To keep its' members fully informed, California Real Estate magazine contains a monthly legal column, written by senior counsel, Sonia M. Younglove, discussing the latest cases and statutes impacting REALTORS® and property owners. The column also contains an Ask An Attorney feature providing answers to commonly-asked legal questions and issues.
August 2015 Say Goodbye to the Good Faith Estimate and the HUD-1 Ask an attorney: On the first page of the new Loan Estimate form, I see the word "escrow." But it appears to be referring to costs the buyer will pay after close. Why is the buyer paying for the escrow after closing?
June/July 2015 Entering Tenant-Occupied Property Ask an attorney: Do I need the permission of the tenant to place a MLS authorized lock box on the property?
May 2015 The Importance of the Transfer Disclosure Statement
August 2014 Competitive Markets: Offers and Counteroffer Issues Ask an attorney: How can agents warn buyers about the risks of limited or no-contingency offers?
June/July 2014 Property Management Pitfalls Ask an attorney: If an owner tells a property manager that she or he will not rent to a person with an animal under any circumstances, what should the property manager do?
May 2014 The Ins and Outs of Mediation Ask an attorney: Buyer and seller dispute the release of a $3,000 deposite. Must they go to mediation? Seller refuses to move out after close of escrow. Is mediation required? The loan has funded, but seller refueses to close. the buyer seeks specific performance. Is a lis pendens permitted without first going to mediation?
March/April 2014| The Cost of Contract Breach Ask an attorney: Does the RPA-CA always make the buyer responsible for 3 percent of the purchase price in case of breach when the liquidated damages clause is initialed?
November/December 2013 Leap Over Repair Hurdles with Ease Ask an attorney: What happens if a buyer and seller are in contract together and something falls into disrepair before close of escrow?
October 2013 Keep Calm & Write Legal Advice for a Tight Market
September 2013 Marijuana Laws Affecting REALTORS Ask an attorney: Can a landlord ban the smoking of medical marijuana in a residential property in California?
August 2013 Copyrighted for a Reason C.A.R.'s Copyright Cops: C.A.R. policies the use of its forms to make sure they are only available to authorized users, regularly sending out letters to anyone who improperly reproduces, distributes or displays C.A.R. forms on the internet or elsewhere.
June/July 2013 Revised Listing Agreement. Business as Usual? Ask an attorney: I am a listing agent. The seller and I entered into the newly revised standard form Residential Listing Agreement (Form RLA, revised 04/13). I had not procured a buyer yet, but the seller unilaterally cancelled the listing agreement for no reason and without warning. My listing period has not ended. Is my real estate broker entitled to commission?
May 2013 RPA Myths Debunked Ask an attorney: I'm a buyer's agent. I do not need to worry about trust fund requirements as long as I have the buyer give me a deposit check made payable to an escrow or title company. Correct?
March/April 2013 The Giving Tree: It Gave $107,256 to Be Exact Ask an attorney: Does a homeowner have the right to cut down overhanging branches or roots from a neighbor's tree?
November/December 2012 So Many Requirements, So Little Time Ask an attorney: How does water heater bracing protect us during earthquakes?
September 2012 The many legal hazards faced by REALTORS® Ask an attorney: What could possible go wrong?
August 2012 C.A.R.'s Legal Action Fund Trustees Ask an attorney: How do C.A.R.'s Legal Action Fund Trustees decide whether to get involved in a certain court case?
June/July 2012 Presentation Frustration Ask an attorney: Must a seller communicate a rejection of offer back to the buyer?
May 2012 With This House, I Thee Divorce Ask an attorney: My client may be getting divorced from his wife soon. However, he has asked me to list a property that he holds title to in his name only. Any problems?
March/April 2012 Dual Tracking Homeowners Ask an attorney: Can a lender be held responsible for failing to contact the borrower 30 days before filing a notice of default to explore options for avoiding foreclosure?
