How to sue for real estate fraud

Fraud comes in many forms, such as Internet fraud (scams), real estate fraud, and consumer fraud. Thousands of people are victims of fraud every day, leaving many with a deep gut-wrenching feeling, once they realize they’ve been mislead/scammed. If you have been a victim of fraud, you may be able to do something about it, legally.

After realizing you are a victim of fraud, the question becomes: how can I recover what I lost? If you decide to contact a lawyer to help you recover against whomever defrauded you, the essential question for your attorney is: how do I prove fraud? That task is not as easy as you may think.

Briefly, In Georgia, there are generally two types of fraud: actual fraud and constructive fraud. We will talk briefly about actual fraud, which involves five (5) key elements: (1) a false representation by the defendant; (2) knowledge that the representation is false or with reckless disregard as to whether it was true; (3) an intent to induce you to act or refrain from acting based on the knowingly false representation; (4) reasonable reliance by you on the knowingly false representation; and (5) damage done to you because you reasonably relied on the false representations made by the defendant.

The strength of your case will depend on how well the facts of your situation apply to the above-mentioned five elements, amongst other Georgia laws. Significantly, Georgia courts do acknowledge that fraud many times can be difficult to prove. Consequently, Georgia courts have recognized that fraud is, itself, subtle and therefore slight circumstances, and their supporting facts, may be sufficient to support a favorable verdict for the plaintiff, you.

However, not every act of fraud means that you have a claim against a defendant, in Georgia. For example, what if you suffered no damages due to the fraudulent act (see element five [5] above)? If there is no damage, then there may be no case. Or, what if you unreasonably and/or unjustifiably relied on a knowingly false representation (see element four [4] above)? If relying on a false representation makes no sense, given the surrounding circumstances, then, again, you may not have a case.

In addition, many times what people think is fraud, may not be recognized as such, by Georgia courts. For example, a mere breach of a contract does not necessarily amount to fraud. Bad faith in falling to carry out an obligation may not rise to the level of fraud, either. Then again, there are situations where breach of contract and bad faith do rise to the level of fraud and thus you may have a claim, which may involve punitive damages, which is an award of money given as punishment to deter future, similar conduct.

There are other issues to consider, such as statute of limitation concerns and constructing your complaint so that it meets the requirements of Georgia law.

I think you get the point: fraud cases can be very complex, so you need a good attorney that understands the law in this area. Williams Oinonen LLC can help maximize your recovery by evaluating your case thoroughly.

Contact Williams Oinonen today for an initial consultation.

How to sue for real estate fraud

Buying or selling a home can be a complicated, emotional, and stressful process, which is why you hired a real estate broker to help. Hopefully, you interviewed her beforehand, and hopefully, the broker is someone you can trust. But what happens when that trust is broken?

Of the many legal issues facing real estate brokers, lawsuits for misrepresentation are by far the biggest. So how do you know if your real estate broker has made misrepresentations, and when can you sue because of them?

Misrepresentations and Failures to Disclose

Legally, a misrepresentation is when a real estate broker misstates some material feature of the property. Often lumped in with misrepresentations are failures to disclose, which is when a broker fails to address or reveal a material feature of the property entirely. Most often, misrepresentations concern the foundation of the property or crucial structural features, property boundaries, or termite or pest problems. And the most common undisclosed issues involve easements on the property, title problems, and environmental problems.

The difficult part for home buyers and sellers is identifying these misrepresentations. We generally think of brokers as the experts, and aren’t often in a position to question or correct what they tell us. Sadly, it isn’t until much later, after a home is bought or languishes too long on the market, that we find out we’ve been duped.

Misrepresentation Lawsuits

There are three types of misrepresentations:

  1. Innocent — simple mistakes with no intent and little harm;
  2. Negligent — failure to disclose significant property issues due to ignorance;
  3. Fraudulen– purposefully misleading a client or hiding a property issue in order to make a sale.

You can’t sue a real estate broker for a bad opinion — in order to win a misrepresentation lawsuit, the misstatement must involve some material fact about the property or the sale that would affect a reasonable person’s decision regarding the purchase.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, or have had issues with a real estate broker, you should consult with an experienced real estate attorney near you.

