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Real estate disputes are a common occurrence for property owners across New York. Whenever different parties cannot agree on contracts, boundaries, property division, or sales, the situation can become heated and turn into a complex legal battle.

If you own real estate, the best way to avoid a dispute is to take the necessary preventive measures. Unfortunately, disagreements often occur when you least expect them. If you own property in New York, learn more about some common real estate disputes you could eventually encounter.

1. Breach of Contract

Whenever you buy, sell, or transfer real estate, you sign a legal contract that includes all the terms and agreements.

Contracts are designed to ensure transparency between the parties involved. When it comes to real estate law, many contracts will include important information that the signing parties must follow, such as:

  • Purchase price
  • Financing arrangements
  • Closing dates
  • Descriptions of property
  • Terms and agreements
  • Contingencies

Other contracts can establish the terms of a rental lease or even a brokerage relationship when not dealing with sales. Whenever a party breaks the terms of an agreement or fails to follow any specific requirements, the courts may be the only way to seek relief.

Through a breach of contract lawsuit, you can hold the responsible party accountable, enforce the contract’s terms, and recover any damages you incurred.

2. Breach of Duty

New York real estate agents must engage in a duty of care. Because real estate professionals are licensed by the state board, they must generally act in good faith and follow any ethical requirements in the best interests of their clients.

Whenever real estate agents act negligently or recklessly or misrepresent their services, they can cause harm to clients or other parties. Often, agents will knowingly fail to disclose substantial defects or problems in a property to make a sale. These actions and behaviors can result in severe financial losses and other consequences.

If you become involved in a dispute over an agent’s breach of duty, a lawsuit can help hold them responsible for their negligent behavior.

3. Fraud and Failure to Disclose

Sellers of homes and commercial properties may knowingly withhold information from potential buyers — this can be illegal. 

According to New York’s Property Condition Disclosure Act (PCDA), all sellers must provide a comprehensive “disclosure statement” that outlines a variety of information about the property, such as:

  • Age and ownership
  • Utility surcharges
  • Environmental hazards and concerns
  • Structural conditions
  • Past issues with fires, flooding, or insects
  • Building infrastructure

If you purchased a property and discovered a significant discrepancy or defect, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against the seller. In some cases, the evidence may be strong enough to pursue a fraud claim. 

Real estate disputes involve many moving parts, but a seasoned property attorney can review the facts and determine the best action.  

4. Disputes over Property Lines

Property owners often look to expand their homes, remodel pre-existing structures, or build additional elements. These plans can easily result in issues over property rights whenever neighbors disagree with the established boundaries.

Before conducting any major construction or renovation, you should obtain an updated land survey. This will help avoid potential property line disputes, which can prove costly if you go to court.

Real Estate Dispute Attorneys in Staten Island, NY

Real estate disputes come in all shapes and sizes. Although no two cases are the same, the lawyers at Merlino & Gonzalez are dedicated to defending your rights.

Our Staten Island firm specializes in real estate and elder law planning matters. Contact us today for a free consultation.