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San Jose California Real Estate Law Blog

What is a partition action?

If you own a piece of California real estate with one or more other people, what do you do if you want to sell the property but your co-owners do not? The answer may depend on how you acquired joint ownership. If you and your co-owner(s) acquired the property through inheritance, a partition suit may be your best option.

The Uniform Law Commission explains that under The Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act, if your father, for example, bequeathed the family farm to you and your three siblings in his will, all of you are tenants in common. This means that all four of you have equal rights to use the property.

The disgusting problem of bedbugs

At the Stone-Siegel Law Firm in California, we know the problems you can encounter with your landlord when you rent a home or apartment. One of these is the disgusting problem of bedbugs.

Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that bedbug infestations are on the rise in America. Since these tiny pests range in size from practically microscopic to only about 0.25 inches long, you may not even see them. You likely, however, will see the results of their presence: little bite marks on various parts of your body, especially your face, neck, arms and hands, that often itch excessively. Yes, like mosquitoes, ticks and other blood-sucking insects, bedbugs, too, live off your blood. They also are hiding experts that live in places near or around your bed, including the following:

  • The seams of your mattress and box springs
  • The folds and seams of your bedding
  • The cracks and crevices of your headboard or nightstand
  • Behind your wallpaper
  • In any clutter underneath or around your bed

How can I choose the right home inspector?

Inspections are an essential part of the real estate process, whether you’re selling or buying a home.  Unfortunately, home inspection fraud is a very real thing. That’s why it’s important for people in Santa Cruz to make sure they understand exactly what their home inspectors are communicating about necessary repairs and other issues. To ensure your inspector has your best interests in mind, Business Insider offers the following advice.

Clarification on How to Work Home Systems

Back rent and eviction

When it comes to back rent, there are all sorts of different issues to take into consideration. For example, tenants may find themselves in an uncertain position when they are being evicted over failing to pay rent, while landlords may be unsure of whether or not they should move forward with an eviction because their tenant is not fulfilling their obligations. Tenants might be unable to pay their rent for many different reasons, from irresponsibility to unfortunate challenges that have arisen unexpectedly. However, when a tenant fails to pay the rent they owe, a landlord may have no choice but to move forward with an eviction.

As a landlord, it is important to clearly understand what your rights and responsibilities are. Eviction can be an incredibly stressful process for some landlords, but a sense of peace may be within reach when one gains confidence knowing that they are abiding by the law. Likewise, a tenant who is unable to pay rent may wonder if they are being evicted unlawfully, in which case it may be very helpful to review the ins and outs of the law.

Is co-signing and co-owning the same thing?

It is common for people to get a co-signer on a loan when making a large purchase. Whether you are buying a home in California or getting something less expensive, such as a car, if your credit is not where the lender wants it to be, you will probably need a co-signer. On the other hand, sometimes, especially with property, you may choose to have a co-owner. There are some differences between a co-signer and a co-owner that are important to understand.

A co-signer, according to Zacks, is someone who signs on your loan to take some of the burden. If you fail to pay your payments, this person says that he or she will pay the payments and ensure the loan is paid back to the lender. This person does not own the property that is securing the loan and has no interest in it. He or she is simply signing on the loan. This is done often when you do not have good enough credit or you have some credit issue that would not allow you to qualify for the loan by yourself.

Evicting a tenant over drug activity

We have covered some of the common reasons for eviction on our blog, but in this post we will take a closer look at evicting a tenant due to drug-related activity. There are many different examples of unlawful drug activity that tenants may carry out and some landlords have no choice but to move forward with an eviction. If you have proof that your tenant is violating the law and want to have them removed from the premises, it is pivotal to approach the eviction carefully and in a timely manner.

There are all sorts of examples of illegal drug activity involving tenants, from drug possession to distribution and even manufacturing. As a landlord, these violations can be very problematic for a number of reasons. Not only can this activity attract further problems such as violence but it may also result in property damage and other concerns. When someone is selling drugs from a rental home, for example, they may be attracting potentially dangerous people to the premises on a daily basis.

Warning signs: Protect yourself from real estate fraud

When looking for a California dream house, it pays seekers to be careful about whom they do business with. Scammers love to take advantage of homeowners, and real estate fraud is just one way they like to do that. 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, in 2018, law enforcement authorities picked up five alleged scammers on indictments that say they "defrauded distressed homeowners, many of whom were elderly victims." The incidents happened in San Fernando Valley, where authorities claim the defendants convinced homeowners to sign bogus titles to their property, and in doing so, put over $17 million in the alleged scammers' pockets. 

Understanding the lease process

Whether a client is looking over a lease in an effort to rent a space from a tenant, or the owner of a space is drafting a lease for a new renter, it is important that the lease accurately portrays all of the information needed for the business transaction. In some cases, renters may not understand exactly what is in the lease agreement and/or the owner may not know what to include in the documentation. If a crucial piece of the lease is left out, it could lead to major legal problems later down the road.

First, the letter of intent should be made available with an accurate description of the rent, description of the space, terms, operating expenses, exclusivity clauses, security deposit, construction, maintenance and repair, parking, signage, repair, subletting and any other special requirements. The renter should then be given time to review the terms of the lease and communicate with their attorney if needed. It is advantageous for both the owner and the renter if both parties fully understand the terms and negotiate any changes if needed. Both parties should go in with realistic expectations of the lease and the negotiations process.

Who is responsible for water damage: tenants or landlords?

When you rent an apartment or property, it might feel like your landlord has all the power. Any time a scuff appears on the floor or a mark on the wall, you see your security deposit slowly slipping away, but you have renters’ rights covered by California laws

If you notice a leak from the roof or a damp spot on the wall, California law might protect you from making repairs or covering costs for water damage yourself.

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