Failure to Disclose Lawsuit: Suing the Seller

Purchasing a home is an exciting time, but it can also be nerve-racking – especially when you discover hidden property defects the seller failed to disclose. Now you’ve bought the house and don’t know what to do about newly discovered defects. The good news is that Texas property laws may give you the right to seek retribution from the seller. Here’s everything you need to know about failure to disclose laws in Texas:

What Is Failure To Disclose

Failure To Disclose is the legal term for a type of fraud where important information is intentionally hidden or concealed during business transactions.

What Is a “Property Defect?”

According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, a defect that could qualify new buyers to a legal remedy is any issue that exists on a residential property that could cause a “significant, adverse impact” on the property’s value or that poses an unreasonable risk of harm to people.

Texas law states that home sellers must disclose the following defects: termite damage, plumbing and electrical problems, water leaks, structural issues, roof damage, boundary disputes, and litigation involving the property. The seller must also disclose other “important circumstances” that could affect the buyer’s decision.

Reason for Property Disclosures

In most states, real estate owners must disclose all “material defects” a property has to conduct a valid sale of the home. The reason sellers must disclose property defects is to give the potential buyer a full, complete, and honest picture of the state of the house prior to purchase known as a disclosure statement or disclosure form.

The seller must create a notice of all known property defects with brief explanations of each prior to the closing of the sale in Texas – not doing so in real estate is a failure to disclose violation and breach of contract and the buy may sue! Most sellers and buyers have an independent home inspection that looks for common problems like water damage but there are fraud cases where the inspector missed intentionally hidden damage.

Steps to Sue the Seller

Texas laws allow buyers to sue if a home seller fails to disclose a defect. Note, however, that the law does not require all sellers to disclose defects. People who sell newly constructed homes, “as-is” properties, and those who could not know the property’s condition, do not have to disclose a list of defects. Otherwise, home buyers can take these steps to sue a seller for failure to disclose defects:

  1. Try to rescind the purchase. You generally have seven days after you receive the notice to rescind the sale if you never received a disclosure notice or if the seller disclosed defects too late.
  2. Determine fault. The seller might not be the liable party. You might have a case against a home inspector for failing to notice the defect, or against the seller’s realtor for failing to disclose the issue.
  3. Find out if you have a case. Contact a Dallas residential real estate attorney to find out if you have grounds to sue the seller for failure to disclose a property defect.

In general, if the defect existed before you bought the home and the seller failed to disclose the defect, and you incurred monetary damages as a result, you can sue the seller or another party for breach of contract. A successful lawsuit could result in payment for the cost of repairs. Contact us if you think you might have a case against a seller for failure to disclose to speak and an experienced real estate attorney for more legal advice..

Real estate lawsuits involve a number of possible legal causes of action, including breach of contract, specific performance, partition, breach of fiduciary duty, real estate fraud, quiet title and boundary disputes, among others. How do you know which causes of action are applicable to your real estate lawsuit and what do these different legal terms actually mean?

One of the most common causes of action in a real estate lawsuit, both in California and nationwide, is breach of contract. Oftentimes two parties will have either a written or oral agreement that governs their business dealings together. The contract can include a purchase and sale agreement, a lease, a partnership agreement, an option or any other agreement between one or more parties where each party has made promises to the other. In a breach of contract action the plaintiff must establish that it performed its side of the agreement (or was excused from doing so) but that the defendant did not. The plaintiff is entitled to recover any damages it suffered. This is probably the most common cause of action in real estate litigation.

Specific performance is often used in conjunction with a breach of contract claim. While a breach of contract action entitles the suing party to damages, specific performance asks the court to force the other party to actually perform what it had promised to perform. This is because the law presumes that real property is unique and damages are not sufficient to make a party whole. For example, in a purchase and sale agreement, if a party enters into a contract but later refuses to sell the property, the buyer can seek an order from the court compelling the seller to go through with the transaction.

Partition is a lawsuit among co-owners of property. Partition does not necessarily rest on an allegation that a party did something wrong. It simply allows for co-owners of a property to disengage from each other, either through a buy-out or the sale of the property. Partition actions are usually accompanied by a request for an accounting of how the proceeds from the property have been spent. The court will typically order an accounting to figure out if one owner has contributed or received more than another party so that they can be made equal. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement for a buy-out or sale of the property, the court can also order the property sold and the proceeds distributed equally among the owners.

