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Chicago Title Attorneys Litigate Property Ownership Disputes

Skilled trial lawyers manage lawsuits over commercial property sales

Consider this scenario: a developer buys a subdivision, secures financing for 50 units of housing and breaks ground. Then, out of the blue, comes a party claiming to own a substantial swath of the land. Is the project doomed? Will investors and creditors sue? Does the developer have recourse against the party that conveyed the land?  Sorting out a complex commercial real estate controversy requires in-depth knowledge and experience.  At Schwartz & Kanyock, LLC, our real estate litigators have more than 50 years of combined experience in high-stakes disputes. We know precisely what must be done to deliver the best results possible for our clients.

How defects in title affect Illinois land deals

A seller of real estate must have the right of conveyance. Defects in a deed cast doubt on the present owner’s legal right to convey the property to another.

  • Chain of title — Transfers that are unaccounted for leave holes in the chain of title, possibly allowing a party whose ownership was never formally terminated to claim current ownership, and compelling litigation with an uncertain outcome.
  • Inaccurate description — An imprecise description of the property lines can give rise to a situation where a seller has inadvertently transferred someone else’s land. Such a deed is invalid.

Schwartz & Kanyock, LLC litigates aggressively to help our clients achieve the best remedy possible at law or in equity. A buyer who takes possession of a defective deed no longer has a claim for breach of contract, but can sue for breach of warranty. Whether damages are available depends on the type of deed and the particular defect. Quitclaim deeds provide the least protection for a buyer, while general warranty deeds are the soundest.

Discovering encumbrances in a deed for land

An encumbrance limits the owner’s right to use and develop the property, reducing its value. Common encumbrances include:

  • Easement — Someone other than the title-holder has a right to limited use.
  • Encroachment — An improvement on an adjacent parcel enters upon the property, denying the owner use of the affected land.
  • Lease —A non-owner has a right of occupation. Lease rights range from a tenant in an apartment to an excavation company digging for coal.
  • Lien — Sale of the property is subject to payments owed, such as back taxes (tax lien), services rendered (mechanics lien) or liability (judgment lien).
  • Lis pendens — A warning that the property is the subject of a pending lawsuit
  • Mortgage — An outstanding debt for which the property is collateral
  • Restrictive covenant — An agreement that limits the use or development of the property

If title questions have arisen in your property sale, call Schwartz & Kanyock, LLC

Title disputes can add enormous costs and frustrate your real estate transaction. Schwartz & Kanyock, LLC has the knowledge and experience to resolve these disputes favorably. Call us 312-436-1442 today or contact our firm online to schedule a consultation.