Real Estate Litigation
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Real Estate Litigation
Once the complaint has been filed, the defendants must be served with notice of the lawsuit, and they have an opportunity to file an answer to the complaint. If the defendants fail to respond or contest the plaintiff’s claim, the court may enter a default judgment in favor of the plaintiff.
If the court finds in favor of the plaintiff, it will enter a judgment declaring the plaintiff the rightful owner of the property and removing any claims or liens that may have clouded title to the property.
It’s important to note that quiet title actions can be complex and time-consuming, and may involve legal disputes among the parties. Therefore, it’s important to seek the advice of an experienced real estate attorney to ensure that your client’s rights are protected throughout the process.At our law firm, we have a deep understanding of quiet title actions and can help guide clients through the process to achieve a favorable outcome.
- Partition in kind involves physically dividing the property into separate portions, with each co-owner receiving ownership of a specific portion. This type of partition is only possible if the property can be divided into separate portions without significantly reducing its overall value.
- If the property cannot be divided in kind, or if it is not practical to do so, then partition by sale may be necessary. In a partition by sale, the court orders that the property be sold, and the proceeds from the sale are distributed among the co-owners in proportion to their ownership interest in the property.
It’s important to note that partition actions can be complex and time-consuming, and may involve legal disputes among the co-owners. Therefore, it’s important to seek the advice of an experienced real estate attorney to ensure that your client’s rights are protected throughout the process.
While defending against partition actions used to be difficult, recent reforms to California’s partition laws have made it easier for certain categories of people to do so.
At our law firm, we are well-versed in the latest partition laws and can provide clients with comprehensive legal guidance on this issue.
Resulting Trust Action
There are two types of resulting trusts in California: (1) a purchase money resulting trust and (2) an automatic resulting trust.
A purchase money resulting trust arises when one person provides the funds for the purchase of property, but title to the property is taken in the name of another person. In this situation, a resulting trust is presumed to exist, and the person who took title to the property holds it in trust for the person who provided the funds.
It’s important to note that the burden of proof is on the person claiming that a resulting trust exists, and that person must provide clear and convincing evidence that a trust was intended.
Constructive Trust Action
With respect to real property, a constructive trust can be imposed when there is evidence that the legal owner obtained the property through some type of wrongdoing or unjust enrichment. For example, if the legal owner obtained title to the property by fraudulently inducing the client to sign over the property, a constructive trust may be imposed to give the property back to the client.
In order to establish a constructive trust over real property, the client must prove the following elements:
- There was a confidential or fiduciary relationship between the client and the legal owner.
- The legal owner acquired the property through fraud, mistake, undue influence, or some other wrongful conduct.
- The client suffered harm as a result of the legal owner’s conduct.
- The imposition of a constructive trust is necessary to prevent unjust enrichment of the legal owner.
Breach of Contract
- Real estate transactions can be complex and sometimes result in disputes between buyers and sellers. When a disagreement arises after the sale or purchase of residential real estate, the buyer may bring a breach of contract claim against the seller. This can also happen if a transaction falls through because the seller refused to close escrow or the buyer didn’t complete the transaction after removing contingencies.
- If a contractor fails to complete construction of a property as agreed, the owner may have a claim for breach of contract.
- If a seller promises to transfer clear title to a property but then fails to do so, the buyer may have a claim for breach of contract.
Failure to Disclosure
- If a seller fails to disclose material defects in a property or misrepresents the property’s condition, the buyer may have claims.
- In real estate transactions (both residential and commercial), there are various types of non-disclosure scenarios that are actionable, such as intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, concealment, constructive fraud, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty.
- The defendant made a false statement or concealed material information.
- The defendant knew that the statement was false or misleading, or had a duty to disclose the material information.
- The client reasonably relied on the false statement or omission.
- The client suffered damages as a result of the reliance on the false statement or omission.
- The false statement or omission was a substantial factor in causing the client’s damages.
Easements appurtenant: An easement appurtenant is attached to a particular piece of property and is transferred along with that property. This type of easement is typically created when one property owner needs to cross another property owner’s land in order to access their own property.
For example, if your client’s property is landlocked and has no direct access to a public road, they may have an easement appurtenant over a neighboring property to allow them to access the road.
Easements in gross: An easement in gross is a personal right to use someone else’s property for a specific purpose, but it is not attached to a particular piece of property. This type of easement is typically created when a utility company needs to run power lines or other infrastructure across someone else’s property.
For example, if your client is a utility company and needs to run power lines across a property owner’s land, they may negotiate an easement in gross with the property owner to allow them to do so.
Easements can be created in a variety of ways, such as by express agreement between the parties, by necessity, or by prescription (through continuous use of the property for a certain period of time). Easements can also be terminated in a variety of ways, such as by agreement between the parties, by abandonment, or by court order.
It’s important to note that easements can be complex and can involve disputes among the parties. Therefore, it’s important to seek the advice of an experienced real estate attorney to ensure that your client’s rights are protected when dealing with easements.
- Answer: The defendant can file an answer, which is a written response to the allegations in the unlawful detainer complaint. The answer must be filed with the court and served on the plaintiff.
- Demurrer: The defendant can file a demurrer, which is a legal pleading that challenges the legal sufficiency of the plaintiff’s complaint. A demurrer argues that even if the plaintiff’s allegations are true, they do not state a valid legal claim.
- Motion to Quash: The defendant can file a motion to quash, which is a legal pleading that challenges the validity of the summons or service of process. A motion to quash argues that the defendant was not properly served with the summons and complaint, or that the summons is otherwise defective.
- Motion to Strike: The defendant can file a motion to strike, which is a legal pleading that challenges the legal sufficiency of specific allegations or claims in the plaintiff’s complaint. A motion to strike argues that certain allegations or claims are irrelevant, immaterial, or improper.
Examples of construction defects may include:
- Foundation or structural issues, such as cracks in the foundation or walls, or sagging or uneven floors
- Plumbing or electrical problems, such as leaky pipes or faulty wiring
- Water intrusion, such as leaks in the roof or walls, or problems with the drainage system
- Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) problems, such as inadequate ventilation or heating or cooling systems that don’t work properly
- Exterior issues, such as problems with the siding, windows, or doors
- Landscaping issues, such as drainage problems or the use of inappropriate plants or trees
- A description of the property and the construction defect(s)
- Identification of the parties responsible for the defect(s)
- A description of the damages suffered by the plaintiff
- Evidence supporting the plaintiff’s claim, such as expert opinions and photographs
- A demand for relief, such as damages or specific performance to repair the defect(s)
Other possible causes of action: In addition to a construction defect claim, the complaint may also allege other causes of action, such as breach of contract, breach of warranty, negligence, or fraud. Each cause of action requires specific elements to be proven.