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California Real Estate Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: In California, can a tenant on a month-to-month lease request a move out date mid-month and must I prorate rent?

I gave the tenant 60 days notice to move out of my property, with a move out date of May 31. The tenant countered with a move out date of May 20 and asked to prorate rent in May. Am I legally obligated to prorate the last months rent? The property is in Torrance, Los Angeles County, California.

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on May 6, 2021

If the rental agreement does not specifically address the situation, and the tenant has properly given the 30 days notice, then yes, the tenant may move on any day of the month, and only owes prorated rent for the last month.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: I just got an apt application approved and my girlfriend is on it with me. But she still has 3 months left on her lease

I want to make sure this isn't going to create any issues when signing the new lease. We are planning on just overlapping (her paying out the remains 3 months) her current lease because her current lease is cheaper because it is split between roommates she shares the apt with.

William Stanger
William Stanger answered on May 3, 2021

Overlapping on leases like this is very common. As long as she's paying the due rent on both properties, it shouldn't be an issue. It's risky to try to pay out the remaining months' rent in a lump sum, however. Usually, the lease language does not differentiate between rent... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Criminal Law and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Landlord ?: can I technically give “1 day leases” with 0 tenant/landlord obligations to have a gathering during covid?

Technically couldn’t I give unlimited leases just for one day to have all attendees be considered “household members”

William Stanger
William Stanger answered on May 3, 2021

The one day lease isn't the problem. A contract (including a lease) is not valid if it has zero obligations. You are also limited in the number of legal tenants to two per bedroom. Further, it seems likely that such a lease would be deemed to have an "illegal purpose" and be void... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Neighbors turning on double flood lights which trespass directly into my second floor apt, all the way to my back wall.

I had a problem ten years ago, and now it is happening again with new tenants in this rental home property across the street. I alerted said neighbors to the issue, they explained homeless are trespassing onto the property. They turned on porch light and shut their gate for a few weeks. Now, the... Read more »

William Stanger
William Stanger answered on May 3, 2021

Depending on where you live, it may be a violation of a local law and contacting the City and waiting would be your cheapest option. I would also expect that you have a claim for private nuisance against the neighbor, and you could seek an injunction, but that would be expensive.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Hi, we iive in a condo with standing water breading mosquitos and the board of directors have not done anything in years
William Stanger
William Stanger answered on May 3, 2021

If the standing water is located in the common area of the condo complex, then the HOA is responsible for it. If the mosquitos are causing a nuisance, i.e., unreasonably interfering with owners' use and enjoyment of the property, then the HOA should address the issue either with periodic... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Can a prescriptive easement be granted to someone using a private road for a shortcut to their property?

they are exiting a public road, driving on a short private road, then back onto a public road, then arriving at

their property. The distance is longer than if they stayed on the public road.

William Stanger
William Stanger answered on May 3, 2021

Yes, there is no requirement in California that the person seeking the prescriptive easement needs to be using it to access adjacent property, and there is no requirement that they have to take the shortest path. So long as the proper elements are met, there is a chance the claimant could be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: I sold a house by owner. I have no real estate agent but the buyers have. Closing was on 4/21 but buyer failed because

of lender issues. Buyers agreed to pay monetary compensation to seller for delayed closing. Parties verbally agreed. Seller as per rule sent 3 day notice through email to perform closing. Buyers denied any compensation, signed the loan docs on 4/23 and ready to close. Escrow cannot close on... Read more »

Yelena Gurevich
Yelena Gurevich answered on Apr 26, 2021

it depends. more facts are needed and you need to speak directly with an attorney that handles real estate transactions law. you may end up having to pay more (to an attorney, court fees, and in you are in break then damages to the other side) to fight the sale over a 5 day difference so the real... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Contracts, Land Use & Zoning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for California on
Q: My friend is interested in donating a piece of land to my nonprofit organization. How would we go about this?

Would he receive any benefits from this, tax write offs etc? Also he owes taxes on the property, I am willing to pay those off to make this happen. I plan to use this as a nonprofit headquarters, Art/Yoga/Event Space. Its already zoned for 4 residential structures

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Apr 20, 2021

Real estate transfers and planning for the tax consequences are never do-it-yourself tasks. Tax benefits cannot be calculated without information about the property and the taxpayer. You say that you want a nonprofit HQ in a space zoned for residences. This by itself should be a red flag. If you do... Read more »

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 »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Civil Rights and Probate for California on
Q: Do children have any rights to their deceased dad's stuff if his mother never informed them of his death?

