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Real estate transactions can be very complicated, and there are multiple types of legal issues that buyers and sellers will want to be aware of. Easements are one issue that will affect how a piece of property can be used. If easements are not properly disclosed during a transaction, real estate litigation may be required to address this issue.

Understanding Easements

An easement is a legal agreement that gives a person, company, or organization the right to use someone else’s property. Easements come in several forms, including:

  • Public easements - A portion of a person’s property may be set aside for public use. These easements may address utilities, ensuring that the government or private utility companies can access a property to install or repair power lines, water lines, or other types of utilities.
  • Private easements - A private individual may be given permission to use someone else’s property for certain purposes. For example, a person may have been granted the right to hunt and fish on someone else’s property, or a person may have been allowed to enter a neighbor’s property to access a lake or river.
  • Easements by necessity - A person may need to cross over another person’s property to enter their own property. These easements can ensure that a person will not be denied access to property that is landlocked.

Some easements may apply to a piece of property, and they will remain in effect after the property is sold. In other cases, easements may be granted to a person or organization, and these will usually remain in effect as long as the original owner owns the property. Easements may be affirmative, meaning that they grant permission to use the property for specific purposes, or they may be negative, meaning that they restrict the property owner from making changes to the property, such as constructing a building that will block a neighbor’s access to the property or their view. 

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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 litigation lawyers for adverse possessionBy Attorney Russell Karnes

Adverse possession, also loosely described as “squatter’s rights,” allows trespassers who openly inhabit a piece of property to gain possession of that property if they meet certain conditions. In other words, if a trespasser devotes enough time caring for a piece of property that the owner has abandoned or possibly forgotten about, and the owner makes no opposition to the trespasser and his/her actions, a court may award ownership of the property to the trespasser. To resolve issues related to adverse possession, it is important to work with a qualified real estate attorney.

Wisconsin Adverse Possession Laws

According to Wis. Stat. § 893.25, an individual must occupy property publicly for at least 20 years before ownership can be granted. In addition to this requirement, a person who wishes to gain possession of property must typically prove the following factors:

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