In real estate disputes, an expert witness can provide the support you need to put your clients on track to prove their claims.
When searching for a real estate expert witness, you need someone with education and experience in the industry’s practices and customs. Your witness will know how to apply procedures used in commercial real estate transactions to the facts of your case. And you must have a real estate expert witness who communicates this information clearly and objectively to the trier of fact.
Look for these qualifications in a real estate expert witness:
- Education in real estate law and practices
- Experience handling commercial real estate transactions
- Prior expert testimony and litigation support in real estate disputes
- Knowledge of how to write an admissible expert report
Most importantly, you need a real estate expert who has been qualified in a Court of Law.
Lee Segal is a Commercial Real Estate Expert and Expert Witness Who is Qualified in All Areas of His Business.
- Shopping Centers
- Landlord Tenant Disputes
Thus, the default type of real estate in California is commercial real estate. If your client’s transaction involved nonresidential property, it probably falls under the definition of commercial real estate.
Some disputes where you may need a real estate expert witness include:
Partnerships have many forms, such as general, limited, and various forms of both. After establishing over 20 partnerships in my career, I have seen most forms of partnership agreements and may opine on the numerous provisions. It is essential to determine if the managing member is working within the provisions of the operating agreement and its fiduciary responsibilities.
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Landlord Tenant Disputes
Most landlord-tenant disputes arise out of either disclosure that was expected within the lease or with the failure of either party to cure a breach within a specified time period. Landlord/Tenant disputes center around financial disputes, environmental, approval for improvements, and violation of the “use” provision contained within the contract. Most landlord disputes may be mitigated with negotiation between the parties prior to any litigation. The disputes that cannot be resolved are those that legal counsel must settle with the use of a commercial real estate expert witness.
The parties to a contract are responsible for environmental disputes. The seller/landlord may not or have not disclosed a current or historical environmental condition. A tenant may have not adhered to the environmental provision of the lease by using a material that is considered to contain contaminated substances. A commercial real estate expert witness with deep experience in the environmental aspects of a contract may be able to provide insight into the mitigation of the matter.
Lee Segal has completed thousands of leases in the commercial real estate industry. All aspects of retail, office, and industrial leases are areas that are touched upon daily. Whether the conflict may be a brokerage dispute, a lease that was not signed by the appropriate party, and whether the landlord had the right to withhold consent for subleasing. Conflicts in leasing are too numerous to mention but rest assured Segal has seen most of them.
The one area that presents itself in a dispute is when a broker represents both sides of a transaction. It becomes almost impossible for the broker to be loyal to both parties and not disclose any information that could be detrimental to a transaction. This area of dual representation presents itself by not disclosing pertinent information which borders on the integrity and honesty of the agent.
Development is one of the most time-consuming aspects of commercial real estate. It starts with a great deal of planning, entitlements with the City, State, or Federal Government, construction, tenant selection, marketing, and financial considerations such as lending plus equity consideration. The developer may have all the good intentions for the success of the property but may have missed one phase of the development, which leaves it open to disputes. Segal has developed almost 3 million square feet of commercial properties.
An investment in commercial real estate must be considered very carefully. The rate of return today on investment must be measured for the long term and may present opportunities or challenges in the future. The selection of a property because it shows a better-than-market return may change if you lose a tenant. The flexibility to convert the property to a higher and better use should be weighed by careful inspection of the zoning, parking, ceiling height in the building, and city restrictions. A dispute could easily arise if the investor does not look carefully at the long-term viability of the investment.
The management of the property needs to be considered prior to its acquisition. The questions to be asked are is this a single or multi-tenant property, are the leases short or long, has there been deferred maintenance at the property, is the current manager doing its job? Management responsibility is critical to keep and retain tenants in the property. Losing a tenant because poor management has been neglected is very costly. The manager and the owner of the property must always ask themselves how they may improve the property to satisfy their tenants and maintain “safety” at the property. Management is costly, but poor management may be very costly.
Contact Expert Witness Lee Segal Today for Help with Your Client’s Case
Powerful real estate expert witness testimony can educate and persuade a judge or jury. Lee Segal has the education and experience to provide valuable expert witness testimony in your client’s commercial real estate dispute. Contact us to learn how our real estate expert witness services can benefit your client’s case.
WITH OVER 4O YEARS EXPERIENCE IN REAL ESTATE EXPERT WITNESS SERVICES
Segal – Founding Partner
Lee Segal has many commercial and industrial real estate properties that he manages for clients; in addition, he represents several clients in leasing their commercial and industrial real estate portfolios. He has extensive knowledge in leasing contracts and agreements and property management; as a result, he is called upon frequently to testify as an expert witness in landlord/tenant disputes.
The issues that arise in commercial real estate partnership disputes are usually financial imbalances that occur during the term of the partnership. The industrial or commercial real estate partnership agreement contract may not have been modified to accommodate the working of the partner’s relationship over time. As an industrial and commercial real estate expert witness, Lee Segal’s job is to investigate the breach of the contract and to form his expert opinion on the partnership dispute.
In Lee Segal’s capacity as a commercial real estate expert witness regarding mitigation of damages, he provides opinions as to whether the landlord acted in a manner to reduce the damages once the lease contract has been breached. The reduction of potential and actual damages is essential to his investigation and opinion.
Breach of contract is the most common case of Lee Segal’s commercial real estate expert witness practice. The parties in a commercial real estate contract could have done a better job adhering to the signed lease. It is Lee’s duty as a commercial real estate expert witness to investigate who breached the lease the lessor or the lessee and to what extent the contract was breached.
The definition of the words in an industrial or commercial real estate lease are the basis for an agreement between the parties. In some instances, industry standards and best practices could have a bearing on the way the lease is interpreted. Lee Segal’s job as a commercial real estate lease interpretation expert witness is to weigh the words and balance them with the commercial real estate industry standards.
As the past president of the American Commercial-Industrial Real Estate Association (AIR CRE) , Lee Segal has seen several commercial real estate cases where agents may have violated their fiduciary duties. In such instances, the owner/buyer or lessor/lessee of the industrial or commercial real estate property may have refused to pay the broker’s fees due to suspected negligence. As a commercial real estate broker and owner, Lee has a real passion to make things right when he is working as a commercial real estate expert witness on a brokerage dispute case.
Industrial or commercial real estate property management can be handled by the owner of the property or contracted out to a third-party property management company. In either case, the management has a duty to act in a professional manner and provide clean, safe, and habitable premises for the tenant. Also, the property manager is usually responsible for collecting the rent and expenses not included in the base rent. In addition, the management is responsible for employing contractors for the maintenance of the premises. As a result, the many responsibilities that are part of property management may have the potential to get the parties involved into a dispute.
The landlord and the tenant of an industrial or commercial real estate building has an obligation under the lease to maintain the property and a duty to keep the premises safe. If either one of these parties causes a situation where the premises are considered unsafe, the lease will dictate the protocol for correcting the potential hazard. Unsafe premises must be avoided at all costs due to the safety and health of the building’s employees and visitors.
Environmental / Hazardous Materials
Today most commercial real estate leases contain provisions for environmental protection and maintenance of the property. The tenant is usually indemnified for prior acts before their occupancy. The main concern is if the tenant brings in hazardous materials without permission from the Landlord, and it damages the industrial or commercial real estate property. This is a complicated matter due to very expensive clean up costs and who actually damaged the rental property.