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California Real Estate Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Collections for California on
Q: I'm being asked to give acknowledgement of satisfaction form by escrow firm before getting paid on my lien against condo

Escrow firm says I need to give them acknowledgement of satisfaction form before they pay me on my lien. Doesn't make sense to me to give them a form saying I got paid when I haven't. The person who owes me the money has sent me a check that would satisfy the lien but the escrow firm... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Sep 19, 2020

Pretty standard for an Escrow Company to get documents signed before the deal closes. If you really feel uncomfortable, tell them you want a face to face exchange of your signature for their check. The problem is that the money may not be in the Escrow account until it closes, not now.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Due to covid my roommate died, and my pay was cut . Can I get out of my lease legally?

My credit is perfect. I’m 12 months into an 18 month lease, but want to leave now, with out ruining my credit, as I can no longer afford the rental amount.

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Sep 18, 2020

It depends on the local ordinances passed by the City and County in which you reside as to the extent of the relief that you can obtain. You should definitely contact a local Attorney, housing assistance agency or your city to determine exactly what you can do. IMO you should present the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: My cousin, me and my sister are on the Mortgage Loan. Me and my sister want our names off the loan.

My cousin, me and my sister are on the Mortgage Loan. Me and my sister want our names off the loan. My cousin will refinance to make this happen. But to due to some family matters, we want to keep our names on the title BUT off the loan. What will the process look like? What fees will I end up... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Sep 16, 2020

You need to discuss this with your lender, It may not be possible to be on title but not on the loan. Transfer to a trust? Contact a local attorney dealing in Wills and Trusts. Transfer the property to a Trust and you all are beneficiaries of the trust.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: In California, do I have to disclose a suicide in a house I'm selling after 3 years?

The suicide occurred 6 years ago and my understanding is all deaths within 3 years must be disclosed based on California civil code 1710.2 which states that an agent isn't required to disclose the following to the buyer as "these are not material facts that require disclosure.......a... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Sep 15, 2020

Section 1710.2 also says: "(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to occupy the field of regulation of disclosure related to either of the following: (1) Deaths occurring upon real property." IMO this means that the SPQ questions do not require disclosure of this death, because it is... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation, Gov & Administrative Law and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: what governing body has oversight to handle disputes between neighbors when only some properties belong to an hoa?

My neighbor and i reside in an HOA and feel we are being subject to undue scrutiny and baseless complaints from a couple who live on a parcel adjacent to ours but who do not have membership in the HOA. These people are causing needless problems complaining about us for really no reason, but are... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Sep 15, 2020

Send an email to Attorney James Allen Greer on this website, he is knowledgeable about HOA. IMO the neighbors that are not a part of the HOA do not have any standing to make complaint to the HOA.

Justia disclaimers below, incorporated herein.

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: My mother has land that she is trying to get placed into her name. The property is in my deceased grandmothers name

The land was left to my mom and her other two siblings. The two other siblings are deceased now and my mom wants to put the land in her name now to write her will. what documents and paperwork does she need to get this process going? Also she has more land that she has that is in my brother's... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Sep 15, 2020

To begin with you will need to gather together the testamentary documents (wills, trusts, and property deeds), pertaining to your deceased Grandmother and Uncle, and hire an attorney to review the documents, organize the information, and write a report on the current ownership of the properties,... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: I've been paying my apt rent through COVID. Can I terminate mid-contract and move out without losing money and credit?

I live in a residential apartment complex in Los Angeles. I've never had a late payment, despite COVID. Although, due to COVID all the amenities in this complex have been shut down (I believe my rent includes the cost of these amenities). Also, the general safety-level of the overall... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Sep 15, 2020

While you don't have any legal authorization to do what you suggest, here are some thoughts: 1. If the complex stopped providing amenities (gym, pool, cable, etc.) while continuing to charge you full rent, you are probably entitled to a rent rebate because they did not provide all the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: HOA rules

I rented my house to a tenant who then rented it as airbnb. The HOA rules says "no OWNER shall lease his residence for a period of less than 30 days". Since the tenant is the one doing airbnb, I (the owner) did not violate this rule. But HOA insists that the rule "any failure of an... Read more »

George W. Wolff Esq.
George W. Wolff Esq. answered on Sep 14, 2020

I think that's too technical an approach as you have some responsibility for what your tenant does.

Does your lease with the tenant require the tenant to comply with the rules and Cc&Rs of the HOA?

It should to protect you.

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: I paid off mortgage, had husband sign off on property. Does he have right to proceeds when I sell. It is my investment

The intent was that he would sign off the deed and I would have sole title on property and there fore invest proceeds for further property investment. He has his own bushiness. But under California law my friend said what about community property??? That is why I had him sign off of the deed. This... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Sep 14, 2020

Community property laws were enacted to protect spouses from their spouses who would lie, cheat and steal from them, so take a chill pill about the process. You should contact a local family law attorney and hire him to draft up an agreement that the property is your separate property and your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: Can I get out of the least before moving in?