2 days ago my brother told me that our dad died last March. I live in Missouri and my brother was in prison at the time.The coroner told me that our dad's mom made arrangements for everything. My father told me that there were things he was wanted me to have (pictures and a car). I'm the... Read more »

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Apr 12, 2021

In California, the decedent’s children are the intestate heirs of the decedent and not the decedent’s parents. If dad died testate (with a Will), the beneficiaries under that Will are entitled to his property. Demand to know why your dad’s mom thinks she’s entitled to the property. If... Read more »

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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 »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Apr 12, 2021

TIC, or put it in a Trust.

Joint tenancy would mean that when A dies, B gets it all. B may not remember or want to give assets to the children of A. B might just meet a new person after the funeral and forget A completely! It happens, and poor A's kids get left out in the cold....
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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for California on
Q: Hi We live in Saratoga, CA and are having problems with our neighbors across the street.

The neighbors put up bright lights on the front door, gates etc and the glare is coming into our kitchen and front bedrooms. We tried to talk to them and requested to use softer lights or direct back toward their house but they refused to talk. We went to the city, but the code does not have any... Read more »

Scott Richard Kaufman
Scott Richard Kaufman answered on Apr 12, 2021

IF THIS: "We went to the city, but the code does not have any light-trespassing/pollution laws"

is true, it may be tough to sue them? Perhaps you can find a way to limit that intrusion?

Higher hedges? Some shades?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: In California is it legal for a landlord to ask for 1st months, last month's rent and security deposit. Rent is 2400

So up front i would be paying 7200

Nicholas E. Goldberg
Nicholas E. Goldberg answered on Mar 26, 2021

[Without further context just answering the question and please do not take as legal advice]

For residential leases in CA, Landlord's may request 2 months' of rent for deposit (or whatever they call it) in addition to the first month rent that is due. Therefore, in your example...
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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Divorce, Foreclosure and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: My mother and stepdad own a home together but they are separated not Divorce, but living in the same house.

Her name is on the deed and his name is on the actual mortgage loan he wants to do a quick sale on the house but is it possible for him to do so without her consent with her name not being on the actual mortgage loan ?

He also claimed that he stopped paying the mortgage about 5 months ago... Read more »

Yelena Gurevich
Yelena Gurevich answered on Mar 26, 2021

Your mom needs to call and consult with a lawyer that is familiar with real estate and bankruptcy law. If she is on title, he cannot sell without her permission. If he stopped paying the mortgage, she needs to pay the arrears if she wants to stay in the house. If there is equity in the house and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: I live in a house that was gifted to me. If I sell this and buy a new home will it still be considered separate property

My home is considered separate because it was gifted, but if I sell this and buy a new home while still married, will the new home still be separate property or would it now be considered community property? I live in California.

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Mar 20, 2021

I suggest you contact an attorney before you sell your house, or transfer the proceeds of a sale into a bank account. In general, separate property that is commingled with another person, such as money in a joint bank account, may not be considered as separate property after it is commingled,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Mergers & Acquisitions and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Can I revise my lease if ownership is changed?

I renewed my lease a month ago which goes into effect in two days. Today I was informed that ownership and management has changed as of today. All of the rent prices dropped significantly. Am I stuck for the next 15 months paying the higher rent which I signed or since there is new ownership can I... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Mar 19, 2021

Go see them and negotiate a change in your lease to upgrade your apartment or get a reduction. If they won't do it, sue in small claims for the difference over the term of the lease or see a local Tenant's rights attorney.

Justia disclaimers below, incorporated herein.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Are we stuck in the Purchase Agreement?

Seller signed Disclosure form on Feb 20 stating that there were no septic problems. Seller had septic inspection on Feb 25 indicating a new septic tank is needed. We (buyers) signed Purchase Agreement on Feb 28. We signed Disclosure form on Mar 3 and shortly after removed inspection and appraisal... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Mar 19, 2021

You need the assistance of a Local real estate attorney to get this resolved. No one is bound by any answer you get on this website. IMO they concealed a defect with knowledge. You may be able to void the agreement.

Justia disclaimers below, incorporated herein.

1 Answer | Asked in Tax Law and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Can anyone pay the taxes on a property that has not been lived in for several years and gain rights to the property?

If a property tax becomes delinquent on a property which I do not own and which is uninhabited, and I pay that tax, do I then have a right to entry on to that property?

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Mar 19, 2021

Not unless you buy the property at a tax lien sale. You should contact a local RE attorney.

Justia disclaimers below, incorporated herein.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: What is the best way to remove my mother in law and deceased Father in law from my deed.

30 years ago we bought a house with my Father and mother in law. The verbal agreement was that they would provide the down payment and we would make the payments and pay for the utilities and take care of my mother in law when my father in law passed. The house is held as Joint tenants and my... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Mar 13, 2021

In general, the Statute of Frauds requires that certain transactions must be in writing.

See, California Civil Code Section 1624(a)(3)

This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended nor should be...
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