What I’ve learned mediating and arbitrating real estate cases for many years is that disputes involving real property often arouse passions every bit as intense as those seen in divorce and estate litigation. Real estate cases also often involve arcane chain of title issues, boundary locations, land use restrictions and condemnation, trespass,
environmental damage, nuisance, leasing, suits against agents and brokers, etc.
Real property is very important to people, both emotionally and financially. They can be just as heated as a contentious divorce dispute, for example. At the same time as they inspire difficult emotions, they can involve very arcane technical and historical issues that are sometimes very difficult to understand and follow.
Early mediation of real estate disputes and land use disputes is almost always advantageous, as it is in other kinds of cases. A principle reason involves title and the ability to sell or finance real estate. In real estate litigation involving property that is financed, litigation itself often jeopardizes the financing of the property. Litigation makes property impossible to sell because of a cloud on title.
So, in terms of the property owner, early mediation like Mediation Sunshine Coast is always a good idea, otherwise, the property owner is paralyzed until the conclusion of the dispute. And that paralysis can take years.
In addition, if the dispute involves land use, the resolution of the dispute can take many years. I was the lawyer a number of years ago in a civil rights land use case that took seven years just to obtain the right to go to a jury trial. And in that time, my client went bankrupt. Most entities would. The passage of time is usually not going to help clarify ownership to property, or what parties can do with it, or what they can’t do with it.
So, this state of paralysis is inimitable to business, and it doesn’t help private property owners either. They can’t dispose of their property, they may not be to use it the way they want. And they live in a world of uncertainty until trial, or until trial and appeal. And the whole prospect can be financially ruinous and emotionally very, very stressful.
Successful mediation and arbitration of real property disputes requires considerable experience and I’m fortunate to have it. Prior to becoming a full time neutral, I served as corporate counsel for Washington State’s then largest commercial real estate developer. In that role, I regularly encountered some or all of the above real estate issues.
Later, I represented the prevailing party in what remains a landmark Washington land use case. Currently, real estate disputes represent a significant portion of my mediation and arbitration work. Recently I’ve successfully mediated flooding and boundary disputes involving private property owners and governmental agencies, a protracted commercial leasing dispute involving a technology manufacturer and its landlord and a condemnation action brought against a commercial property owner by a municipality seeking to widen an important arterial.
My real estate arbitration experience has included but has not been limited to a multi-million dollar breach of contract action by a private developer against a Port district for alleged failure to perform, partnership and/or joint venture disputes involving commercial building owners, alleged breaches of commercial leases involving substantial tenant improvement and other issues under various leases and disputes involving owners of real estate agencies and mortgage companies and escrow agencies.
I’m confident that my real estate mediation and arbitration experience can benefit you or your client if or when you confront a real property dispute.
Bertram Dispute Resolution, Inc.
316 Occidental Avenue South, Suite 500
Seattle, WA 98104
Gregg Bertram Qualifications:
Gregg Bertram has resolved thousands of cases in 22 years as one of the Pacific Northwest’s most recognized mediators and arbitrators.
From 2000 to 2008 Gregg was a principal at JAMS, the nationwide provider of alternative dispute resolution services, and before that was affiliated with Washington Arbitration and Mediation Services, where he earned the “Master Mediator” designation. Prior to full-time ADR practice, Gregg was a practicing attorney.
Gregg is a board member of the Federal Bar Association Alternative Dispute Resolution Section, and is an American Arbitration Association mediator and Arbitrator. He is also an accredited neutral of the World Intellectual Property Organization and International Center of Dispute Resolution.
Gregg is past chair of the ADR committee of the Washington State Bar Association. He has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer”® for ten consecutive years in Washington Law & Politics magazine, and has received repeated recognition in Seattle Magazine peer surveys as a “Top Lawyer.”