Real Estate Disputes

New York Attorneys Protecting the Rights of Property Owners in Litigation

Real estate is often the largest, most expensive asset owned by a business or individual, and it often has an impact on its owner's living or working conditions. Disputes may arise out of purchases, sales, title, mortgages, foreclosures, fixtures, or leases of property. At Klapper & Fass, our commercial litigation lawyers work hard to help clients in New York and beyond avoid problems with their real estate transactions, but in some cases a dispute cannot be avoided. We can use our tenacity, knowledge, and skill to handle any ensuing litigation.

Conflicts over Real Estate

Real estate disputes involving larger commercial parcels can become complex quickly. Often, security interests, financing arrangements, and multiple competing interests may be involved. From the outset, a buyer must check the title history to make sure that the seller actually owns the land, and to determine whether there are any restrictions or obligations related to how the property can be used. In some cases, title litigation must be pursued to address the terms of the title.

A New York quiet title action, also called a lawsuit to remove a cloud, is a lawsuit filed under Article 15 of New York’s Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (“RPAPL”) to establish the owner of real estate. A cloud is a claim or potential claim to either full or partial ownership of real property. A title is clouded if the plaintiff might, in the future, have to defend its full ownership of the real estate. If there are serious title issues with a piece of property, it may be difficult for an owner to get title insurance.

In a quiet title action, a plaintiff seeks a court order preventing the respondent (the person with a claim or potential claim) from making future claims against the real property. Under RPAPL section 1501, there are many different people in a position to bring a quiet title action. Among others, the plaintiff may be someone claiming an interest or estate in real property, either individually or as executor or administrator of a deceased person.

Another common real estate dispute arises in connection with a property's fixtures. A buyer may expect all the fixtures on a piece of property to be included in a deal, but as the seller you may want to take certain items with you when you vacate the property. It is standard in New York for a seller to remove all easily removed items from a residential property so that the premises are left in "broom clean" condition. Generally, the removable items do not include appliances such as the refrigerator or stove. Fixtures are items that are permanently or semi-permanently attached to the property's walls, ceilings, or floors.

Sometimes a misunderstanding about the fixtures arises with the real estate agent, since the agent is the party who listed the property for sale. The listing should identify what fixtures are included or excluded from the sale. The deal sheet that is subsequently drafted must be consistent with the listing, offer, and acceptance, and similarly the purchase contract should also be consistent with prior documents. However, the signed contract overrides prior understandings between the parties. For example, if the signed contract excludes the stove, the seller can take the stove even if the listing included the stove as part of the property being sold.

Discuss Your Business Dispute with a New York Lawyer

The New York attorneys at Klapper & Fass in handling business disputes arising from the sale, purchase, or lease of real estate. With offices in Manhattan and White Plains, we serve all five boroughs in New York City as well as Dutchess, Westchester, Orange, Rockland, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties. We also provide legal services in other states, such as California and Michigan. Contact our office at 914.287.6466 or via our online form.