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How to Find the Best Real Estate Dispute Attorney in Pennsylvania
Back when Philadelphia was just a gleam in Ben Franklin’s eye, citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania settled land feuds the old-fashioned way: with fists and sometimes guns. As the nation developed into a model republic, land feuds in PA became much more civil, that is, the disputes ended up settled in a court of law and not in the backyard of a homeowner.
As we move forward into the 21st century, land feuds remain a legal issue for the judicial system to resolve. Because of the complicated nature of most land feuds, hiring a PA real estate dispute attorney is not just a good idea, it should be a forgone conclusion.
A Pennsylvania real estate dispute attorney offers clients several benefits. First, you receive expert advice on how to proceed with your case. Second, a PA real estate dispute lawyer monitors the progress of a complaint as it moves through the state judicial system. Third, your attorney can negotiate a settlement that saves you both time and money. Finally, the best real estate dispute attorney in Pennsylvania presents the most compelling evidence before a civil court judge.
At Morgan & Morgan, our team of PA real estate dispute attorneys helps clients resolve the most complex issues. Before you dive into a real estate dispute case, sit down with one of our state-licensed real estate lawyers to determine the best course of legal action.
What Is a Property Dispute?
A property dispute represents a legal issue that concerns real estate. Although the definition seems simplistic, the fact remains that real estate disputes are some of the most complicated legal issues to resolve in the State of Pennsylvania. Land feuds cover a wide variety of legal issues for a large number of different types of properties. Real estate disputes can involve a home, a deck, a driveway, a condominium, and vacant land.
Many property dispute cases resolve by both parties agreeing to a compromise. However, because of legal disputes such as eminent domain, a growing number of land feuds in the Keystone State turn highly contentious. If you are involved in a real estate dispute, you should immediately turn to an experienced real estate lawyer to help you navigate the resolution process.
What Parties Get Involved in Land Feuds?
Real estate disputes involve anyone that contests the legality of a property issue. Most land feuds include the owner of a property, but they also can involve several different parties.
- Construction company
- Homeowner association
- Government agency
If you face a real estate dispute with a government agency, working with a highly-rated real estate attorney can counter the legal power possessed by the agency. Government agencies employ highly skilled PA real estate dispute attorneys to help them win cases that concern easement and eminent domain issues.
What Are the Most Common Types of Real Estate Disputes?
Real estate disputes come in many forms. However, the following types of property disputes are the most common issues that find their way onto Pennsylvania court dockets.
At the heart of every property are the lines that define the property. Boundary disputes typically happen between neighbors and for the most part, get resolved by referring to a county general property survey. Mediation is sometimes an alternative used to avoid litigation.
From issues concerning tenant rights to which party is responsible for repairing property damage, the landlord-tenant relationship is full of possible legal issues. Most disputes between tenants and landlords resolve by referring to the lease signed by both parties.
If you are a member of a homeowner association, you agree to maintain your property according to the standards issued by the homeowner association. You also might be legally liable for the upkeep of the neighborhood.
Utility easements allow utility companies to gain access to parts of private property to enhance the public good. Some homeowners are not aware whether there are any easements on their property or where the utility companies have located the easements.
Every municipality enacts zoning ordinances that restrict how property owners can utilize real estate. Many zoning issues involve the expansion of commercial and residential properties.
What Does Cloud on Title Mean?
Cloud on title refers to any outstanding claim on a property that prevents the transfer of ownership from one party to a second party. A legally legitimate question pertaining to ownership can negatively impact an upcoming sale of a property. Cloud on title is a serious issue that requires the services of an experienced PA real estate dispute attorney. A lawyer researches the chain of title to determine whether he or she needs to prepare and file corrective legal documents to resolve this type of real estate dispute.
What Are the Remedies for Real Estate Disputes in PA?
Resolving a real estate dispute in PA can result in an injunction, judicial sale, monetary damages, or quiet title action.
