Settling Real Estate Disputes: Three Things to Know

Settling real estate disputes is my goal for every case I take on. In nearly every circumstance, both parties in a legal dispute can better resolve the matter without prolonged litigation or trial.

In this blog post, I’ll share some advice I’ve learned about settling real estate disputes over the years.

“Play The Long Game”

One of the biggest mistakes in real estate matters is not playing “the long game” in resolving these types of disputes. This is when a party only looks at the short-term issues in such a case, not the long-term implications.

A good example of this arises in landlord-tenant disputes when a tenant owes rent and cannot afford the rental apartment. Fighting an eviction case may delay the matter and provide the tenant with some short-term relief, but it usually will not be a permanent solution to the problem.

Every case, of course, is different and there is no “one size fits all” solution to such matters. Nonetheless, parties involved in real estate disputes should consider the long term in deciding how they want to resolve these matters.

Put It in Writing

Under Massachusetts law, real estate matters must generally be in writing to be enforceable. Therefore, all settlements for real estate disputes should be reduced to writing, preferably with the assistance of an experienced attorney.

Massachusetts law allows for the filing of an affidavit in the land records to clarify matters related to property ownership. Commonly known as a “5B affidavit”, such affidavits can be useful in creating a permanent record for resolving a real estate dispute.

Be Careful with Email and Text Messages

Years ago, settlement agreements were done exclusively through paper, with copies sent back and forth between the parties. This made the settlement process much longer, as one would need to sign the printed agreement and mail it to the opposing side.

Today, of course, such matters are most often done electronically, which is considerably faster than paper. Importantly, electronic communications can be used to create binding agreements without much of the paperwork most of us associate with legal contacts.

Parties involved in real estate disputes need to be incredibly careful when using electronic communications, to avoid creating a unwanted, binding agreement.

Final Thoughts

Contact me if you need assistance with a property dispute.