Real Estate Litigation Lawyer
Real estate leases are legal contracts that outline the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. When either party fails to fulfill their obligations as stipulated in the lease agreement, it can lead to a breach of the lease terms. While many breaches can be resolved through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution, certain situations can escalate to litigation. As an experienced real estate litigation lawyer – including those who practice at Eric Siegel Law – can confirm, these are some common triggers that may lead to litigation when the terms of a real estate lease are breached.
Failure to Pay Rent or Rent Increases
One of the most common causes of lease-related litigation is the failure to pay rent or disputes over rent increases. If a tenant consistently fails to pay rent on time or refuses to comply with agreed-upon rent increases, it can result in financial losses for the landlord. In response, landlords might initiate eviction proceedings to regain possession of the property and recover the unpaid rent.
However, tenants might challenge the eviction, claiming that the landlord did not fulfill their maintenance and repair obligations, leading to uninhabitable conditions. Such disputes can lead to litigation where the court must assess whether the tenant’s claims are valid and whether the eviction is warranted.
Violation of Use and Maintenance Obligations
Lease agreements often outline the permissible uses of the leased property and the responsibilities for maintenance and repairs. Breaching these terms can also lead to litigation:
- Unauthorized Use: If a tenant uses the property for purposes not specified in the lease or engages in activities that violate local zoning regulations or laws, the landlord may seek to terminate the lease and evict the tenant.
- Property Damage: If a tenant causes significant damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear, the landlord can demand compensation for repairs. If the tenant refuses to pay or disputes the extent of the damages, litigation may ensue.
- Maintenance and Repairs: Both landlords and tenants have responsibilities for property maintenance and repairs as defined in the lease agreement. Disputes may arise if either party fails to uphold their obligations, leading to litigation over liability and costs.
- Subleasing and Assigning: Some lease agreements prohibit subleasing or assigning the lease without the landlord’s consent. If a tenant subleases without approval or assigns the lease improperly, the landlord might take legal action to enforce the lease terms.
- Security Deposit Disputes: When a tenant moves out, disputes over the return of the security deposit can lead to litigation. If a landlord withholds the deposit for damages or unpaid rent, the tenant may challenge the decision and seek its return through legal means.
Litigation stemming from breached real estate lease terms often arises when communication and negotiation fail to resolve the dispute. In such cases, the court will carefully examine the terms of the lease, the actions of both parties, and relevant evidence to determine whether a breach occurred and what remedies are appropriate. To minimize the risk of litigation, it’s crucial for both landlords and tenants to fully understand their lease agreements, communicate openly, and seek legal advice when disputes arise to explore alternative solutions before resorting to legal action.