I signed the least to a new rental house, but realized there’s a lot of issues and broken things in the house, many cracks and water damage stains on ceiling... etc after walk through, agent is not very nice about issues and it’s worrisome for me, is it too late for us to back out of the least... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Sep 14, 2020

You signed a lease for a residential rental without looking at the place and then found there were issues with the condition of the property??? The rental agent is giving you problems and you have not even moved in?? Have you given a deposit? You should discuss these issues with a local RE... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: I have questions specifically related to CA Civil Code 1951.2 (a)(4) as applied to tenant who breached lease

Can I withhold a portion of the security deposit in order to cover my personal costs/time (15% of one mont's rent) to find and new tenant, conduct vetting, and signing new lease? It seems that this would be reasonable under CA code 1951.2 (a)(4)

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Sep 14, 2020

Absolutely not.

Justia disclaimers below, incorporated herein.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: My CA relative wants to give his house to family. How can he do this, and can he, cheaper than market price?

He can't keep her house and would prefer to give it to family instead of foreclose on it. Also, he owes some back-taxes. Is there a way he can address those first, such as a way to excuse them? Or would family have to take on those back-taxes in the transfer of property? Any resources to help... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Sep 14, 2020

He cannot give away the property which has a loan on it. He can transfer his ownership interest to a new "buyer" who may be able to take over the loan but better if the buyer gets a new loan and enough to cover the back taxes. Definitely need to consult with RE attorney on this one. You... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Paying off my parent's mortgage and putting the title under my name

My parents, who are in their 80's still paying mortgage on house. What is involved for me to pay off the mortgage and putting the title under my name so my parents do not have to worry about this anymore?

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Sep 12, 2020

NO!!!!!!!!

If you move the house into your name while they are alive then you will give up a HUGE tax advantage. Right now if the house is sold, your parents have a big tax liability for all the profit they make on the sale (probably). If they GIVE the property to you then you carry the...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Can I see the title of a house if I've been living in here for 8 years and paid all taxes interest and insurance?

The property owner passed away in 2012 & his son didn't want anything to do with the property. Keep in mind I rented a room from the owner for 10 years. the owner son stated I could either stay here for a couple months to save some money for a new place or if I want to stay I would have to... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Sep 12, 2020

All your agreements with respect to this real property are worth the paper they are written on. If they are verbal agreements, you don't have any ownership interest because that can only be transferred by a "recorded" writing. It is possible in an extreme case that you might have... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: a friend of mine past away 15 years ago, and I have been paying the property taxes on her home since. what are my rights

I thought I was the executor of her will, but I found out it was never recorded, she has no family. what should I do.

Manuel Alzamora Juarez
Manuel Alzamora Juarez answered on Sep 11, 2020

Start an quiet tittle case, continue living in the property, openly but discreetly, place signs like do not enter, private property, hand a sign on the porch: the residence of [ your name____] and change all the utilities to your name. Build a fence and protect against al for any unauthorized... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Who will i contact to replace the name on real estate property ownership?

Currently the title in under the name of four siblings( one lives in the Philippines). One owner wants her name replaced by one of her kids.

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Sep 10, 2020

Everyone named on the deed must sign a new deed changing the names of the owners. Each signature must be properly notarized and the Philippines has different notarial laws. In order for the Philippine signature to be valid they have to have it notarized at the American Embassy by a Consular... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Retaining wall between front yards built by prior owner of lower residence, probably on lower lot. Who must maintain?

The original retaining wall may be on the property line but is more likely fully on the lower property. The wall supports only the landscaped yard of the upper property, not the home. Below the wall is the lower property’s driveway. The elevation difference is no more than 3 feet at one end,... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Sep 10, 2020

Complex issues not suitable to resolve on a public forum such as this. You need to hire a Real Estate attorney, and he will find experts to assist you. Or you could just allow the neighbor remove the retaining wall and watch your yard slide down the hill into their yard, along with potential... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: I have lived in my rental for 4 years. The owner decides to sell the house. I am high risk of catching covid 19.

Do I have to move out in 60 days which puts us into winter?

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Sep 10, 2020

Unless you negotiate a new lease with the new owner, when the property is sold, you may have to move out unless you are protected by a local ordinance or regulation that says otherwise. These vary from county to county and city to city, so you need to discuss your situation with a local... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: How do I get my name off the loan after ex files the quick claim deed?

My ex husband filed our quick claim deed a few months before passing. But my name is still on the loan and getting effectived with my credit. We also split our assists during the divorce.

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Sep 9, 2020

Have you tried contacting the bank? They may have a solution for you... It is more likely that your ex-spouse will need to refinance the loan in order for you to get your name off.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Newly purchased house found to have broken/fallen foundation. During escrow I paid a foundation contractor for estimate

He missed this huge issue with the foundation. We decided to buy thinking his 10K estimate for bolting and crack repair was all the more needed to spend. Now, we're looking at 30K to 80k for serious repairs (piers for foundation support). Also, there's a leak from the kitchen drain... Read more »

James Alan Greer
James Alan Greer answered on Sep 8, 2020

Dear Foundation Issue Client: I'll make an effort to guide you, but the analysis of your potential claims are very much driven by the documentation that you have or don't have as the case may be). As to your Seller: you might have a potential "Failure to Disclose" claim if the... Read more »

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