Lawyers, Answer Questions  & Get Points Log In
Questions Answered by John T. Kontrabecki
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 »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: Can a landlord make changes to my new lease and not tell me about these changes until the second i am about to sign it?

For the last 13 years my lease has been the same regarding rules. I have to renew my lease again but on this lease my landlord has made changes but i was not told about these changes until the very second i was about to sign the lease renewal. Knowing about these changes could have prompted me to... Read more »

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on Sep 29, 2019

Yes, but your landlord's actions demonstrate either a lack of professionalism or bad faith. I suggest you tell the landlord you need time to consider the changes to the lease and hold over on your current lease. Then study the changes and see if they are fair and reasonable, given your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Can I bar entry to my roommate’s boyfriend and friends ?

My roommate is being evicted. We think that she might try to cause some trouble, i.e stealing our things, and stuff like that. Her boyfriend recently physically threatened our other roommate and so she is not comfortable with him around. I don’t want her to try and bring him and his friends... Read more »

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on Jun 18, 2018

As a matter of real estate law, you have correctly assessed the situation. Your roommate has a legal right to enter the premises. He boy friend does not. If they do enter without permission they will commit a civil trespass. They may also commit a criminal trespass, especially if you tell them... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: I own my home and rented out extra rooms to some friends many years have passed now. I want them to move out to renovate

I gave them 60 day notice to leave and now they say i need to evection process. Under lodgers I only need to give written notice right? How do i enforce them to leave?

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on May 30, 2018

Correct. Nice friends.

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: My lease ends on/is paid through 6/30/18. Landlord is telling me to leave early so he can clean. What are my rights

Rent is paid through 6/30/18. He doesn't want to prorate for the days that he needs to clean. He says that this is within the language below.

TENANT'S OBLIGATIONS UPON VACATING PREMISES. Upon termination of agreement, Tenant shall: (i) give Landlord all copies of all keys or... Read more »

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on May 29, 2018

Your landlord is incorrect. The obligation to clean the premises is your obligation not to hire landlords. if your landlord wishes for you to vacate so he may assume the cleaning obligation then you need to amend the lease to reflect this. Otherwise you can remain on the premises through the last... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: what in California is required to get out of a lease of an apartment. with five months remaining on it?
John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on May 23, 2018

Either a valid legal reason or an agreement for early termination with the landlord. Check your lease to see if the landlord has breached any of the provisions. If so, you may have a basis for termination. If not, then you will need to negotiate your way out of the lease. The first thing to... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Missouri on
Q: My mom and 4 sisters inherited land in MO. years ago. All sisters have passed away and now we cousins want to sell. How?

Property is in Missouri ! I see theyblisted my question in Ca.

None of the heirs included property in their will. The property is still in their names (5) and great aunt's (all deceased). I am paying prop. taxes. There are 14 cousins. How do we go about selling this property to a neighbor?

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on May 19, 2018

First you need to hire a lawyer in Missouri. Most likely, the attorney will have to file a declaratory judgment action seeking an order from the court establishing the identities of the proper title holders today.

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: Married couple renting 10 yrs.Divorcing.Husb staying with a roommate. How handle security depo with wife?

Will run credit check on new roommate and get new rental agreement. How handle security deposits to wife and new tenant, since property not vacant to do proper inspection for return of deposit to wife and husband?

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on May 17, 2018

I assume the lease is in the name of both the husband and the wife. You need to enter into a new lease agreement where you require as a condition to renting the payment of a new security deposit. You then need a letter of instruction signed by both the husband and the wife as to how to return the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: Tenant agrees to pay the first One Hundred Fifty Dollars ($150) repairs?

Just got the new lease to sign for a rental we want to rent... but I don't like the amendment to the lease sated above .Tenant agrees to pay the first One Hundred Fifty Dollars ($150) of any structural, plumbing, electrical, or

appliance repairs that may arise as a matter of course,... Read more »

John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on May 15, 2018

Neither do I. It is not commercially common and I suggest you strike the language. Perhaps a compromise would be repair and deduct from rent. Tenant agrees to pay the first $150 of any structural, plumbing, electrical etc. and tenant may deduct any payments made from the next month's rent.

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: Can the landlord charge me for wear on a tubs enamel paint?
John T. Kontrabecki
John T. Kontrabecki answered on May 15, 2018

Most residential leases obligate the tenant to return the premises to landlord at the end of the lease term in the condition in which it was originally leased, subject to normal wear and tear. You need to read the "surrender" clause in your lease to see what condition the premises must... 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.