Real Estate/Property Law Attorney
in Lafayette, Louisiana
In some cases, certain boundaries between neighbors, physical and abstract, make it easier for them to get along. However, that is not always the case.
When there are issues with real estate transactions, lease agreements, zoning permits, and property lines, tensions can run high. The money involved can be significant. The median home value in Lafayette Parish exceeds $200,000. Moreover, across Louisiana, there are more than 925,000 commercial properties.
At J. Clay LeJeune, Attorney at Law, LLC, we represent residential and commercial clients in real estate transactions and disputes in Lafayette, Iberia, St. Martin, Jefferson Davis, St. Landry, and Acadia, Louisiana.
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What Is Involved in Real Estate
Transactions in Louisiana?
Real estate transactions involve buyers and sellers of residential and commercial properties. Sellers agree to sell their real property to buyers who agree to purchase it. Real estate attorneys can help ensure smooth transactions by creating sales and purchase agreements and overseeing due diligence on their client’s behalf.
In some cases, problems that arise can threaten the purchase or lease of a home or commercial property. There may be issues regarding zoning permits or land use requirements. Terms of sales agreements or leases may be disputed by the parties. There may be overdue tax burdens on a property that must be paid before the transaction can occur. Clear title to a property may be in question. There could be boundary disputes, assertions of adverse possession, and right-of-way and access challenges.
An attorney experienced with property law can help investigate, negotiate, litigate and resolve the issues that may arise during residential and commercial real estate transactions.
What Are the More Common Property Disputes?
There are five broad types of property disputes.
Breach of contract involves the failure of one or more parties to a purchase or lease agreement to uphold any provisions of the signed agreement. For example, a landlord agrees to replace an appliance as a condition of the lease but fails to do so. Or someone selling their home agrees to repair something as a condition of the sale but does not make the repair.
Fraud involves the misrepresentation of either party regarding any facet of the transaction. An example of fraud would be someone representing themself as the sole owner of a property when they are not.
Zoning and permit issues may arise if, for example, you buy a home and then the municipality zones the adjacent lot for commercial development. Or your attempts to obtain a permit for the specific use of your land are thwarted by an environmental issue.
Property defects arise when what is purchased or leased is later defective, such as finding mold growing in the walls or a leak in the roof.
Construction issues may arise over poor quality, failure to meet code, or over the use of substandard materials.
Disputes can be resolved by negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or litigation, and having an attorney represent you in any of these resolution attempts is wise.
Negotiation is the attempt to solve the problem between the parties without further intervention.
Mediation involves the facilitation of discussions by a disinterested third party who attempts to help the parties reach a mutually acceptable compromise.
Arbitration is similar to mediation; however, the arbiter decides the resolution. The parties enter arbitration with an agreement to accept the arbiter’s decision.
Litigation is presenting your case in court to a judge and or jury. The parties must abide by the order or verdict rendered.
What About Residential Rental Disputes?
The Louisiana landlord-tenant law protects the rights of each party when a property owner accepts payment from a tenant who pays as agreed to inhabit the premises. Landlords have the right to establish the rental sum, be paid on time, and have the tenant respect the property while inhabiting it.
Many states have adopted the federal Uniform Landlord-Tenant Act which sets forth the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants; however, Louisiana has not followed suit. That makes Louisiana’s law tougher on tenants. A few of the differences include:
The landlord’s ability to evict a tenant after only a five-day notice (rather than 14);
There is no rent abatement when the property is in disrepair;
Month-to-month lessees can be evicted with only ten days’ notice;
There is no grace period for late rent payments and no limits on the late fees a landlord can charge;
Landlords can be sued if they lock out tenants without going through a formal eviction process; and,
Neither the landlord nor the tenant can recover monetary damages in eviction cases.
If you are a landlord or a tenant in dispute, you should talk to a real estate attorney about your options for resolving it.
What About Commercial Leases?
There are a few types of commercial leases in Louisiana, including:
A percentage lease, often used by retailers to pay low rent while sharing a percentage of the profits with the landlord;
A gross lease that requires the tenant to pay only rent on the property while the landlord assumes all other costs;
A triple-net lease obligates the tenant to pay rent, utilities, property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs.
A modified gross lease is somewhere between a gross and triple-net lease. The tenant pays rent and other costs, while the landlord pays certain costs.
Landlords and tenants are bound to the terms of the lease agreement and if either party fails, they may end up in court. Because there is substantial latitude among the types of commercial leases, each party should consult with a real estate attorney regarding the terms of the agreement.
What Are Common Disputes
Over Boundaries and Easements?
Common boundary disputes include placement of fences, the true location of the property line, and who is responsible and has the authority to trim trees and shrubs on or adjacent to the boundaries. Adverse possession claims also arise during boundary disputes. Even if the disputed land belongs to Party A, Party B can claim ownership based on Party B’s maintenance of the land for some years.
Why Should I Hire a Real Estate Attorney?
Many real estate disputes can be resolved with negotiation, and an experienced attorney can serve you well in this regard. A negotiated resolution is significantly less expensive than litigation, although your attorney can represent you in court.
Your attorney can draft leases and contracts for you, or review those proffered by the other party, raise questions, clarify issues, and protect your best interests in any agreement.
Residential and commercial sales and lease agreements range from simple to quite complicated. An experienced property law attorney can help you close the best deal possible.
Real Estate/Property Law Attorney
Serving Lafayette, Louisiana
If you want to buy, sell, or lease residential or commercial property, protect your best interests and know what obligations you are agreeing to uphold before you sign on the dotted line. If disputes over an existing real estate agreement arise, let us help. Call J. Clay LeJeune, Attorney at Law, LLC in Lafayette, Louisiana, for reliable representation. Our team proudly serves clients in Iberia, St. Martin, Jefferson Davis, St. Landry, and Acadia, Louisiana.