Real Estate Law News - Law and Daily Life

Law & Daily Life - The FindLaw Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Recently in Real Estate Law Category

While Portland, Oregon has been enjoying economic growth over the past few years, unfortunately, along with that growth, renters in the city are facing increasing rent costs. As Portland continues to grow, the housing supply is not able to keep up with the demand, and while the city can build its way out, that solution provides no immediate relief for those at risk of eviction.

Since Oregon prohibits rent control laws, the city of Portland had to take action to protect vulnerable residents from being displaced by greedy landlords seeking to maximize their gains. In response to the slew of recent no cause eviction cases, the Portland city government passed a law requiring landlords to pay for tenants' relocation costs in order to evict without cause.

The very last step of a real estate transaction, when the sale finally closes and keys are provided, may seem like a simple event. But getting to that closing often involves quite a bit of legwork. Buying or selling a home is an involved process that is regulated by nuanced and complicated state laws that vary from state to state.

While most states do not require an attorney to be physically present on the day you sign the papers and get the key, hiring one beforehand can help make sure you make it to and through closing. Whether someone is a first-time homebuyer or seller, or a seasoned real estate veteran, knowing when to utilize a real estate attorney can be critical to avoiding legal problems, and can even save you money.

When buying a home, especially a newly built home, a buyer expects that the builder or developer will stand by their work and take responsibility for any mistakes in the construction. Unfortunately, when a defect becomes apparent, developers are not always going to be liable, and what's worse, insurance coverage may not always be available.

In San Francisco, residents in a luxury condo building are facing this exact problem as a result of their high rise sinking into the ground. Owners of units in the building have filed lawsuits attempting to get the developers and insurers to cover the cost of repairs, which for a sinking luxury high rise building in San Francisco, could reach into the tens of millions or more.

A group of 6 tenants are suing their former landlord as well as Airbnb claiming that their evictions were illegal as a result of Los Angeles's rent control laws. LA's rent control law covers buildings built in 1978 and earlier, and, like other rent control laws across the country, it prohibits landlords from evicting tenants unless they have a statutorily permitted reason.

The tenants in this lawsuit were evicted because the landlord claimed that the properties would be removed from the market for redevelopment. However, shortly after their eviction, the units were listed on Airbnb as available for rent. The tenants believe that their evictions were done so the landlord could rent out the units on Airbnb for a higher rate. However, the landlord's attorney has commented that the units are scheduled for demolition this month.

When you buy a piece of property you want to know that you, and you alone, own what you've just purchased. This may seems obvious, but when it comes to buying real estate, ensuring that no one else has a legal claim to the land can get a bit more complicated.

This is especially true in Hawaii, where state law can grant property rights to descendants, sometimes without their knowledge. And if you're Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and you just bought 700 acres on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, that means filing legal claims against hundreds of Hawaiians to ensure their legal claims to the land are extinguished.

Contrary to a popular myth among renters, a landlord can attempt to evict a tenant during any time of the year, even the dead of winter. Despite the seemingly cruel notion of kicking a person out of their home when the weather outside is frightful, for a landlord, business pressures often require goodwill towards mankind to take a backseat. Sadly, winter time evictions can have fatal results for the elderly and impoverished.

For landlords, business usually dictates evictions. If a tenant is causing a nuisance, or committing waste, it is bad for business. If a tenant is not paying rent, that's definitely bad for business. The only remedy a landlord has, apart from bringing a different type of legal action solely for the recovery of back rent or property damage, is seeking to evict and re-rent the property to a new tenant that will be better for their business.

Can I Legally Live in a Garage?

A garage is a wonderful addition to any home. Even for people who don't drive or have cars, a garage can provide useful space for storage, creative pursuits, or even a home gym. In dense, urban environments, garages are often converted into separate apartment units, commonly referred to as "in-law" units. However, the many uses for garages can be limited by state and local laws, as well as home owners' association bylaws.

Recently, a family in a Michigan neighborhood sparked some local controversy after turning their garage into an indoor/outdoor living room. In some cities, it may be illegal or a violation of building codes to use or to rent out a garage space as a living space if it does not meet code. In these situations, a renter can be evicted if they are living in an illegal in-law unit, even in places with very strong protections for renters, like San Francisco.

A New York City developer and landlord is being sued for allegedly tricking an elderly woman into signing an agreement to vacate her rent controlled apartment in the coveted Upper West Side neighborhood. The former resident's lawsuit claims that when she signed the agreement to vacate, she believed that all she was signing was a receipt to prove that she received documents about renovations that were planned for the building. Unfortunately, the documents stated that she would move out while renovations were being done.

Surprisingly, after she signed the documents, the landlord cut off heat to her unit, which ended up causing her medical problems. Additionally, while the documents she did sign stated the renovations would only last nine months, it has now been over a year, and it does not look likely that she will be able to move back home before the holidays. From the current reports, it is unclear whether the resident has been permanently or just temporarily ousted from her home.

When a child turns 18, a parent's legal obligation to financially support their child ends. While a parent's love may be unconditional, parents of minor children are obligated to house, feed, and pay for their children's needs. But when a child turns 18, parents can, in fact, legally evict their child. However, for parents who plan on evicting their adult child, there are some legal pitfalls to be aware of. Evictions are tricky, so it is highly recommended you seek out help from an experienced landlord-tenant attorney.

First off, whether your adult child is considered a tenant, lodger, guest, trespasser, or squatter will depend on your state law, as each state has different rules regarding the landlord-tenant relationship. Their status will determine what your legal rights are when it comes to eviction. Also, kicking your adult child out without warning may open you up to legal liability.

During the wintertime, landlord's are frequently called upon to fix problems that are either the result of, or made worse by, cold weather conditions. Additionally, during the winter months, a landlord faces increased liability for injuries in places that experience snow and ice. Landlords can also be liable for injuries that result from poor maintenance of the property.

Apart from ensuring that sidewalks, common areas, and entryways are free from snow and ice, landlords also have to ensure that their tenants have adequate heat and protection from the elements. The following three tips can help landlords save time, money, and headache during the winter.