If you want to prevent your neighbor from doing something illegal, you seek an injunction from a judge. An injunction immediately halts any type of illegal behavior such as burning trash or building a fence inside your property boundary. Also called a cease and desist order, an injunction eliminates a nuisance until the court can resolve the real estate dispute.
Often used to complete foreclosure cases, a judicial sale removes ownership of a property and places the property up for sale. The process is also used for a partition action, which involves removing a co-owner who no longer wants to be a part of a real estate ownership group.
As compensation for any losses incurred because of a property dispute, monetary damages also act as a deterrent for similar future violations of Pennsylvania real estate law. For example, a construction company that poured concrete one foot inside your property line might have to pay monetary damages to cover the cost of removing the concrete from your property.
Quiet Title Action
As a type of lawsuit, quiet title action determines the legal ownership of real estate. It is a common maneuver used by an attorney when the chain of title listed in the public record is incomplete or inaccurate.
Why Do I Need a PA Real Estate Dispute Attorney?
Sometimes, you can resolve a real estate dispute the old-fashioned way: by being polite and respectful. However, most property disputes morph into personal battles that end up inside a courtroom. One of the most important reasons to hire a PA real estate dispute lawyer is to avoid litigation.
An accomplished attorney can negotiate a settlement that appeals to both parties. Staying out of court also might help you restore the relationship you had with the other party before the real estate dispute began.
Another benefit of hiring a PA real estate dispute attorney is having an advocate by your side that understands the complexities of Pennsylvania real estate statutes. Property laws vary by county, which means hiring a PA real estate dispute lawyer who practices in the county where the dispute occurred is a good idea as well.
A local attorney researches the public records concerning the property in question. Inside the public records might lie the answer that helps you resolve your real estate dispute. If your dispute goes to trial, a lawyer represents you when it comes to arguing your case.
What Should I Look for in a Real Estate Attorney?
Now that you know how a PA real estate dispute lawyer can help you, let’s see what you should look for in an attorney.
You should hire a real estate lawyer who has in-depth knowledge of the local laws, specifically the laws that pertain to the city where the real estate dispute remains unresolved. Pennsylvania real estate laws differ between municipalities, which means your legal counsel must be highly familiar with the statutes that resolve property disputes in the city where you live and/or work.
A real estate dispute attorney in Pennsylvania who provides you with references is serious about getting your business. Online reviews and website client testimonials can help you gain insight into a lawyer, but speaking with multiple clients is the most effective way to choose a PA real estate dispute attorney.
Handles Your Case
The last thing you want is for an attorney to hand your case over to a law clerk or a less experienced litigator. Some lawyers attend a free case evaluation, only to disappear once a case goes to trial. Your real estate lawyer must be with you every step of the way towards the resolution of your property dispute case.
Because of its complex nature, your real estate dispute case will prompt you to ask numerous questions. Your lawyer must be responsive when it comes to answering your questions. You can determine the responsiveness of an attorney before you even sit down with one by sending a lawyer on your shortlist emails and text messages, as well as leaving a couple of voicemails.
Works for You
It might sound like a given, but you might be surprised at the number of real estate lawyers that work for themselves instead of for their clients. They see dollar signs, which can lead to a different outcome for your case than what you desired. You should clearly communicate what your goals are and then determine whether an attorney on your shortlist has those goals in mind when discussing your real estate dispute case.
You can check out the record of any lawyer on your shortlist by visiting the Pennsylvania Bar Association website. The website lists the disciplinary actions taken against attorneys, as well as the achievements lawyers have earned throughout their careers. A PA real estate attorney who has a favorable reputation can help you win a civil lawsuit filed for a property dispute case.
The Bottom Line
Working with a PA real estate dispute attorney is not a luxury; it is a necessity. Going it alone can cost you as much as the property that you have owned for years.
Schedule a free case evaluation today with a real estate lawyer from Morgan & Morgan.