Real Estate Law in Georgia
What Is Real Estate Law?
Are you getting ready to purchase or sell some property? Are you involved in a property or real estate dispute? Or, maybe you are having trouble getting your landlord to make repairs to the home.
Whether or not you are a property owner or tenant, you have rights under Georgia real estate law. Not all residential and commercial real estate transactions execute perfectly. Sometimes unexpected issues can occur such as property rights, access, liabilities, and more. Furthermore, legal matters involving real estate transactions are often complex and are not just limited to the property owners.
Types of Real Estate Law Disputes
Disputes involving real estate in Georgia are very common and some of them are quite complex. They often require the intervention of the courts. Typically courts are seen as the most biased party. Learn more about the different types of real estate disputes below.
If you decide to purchase any Georgia property, there are certain steps anyone who is involved must take. One is having an escrow account. A common reason escrow disputes occur is when the closing process fails and the buyer and seller cannot agree on what happens with the funds.
Easement Real Estate Dispute
Easement disputes are one of the most common forms of real estate disputes between neighbors, especially when property ownership changes. An easement allows other people or parties access to use certain portions of your property. Easements are not always granted by a property owner. Information regarding easements is often included in Georgia property deeds.
For example, a neighbor may feel they have the right to access a portion of your property because a previous owner allowed them to for years. One step you can take to resolve the matter before pursuing litigation is talking amicably with the other party.
Disputes often arise when Georgia landlords and tenants cannot agree on repairs, rent arrears, and more. Tenant and landlord laws are very complex and failure to adhere to them can cause either party to violate the rights of the other.
According to Georgia Legal Aid, a Georgia landlord cannot force a tenant to pay for repairs in the rental unit. However, this rule does not apply if the tenant caused the damage. As well, if you have a written lease, your landlord cannot raise your rent or ask you to leave without giving at least 60 days’ notice. However, the Landlord-Tenant Guide to the State’s Rental Laws states that Georgia landlords can start the eviction process with only a verbal demand to leave. Furthermore, the landlord can seize the tenant’s property to get payment if the tenant seeks to remove their property without paying.
No Georgia real estate transaction is enforceable without a contract. Not all contracts are valid. The requirements for what to include in a valid real estate agreement vary from state to state. However, documents that are missing certain elements or contain unclear or confusing language and in which one party breaches often result in real estate disputes between sellers and buyers. Real estate contracts are enforceable documents. You should never enter into a real estate transaction in Georgia without a valid mutually beneficial contract.
Proving fraud in a real estate transaction can be an uphill battle. It is almost always necessary to work with Georgia real estate lawyers to straighten things out.
According to the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, mortgage fraud causes millions of dollars in losses in Georgia. Some of the most common fraud schemes include inflating property values to obtain a larger mortgage loan. Under Georgia law, a person who commits mortgage fraud may face up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. In addition, Georgia racketeering statute includes residential mortgage fraud within the definition of racketeering activity. This kind of violation can result in felony charges, punishable by up to 20 years in jail and up to $25,000 in fines.
Property line disagreements usually occur when adjoining Georgia property owners do not respect property boundaries. Sometimes this is due to a valid misunderstanding between neighbors. Not all property lines are easy to define and property records are not always accurate or easy to understand. Usually, disagreements arise because of fencing, trees, and other boundary line concerns. Though some Georgia property owners feel they can take matters into their own hands, doing so could cause more problems. Court intervention is typically the best way to identify and enforce property lines.
Determining the rightful owner of a property in Georgia is not always easy. For instance ownership issues are common when an owner verbally transfers ownership without documentation. Or, when someone bequeaths their real estate to another without going through the proper process. There can also be other parties with ownership rights, such as certain lien holders.
Liens can impact your ability to own property or land free and clear. It is possible to sell a property that has liens on it. However, some liens can diminish a property’s sale price. Also, in many cases, liens must be clear before you can secure a mortgage or financing.
Under Georgia law, the court must award money damages against a Georgia property owner before a lien can be filed on their property. To attach a judgment lien to real estate, the creditor must record the judgment itself with the Superior Court in the county where the debtor owns property. Also note, a Georgia judgment property lien remains attached for seven years.
What Should You Do If You Are in a Real Estate Dispute in Georgia?
If you have a real estate issue in which you feel your rights are being violated, or there is a specific issue that has you and another party in disagreement, it’s best to speak with an experienced Georgia real estate lawyer. Regardless of the issues you are facing, you can benefit from having legal guidance.
Learn About Real Estate Law
Georgia real estate law is quite complex. It is important for you to learn as much as you can about how real estate law applies to your circumstances. Your lawyer will help you to understand what’s at stake and develop a plan of action that helps protect your real estate rights.
Work With an Experienced Real Estate Attorney in Georgia
Real estate disputes make up the majority of litigation cases. Still, not all issues require you to go to trial. You should work with Georgia lawyers that have the knowledge and experience to get you the resolution you seek. Depending on your disagreement, the courts may include financial compensation and injunctions to prevent retaliation or recurring issues.
Get the legal help you need now. We help Georgia landlords, renters, property and more resolve their real estate litigation. Additionally, we can even help you connect with an attorney across Georgia state lines.
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