We’re regularly called upon to settle (or try to settle) neighbor disputes about trees, branches and roots. You would think it is s simple issue. Well, read on… Who owns what? Yes, it’s true, a property owner owns the trees on his or her land. (So far, so good.) A tree whose trunk stands entirely… CONTINUE
Give Us Our Money
A group of California homeowners is suing Bank of America, alleging that the national lender is intentionally withholding government funds intended to stave off foreclosures. The case has been filed in the U.S. District Court in Northern California; a similar lawsuit was filed in Washington state last month by the same law firm handling the… CONTINUE
Exempt Us, Already
There’s a rising chorus of pleas to enact state legislation that will exempt debt relief for homeowners selling their homes in short sales. The question is, will the California legislature continue to be tone-deaf? There are currently two bills before the legislature — AB 1799 by Assemblyman Roger Niello, R-Fair Oaks, and SB X614 by… CONTINUE
CA Court Says No to Nonrefundable Deposits
Most people (buyers, sellers, real estate agents) think that when a real estate contract stipulates a nonrefundable deposit, it means the person paying that deposit will not get their money back under any circumstance. Earlier this month, a California court said: not so fast. The Feb. 3, 2010 decision by the California 4th District Court… CONTINUE
Out Like a Lamb?
In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Caesar is warned to “beware the Ides of March.” The same can be said this year for the mortgage market, as the Fed prepares to wean it off government life support (the purchase of mortgage-backed securities) by March 31. According to a piece this past week in the San Francisco Chronicle:… CONTINUE
Lawsuit a Turkey?
This one is for the birds… (we can’t make this stuff up!). According to an article in the Beaufort (SC) Gazette, two Hilton Head siblings were recently awarded $4.25M in a pet turkey lawsuit: What began as a dispute between neighbors about pet turkeys ended Friday when a Beaufort County jury awarded two Hilton Head… CONTINUE
HUD Targets Lenders
HUD Commissioner David H. Stevens announced a new initiative this week that focuses on mortgage companies with significant claims against the FHA mortgage insurance program, issuing 15 subpoenas to mortgage lenders across the country demanding documentation on failed loans that resulted in claims paid by the FHA insurance fund. According to a press release posted… CONTINUE
DRE Audit Violations: Part 2
From the California Dept. of Real Estate website, here are the last five of 10 most common violations found in DRE Audits: Regulation 2832.1 – Trust Fund Handling for Multiple Beneficiaries (Trust Fund Shortage) Regulation 2832.1 requires the real estate broker to obtain written consent from every owner of the trust funds in the bank… CONTINUE
DRE Audit Violations: Part 1
From the California Dept. of Real Estate website, here are five of the 10 most common violations found in DRE Audits: B & P Code Section 10148 – Retention of Records Business and Professions Code Section 10148(a) states that a real estate broker shall retain for three years copies of all listings, deposit slips, canceled… CONTINUE
More 2010 Laws
AB 1046 – Effective January 1, 2010: Increase in Homestead Exemptions Increase in Homestead Exemptions: Coming into effect on January 1, 2010, the homestead exemption protecting a homeowner’s equity from judgment creditors has been increased by $25,000 across the board to $75,000 for individuals, $100,000 for married couples or family units as specified, and $175,000… CONTINUE
Did the tenant surrender the lease, or abandon it? Does it matter? It does, if the landlord still wants to get that rent that’s not going to be paid now! A tenant may “abandon” or “surrender” a lease before the lease is scheduled to end. In the first instance, an “abandonment,” all the rent remaining… CONTINUE
Shields and Swords
Need some polish for your “Corporate Shield?” Many brokers (agents too) have set up corporations for themselves to protect against claims. Then they forget about the annual “formalities” or use the “company” money for personal expenses – which allows a plaintiff to “pierce the corporate veil” and go after their personal assets.