While partition applies to co-owners of a property, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty are used in real estate partnership lawsuits. Oftentimes property is held in a partnership or limited liability company. The partners (or ‘members’ in a LLC ) may have a partnership agreement or, for the LLC , Operating Agreement. A breach of the partnership agreement is a breach of contract. Because partners owe each other certain heightened duties, a breach of fiduciary duty cause of action is also common in partnership disputes. For example a partner who steals money from the partnership or who diverts the best real estate deals or tenants to himself or his other properties without disclosing it to his partners could be liable for a breach of fiduciary duty.

Real estate fraud applies when the other party has made a misrepresentation to you, you have reasonably relied on that misrepresentation and you were damaged by it. In a real estate case this can involve a seller who provides a buyer with false financial information or conceals a material defect in the property. In addition to compensatory damages, a fraud cause of action allows the plaintiff to seek punitive damages—damages meant to punish the defendant for committing the fraud.

Quiet title is used in real estate lawsuits to settle disputes over who owns a parcel of land. Whenever there is a dispute over property ownership, a quiet title is usually appropriate. Quiet title actions can also be used to correct problems in the chain of title even if no one is currently contesting the ownership of the property. This occurs when the historical chain of title is not complete.

Boundary disputes are just that—lawsuits arising over misunderstandings between neighboring property owners over where the boundary lines are and who is entitled to use a certain piece of the land. Boundary disputes can be settled by a quiet title claim.

Real estate litigation can be a complex field. Additional causes of action and remedies may be applicable to your situation. States like California have additional statutes and laws which apply specifically to real estate transactions and real estate lawsuits. However, this primer should help you understand what your real estate attorney is talking about when you discuss your lawsuit.

Seller Misrepresentation in Real Estate? Use Rescission with Precision

Posted by Charles H. Van Horn on July 11, 2018

In prior posts, I have examined facets of a real estate sale, including selecting a broker and due diligence . In today’s blog, let’s examine how to address a transaction when a party feels it was misled. A purchaser who suspects a seller misrepresented the condition of the property must quickly take action to assess available remedies.

Of note is the “Entire Agreement” clause, which is included in most real estate contracts. These clauses limit a purchaser from claiming it relied on any representations not contained within the purchase contract and often include the following language: “This Agreement contains the entire agreement between the parties. No representation not included in this Agreement shall be binding on any party. This Agreement may not be amended or modified except by written agreement of the parties.”

When a clause like this appears in a purchase contract (and virtually every real estate contract will have a phrase like this), the buyer’s ability to complain to the seller about an undisclosed problem becomes much more difficult. That is because the only representations the purchaser can rely on are those spelled out in the contract; specifically excluding any statements made prior to entering into the contract.

When a contract includes an entire agreement clause, the purchaser has two remedies when it believes the seller fraudulently induced it to enter into the contract: (1) affirm the contract and sue for damages; or (2) demand rescission of the contract, returning the parties to their starting point as if the contract had never happened. The latter is the undoing of the purchase contract.

If choosing to rescind, it should be in writing and demand (without reservation or condition) that the seller unwind the transaction. This allows an aggrieved purchaser to point to evidence of misrepresentations broader than the narrow language in most purchase contracts.

If electing rescission, it must be demanded as soon as the facts that support the claim are discovered. Of course, evaluating whether a party rescinded a contract promptly is a fact-intensive inquiry. In examining “how long is too long” before rescinding, Georgia courts have found that delays of more than six months are unreasonable as a matter of law. For example, if a purchaser discovers flooding problems at the property and suspects the seller knew of the flooding problem and misrepresented the condition, then the purchaser must rescind soon after learning of the property’s propensity to flood.

A purchaser who seeks to rescind needs to refrain from or limit any actions that an owner would typically do. For example, courts have determined remodeling a home indicated affirmation of a contract and barred a purchaser’s rescission attempt. In another example, a purchaser who applied for a refund of an overpayment of property taxes was ineligible for rescission.

Undoubtedly, rescission is a potent remedy for purchasers that believe they were misled. It is a process that needs to be navigated swiftly and carefully. In these situations, it is important to understand the difference between rescinding and terminating. In either case, a purchaser will benefit greatly from the counsel of an attorney to determine the best course of action for the particular situation.

How to sue for real estate fraud

As a real estate professional, there are risks in your business which make you vulnerable to lawsuits. When you’re balancing multiple listings, contracts, clients, prospects, open houses, marketing and managing your business, it’s understandable that mistakes can happen, even when you have the best of intentions.

