Articles Posted in Real Estate Law

All too often new ideas get ahead of the law. Airbnb and VRBO are examples of just such a situation. Real estate lawyers are being inundated with calls from landlords who are receiving citations from their cities, fines from their homeowners’ association, and/or are receiving complaints from neighbors because their tenants have jumped on the Airbnb bandwagon to make some extra money. While municipal laws such as those enacted in San Francisco are emerging regarding short term rentals, the courts are starting to make rulings strictly prohibiting a tenant from making their apartment available as a short term rental.  Many of you may be reading this blog because you are wondering; “Is it legal for me to list my place on Airbnb?”For Rent Showing Layout Apartment And Plans

In Chen v. Kraft, a California appellate court found that using an apartment as a bed and breakfast or as a transient occupancy residential structure was a violation of zoning laws. Courts and cities throughout California have addressed this issue differently.  New laws are being enacted each month in different cities and counties throughout California.  With all of this confusion, you should consult a real estate attorney who specializes in landlord tenant issues to find out what you can and cannot do with respect to short-term rentals.

Problems Caused By Short Stay Rentals

While it may seem like a fine idea to rent a room or your entire home out for some extra cash, problems abound when people try to circumvent many of the regulations that hotels and inns must follow.  Companies such as VRBO and Airbnb do not provide legal support and often short term rentals violate local ordinances.  When people list their apartments or homes, they do not pay the tourism taxes that hotels do. Most landlords do not appreciate having their residential units turned into hotels yet they have been able to use the short-term rental concept as a means of circumventing local rent control laws by taking their unit off the market for long-term housing and then offering it to visitors and tourists. Continue reading

No matter where in Southern California you live, and no matter how long ago your home was built, remodeling and making improvements to your home is a generally a good idea. Whether you are knocking out a non-structural wall to create more space, or creating a backyard that is the envy of your neighbors, improving your home can be both exciting and stressful. The last thing that may cross your mind when you decide to improve your property is a mechanics’ lien or lawsuit, but the first call you make before you sign a home improvement contract should be to your real estate attorney who can help you determine whether the contract you are about to sign is legal and gives you the rights you need to protect yourself.Renovation

California regulates the construction industry through the Contractors State License Board which issues licenses to and disciplines contractors. In an effort to protect Californians, the law requires that a contract for home improvement must properly advise consumers of their rights under California law.

If your contractor does not have a valid license for the type of work being performed or does not have a written contract for you to sign, that is a red flag that indicates that you should not be doing business with that person or company. Your choice of contractor affects every other decision down the line, and a wrong decision to hire an unqualified or unlicensed contractor can prove very costly in the long run. Continue reading

Practicing law in January is always challenging because with the New Year there are always changes in California law. This year is no exception. Governor Jerry Brown signed over 800 new laws that took effect in California on January 1, 2013. Some of the new laws that will be of interest to our clients in the areas of litigation, real property law, business and contract law, and privacy are listed below.

11746299_s (2).jpgPrivacy. California has joined many other states in banning employers and colleges from demanding the passwords for an employee, prospective employee or college applicant’s social media account. Employers and colleges can no longer demand or even ask for social media login information. This does not mean you can freely post whatever you want on Facebook, that information can still be the subject of discovery.

Changes in Litigation Laws. AB 1875 limits depositions to seven hours of testimony. There are a number of important exceptions to this rule but it will make it more difficult to harass witnesses and litigants by keeping them at their depositions unreasonably. AB 1631 allows out-of-state attorneys to represent a party in an arbitration proceeding in California if certain conditions are met.
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