Real estate transactions are often both complex and critical to the success or growth of a business. They are also highly susceptible to disputes given the various issues that can crop up before or after a real estate transaction is completed. Litigating a real estate dispute is not just expensive, but it also delays the purchase, sale, construction, or lease at the center of the dispute. Instead of relying on traditional litigation to resolve a real estate dispute, consider mediation as a cost and time-saving alternative.
Real Estate Disputes
Real estate transactions include things such as the sale or purchase of land or property, construction of residential or commercial properties, and negotiating long-term commercial leases. Disputes that frequently occur during a real estate transaction include:
- Breach of contract
- Escrow or Deposits
- Title defect claims
- Breach of warranty
- Defective materials or workmanship
- Boundary disputes
- Easement and right-of-way disputes
- Undisclosed encumbrances
- Landlord-tenant disputes in commercial leases
- HOA and condo. association disputes
When the parties to a real estate dispute are unable to resolve the dispute amongst themselves, filing a lawsuit and litigating the dispute in the judicial system is traditionally the main option. Today, however, both litigants and court systems are relying more and more on mediation to help resolve disputes. A type of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), mediation brings the parties to a dispute together outside the courtroom with a neutral mediator to try and resolve the dispute. The role of the mediator is to find common ground and facilitate a resolution; however, a mediator does not decide issues at dispute nor offer advice or analysis to any of the parties. If the parties reach an agreement that settles some, or all, disputed issues, that settlement can be filed with the court. If mediation is not productive, traditional litigation can be initiated or resumed.
Why Should I Agree to Mediation in a Real Estate Dispute?
If you are a party to a real estate transaction that appears to be headed for litigation, or that has already turned into a lawsuit, there are several reasons why you should agree to mediation instead of insisting on following the traditional litigation path, such as:
- Less expensive. The cost involved in litigating even a relatively minor real estate dispute can be extremely high. Legal fees, court costs, and expenses can threaten the financial stability of your business even if you ultimately win the case. The cost of mediating that same dispute, however, is shared by the parties early on in a lawsuit – before you have invested a small fortune into a traditional lawsuit. Even if you only resolve some disputed issues during mediation, it can save you a considerable amount of money.
- Faster resolution. From the time a civil lawsuit is filed to the time it makes it to trial can easily exceed a year. All that time the property and/or funds involved in the dispute may be inaccessible. Mediation, on the other hand, can occur before a lawsuit has been filed or shortly after traditional litigation has been initiated. If a settlement is reached it could free up the property and/or funds months, even years, faster than waiting for a lawsuit to make its way through the process.
- More flexible. Taking a case to trial using the court system is typically a “winner take all” gamble. It is also a very contentious process that tends to destroy any hope that the parties can repair the relationship they once had. Conversely, mediation is designed to find creative solutions that allow both parties to feel they “won.” Moreover, because mediation is less adversarial in nature it often helps repair business relationships that were damaged because of the underlying dispute.
Consult the Tampa Bay Real Estate Litigation Mediation Attorneys at Lieser Skaff Alexander
If you are embroiled in a real estate dispute, or you foresee one brewing in the near future, consider mediation as an alternative to the high cost and lengthy wait associated with the traditional litigation process. Our experienced real estate mediator have the experience, skills, and resources necessary to mediate your dispute and help you reach a mutually agreeable settlement.