November/December 2011 New Anti-Deficiency Legislation Ask an attorney: I have heard that the antri-deficiency legislation in California has been expanded. Can you shed some light on that?
Manage Your Risk Ask an attorney: Whether I am a broker or agent, what risk-management procedures can I implement to protect myself and the brokerage company against clients' claims?
Senior Housing Strictures Ask an attoney: I own retal property in California but live in New York. A former tenant is suing me in small claims court in California. Do I have to Appear?
August 2011 Homeowner v. Builder Ask an attorney: What is an "abstract of title"?
Duty To Disclose Ask an attorney: Can you tell me about the California program that'll give me $5,000 in movin expenses after a short sale?
New Year, New Laws Ask an attorney: I refinanced my home loan secured by a first deed of trust, and it has been in the short sale process since December 2010. Can the lender go after the balance due on the note not covered by the short sale proceeds?
New 2011 State and Ferdaral Laws Ask an attorney: I'm a landlord, and I heard that I now need to give an IRS Form 1099 to my plumber who works on my rental properties. Is that true?
Mortgage Relief Act Simplified Ask an attorney: The board of directors of my condo's homeowners' association just passed a rule that established a schedule of monetary penalties, such as $1,000 per day penalty for a parking violation. What can I do about it?
Don't Lean on the House Ask an attorney: I'm retiring and plan to move to another home in another county in California. Is there any way I can prevent my porperty tax from being reassessed?
Ellis Act Tested Ask an attorney: I heard that a new law passed about carbon monoxide detectors this year. Does this affect me if I sell or rent my home?
Section 8 Is Landlord's Choice Ask an attorney: After a trustee's sale foreclosure by a senior lienholder, can the junior lienholder sue me for the money?
Too Big for HOA Ask an attorney: As a real estate broker, must I report to the Department of Real Estate (DRE) that I have terminated a salesperson?
May 2010 Losing Good Faith Deposits Ask an attorney: Must the real estate broker's name (firm) be used in all advertising by the salesperson?
March/April2010 700 New Laws...and Counting Ask an attorney: I do mortgage loans for commercial properties. Will I need to register with the DRE under the new law, SB 36? January/February2010 Read 'em-Obey 'em Ask an attorney: With so many new laws, can you please summarize what type of notice I need to give to terminate a month-to-month tenancy? 2009
HESC fine print Ask an attorney: I'm confused between the cancellation right and the rescission right in the Home Equity Sales Contract Act (HESC). Can you explain the difference to me?
No contest - no license Ask an attorney: Can a corporation licensed as a real estate broker have its license revoked or is it only the designated broker of the corporation who can have a license revoked?
September 2009 Rent control's day in court Ask an attorney: I heard that I now must give my tenants a 90-day notice to terminate a month-to-month tenancy. Is that correct?
August 2009 Landlord's conduct "outrageous" Ask an attorney: How do I determine if a seller has a cancellation of debt tax liability after a short sale if the property is the seller's principal residence?
Escrow: The 5-Year Plan Ask an attorney: I have a real estate salesperson’s license and my broker just went out of business. Can I still continue to act as agent for all my existing transactions?
Contract Essentials Ask an attorney: Would you please explain the California deficiency judgment rules?
Ring in the New Laws Ask an attorney: What are the penalties when a non-licensee acts as a real estate licensee?
It’s the Law Now Ask an attorney: I’m on the board of a homeowner’s association (HOA) and heard there’s a new law about notifying the HOA of a foreclosure sale on a unit. Is that true?
Landlord Liable for Rents Ask an attorney: After a lender has foreclosed on a residential rental property, what is the notice that must be given to the tenant to terminate a month-to-month tenancy?
Homesteader Pushes Claim Ask an attorney: My seller is worried about identity theft. Does she have to include her Social Security number on the Seller’s Affidavit of Non-foreign Status (Affidavit)?
That's Not a Contract Ask an attorney: I heard that I can now represent an investor-buyer when buying a property in foreclosure. Is that correct?
