New Orleans Real Estate & Corporate Law Blog

Failure to disclose can lead to real estate litigation

Selling a home can be a stressful thing. In today's market, houses in New Orleans either sit without buyers for a long time or they sell quickly. Regardless, when one finds a buyer, wanting the sale to go through swiftly and without issue is understandable. One thing that can stop a transaction in its tracks is the disclosure list, which is why some sellers may be tempted to keep certain information to themselves. Doing so, however, can lead to real estate litigation.

Failure to disclose is a serious issue. There are certain items of which homeowners are required to make potential buyers aware. Some of those things are:

  • Mold 
  • Foundation problems
  • HVAC issues
  • Plumbing defects

Construction litigation stems from contract issues, lack of pay

Even the most well-meaning business relationships can hit snags. In some cases, those snags are significant and can lead to serious disputes. If a construction project faces issues, it is possible for construction litigation to occur, commonly due to breach of contract.

Louisiana readers may be interested in a dispute that is currently underway in another state. Reports indicated that a construction project for a city hall complex has led to conflict with the companies that designed and built the structure. Apparently, Holder Construction claims that the city has not paid any invoices for approximately a year and owes the company $2.6 million. However, since the company sued the city, the city has countersued the construction company for breach of contract, negligence and fraud.

Can you get your earnest money back after a failed sale?

Buying a home is a complex and often protracted process. You will need to scour the listings for a property that meets your family's needs and is in the right area. You also have to think about how much you will pay for the mortgage, as well as property taxes and insurance, which can vary drastically from neighborhood to neighborhood. Many people need help to navigate the process.

Of course, it isn't much easier for sellers, who have to open their house up to strangers and wait for someone to make a reasonable offer. Putting down earnest money when you make an offer on a property is a good way to let the sellers know that you are serious in your intentions to purchase the home.

Tips for Louisiana business owners to avoid litigation

Owning a business can be a gratifying and lucrative endeavor. However, it does not come without risks, including the possibility of disputes and other matters that could result in a company facing a lawsuit. Louisiana business owners may find the following tips useful in limiting the potential for lawsuits, personal liability and expensive judgments that could jeopardize the future of the business.

For instance, insurance payments may take up a chunk of the monthly budget, but the policies could keep a business from having to dip into its own coffers. Shoring up contracts with certain protections for the business and the individuals behind it may also help. For instance, a contract could include something as simple as a protection against acts of God, which could make a difference.

What New Orleans businesses need to know about retaliation

Business strategies will not amount to much for many companies without the employees who put them into action. Many of the businesses here in New Orleans and the surrounding area would not be able to function with them. This means that whether a company is large or small, it needs to remain cognizant of the federal and state protections employees have, including those against retaliation.

Since retaliation can come in many forms, it is vital that New Orleans businesses understand the types of behaviors and actions that could get them into trouble when it comes to this issue. Every business should have some apparatus in place for employees to make complaints regarding discrimination and harassment. The same could be said for making sure that such employees are not further victimized through retaliatory actions such as demotions, firings, negative evaluations, reductions in pay and more.

Mechanic's liens: when and how should you file one?

You've performed the job, but the owner of the home has yet to pay you. You consider filing a mechanic's lien against the owner of the project because if you do, the owner won't be able to sell or refinance the property until the they pay the participating contractors their disputed debts.

Mechanic liens are a friend of contractors, subcontractors and others in the construction industry to resolve payment disputes. To file a lien, the contractor, subcontractor of other construction entity must provide preliminary notice within the state-regulated time frame. Many states require contractors provide the owner a 20 day minimum preliminary notice before they put a lien on the home, but the time allotted varies by state. Another name for a preliminary notice, is a "Notice of Intent." This notice must be provided to the property owner, general contractor (the one who oversees the project), and the lender.

Is an operating agreement necessary for a 1 member LLC?

Single-member limited liability companies work well for Louisiana small business owners in a variety of industries. They provide owners with the protections of an LLC as well as the freedom of a sole proprietorship. However, this autonomy can lull an entrepreneur into skipping an important formation step -- creating an operating agreement.

It may seem unnecessary in a single-member LLC, but it actually does serve several vital functions. Most states have what are referred to as "default rules" when it comes to these entities. Having an operating agreement circumvents this. After all, the owner should be have the freedom to choose how to dispose of business assets and determine the succession of the business, both of which can be addressed in this document. 

Mold could indicate construction defects

Protecting against mold often starts with the building of a structure, whether here in New Orleans or elsewhere. Preventing leaks in walls, roofs and other parts of the building are often seen as the first line of defense when it comes to the intrusion of a potentially toxic substance such as mold. For this reason, finding mold could indicate construction defects.

Molds can release toxins or volatile organic compounds as they metabolize. Some people may have sensitivities to VOCs, but they are often not considered dangerous. However, the toxins released into the environment do not easily evaporate and can cause significant harm to humans.

You don't have to address legal matters for your business alone

Starting and operating a Louisiana business requires a great deal of your attention. Every day, you have to make decisions that will probably affect its success. While you make those choices, you cannot forget to address legal matters that could also make or break the future of your company.

For instance, regardless of the type of business entity you decide to structure your business under, there are at least some legal issues you need to address. You may need to register your business, its name and other information with the state of Louisiana. If you own the business with others, putting together partnership agreements, operating agreements or bylaws is essential. These agreements outline the relationship of the parties, including who handles daily operations, who makes certain decisions and how individuals leave or join the company.

Contracts vital to real estate transactions

When dealing with an exchange of money, it is often important that everyone involved is on the same page. When conducting a real estate transaction, this understanding is particularly important because a considerable amount of money is often on the line. As a result, it is typically wise to create contracts for these transactions.

Louisiana residents may wonder what a solid real estate contract entails. As mentioned, a lot of money will be changing hands, so having terms that address the financial aspects of the deal is important. Potential buyers could indicate that their purchase of the property is contingent on obtaining a certain type of loan, or the buyer may want to indicate that he or she is paying in cash upfront. Additionally, the contract can include the amount they want to offer on the property.

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