Why Speak to an Attorney Before Buying a Home?

The professionals that you surround yourself with when purchasing a home all have a vested interest in your “closing the deal.” All the parties, including the broker, the mortgage salesperson, and the title company each get paid through commission. If each party is purchased this way, who is there to push the brakes and first ask if this is a smart decision? Or if the title is clean? How about if the financials make sense, or if there is an issue with the inspection that needs to be examined? Let the crucial role of the unbiased advisor be your attorney.

What Home Owners Need to Know

If you are a home owner who decides to rent out to tenants, there are a few items you should know. Do not become overanxious if you face the issue of a non-payment rent situation. This is actually the ideal eviction scenario. Evictions happen very quickly in California and can be viewed as only a step above the common traffic ticket. There is a separate court (depending on the dollar amount at issue) that handles the case and it can be resolved in about 30 days.

The next aspect homeowners need to understand is having a good solid lease for every period of time the tenant occupies. You should be familiar with a three day notice and a 30 day notice. If non-payment occurs, first make sure there was no physical/emotional impediment to the tenant and you have good reason to evict. Make sure to pass a notice quickly, as it communicates your seriousness and familiarity with the law.

Changes in California Real Estate Law

While there are clear cut laws, it is important to remember that real estate law is continuously being interpreted and evolving, and thus can leave room for some ambiguity. A good example is of my brother who had called from DC complaining about a neighbor who smoked marijuana during the early hours of the morning. The case becomes complicated because the tenant may have a legitimate reason to smoke freely in the building. He or she may possess prescription or medical permit to smoke marijuana, and if they cannot smoke within their own apartment, where are they going to medicate? If you push towards litigation, you may be seen as discriminating against individuals with a disability. You may find yourself, the landlord, negotiating between this negative interpretation and a tenant who is threatening for nuisance violations.

Candidly, the law is not clear on this issue. While California recognizes medical marijuana as a right, and something that is necessary, the federal government does not. A lot of discrimination laws originate from the Fair Housing Act and the America Disabilities Act—federal law. Some states do have specific laws that allow medical marijuana and command that landlords write this within their lease. The courts remain undecided.