Real Estate

I have experience with a wide array of issues arising in real property disputes. I have helped settle cases between various parties – buyers, sellers, lenders, real estate and loan brokers, broker-franchisors, title insurers, and builders. Disputes arise out of large lots for development, substantial commercial/industrial properties, subdivisions, multi-unit residential structures, single family homes, condominiums and distressed properties. I have handled cases between buyers and sellers and between developers and homeowners and condominium associations.

I am familiar with both commercial and residential properties and with claims arising from title and lien priority issues, equitable subrogation, contract compliance, joint ventures, disclosures on sale (concerning the subject property, neighboring properties or other characteristics affecting value), sales of real estate with businesses where the terms are interrelated, fraud, forged documents, refinance trickery, lease back, tax-free exchanges, contingencies and conditions, grounds for termination, liquidated damages, other measures of damages, etc.

Real estate disputes that I have handled arise in a variety of procedural settings, including specific performance, quiet title, foreclosure, and injunctive relief, as well as the more common damage claims for breach of contract and for fraud.

Many cases involve secured debt, which generates other, distinct practical and legal issues, including recoverability and ability to pay. I have assisted in disputes between lenders and borrowers in commercial settings involving complex relationships, and have helped resolve cases with work-out plans, forbearance agreements, and similar arrangements.

I have worked on cases between co-owners, such as tenants-in-common partitions, waste, forged deeds, and disputes that arise out of non-traditional relationships. Especially in family or quasi-family dealings, the parties can disagree about the nature of the underlying transaction, whether it is a loan, joint ownership, partnership, or some other idiosyncratic arrangement. There may be few if any confirming documents giving rise to issues with title, and claims of oral arrangements and substitute financing agreements. This generates disputes about ownership and claimed breaches of fiduciary duty.

I have helped settle environmental claims among successive owners, sometimes spanning decades of ownership with a variety of property uses. I have assisted in the resolution of a number of eminent domain cases.

I have handled disputes between commercial and residential neighbors, such as for nuisance, mandatory and contractual easements, maintenance obligations, water rights, adverse possession, environmental contamination, tree falls, water run off and earth movement, soil conditions, retaining walls, fences, property lines, views and sight lines, scope of improvements, and other adjoining landowner claims. Some of these involve significant disputes over the effect of the chain of title or of various deed restrictions. I am also familiar with the issues and legal principles that arise in the context of homeowners associations, condominium developments and subdivisions, as well as governmental regulation such as zoning, building permits, code enforcement, the Subdivision Map Act, and view ordinances.

Many disputes involve malpractice and/or commission claims with agents and brokers, or between agents and brokers, arising out of these transactions. Issues include scope of duties of agents to provide advice, investigation and disclosure, dual agency, and title insurance coverage. Disputes often arise between lenders and borrowers in the residential setting, in connection with refinances, foreclosures and loan modification agreements. Some I have mediated are idiosyncratic, for example a claim for fire insurance proceeds derived from a fire occurring just before a foreclosure sale.

In addition to settlements based on money, I have helped parties negotiate new business relationships, including complex purchase agreements and loan structures.