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Walnut Creek Real Estate Law Blog

Don't buy unnecessary trouble when buying a home

Buying a home can be an exciting time for your California family, but when you take this step, it is important to be certain you are not exposing yourself to unnecessary risks. The seller of the property you intend to buy has a legal obligation to inform you of any potential problems, which can save you from expensive and stressful complications in the future.

A real estate purchase is a significant financial and legal step. It is important to know how to protect your interests as you navigate this process, and one of the ways you can do this is by securing the assistance of an experienced legal ally. When it comes to required disclosures and buying a home, you do not have to walk through any step alone.

An attorney can prove invaluable, especially in FSBO purchases

Buying a home is certainly an emotional experience. In fact, you may have already fallen in love with a place and dream of living there, perhaps raising your family and certainly making it your own. However, in spite of love and dreams, buying a home is a business transaction, and when mistakes occur during the process, there are often legal ramifications.

If you are eager to make the purchase and start life in your new home, you are certain to become frustrated with the slow progression of a sale, especially if complications arise. To avoid this, you may think purchasing a house for sale by owner will allow you to bypass many of the legal red tape that often stalls a sale. However, this may be the exact time when having a real estate attorney on your side can protect you from negative consequences.

Getting rid of a tenant without getting burned

If you own or manage rental properties, you have likely had your share of disputes with tenants. Perhaps someone has reported too much noise from one unit, someone does not clean up after a pet or a renter does not dispose of trash properly. However, if you are dealing with a tenant who is damaging your property, not paying rent or creating a nuisance for the rest of your renters, you may want to tell that person to get out now.

Unfortunately, there are certain rules to follow when evicting a tenant, and the law does not allow a landlord to kick out a renter without adhering to the process. In California and many other states, the law favors the tenant, and making a mistake can result in legal and financial trouble for you.

Someone died here? No one told me!

When you purchased your home, you had probably carefully considered several houses. As you walked through the properties, you likely opened cabinets, inspected appliances and scrutinized the structure. You also asked the real estate agent or seller many, many questions.

Nevertheless, after sealing the deal and moving in, you soon learned that your new home has a dark past. Although the seller did not include it in the disclosure statement, your new house was the scene of a death. Incidents like this can classify a property as stigmatized.

Legal disputes and homeowners' associations

Homeowners' associations (HOAs) exist in order to ensure common areas, roads, pools and other amenities enjoyed by neighborhood residents receive proper maintenance and repairs. HOA fees are based on the type of neighborhood and the facilities that require routine maintenance. When buying a home in a California neighborhood with an HOA, the buyer knows about the HOA covenant and payment.

In some cases, homeowners or other parties may find that the terms of their relationship are no longer beneficial. When disputes arise regarding homeowners' associations, it is necessary to secure the assistance of an attorney who has extensive experience with these types of contracts and organizations.

Encouraging the construction of 'granny units': An FAQ on ADUs

You're a homeowner and you want to put in a small residential unit on your property, either within or slightly away from the main dwelling. Should be simple and straightforward, right? After all, you own the property.

Actually, it's not quite so simple. But the California Legislature has recently acted to make the construction of accessory dwelling units - sometimes called "granny units" - easier and less expensive to construct.

In this post, we will use a Q & A format to inform you about the recent change in the law on these units.

What is adverse possession in California?

Adverse possession laws were created to deal with unique property ownership questions, especially those involving abandoned or long neglected properties. Every state has its own unique adverse possession laws.

Essentially, California law allows a person who takes up residence in a property that they do not own to eventually become the owner of that property if certain conditions are met.

The business of being a landlord

Many people are drawn to owning rental property because they see the potential income that it can generate. Others may get into the landlord game because they need to live somewhere other than their home for a while, but they aren't ready to give up owning the property. Regardless of which category you find yourself in, it is important that landlords remember that they are running a business, and it is important that they follow professional procedures in order to limit the possibility of altercations, keep their landlord tenant relationships strong, and render a profit from the transaction. Here are some ways to accomplish this.

Careful: Your e-mails to your tenant (or landlord) can come back to haunt you

Have you noticed the trend toward more aggressive speech in public forums like city council meetings, letters to the editor, and "peaceful" demonstrations? How about in landlord-tenant e-mails?

The following is a lesson to both landlords and tenants. The threats you make in writing can come back to haunt you.

A landlord client of mine sought my advice in terminating a residential tenancy at the end of the lease term. They had rented out the home for a few years, but were now looking to sell it. We let the tenants know, in a polite e-mail, that we would not be renewing the lease, nor would my client accept any rent once the lease term ended. (Note: there is a lot of confusion out there about exactly how and when to notify a tenant in this particular situation, but this is all that's usually needed in a non-rent control city.) We offered a significant rent reduction for the final month as a good faith gesture.


Law Offices of Daniel P. Beaver
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Walnut Creek, CA 94596

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