What are the Steps for Resolving Real Estate Disputes?

Jessica Ellis

Real estate disputes are very common and often extremely frustrating. When managing real estate disputes, taking efficient action can help streamline the process and lead to a faster, more affordable, and hopefully satisfactory result. While the last resort for real estate disputes is court, there are several interim steps that may help achieve the same result for less time and money.

Real estate documents.
Real estate documents.

When confronted with real estate disputes, the first step is often personal research and discovery. It is important to gather all relevant documentation about the issue, including rental or purchase agreements, emails or letters regarding the issue, and photographs or other evidence that might be pertinent. Following this gathering of information, it is often helpful to carefully review the text of all pertinent laws. Bookstores and libraries often carry explanatory guides to local or regional real estate law; text of the laws can also be found through government websites in many locations. Knowing and understanding legal responsibilities and rights can go a long way to creating a reasonable position of negotiation within a dispute.

The cheapest and often fastest means of resolving real estate disputes is to work them out on an individual level. Coming to an equitable and legal agreement with a landlord, property owner, title company, or other disputing party can sometimes be managed without hiring lawyers, shouting threats, or demanding court proceedings. As long as the involved parties have an understanding of the law and are determined to remain calm and rational, personal negotiation may be a good option for those looking to quickly resolve real estate disputes.

When dealing with a legally complex situation or a disputing partner that refuses to negotiate one-on-one, there are several options besides heading to court. Alternative dispute resolution is often used in real estate to end complex issues quickly and at less cost that courts. The options available for alternative dispute resolution usually include mediation and arbitration. Mediation uses a neutral third party trained in area of the dispute to help the principle parties work out an agreement together. Arbitration is a binding legal process that uses a panel of legal professionals to render a decision on the issue. Both procedures are usually conducted without public access, and usually take less time to resolve than court procedures.

The final step in the resolution process may involve going to court. Experts generally recommend seeking legal counsel for either advice or representation should a court case arise. While court may not be an ideal means of resolution, it is sometimes the only way to achieve legal remedy. If the case is brought about because the other party refuses to negotiate or go through alternative dispute resolution, consider asking the court to include court expenses and legal fees in the final decision.

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