, only to be taken advantage of in situations where properties are jointly owned.
Another example of a far-reaching real estate scam is one the occurs underneath the veneer of a legitimate investment. This vehicle is called a “Ponzi scheme.” In a Ponzi scheme, an investor commits his or her funds to a “manager” or agent of a business who promises a specified high rate of return secured by real estate investments. While the company may pay the promised rate of return at first, over time, the business defaults on its obligation to the investors. Payment eventually falls off, while the investor hears nothing about where the principal investment went. The disappearance of the principal and the underlying agreement then become the issues in a lawsuit.
Real Estate Scammers
Real Estate scams can come from brokers, sellers, or buyers of property, or even “foreclosure rescue” businesses. Real estate developers and professional purchasers may engage in conduct that takes advantage of consumers selling their homes and can steal away many years of equity that the homeowner has built up.
Over the years, litigation against these schemers and scammers have become more and more actionable as legislators recognize the depths of deception these people and companies engage in. Consequently, various statutory provisions have arisen to protect consumers from real estate scammers.
Attorneys become involved in cases where monies are gained illicitly from real estate deals and transactions. In situations such as these, many of the parties involved have no reason to think they are getting taken advantage of until it is too late, and their money is long gone. Therefore, it is advisable to have a real estate attorney review and discuss real estate contracts or other agreements before the parties involved sign them. Professional scrutiny of these documents may help to minimize the risk involved, expose scammers, and lend support to years of prosperity.