Lawyers, Answer Questions  & Get Points Log In
Questions Answered by John T. Kontrabecki
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Whats the easiest way to buy a reltive out from their percentage on a property

I want to buy out 25% of a relatives intrest in a family owned proprty for a set amount. Need to know the quickest way to do this.

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on Apr 13, 2021

Make a cash offer. Open escrow with a title company if the offer is accepted. Ask the title company to prepare a quitclaim deed from the family member transferring the title to you. Ask the family member to sign the deed and deposit the deed into escrow. Deposit the cash into escrow. The title... Read more »

5 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: Should my partner and I purchase our home as a joint tenancy or TIC? We are unmarried; He has kids from prior marriage.

We both want to be able to remain in the home, make improvements, or sell if the other passes away. He wants to ensure his children to receive his share of the proceeds if the house is sold after his death. We may get married and have more children in the future. What is the best ownership... Read more »

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on Apr 12, 2021

Joint tenancy means each of you will own an undivided one-half interest in the property, and it includes the right of survivorship. Right of survivorship means if one of you should pass away, the person who passed would automatically transfer his or her ownership to the surviving person,. This... Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: If my ex bought a hot tub for my birthday in 2019 and it's been on my property, can he remove it without my permission?

We do not have it in writing that it was a gift, although he did tell multiple people. He apparently did not buy it outright but has been making payments.

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on Mar 19, 2021

If it was a gift, the answer is no. When a gift is made it transfers the title to the recipient of the gift without consideration or payment. As a practical matter, if he wants to take it back, let him because it means your relationship is over.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Child Support for California on
Q: Do I have to give back property that has been quit claimed to me?

My ex husband quit claimed a piece of property to me 10 years ago. The agreement was that he would continue to pay the taxes in my name as he was going to keep the rental income. I just got a letter from his attorney stating that I need to give the property back now. She stated that I was his... Read more »

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on Mar 1, 2021

This is a potentially messy one. The first question I need to ask is what is the reason he will say he transferred the title to you? You write that he stated on the top of the deed "In dissolution of our marriage." This looks like a property settlement as a result of a divorce. If... Read more »

View More Answers

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Can an owner sell property if his deed has been presented for registration but is not yet actually registered?

The owner was deeded the property in 2015, but the deed hasn't been registered yet.

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on Jan 8, 2021

Technically yes but you are running the risk of creating a title defect. It is easy to record a transfer. Go down to the county recorders office, pay a small fee, and the recorder will record it in the land title records. Do it first, then convey title. You should also get title insurance for the... Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Can we cancel purchase agreement and get our earnest deposit back?

Home was listed as-is. Dual agent added “as-is condition” in “#6 other terms” section but it already says that in #11 “Condition of property.” We were given reports of previous inspections but upon further investigation, we realized repair costs may be more than we are willing and able... Read more »

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on Jan 5, 2021

No, purchasing "as is" dues not automatically remove an inspection contingency. You need to read your contract carefully. Purchasing "as is" means that upon closing, there are no representations or warranties on the condition of the property. Listing a property "as... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: Should I still sue my landlord in small claims court?

I filled a claim in small claims court because my landlord did not send me the refund of my security deposit within the 21 days required by California state law. They finally sent over the refund (after 51 days) but not in the full amount and they did not give me the reasoning for the deductions... Read more »

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on Dec 21, 2020

You have already completed the hard part, which is filing the suit and serving your landlord. At this point, all that is left is the hearing. Judges are sympathetic to tenants who have been stiffed by their landlord in the way you describe.

I recommend you attend the hearing, explain to...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: We bought a condo but the downstairs neighbors blast their bass. The seller never disclosed this. What can we do?

We just bought a condo and prior to placing an offer, we asked the seller's agent who were the neighbors downstairs and if it was quiet. He said yes it's quiet and didn't know who was downstairs. Turns out the neighbors are musicians and have a studio set up where they record... Read more »

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on Dec 12, 2020

File a complaint with you Home Owners Association and demand that the Association stop it. Make it the Association’s problem to solve.

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Can my landlord's property management company do quarterly or semi-annual inspections to "check-up" on the property?

I signed a rental agreement in September of 2020 and I noticed a clause that said the property management company will perform non-specific inspections, pretty much to check on the property and the tenants. We haven't been here 90 days and they are already trying to do said inspection. Do they... Read more »

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on Dec 8, 2020

Leases customarily have landlord inspection clauses. They also have specific notice requirements and the notices must be in writing. If your lease has these provisions it is legal and valid. I recommend you cooperate with the property management company and let them inspect. Otherwise, you will... Read more »

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: What do I do with a escrow company which overlooked a lien on the house?

I purchased a house in April in California. I was hit by very high property taxes. The county tells me the reason is that there's a lien on the house by ( LA Hero program). The escrow company tells me they overlooked this lien or loan on the house. The Hero program refuses to give me... Read more »

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on Oct 12, 2020

This is the reason why you buy title insurance. It is the title insurance company's problem. Write them a letter explaining the facts. Send them copies of any documents that support your claim. Demand that they either pay you $18,000 or take whatever action they need to take to clear the... Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Can I cut my neighbors hedge that is in violation of muni code and cc&rs if he won't?

