Real Estate

The legal definition of real estate or real property is land and the buildings on it. Real estate law governs who may own and use the land. This simple concept includes a wide range of different legal disciplines. First, real estate may be either residential or commercial.

  • Commercial Landlord Tenant
  • Residential Landlord Tenant
  • Foreclosure defense
  • Residential real estate

Commercial Landlord Tenant

Lease Formulation:

Having a lease that protects your rights as a Landlord or owner is not something that should be overlooked.  While a lease is designed to protect both the Landlord and Tenant there are many aspects of commercial leases that can help to protect you should something go wrong.  Too many commercial leases fail to have Confession of Judgment or Personal Guaranty clauses.  It is not enough to just have these clauses in a lease.  It is very important to have them drafted correctly and to educate your employees as to what must be done.  A Confession of Judgment Clause in a commercial lease is virtually useless unless the Tenant signs or initials that specific clause in acknowledgment that it is contained in the lease.  Other overlooked clauses include protection articles regarding proper notice to landlord, CAM and insurance adjustments and attorney fees.

Lease Review:

If you already have a standard lease that you use but you have not updated it in several years it may be time to make some changes.  As each Tenant is unique Landlords may have to modify the lease for each tenant.  Do you have a standard lease that you can easily change depending on the tenant’s requirements or demands?  Make sure that you are protected and that you have the best possible lease for each location and tenant.

Lease Enforcement:

A simple Demand Letter from an attorney to a tenant who has fallen behind on payments can be more effective than a dozen late notices and Notices to Quit by a landlord.  Quite often a Demand letter will work to get the Tenant “back on track”.  However there are times when litigation is required and you need an experienced attorney on your side.

FOR TENANTS:

Lease Review:

Commercial Landlords are usually represented by an attorney and you should be too.  Before entering into a lease it is very important to make sure you understand what you are signing.  You do not have to accept a lease as it is handed to you by a landlord.  There are many parts of a lease that are negotiable.  An attorney can help you negotiate the terms of the lease that will provide you with the protection that you need as a Tenant.

Tenant Representation:

Commercial Tenants have rights both under a lease and by law.  Landlords have specific obligations that must be followed and when these obligations are not met the landlord is said to be in “breach” of the contract and the tenant may be able to sue.   Conversely, if the tenant breaches the lease, usually by failing to pay some or all of the rent, then the tenant is in “breach” of the contract and the landlord can file a lawsuit.  If you have been harmed by your Landlord or your Landlord is attempting to sue you hire an attorney to protect your rights.

Residential Landlord Tenant

 

Whether you are a Landlord having problems with a tenant or a tenant having problems with your landlord make sure you contact an attorney to understand your rights under the lease and also your rights under the law. Is your tenant not paying rent or causes problems for you or neighbor?  Have you been asking your landlord to make repairs that he refuses to correct? If so we may be able to help you.  A landlord can evict a tenant but must follow rules in order to do so.  A tenant may not be required to pay rent until requested repairs are made and may be able to collect rent already paid back from your landlord.  There are procedures that both landlords and tenants must follow and failure to follow them may result in your case being thrown out by the Judge and/or financial penalties being assessed against you.

Foreclosure Defense

There are many possible solutions to a foreclosure action ranging from finding a reasonable resolution with the mortgage holder that allows you to stay in your home to taking aggressive action in situations where the mortgage holder has acted wrongly or has not followed all the rules required in a foreclosure action.  Possible solutions to a foreclosure action include the following:

Mortgage Modification: The mortgage holder (most likely your bank) may be willing to renegotiate the terms of your loan contract.  You may be able to reduce the monthly payment amount, extend the term of the mortgage, forgive money owed, change the interest rate or reducing the principle amount owed on the loan.

Legal Defenses:  There are strict guidelines that banks must follow in Foreclosure proceedings.  These range from giving proper notices about falling behind on your loan to giving notices about legal filings and hearings.  Banks and other financial institutions are also required to show that actually own the Loan and failure to provide this proof takes away a banks right to foreclose on your property.  The federal Truth in Lending Act (TILA) requires banks to follow strict guidelines.  If your bank has violated TILA it can be a defense against a foreclosure action.

Short Sale: If you have fallen very far behind on your mortgage payments and if your home has value then this might be your best option.  In a Short Sale transaction your home will be sold at a price that is less than what you owe on your mortgage.  In return the Bank will accept this price as full payment of your loan.  Care must be taken and it is imperative to have an attorney to ensure that the bank cannot go after you in the future.

Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure: Like a short sale this option may appeal to those who are very behind in mortgage payments and owe a significant amount of money.  In this situation the bank will agree to take the Deed to the home instead of foreclosing.  You will not be able to stay in the home but we can negotiate for you other things including allowing you to stay for a certain period of time, having the bank pay moving expenses, and having the bank pay you a set sum of money.

Bankruptcy:  Filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be your best solution to your mortgage problems and to take steps to get your back to financial stability.

Residential Real Estate

Contractor Damages and Poor Work

Federal, State and Local laws have been enacted to help protect home owners from poor and shoddy work provided to by contractors.  In many locations contractors have to be licensed by the state and insured before they can perform work.  Many townships require a contractor to have filed paperwork before working in that area.  If you have been the victim of poor workmanship in your home or property, or have paid a contractor only to find later that the work was poorly done or the materials were substandard you may need an attorney.

Property Disputes

Nothing can affect a beautiful home situation more negatively than a property dispute with a neighbor.  Even the simplest disagreement over a property boundary can make living in your home a nightmare.  Your neighbor may have built a fence on what you think is your property or your neighbor may be accusing you of doing the same.  There may be underground markers that will settle the disagreement or you may have to survey the properties.  Sometimes a neighbor’s property (a tree limb or a car) causes damage to your property.  You need to know what your legal rights are in these situations.

Mechanics Liens: