Law Office of Leo B. Siegel
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January 2018 Archives

Can I break my lease due to an assault?

Imagine the terror of a woman, man or elder who is being stalked or who has been assaulted in California and fears for her life because the perpetrator knows where she lives. If it were you, you would likely be on edge all the time, anxious and worrying about it happening again. It is just these circumstances that a state housing law addresses in an effort to make it easier for victims to relocate to a place where they feel safe.

Excessive heat, restrictive policies prompt tenant lawsuit

When considering the landlord/tenant relationship, many in Santa Cruz may only associate it with residential dwellings. Yet it should be remembered that many of the businesses that people frequent every day are in fact tenants renting commercial space. Just as residential landlords are responsible for ensuring that their units remain habitable, so too must a commercial landlord do all that is needed to provide a good working environment for its tenants. A failure in this regard affects its tenants' bottom line, as clients, patrons and even employees may find frequenting such establishments unbearable. 

Protect property from squatters by being vigilant

When there are easily accessed online articles and even a few websites dedicated to helping squatters be successful, it is easy to understand why the practice is so widespread. Property owners In California need to take extra care in safeguarding their property due to somewhat easier restrictions on squatters and their rights of tenancy to property they do not own.

Can I force my property co-owners to sell?

There are times when co-owners of a California property disagree on whether to sell or keep it. It might be a couple who bought the home together but now want a divorce. It could be one of several siblings or relatives who co-own an inheritance and one of them has decided he or she would rather have the money. Or it could be two or more business partners who bought an office or apartment building together but are dissolving the partnership and want to sell the property and move on or retire.

What is the difference between a rental agreement and a lease?

While the words lease and rental agreements are often used interchangeably, they actually refer to two different types of rental contracts. A lease is a detailed long-term rental contract whereas a rental agreement is a renewable short-term contract. Depending on the needs of the landlord and potential tenants, both have positive aspects and drawbacks.

Understanding when your landlord can raise the rent

Imagine your landlord coming to you on Friday and telling you that he or she has decided to raise your rent payment (which is due on Monday). This scenario is the nightmare shared by all renting tenants in Santa Cruz, and one that several of the clients that we here at The Law Office of Leo B. Siegel have assisted in the past have faced. Most may think that since your landlord owns the property you live or work in, he or she can raise the rent anytime he or she wants. Yet what does the law say? 

Detailing the different types of deeds

Most people in Santa Cruz may believe that the issue of trasnferring the title of a property only comes up when said property is listed for sale. While that may be the most common reason for a title transfer, it is by no means the only one. Some may want to transfer the title of their properties to a spouse following a divorce or when protecting personal assets from business ventures. Others may find it necessary to transfer property ownership to a trust. Or, one may simply want to gift a property to a family member. Whatever the reason, it should be understood that before one tackles a title transfer, he or she must first understand the type of deed that best applies to the transaction. 

How an eviction affects your credit rating

A rental agreement is a legally binding document, wherein you the tenant are agreeing to your landlord’s terms. However, if you do not uphold your end of the arrangement, your landlord can evict you. Evictions can happen when tenants fail to pay rent, do not obey property rules or damage the rental property.

Dealing with boundary disputes

Border disputes can happen when neighbors do not have a clear understanding of where their property boundaries are. In most cases, the dispute is caused by encroachment.

Common types of real estate fraud

There are, as always, plenty of horror stories on the topic of real estate fraud -- the schemes, illegal flipping and other ploys surely cross a soon-to-be homeowner's mind at some point in the housing search. But do bad real estate practices really plague the industry as much as one might think? California may have its own pocket of housing gems with its alluring culture and coastlines, but, much like other states, it has a considerable amount of fraud. Fortunately, however, there are ways one can avoid it.

What are reasonable circumstances for eviction?

There are endless perks to renting a home in California: one-time pet fees, no looming mortgage payments and landlord responsibility over maintenance and repairs. Depending on location, there are ideal places to rent for all types of lifestyles. But one drawback to this living option is in regards to relationships between tenants and landlords; tensions can rise when there is a disagreement over the living situation. Regardless of the side of dispute, what, exactly, makes a situation grounds for tenants eviction?

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