Unfortunately, these mistakes can cost you your reputation in the industry and, in extreme cases, even your business. Some real estate agents have faced tough financial penalties as a result of lawsuits that did not go their way.

We’ll explore what negligence is, how good real estate professionals can get mixed up in negligence claims, and what you can do to protect yourself, your career and your business effectively.

What is Negligence?

According to the dictionary, negligence is the “failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like circumstances.” In a legal sense, negligence is different from fraud in that it lacks intent. A real estate agent is fraudulent if they intentionally dupe or mislead a client. However, in your work as a good and honest real estate agent, you may not intend to disadvantage a seller or buyer. But carelessness, failure to take appropriate action, taking the wrong action, or simply making an error in judgement can result in a lawsuit against you for negligence.

In real estate, negligence is a common reason for lawsuits. It’s reasonably common that clients may claim their real estate agent in some way breached their duty which resulted in harm or damage. Often, claims relate to a failure to disclose pertinent information about the property, which could materially affect the value and price paid for the property.

However, there are a number of other reasons, including but not limited to, cases where:

  • Real estate agents have provided inaccurate or misleading information
  • An agent was acting for both the buyer and the seller
  • Agents have inadvertently breached client privacy by accidentally sharing details
  • Defects have been found after the purchase and claims were made on the basis that the agent should have known about them

The basis of a negligence claim can relate to the unintentional omission of information or misrepresentation of the facts. While it’s a less serious claim than fraud, it can still have drastic consequences to a real estate agent’s career and business, as plaintiffs try to recover financial losses or damages arising from the claim.

When deciding upon negligence claims, the courts will decide whether a defendant did or did not exercise sufficient care. If it’s deemed that they should have known better, costly damages bills may ensue.

Negligence in Real Estate Case Studies

The West Virginia Record reported that a woman is suing a real estate agent for negligence, because the floor of the property allegedly collapsed when she was viewing the property. Ms Graves, the plaintiff, suffered injuries as her leg went through the floor and has claimed her injuries were caused by poor lighting and a poorly-maintained property. The plaintiff is seeking damages, court costs and attorney fees. While the outcome of this case remains to be seen, it’s a timely reminder to check any potential hazards inside a property which could cause harm to prospective buyers.

In Easton v. Strassburger, a real estate broker was sued for negligence due to non-disclosure of issues relating to the soil conditions of a property. The plaintiff purchased a home which was significantly damaged from landslides, and this damage was not disclosed. The court found for the plaintiff and awarded $197,000 in damages, stating the broker was negligent for not further investigating the soil conditions of the property upon seeing that the floor was uneven during the inspection. According to California law, real estate professionals must conduct a “reasonably competent and diligent visual inspection”.

Other negligence cases which have arisen include:

  • When an agent missed a deadline for opting out of a contract
  • When disclosures provided to the agent by the seller have not been passed on to the purchasers in their entirety
  • When a building inspection carried out by a prospect showed a mold issue, which led to the cancellation of the contract, but this mold issue was not then communicated to other prospects.
  • When purchasers of a home realized after settlement that their home was the site of a widely-publicized murder, and this information was not disclosed

What You Can Do To Avoid a Lawsuit for Negligence

You need to stay on top of every listing and transaction as a real estate professional. Here are some tips to help you avoid a lawsuit for negligence:

  1. Disclose any material defects or problems which could affect the desirability or value of the property.
  2. Establish clear communication channels with your clients and document all discussions, directives and consents
  3. Don’t rush — taking shortcuts could cost you your business
  4. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know something if it’s not your area of expertise. For example, if a purchaser asks you about building regulations.
  5. Encourage the purchaser to do their own due diligence, including a building inspection.
  6. Remember that good real estate professionals can get mixed up in negligence claims, so make sure you’re protected in case that happens
  7. There is no substitute for a good Errors and Omissions Insurance Policy.

Protect Yourself With CRES E&O + ClaimPrevent ®

CRES E&O Insurance + ClaimPrevent ® provides you with peace of mind in your real estate business, so you know you won’t be out of pocket for costly court proceedings. Tailored packages are available to suit the unique needs of your business. You can access advice from fully qualified and experienced attorneys, so you can deal with issues before they become lawsuits.

We’ve been working with real estate brokers and agents for more than 20 years. To find out more, contact CRES on 800-880-2747.

