• A Little Good, a Little Bad: Arbitration of Real Estate Disputes

    Real estate cases are fraught with conflict. There are disputes between landlords and tenants in both the residential and commercial sectors. Homeowners get into conflicts with their Homeowners’ Associations (HOA) over restrictions, fees and assessments while the purchase and sale of real property provides plenty of problems involving construction, leasing, subleasing, sales, and broker-client relationships, just to name a few. Given the importance of real estate —whether it is land, land use, a business, or a home—it is not surprising that the amount of litigation surrounding real estate is high.

    While frequently necessary, litigation is never a pleasant thing. The process is long, time-consuming, stressful and expensive, and negotiations are often acrimonious or downright nasty. Discovery can be tedious.  Many courts are so backlogged with cases that it can take well over a year just to get to trial.

    But what other choice do disputing parties have?

    Well, for some, there is another choice.

    There is Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”).

    Alternative Dispute Resolution

    Alternative Dispute Resolution or “ADR” is a technique used to settle disputes outside the courtroom. There are several different types of ADR, but in today’s post we are going to focus on arbitration.

    Arbitration Pros and Cons

    Arbitration is an adjudication of the parties’ claims and defenses by a neutral arbitrator or group of arbitrators. While non-binding in Georgia unless the parties contract otherwise, and non-binding if you proceed through the court system, arbitration can nevertheless be a very good way to resolve real estate conflicts.

    In a non-binding arbitration, the arbitrator’s decision is not final and either party may demand a trial within a specified period. The main difference between arbitration and mediation, is that in arbitration the parties choose an arbitrator. The arbitrator then acts essentially like a “judge.” The arbitrator will decide who wins and who loses in the matter before him/her. In mediation, on the other hand, the mediator acts more like a “go between” between the parties—relaying their positions and offers, but not actually deciding the matter. In mediation it is up to the parties to reach a compromise that resolves the case.

    One of the disadvantages of arbitration is that it is generally non-binding. That means that the parties may expend significant time and energy presenting their cases just to end up having to go to trial anyway.

    On the other hand, arbitration has gained in popularity in recent years, making enforcing awards easier and faster. Also, arbitration can help the parties see the weaknesses in their side of the case before spending time and money proceeding to court. It also saves time and money due to the lack of extended discovery allowed in the process and the lack of appeals.

    Our Real Estate Litigation Experience Gives You The Advantage You Need.

    If you have a real estate issue that you need help with, call us. We are experienced real estate attorneys with offices in Cumming, Georgia and we serve Atlanta and the surrounding counties.  To schedule your free phone consultation, call us at: 770-888-7707. Or you can contact us here.

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