A Breach by any Name Ask an attorney: What is the definition of a "principal residence," as used in IRC 121, dealing with the exclusion of gain from the sale of a principal residence?
You've Been SLAPPed Ask an attorney: Is the 17-day inspection period under the C.A.R. standard form purchase contract, RPA-CA, really a "free look" permitting a buyer to cancel for any reason whatsoever?
Talk this out! Ask an attorney: If the C.A.R. Counter Offer form is signed by both buyer and seller but the purchase contract (for example, the RPA-CA) is not signed by the seller, is there a binding purchase contract?
New rules 2008. Ask an attorney: I'm a new real estate licensee. Do I have to print my DRE number on my business cards or advertising flyers?
New laws 2008. Ask an attorney: Can a seller of real property be held liable for fraudulent misrepresentation to a subsequent buyer?
Makeover earns tax assessment. Ask an attorney: Can real property be sold to someone who is not a U.S. citizen?
October 2007 Tenants sue for emotional distress. Ask an attorney: I heard that a landlord must now give a 60-day notice to terminate a month-to-month tenancy. Are there legal exceptions to this rule?
September 2007 Indemnify v. hold harmless. Ask an attorney: If a Notice of Default (NOD) has been recorded on a property that my buyer wants to purchase, I heard that I shouldn't represent the buyer. Is that true?
August 2007 All parties liable for cleanup. Ask an attorney: As a listing agent, do I have a fiduciary duty to explain tax consequences to a seller who provides seller financing?
July 2007 No recourse for illegal contract? Ask an attorney: Can I place a listed property on the multiple listing service that will be auctioned at a later date?
June 2007 Brokers liable for MLS errors. Ask an attorney: Can the homeowners' association of a planned development prohibit a residential care facility of six or fewer elderly persons to be run in one of the homes?
May 2007 High crimes and reckless disregard. Ask an attorney: I'm property manager with a month-to-month tenant that I believe has moved out without giving notice. Can I just change the locks and find another tenant?
April 2007 Misdemeanors and turpitude. Ask an attorney: What conduct may cause me to lose my real estate license?
March 2007 New laws - the sequel. Ask an attorney: I am a REALTOR® having a commission dispute with another REALTOR®. May I take her to small claims court?
January/February 2007 New year rings in new laws. Ask an attorney: As a property manager, what trust account records am I required to keep?
November/December 2006 Simple majority-simple error. Ask an attorney: I'm a property manager who has received several "bad" checks. What are the civil penalties for writing a bad check?"
October 2006 Running interference. Ask an attorney: Who gets to keep the "original" signed contract in their files? Are faxed copies acceptable?
September 2006 Easements blur lot lines. Ask an attorney: What is an easement?
August 2006 A compelling case for arbitration. Ask an attorney: I'm a new REALTOR®. Why should I fill in interest rate and points on the purchase agreement when I don't know what my buyer's financing terms will be?
July 2006 Renovation run amok. Ask an attorney: Why is the buyer's agent asking my seller to sign an agency disclosure form (C.A.R. Form AD) when I already gave one to my seller?
June 2006 You promised ... I forgot. Ask an attorney: What can a lender do to prevent the 10- or 60-year statute of limitations on deeds of trust from running out if the lender doesn't want to conduct a nonjudicial foreclosure?
May 2006 Appreciation damages awarded. Ask an attorney: What is the amount of a declared homestead exemption and where can I find the form?
April 2006 Forgery fallout. Ask an attorney: My client owns acres ofmountainous land. What can he do to prevent hikers or others from gaining a prescriptive easement?
March 2006 Real estate's new laws: part 2. Ask an attorney: If my client refuses to disclose her social security number on the FIRPTA form, is this a deal breaker?
January/February 2006 New 2006 laws and you. Ask an attorney: Are real estate agents required to provide a new supplemental tax disclosure notice starting January 1, 2006?