Property is among the most valuable asset class that you can own either as individuals or businesses. Though there are several advantages in using a property such as establishment of a new premises or identifying a suitable land as appropriate for commercial development, it also presents a fertile ground for varying disputes cropping up at intervals.
When you are party to a property dispute, the first step to deal with the situation is taking a pragmatic and yet commercial approach and find experienced legal help to assist you navigate the procedures and complex rules to quickly resolve the issue. Remember that property disputes can often be incredibly taxing in terms of money as well as manpower for managing the dispute and understanding complex laws that impact your position. Irrespective of whether the dispute stems from a commercial agreement or more specialised areas like development or environmental issues, expert legal assistance is indispensable.
Following are some of the primary pre-requisites before you start pursuing property disputes in Australia.
Set Your Objectives
Setting the objective in fighting a property dispute is your part of the job although your lawyer can assist you clearing some of the knots. Once this is done, you can approach the task more professionally with the necessary expertise and prepare yourself for the legal journey. In most situations, the opposing party in a property does not tend to give in quickly and therefore a complete resolution can emerge after a long drawn process. The expenses of hiring a lawyer firm or lawyer can stretch beyond initial estimates and therefore you should determine your financial capabilities before embarking on the legal journey.
Pay Attention To Documentation
Proper documentation is an integral part of any legal pursuit. This is more so with property disputes and every bit of document related to properties should be safeguarded by the owner including rental agreements, title deeds, tax papers, utility bills and other documents that may have a bearing on the dispute itself. Your lawyer will depend significantly on the documents to prepare and present your case in the courts to substantiate your claims and seek a favourable verdict. Parties to a property dispute must therefore pay great attention to documentation and gather as many documents as possible to support your claims.
Litigation Should Be The Last Resort
Before taking your dispute to a court of law, you must explore every other potential avenue for a resolution including the legal steps you should follow. Often times, your lawyer can provide valuable assistance and direction in this direction. Understand that there can be a world of difference between your speaking to the opposite party and your lawyer speaking to him/her. When legal implications of a dispute are presented by a legal professional most contestants see reason in reaching an amicable settlement than going to court. But, if litigation finally becomes inevitable, you must know that the process is expensive and long drawn.
Vindictiveness May Not Win
A property dispute should not become a prestige issue for the contestants since that can lead to a rigid posture. If either party gets into a vindictive mindset and taking revenge becomes the major objective, the case can become knotted leading to significant financial loss for both parties, apart from considerable mental stress. Conversely, when you keep a calm demeanour while dealing with property disputes it will always be beneficial and the progression towards resolution can be quicker.
Stay within the Ambit of Law
Often, property disputes cause considerable mental agony but it is very important that individuals keep their calm and stay away from taking matters in their hands leading to the tendency to engage in unlawful acts. Breaking laws can potentially help the other side when matters go before a court. Generally courts do not have a favourable disposition towards people who indulge in unlawful acts even when their claims may be genuine.
In most situations, tenancy agreements vest the right of termination in the hands of the property owner in specified circumstances like material breach of terms enshrined in the agreement. However, you may hold that such a termination was unfair your counsel may advise action against the landlord even in instances where the lease is terminated for non payment of rental dues. The circumstances of the case will determine whether the termination of lease was unfair or not. What is important however is to commence legal action without loss of time and under guidance from a competent legal counsel.
Difficulties may arise with respect to co-owned properties and particularly so when one party intends selling while the other party resists the idea. In such instances, it may be desirable to approach an appropriate court of law. If the Court finds merit in your case, it may allow sale of the property through a trustee appointed by the court. Once the sale is concluded, the proceeds from the sale will get distributed among the owners. Most applications in these circumstances are generally granted and the courts may not take cognizance of unfairness or hardship that a reluctant owner may claim.
A trustee appointed by the court is also helpful in instances where one or more co-owners in a joint business are not in agreement with sale of assets in the business. This situation can arise from strained relationship between the co-owners or other reasons. In this case, the courts can refuse an application only when there are overhanging circumstances that prevents sale of a property like in the case of the contract requiring consent from all the owners to sell the assets. One way to speed up things in such situations is to get a ‘trustee for sale’ appointed by the courts. Protracted negotiations on the other hand can be long drawn and financially challenging.