Real Estate Attorneys
Real Estate with Levy & Partners
Levy & Partners represent purchasers, sellers, brokers, developers, landowners, tenants, and condominium associations. If you are involved in a dispute involving real estate, either in or out of court, our attorneys can review the facts of your situation and explain the legal options that may be available to you. Our real estate litigation team has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of their clients and work on either an hourly or on a contingency-fee basis. Our attorneys have obtained significant recoveries in cases involving design and planning negligence, breaches of commercial leases, purchase and sale agreements, landlord-tenant disputes, and construction claims. If you have a real estate matter that you would like to discuss, contact us today to find out how we can help.
What are common types of real estate cases?
Besides the types of cases mentioned above, our attorneys handle cases involving:
Breach of a Real Estate Purchase or Sale Agreement: If a real estate seller who has signed a contract for the sale of real property breaches the contract and refuses to transfer title, our attorneys can pursue a number of legal remedies for the aggrieved buyer. These include monetary damages and specific performance. Specific performance is an order issued by a judge requiring a party to perform under the terms of a breached contract.
Our attorneys also represent sellers of real estate in disputes with buyers who have not honored their obligations under a contract for the sale of real property. When a buyer breaches a real estate contract, our attorneys can help the seller obtain damages stemming from the breach, including compensation for any expenses associated with the property while the resale is pending.
Failure to Disclose Latent Defects in Real Estate Transactions: Our real estate litigation team also represents clients in cases where a seller of real estate has failed disclose a latent (hidden) defect to the buyer. Under real estate law, sellers have a duty to disclose any known defects to the buyer of the property. If you purchased a residential or commercial structure and the seller failed to inform you of any defects in the property, our attorneys may be able to file a lawsuit against the seller seeking compensation for the financial harm you suffered. In addition, our attorneys may be able to file a lawsuit against the real estate broker who sold you the property.
Wrongful Conduct by a Real Estate Agent or Broker: Real estate agents have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of their clients. If this duty is violated, our attorneys may be able to file a breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit against the broker.
We also represent clients in cases involving real estate agent fraud. To have a valid claim for fraud, your attorney must prove that the broker committed an intentional act to harm or defraud his or her client.
The purchase of real estate involves a significant amount of risk. Whether purchasing residential or commercial real estate, a person is spending a great deal of money. To insulate against this risk, people often purchase title insurance to protect against title defects. Title defects can be very costly to fix, render the property unusable for its intended purpose and/or negatively impact the marketability of the property.
Potential Defects Title Insurance is Intended to Cover
“Title” is a collection of rights in real property. These rights include the right to use and possess the property. When title is transferred, it is documented by a “deed.” In Florida, deeds are recorded by the Clerk of Circuit Court.
A title defect, sometimes called a “cloud on title,” is any type of irregularity or issue with the title of property that negatively impacts the marketability of the title. Marketability is negatively impacted if the irregularity or issue would affect whether a person would be willing to purchase the property.
Some potential title defects in Florida property may be:
- Undisclosed mortgage
- Undisclosed lien
- Inadequate or incorrect description of the property
- Prior transfer not recorded
- Mistake in recording easement
- A person may claim adverse possession
- Forged deeds
- Lack of legal authority to transfer title
- Lack of access
Because of mistakes in the way that titles may be recorded, a person might not realize that a property has a defect or cloud until after it has been purchased. Title insurance is intended to cover the cost of these defects.
Title insurance is intended to cover the damages the property owner suffers if the title is unmarketable due to a defect or cloud in title. Typically, the liability limit is the same as the purchase price of the property.
What is a denial of Title Insurance Claim?
When you make a claim, the insurance company may deny the claim. They may claim that your policy does not cover the title defect that is the source of the claim, that it falls under an exclusion or that it is other. They may also offer a settlement that does not sufficiently cover the cost of your damages due to the defect.
Your insurance attorney can help to recover the damages you seek and recover for the marketability in title your property lost due to a title defect.
What is Title Insurance?
Title insurance protects property buyers and mortgage lenders against defects or problems with a title when someone is buying a house. There are two types of title insurance policies that are typically purchased.
The first type is the owner’s policy, which protects the new owner, and the second is a lender’s policy, which protects the lender. The purpose of title insurance is to protect the buyer and lender against potential loss and liability if something in the documentation or process of title transfer for the property is wrong.
Securing title insurance is a standard step in a real estate transaction, with different types of title insurance protecting both you and your lender from litigation if the seller does not have free and clear ownership of the property. Most lenders require that you purchase title insurance. You only pay for title insurance once and it will remain in effect until you sell the property or refinance.
Why Do I Need Title Insurance?
Title insurance protects a buyer from potential property disputes. Generally, title searches that are done thoroughly determine the current and past status of the real estate you are trying to purchase.
But there is always the possibility the document was forged or a missing heir comes forward claiming the real estate is theirs. In these cases, title insurance is used to help deter any major financial losses.
If there are any issues with the title, then it can mean a lengthy legal battle for the new property owner. While title searches should be able to pull up any issues with the title, there are cases of fraud or where there is a pending lawsuit tied to the property.
In these cases, it is possible that the new homeowner can lose the property, along with any and all money they put towards purchasing it. Ultimately, title insurance is not really to protect the new homeowner but the lender, who will own the majority of the home until the mortgage is paid off in full.