Real Estate Litigation

Real Estate Lawyer – Knowledgeably Representing Chicago Clients

For many people, a parcel of real property is their most valuable asset. When someone else’s actions threaten your title to real estate or your property’s value, it may be necessary to commence real estate litigation. Disputes may arise due to the use of breach of sales contracts, breaches of commercial leases, construction contracts, zoning violations, eminent domain, easements, failures to disclose, defects in title, and division among heirs or during a divorce.

Breach of Sales Contract

In Illinois, most real estate contracts and agreements must be in writing to be valid and enforceable. Some of the most common real estate disputes involve the breach of sales contracts. A breach of a sales contract occurs when there is a violation of the contractual terms or conditions, without a legal excuse. As with other contracts, the court will interpret the plain language of the agreement to determine the outcome of the case. The contract itself may limit the remedies available to either party.

Remedies for Failure by the Seller

If a seller wrongfully fails to perform its obligations under a contract, the buyer can potentially recover money damages, terminate the contract, obtain the return of the deposit and reasonable expenses, or secure specific performance of the agreement unless it provides otherwise. When the court awards specific performance, whoever is suing for breach can complete the transaction according to the clear and definite contractual terms, rather than get money from the other party for the breach.

Remedies for Failure by the Buyer

If a buyer wrongfully fails to go through with the purchase as specified in the agreement, the seller may be able to sue for damages, sue for the purchase price in exchange for a deed, declare the contract forfeited, retain the earnest money as liquidated damages, or sue for compensatory damages if there were additional losses caused by the breach.

Partition Cases – Dividing Property

Partition cases are lawsuits in which one co-owner of a property asks the court to divide the property among two or more owners. Under 735 ILCS 5/17101, if lands, tenements, or other real property are held in any form of co-ownership, any interested owner can compel a partition by filing a verified complaint in a circuit court where the premises are located.

The verified complaint needs to describe the property to be divided and describe the parties’ interests. Anybody with an ownership interest becomes a defendant. Either by request or of its own volition, the court can appoint a disinterested commissioner to report whether the premises are subject to division without prejudicing the property rights and how the division should be made. A surveyor may be employed to help determine how to divide the property.

A partition action is often filed during divorce or after somebody dies. However, any co-owner of a property can initiate this action as a matter of right without a triggering event. It may not be possible for a home or building to be equally divided. In this case, the remedy can be either:

  • The purchase or sale of one co-owner’s interest, or
  • The sale of the property, with an equal division of the sales proceeds.

Tenacious Advocacy in Real Estate Disputes and Property Litigation

At the Voelker Litigation Group, we are experienced real estate lawyers who have represented property owners, secured lenders, borrowers, landlords, tenants, and residents of Chicago and other Cook County communities through many different types of disputes, including partition cases. We understand that your property is valuable to you. Find out how we can help you protect your property rights.

Voelker Litigation Group: Experience, Creativity, Results.