This blog/website is made available by CRES Insurance Services for educational purposes to give you general information and understanding of legal risks and insurance options, not to provide specific legal advice. This blog/website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. Claims examples are for illustrative purposes only. Read your policy for a complete description of what is covered and excluded.

Misrepresentation, Concealment & Fraud in Real Estate

Buying or selling a property is a significant event for most individuals and businesses. What is supposed to be a new opportunity, free of disappointments, can go off the rails if facts surface during escrow or following the recent close of escrow and transfer of title that point to misrepresentation, concealment of material facts or fraud.

Concealment & Fraud in a residential or commercial Real Estate Transaction – usually occurs when there is a material misrepresentation of facts that would impact the value or saleability of the property and is evidence of a breach of fiduciary responsibility by the real estate agent or the agent’s real estate broker employer. Most claims of misrepresentation and fraud focus on the seller’s non-disclosure of pertinent facts or a real estate agent that breaches his or her fiduciary duty.

Seller’s Duty to Disclose in Real Estate Sales Transactions

California real estate brokers and agents know that state law imposes stringent duties of disclosure on sellers of real property: especially in regard to the sale of residential property.

Sellers of residential real estate in California have a duty – to disclose all known material defects in the physical property, any defects in the title to the property, or any other material fact that could affect the value –OR– effect a buyer’s decision-making process. California is VERY specific! Whether a fact is material and should be disclosed is based SOLELY on the buyer’s point of view. That puts the burden on the seller and seller’s agency to be exceedingly transparent or be in violation of the law. If an undisclosed fact would effect the value or desirability of the property, or in any way would effect the buyer’s decision to buy or not, or affect at what price the buyer would buy or not buy the property, then the fact is material and must be disclosed to the buyer.

Transfer Disclosure Statement

Every California residential Real Estate sell transaction includes a statutory Transfer Disclosure Statement form that the seller must provide certain information regarding the physical condition of the property including:

  1. identify the specific fixtures, appliances, improvements and features of the property, and whether they are operable;
  2. disclose any defects or malfunctions of the physical improvements; and
  3. disclose
    • additions, structural modifications, or other alterations or repairs made without necessary permits or which are not in compliance with building codes,
    • any fill (compacted or otherwise) on the property;
    • any settling from any cause, or slippage, sliding, or other soil problems;
    • any flooding, drainage or grading problems; or
    • any major damage to the property or any of the structures from fire, earthquake, floods, or landslides.

The law is clear – any disclosures (such as those in the above list) submitted during escrow on the Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement pursuant to California Civil Code § 1102 et. seq. DOES NOT then mitigate nor give the Seller a ‘pass’ from disclosing ANY OTHER KNOWN FACTS that are not specifically requested on the Transfer Disclosure Statement.

‘As-Is’ Purchases do not Mitigate the Requirement to Disclose

What about ‘As-Is’ property sales/purchases? – As-Is purchases do not mitigate the seller’s duty to disclose.

What if I Buy a Property, and Discover a Problem I was not Told About?

Learning of undisclosed immediately following the close of escrow is a common problem for buyers. The fact the the ‘material fact’ was learned fairly quickly following the transfer of title usually indicates that there was some misrepresentation of concealment of facts that should have been disclosed during the escrow period. The proper course of action is determined by the type of problem and severity of the problem(s) that you encounter.

What should you do? – First, you should re-read the seller’s Transfer Disclosure Statement thoroughly and make notes on a separate paper or pad. If the problems that have come to your attention or you’ve uncovered are lot spelled out in the disclosure statement(s) and you believe should have been, you should give us a call at (855) 757-2889 to discuss the facts you’ve uncovered and the harm it has or might do to you. It may turn out to be nothing, or it might be that you will be best served by filing a lawsuit in pursuit of recovering money damages.

Take Action Quickly

If you do find material facts that should have been disclosed by the seller —or the seller’s agent and broker— that constitutes a violation of the sales-purchase contract, then a lawsuit or the “threat of a lawsuit” in the form of a demand letter from your real estate attorney might make good sense.

Litigation for Misrepresentation, Concealment or Fraud

Our Orange County real estate attorneys have successfully represented plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of litigation involving residential and commercial properties, including cases involving:

  • Non Disclosure about the physical condition
  • Non Disclosure about the financial condition
  • Non-disclosure of property defects
  • Non-disclosure of title defects
  • Concealment of property defects
  • Rescission based on fraud or mistake
  • Foundation issues
  • Drainage and water damage issues
  • Mold issues
  • Environmental law concerns
  • Failure to perform on real estate contracts
  • Specific Performance

We have been involved in numerous cases where one party wants to unwind a transaction due to some breach or fraud on the other party. We also represent parties who want to enforce specific performance of a real estate contract through mediation, arbitration, or litigation.

