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Can You Sue a Homeowner's Association for 'War on Christmas'?

Jeremy and Kristi Morris of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho won a jury verdict for $75,000 after successfully suing their West Hayden States First Addition Homeowners Association (HOA) for waging a "War On Christmas." The couple successfully claimed that the HOA's restriction against the couple's annual front lawn five-day-long Christmas pageant extravaganza had little to do with nuisance laws, but instead was a violation of the Morris family's constitutional right to exercise their religious beliefs.

Can Tenants Be Evicted for Domestic Violence?

Every year, over 10 million cases of domestic violence are reported, with three-quarters of those incidences happening in the home. Given the high volume of rental properties in America, it is inevitable that, at some point, most landlords and tenants are touched by domestic violence.

Landlords may try to intervene in a domestic violence situation for a variety of reasons, some laudatory and some self-serving. Sometimes this is legal, but in other situations, there may be federal, state and local laws prohibiting such an eviction. It may get complicated, both on the landlord and the tenant side, and this may be one of those cases where it's best to hire an attorney.

5 Common Real Estate Myths, Debunked

Armchair experts come in every field: NFL Quarterbacks, NBA coaches, MLB umps, political pundits, and real estate agents. Just because you own a home, are addicted to DIY shows, or frequent open houses for style tips, doesn't necessarily mean you are a real estate expert. Here are five common real estate myths, debunked.

Major San Francisco Landlord Sued for Driving Out Rent-Controlled Tenants

Veritas Investments, the largest residential landlord in San Francisco with more than 200 buildings and 5,500 apartments, is being sued yet again for trying to drive out rent-controlled tenants. This lawsuit, which represents 68 plantiffs, is the fourth filed by tenant's rights attorneys Ryan Vlasak and Ken Greenstein, against the same defendant for the same cause of action. In total, these attorneys represent more than 100 tenants in suits against Veritas.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibits refusing to sell, rent to, or even negotiate with any person because of that person's race, color, religion, sex, familial status, handicap, or national origin. But do those protections against national origin discrimination extend to foreign citizenship? And does a mobile home park's policy of requiring residents to prove they're legal U.S. residents violate the Act?

A recent lawsuit may answer those questions.

Buying a house is not something you'd take lightly. And when you find the perfect home, you want to keep it. But this is life, and things happen. So, if you've agreed to buy a house and change your mind, can you back out? And is there a time limit on your ability to get out of buying a home?

The answer could depend on just how far into the home-buying process you are before you want to reverse course.

Is a Text Message Legally Binding With a Landlord?

The short answer is, it depends. There are times that texting can be legally binding, and times that it cannot.

Tips to Spot a Real Estate Scam

It's a landlord's market these days, with renters scrambling in many cities to find a rental home or apartment that fits their needs and budgets. Demand far outstrips supply in large cities by a ratio of ten to one. If you find something that seems to good to be true, it probably is.

Scam artists are taking advantage of desperate renters with all sorts of intricate schemes. Almost half of today's renters have found fake ads, and over five million have been scammed, often losing thousands of dollars. Look before you leap, or write that check, or wire that deposit money. You don't want to be another notch in this growing statistic.

Getting Evicted in Newark? You Can Get a Free Attorney

Newark, New Jersey is in the midst of a much needed rebirth. A city that has been in decline since the social movement of the 1960s, gentrification is taking root, much like it did in nearby Brooklyn a decade ago. But like most big cities, this comes at a price, one often paid by those that can least afford it.

Buildings all across downtown Newark are being demolished, replaced by mixed use buildings with businesses such as Whole Foods and Chipotle on the ground floor, and upwards of 40 percent of the residential rental units above reserved for low-income housing. In a town where three out of four residents are working class renters, the need for affordable housing far outstrips the supply.

Fortunately, the city plans to offer a free attorney to low-income renters who are getting evicted.

You thought you had the perfect apartment; and then the late-night house parties started upstairs. Or you didn't realize the next-door neighbor's chickens (free eggs!) love to get going promptly at 5 a.m. (free rooster alarm clock!). Or that awesome warehouse loft was just what you wanted when you saw it over the weekend, before you smelled the nearby refinery first thing Monday morning.

Whether it was an unforeseen condition or an unscrupulous landlord, you're already thinking about getting out of your lease. But once you sign on the dotted line, are you locked in for the next six months or *gasp* a whole year?

Don't worry -- there may be ways to get out of your rental lease ... if it's not too late.