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Fort Lauderdale’s affordability and job growth have made it one of the most popular destinations in Florida. But as the real estate business grows, so do disputes involving buyers, sellers, developers, and brokers. When one party to a real estate deal makes misrepresentations, commits errors, or attempts to profit at the other party’s expense, litigation may be the only way to prevent injustice.
The Business Trial Group’s experienced Fort Lauderdale attorneys handle real estate disputes on a contingency-fee basis. Contingency real estate litigation takes hourly attorneys’ fees out of the equation and allows cases to be decided solely on the merits. We have recovered millions of dollars of verdicts and settlements for clients in cases involving unpaid commissions, developer disputes, construction defects, misrepresentations, and other types of real estate lawsuits.
To consult with an attorney to determine your rights regarding a real estate dispute, contact us today.
Real Estate Lawsuits We Handle
The Business Trial Group’s Broward County real estate attorneys represent purchasers, sellers, brokers, developers, appraisers, owners, and tenants in Fort Lauderdale and throughout South Florida in disputes involving:
- Design and planning negligence
- Breach of leases
- Purchase and sale agreements
- Landlord-tenant agreements
- Construction claims
- Unpaid real estate commissions
- Real estate agent breach of fiduciary duty and fraud
- Eminent domain
Each real estate dispute is unique and needs to be evaluated on its facts. During a free consultation with the Business Trial Group you will speak with an attorney and learn about the legal options available to you. Begin your free case review.
Unpaid Real Estate Commissions
Most real estate agents and brokers make money through commissions paid when transactions are settled. The agent’s commission—whether a percentage of the property’s selling price or a flat fee—is usually described in a written contract, but can also be established through a verbal or handshake agreement. It is not uncommon for commissions to be shared between several parties—nor is it uncommon for an agent or broker to be cut out of a deal.
Unpaid real estate commission disputes often arise over:
- Procuring cause: To be entitled to a commission, the broker must typically be the procuring cause of a transaction. Procuring cause means that the broker takes some action to bring the buyer and seller together, and remains involved in continuing buyer-seller negotiations (unless intentionally cut out of the transaction).
- Exclusive right-to-sell listing agreement: Some real estate contracts contain a provision that entitles a real estate company or broker to a commission from any sale within a specified time period. If a sale goes through within the stated time period and the company or broker does not receive a commission, this could be considered a breach of contract.
In Florida, oral brokerage contracts are considered valid and enforceable. While it is a good idea to have a written agreement, even in the absence of one, if you were not paid a commission you may have a case.
Breach of Lease
A lease is a legally binding and enforceable contract between a landlord and a tenant. Although many lease agreements contain standard terms, the actual terms can be negotiated prior to both parties signing the contract. If either party breaches the lease terms, the non-breaching party may be able to file a lawsuit and recover damages.
Breach of lease disputes commonly arise over issues that include:
- Nonpayment of rent
- Failure to make repairs
- Failure to reimburse for repair or maintenance charges
- Improper or early lease termination
- Lease extension and renewal rates
- Wrongful eviction
The Business Trial Group represents both landlords and tenants in breach of lease lawsuits.
Misrepresentations and Omissions in Real Estate Transactions
Real estate agents and brokers owe potential buyers a number of professional duties, including:
- Disclosing all known material facts about the property
- Not making representations about the property that are misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent
Material facts are those facts that a reasonable buyer would find relevant to the decision of whether to purchase or sell a property. For example, if the buyer plans to renovate a property, building regulations that restrict development may be considered a material fact. If the buyer plans on using the property to operate a business, zoning laws that restrict commercial operations on the property may be a material fact.
Realtors must not misrepresent or omit material facts about a property to a potential buyer.
Realtors also have an obligation to disclose to the buyer details such as known property damage or flaws, property easements and boundaries, and the age of an addition. Failure to disclose material information is an omission; not accurately presenting material information is a misrepresentation. When an omission or misrepresentation is intentional, this could be considered fraud. Unintentional omissions and representations may constitute negligence.
If a real estate agent omitted or misrepresented a material fact in the course of a transaction, the Business Trial Group can help.
The government has the right of eminent domain to take private property for public use, but eminent domain power is not unlimited.
At the very least, a property owner whose property is taken has the right to be compensated. For business property taken though eminent domain, special damages may be available, such as lost profits and relocation costs.
The right of eminent domain is not unlimited. Property owners also have rights.
The government is also required to follow procedure when claiming a property through eminent domain. Property owners must be given notice of the government’s intent to seize their land, and a challenge to the taking can be made at a preliminary hearing. Compensation to the owner is determined by a jury trial. The owner has a right to appeal the jury’s decision.
If you have received an eminent domain notice from the government, you should get in touch with a knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale eminent domain lawyer right away to discuss your legal options. The Business Trial Group’s Broward County eminent domain attorneys will ensure that the government’s claim is legal and that you receive full compensation for your property.
Contingency-Fee Real Estate Litigation Attorneys in Fort Lauderdale
The Business Trial Group handles all real estate claims on a contingency-fee basis. Our attorneys eschew hourly billing in favor of contingency litigation because we believe it provides the best opportunity for our clients to achieve justice. And if we do not make a recovery, our clients pay us nothing.
We are confident enough in our attorneys’ abilities and their clients’ cases to assume financial risk in the litigation. By not charging upfront attorneys’ fees or retainers, our attorneys have a powerful incentive to achieve the best possible recovery for our clients.
For help with your real estate lawsuit, contact the Business Trial Group and receive a no-cost, no-obligation case review with our Broward County real estate attorneys.