We represent the interests of buyers who failed to receive property in the physical and financial condition they expected. We also represent sellers, agents, and brokers in real estate litigation who are being accused of non-disclosure, concealment or fraud. We are experienced in representing both sellers and buyers in litigation against the real estate professionals involved in their real estate transactions.

Trusted Advice & Solutions for
Buyers, Sellers & Investors in Real Estate

The attorneys at Orange County Lawyer Group are expert in business and real estate solutions to meet the needs of buyers, sellers, investors, insurers, financiers and others involved in Real Estate. We are dedicated to helping clients make educated, informed decisions about their choices and challenges faced in the complex world of real estate, business and taxes that swirl around real estate. Call us at (855) 757-2889 for an appointment to confidentially review real estate opportunity or concern.

How to sue for real estate fraud

Using a multiple listing service (MLS) has benefits for agents, but what if your MLS gets information wrong? Let’s look at how you can protect yourself from a real estate lawsuit and serve your client in this situation.

Recently, we spoke to a broker who uses the MLS in his area. The MLS automatically populates the listings with square footage. While this may sound like a convenient feature, unfortunately, the square footage populated by MLS can be wrong. MLS pulls from property tax rolls, but property tax rolls may not be up-to-date if there were additions that added to the total home square footage.

Providing inaccurate or conflicting square footage of a home can lead to a real estate lawsuit. Horiike v. Coldwell Banker is just one example. In this case, the selling agent overstated the home’s square footage in the listing and did not correct or disclose knowledge of the inaccuracy. The courts sided with the buyer.

Back to the broker who called us about the MLS . . . since the challenge in his case originates with the MLS, it has the potential to affect many agents and brokers who use the service to review the broker’s listings. As with the case cited above, not correcting or disclosing knowledge of inaccuracy can contribute to a court’s decision to rule against the real estate brokerage.

The broker realized this error after it may have affected his past and current listings and sales. He wondered about his liability for inaccurate MLS listings, because all agents are responsible for their real estate marketing materials, including MLS listings.

Wisely, the insured broker called CRES ClaimPrevent® Legal Advisory, and an attorney advised him to take two key steps:

  • Notify the local MLS of inaccuracies.
  • Advise his buyer clients in writing to obtain surveys and appraisal for lot size and square footage due to known discrepancies (the same advice is prudent for seller clients).

In addition, legal counsel provided a comprehensive overview of items of disclosures to minimize risk. The broker was directed to document everything in writing within the client’s transaction file: when he learned of the MLS issue, what action he took to correct the matter and notify his client, and what he specifically advised his client to do.

Even when an error occurs, you can take steps to limit your liability. CRES E&O + ClaimPrevent® can help. When you realize that MLS has incorrectly calculated square footage on your listings—or identify another error that keeps you up at night—CRES has a local expert legal team ready to advise you.

What problems have you had with MLS listings and how did you handle them?

This blog/website is made available by CRES Insurance Services for educational purposes to give you general information and understanding of legal risks and insurance options, not to provide specific legal advice. This blog/website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. Claims examples are for illustrative purposes only. Read your policy for a complete description of what is covered and excluded.

Greetings
I have a situation at hand. Due to an obvious typo, the new owners of the townhome next to me changed the garage locks. The mls listing shows 2 spaces however this isn’t correct. I made sure I ordered a survey when I purchased my property 5years ago. Have not approached the buyers but have don acted the previous neighbors who said they’ll contact thier listing agent. This is totally not my issue as I’m a innocent party. Hello w should I approach this with the new owners? Need to get into my garage.

Hello Me Yo. Thank you for sharing your situation. Contacting your neighbor’s Realtor is a good first step. You can also contact your Realtor from your purchase to assist. Additionally you can share your survey with the owners and let them know that you’ve also contacted and shared it with their Realtor. Document every action you take and all dates of when locks were installed, dates communication was sent/received (even verbal), etc. Very detailed WRITTEN documentation will be essential if the situation escalates, and for any future inquiry. Try to leave all emotion out of your communication with all parties and keep focus on the facts for fastest resolution.