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Home Practice Areas: Real Estate/Property Law

Homeowners and commercial property owners can face legal issues from neighbors, homeowner’s associations, tenants, landlords, mortgage lenders and from government and utility companies.  Real estate cases require that the attorneys involved have an understanding of the law, but also an understanding of surveying, property values, property taxation, title and landlord and tenant rights.

Disputes Between Neighbors/Homeowner’s Associations

O’Dell & O’Neal has assisted property owners facing a variety of land issues.  Neighbors often have disputes with each other concerning the location of boundary lines.  In these instances, the firm has been able to use a strong network of highly reputable surveyors and professionals to correctly locate a boundary line, an access easement or a utility easement.  The firm has also assisted clients in having items removed from their private property.  Neighbor litigation can also involve trespass or nuisance actions.  A trespass or nuisance action occurs when a neighbor physically enters private property or engages in conduct which causes damage on private property.  These trespasses and nuisances can be water intrusion, soil erosion, noise, light and air pollution, improper fences and landscaping or any other conduct which harms the private property.

Disputes between homeowners and neighborhood associations are increasingly common.  Generally, the disputes relate to actions or inaction by homeowners which is claimed to be in violation of the associations’ covenants.  Many times, homeowners and associations both have issues interpreting the covenants, sorting through various amendments to covenants and simply trying to figure out which rules and procedures are even in effect.  Beyond these complications, homeowners often present situations whereby their treatment by an association is different from similarly situated neighbors.

In any of these instances, it is important for the law firm involved to seek constructive solutions and outcomes.  In most situations, the individuals involved will continue to reside in the neighborhood and interact with their neighbors and governing association.  Furthermore, any fees and expenses from the association in litigation are being paid by the community as a whole.  It is important to try and minimize the impact on the overall neighborhood and the ability of the association to provide for the residents in other areas.

Condemnation and Eminent Domain

Residential and commercial property owners are often presented with condemnation or eminent domain actions by governments or utility companies.  The goal of the government or the utility company is to acquire the property for the least amount of money possible.  Since the property is being taken, rather than freely sold, a legal action is filed.  The process of defending a condemnation or eminent domain action can seem confusing and overwhelming which causes most property owners to concede and accept the minimal offer presented.

O’Dell & O’Neal can review and defend these actions in order to maximize the outcome and funds to the property owner.  The firm will make sure that all of the potential damages and harms caused by the taking are evaluated.  These damages can include the direct value of the property taken, but also consequential losses such as lost frontage, lost visibility/signage, lost development value and resale value and lost revenue and business due to construction interference.  The firm will work with the client to provide a fee scenario that protects the funds originally offered to the client and compensates the firm based only on the excess funds obtained.  This approach maximizes the potential outcomes for the client and minimizes the risk to the client.