Hedge is 20' tall, muni code and CC&Rs allow 6'. He won't cut them. If I cut them, I am potentially in violation of Fulle vs Kanani... but since the hedge is illegal, how can he have damages?

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on Oct 12, 2020

You need a legal solution that is going to keep you out of litigation or open conflict with your neighbor.

If there are CC&R's there must be an existing home owners association. File your complaint with them and let the board of the association deal with the problem.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: I sold my home that was paid for in great shape. Purchased a Fixer but found out after moving in it has to be tore down.

I did not have a home inspection because it was Obvious that it needed some work roof replacement , Windows but after starting to work on it realize termites and severe water damage Including foundation damage Severe. I don’t have enough to rebuild the entire house. Nothing is salvageable.... Read more »

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on Jul 29, 2020

I agree with the answer below from Maurice Mandel. In the real estate world the contract to purchase is said to merge with the deed and is extinguished as a basis for asserting a claim. I suggest you find an investor/developer partner and get assistance to redevelop the property as a new... Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: My roommates & I split the security deposit $170/each. How do we split it so that each person gets their money back?

My apartment includes 5 people, including myself, and we split the $850 security deposit between us so we each paid $170. Now another person and I will be renewing the lease while the rest of them are leaving. How do we split up how we repay each other for our portion that we contributed to the... Read more »

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on May 28, 2020

This is not a legal question. It is a math question. If you paid $170 as one of 5 roommates and one withdraws, the remaining four roommates must pay you ($170/4 = $42.50 each) to return your share of the security deposit. If they rent to another roommate, then the new person will pay each of... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Can I sue a bank for not releasing the lien on my house?House was paid on 12/31/19.Resulted to escrow not close on 3/20.

Up to this time. I have called multiple times and we’re give different and wrong information. Do I have a case or not?

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on May 22, 2020

Your solution is with the escrow holder who closed the loan. It is probably a title insurance company. Before closing the loan, the escrow holder should have received a written release deed from the bank holding the mortgage. Make a written demand on the title company to either get the release... Read more »

View More Answers

4 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: My husband and I would like to sell our 2 rental properties. We are 50/50 owners with a friend

We plan on moving out of CA within next few years and would like to sell. Our partner would like to hold on to them and buy us out. Is this a simple process? Can we just agree on a price and move title over to him and he buy us out? Or is there a lot more involved? We have been splitting... Read more »

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on May 13, 2020

It depends on how you hold the title. If you are tenants in common, then you can convey your interest by deed. However, if you have a partnership agreement, then transferring ownership will be governed by the partnership agreement. Most likely you will assign your interest in the partnership to... Read more »

View More Answers

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: California my father passed had a living trust we want to buy the house all parties are in agreement whats next
John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on Apr 14, 2020

You have two choices. First of all the living trust has a trustee named in the trust document. If there is harmony among the beneficiaries, you can contact a title insurance company to open escrow, prepare a grant deed for the trustee to sign, and arrange for the closing upon funding the purchase... Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation, Real Estate Law and Domestic Violence for California on
Q: Need help guest refusing to leave my apartment. They are not on my lease, never have paid rent.

I live in California, in apartments owned by the Irvine company. I have a guest that had over stayed there welcome and refuses to leave my apartment when asked over and over to do so. This individual is not on the lease, no keys, and has never paid rent not even a penny. All transactions I have are... Read more »

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on Apr 12, 2020

The first thing I would do is write down in a letter in detail the story behind how she ended up in your home, the steps you have taken to ask her to leave, her threatened allegations, and your desire to have her leave. Make a copy of the letter and both give it to her and send it to her by... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: We are about to enter into a home purchase and I have one question I cant seem to find the answer to about deposits.

We are about to enter into a buy. Options were:

$7,000 down w/ $1700/mo rent

$12,000 down w/ $1600/mo rent

$22,500 down with $1525/mo loan payment

The first 2 options included $100 payment to go into the total down payment until it reaches the full $22,500 down... Read more »

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on Apr 11, 2020

Based upon your description of the rent/purchase options it looks like the documents sent to you are standard documents for a lease to own deal. You are correct that once you close the purchase you do not pay rent. Call the seller and tell them to correct the mistake in the documents before you... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Foreclosure and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: How to pay mortgage if the payment is denied.

PHH mortgage returned my reinstatement payment even though it was made on time. I followed their direction and got in touch with the attorney they had to handle a foreclosure. The Letter from the attorney had a precise and clear instructions that i followed every steps of the way. I wire-transfer... Read more »

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on Apr 3, 2020

The good news is, because of the pandemic, the court system is shut down and it is unlikely a foreclosure will occur in the immediate future. However, this does not solve your problem. I suggest you write the attorney who has been handling this matter and explain the situation clearly as you have... Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: These people are stealing my home, and furnishings, from me! What can I do?

I recently purchased a, fully furnished, mobile home, in the Roadrunner Mobile Home Park, and turned in my application for space rental, along with a money order for their, required, background check. While waiting for their decision, they went in to my home, and removed all furnishings, barred me... Read more »

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on Feb 4, 2020

Did you get a bill of sale when you purchased the mobile home so you can prove title?

If so, I would go to the local police station and report a breaking and entering and grand theft complaint. This is not a civil dispute at this point, it is a criminal matter. I would also go to the local...
Read more »

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.