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Milwaukee, WI real estate lawyer for breach of contract litigationBy Attorney Russell J. Karnes

When homebuyers and sellers sign a real estate purchase agreement, they enter into a legally binding contract, the terms of which both parties are expected to uphold. Many real estate transactions are completed without issue, but if you find yourself in a situation in which the other party has failed to follow through on the agreement, you may be able to pursue remedies through a lawsuit for breach of contract with the assistance of a real estate litigation attorney.

Examples of Breaches of Real Estate Purchase Contracts

Typically, the most important provisions of a real estate purchase agreement are the agreed-upon purchase price for the home and the closing date, or the date on which the transaction will be finalized. If the seller fails to complete the sale or the buyer fails to complete the purchase by the agreed-upon closing date, they may be in breach of contract. A breach of contract can also be related to other terms of the contract, such as the seller’s agreement to include certain items in the sale or provide a clear property title to the buyer.

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Milwaukee, WI residential real estate lawyer for seller disclosuresBy Attorney Russell Karnes

The purchase of a home is a complex process that has a significant impact on both the buyer and the seller. As such, a successful purchase requires a certain level of transparency and trust between the two parties. When a buyer or seller does not act in good faith or fails to fulfill an obligation, major obstacles to the sale can arise, not to mention legal issues that often must be resolved through real estate litigation. One such issue that Wisconsin home buyers and sellers should be aware of is the seller’s failure to make required disclosures about the property.

What Does a Seller Need to Disclose?

In Wisconsin, once a buyer and seller agree to a purchase contract for a residential real estate property, the seller is usually required to complete a Real Estate Condition Report and provide it to the buyer within 10 days. In the report, the seller must disclose any known defects in or on the property that would have a significantly adverse impact on its value, expected lifespan, or the health and safety of its occupants. The disclosure form includes questions regarding defects in a variety of categories, including but not limited to:

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Milwaukee business insurance lawyerBy Attorney Christopher Strohbehn

Coronavirus is greatly affecting the way businesses normally operate when using leased property. Some businesses have been forced to shut down because of government-required closures, and other landlords are choosing to close properties on their own. What should a business owner consider if they are not able to operate their business in their leased space?

Obligations of the Landlord Are Independent of the Obligations of the Tenant

Landlords and tenants are reviewing their leases to determine if any remedies are available to tenants due to a business shut down caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. A normal lease will state that the payment of rent by the tenant is an obligation independent from the obligations of the landlord according to the lease. Under most common commercial leases, the tenant will not have the right to offset rent unless the lease specifically includes this right. Unfortunately for tenants, most leases state that landlords are not liable for a building’s closure or for failure to provide access, utilities or services in emergency situations, and thus an offset of rent is not required by the landlord.

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Milwaukee, WI real estate lawyer coronavirus eviction foreclosureBy Russell J. Karnes

Because of the public health emergency caused by the rapid spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), on March 27, 2020, Wisconsin’s Governor and the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services issued an emergency order prohibiting landlords from moving forward with eviction actions and mortgagees from moving forward with foreclosures. In doing so, the Governor is mirroring what had effectively already been done by court order in Milwaukee and Dane Counties.

The Governor’s statewide order goes further than the prior court orders by prohibiting landlords from serving notices for failure to pay rent (five-day notices) and any other notices terminating tenancy unless necessary to protect against serious physical harm to another (i.e. in cases of domestic violence). Landlords are also prohibited from filing eviction actions and from having writs of restitution served by the sheriff.

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Milwaukee landlord/tenant lawyer coronavirus evictionsBy Attorney Russell J. Karnes

The public health emergency caused by the rapid spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has caused Wisconsin Circuit Courts in Dane County and Milwaukee County and the Wisconsin Supreme Court to issue orders that significantly affect the rights of landlords and tenants. The City of Milwaukee and State of Wisconsin health departments will also issue Stay-at-Home, or Safer-at-Home orders that further limit the activities of landlords and tenants. 

How Do Court Orders Staying Evictions Impact Landlords and Tenants?

On March 18, 2020, a Judge in Milwaukee County issued an order suspending the enforcement of all pending writs of restitution (evictions) in Milwaukee County. Dane County’s presiding Judge issued an order suspending all evictions as of March 17, 2020. The basis for these orders was the need to prevent homelessness during the pandemic. On March 22, 2020, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued an order suspending in-person hearings in most civil actions that will effectively stop any new eviction actions from being heard until at least May 1, 2020.

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