Real Estate Law2019-08-13T00:25:12+00:00
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California Real Estate Law

California has a complicated web of overlapping state statutes, local regulations, zoning ordinances, homestead laws, tax codes, lease and rental agreement laws, eviction laws, and other rules and regulations applicable to real estate. There are also many different types of property ownership in California — from easements and co-ownership situations, to life estates, and more.

It can be difficult and inadvisable for a property owner — whether a landlord, a commercial business, or an individual—to engage in real estate transactions or related legal actions without the advice of a qualified California real estate attorney. At The Myers Law Group, our team of skilled and experienced real estate attorneys brings a wealth of knowledge to a wide range of real estate law matters.

Quiet Title Actions

In California, “quiet title” actions are legal proceedings that are brought to ascertain the true owner of real estate. These legal proceedings help people or businesses confirm that they are the owner of a given property and quiet title actions remove any doubt about whether the property is subject to contrary or adverse claims. To provide a simple illustration, filing a quiet title action may be necessary if a mistaken or fraudulent deed exists that causes uncertainty over the true ownership of certain real estate. There are several highly specific statutory requirements for the initiation of a quiet title action (e.g., a complaint must be verified, filed in a specific superior court location, and adhere to specific service and publication requirements, among other rules). Given the high value of most California real estate, it may be in your best interest to consult a qualified real estate attorney if you feel that a quiet title action may be necessary regarding your property.

Ownership Disputes and Partition Actions

Ownership disputes arise with unfortunate frequency over California real estate. Given the high value of most properties, families, co-investors, and even siblings may find themselves in arguments leading to litigation over who has what ownership claim to certain real estate. There is a specific legal procedure — known as a “partition action” — designed to divide property interests when co-owners cannot agree on how to use the property. Partition actions are just one of many procedures for resolving ownership disputes, all of which can be fact-intensive, making a particular outcome difficult to predict. An experienced California real estate attorney can advise you regarding the resources at your disposal for resolving ownership disputes if informal discussions break down.

Ownership disputes arise with unfortunate frequency over California real estate. Given the high value of most properties, families, co-investors, and even siblings may find themselves in arguments leading to litigation over who has what ownership claim to certain real estate. There is a specific legal procedure — known as a “partition action” — designed to divide property interests when co-owners cannot agree on how to use the property. Partition actions are just one of many procedures for resolving ownership disputes, all of which can be fact-intensive, making a particular outcome difficult to predict. An experienced California real estate attorney can advise you regarding the resources at your disposal for resolving ownership disputes if informal discussions break down.

ADA Litigation

The media has recently reported that California leads the nation in the number of (oftentimes predatory) lawsuits filed against property owners under the Americans with Disabilities Act (or ADA). The ADA is designed to protect disabled individuals and ensure their right to access “public accommodations,” which can include restaurants, hotels, banks, malls, retailers, apartments, stadiums, educational and healthcare facilities, and many other types of properties and businesses. If you are threatened with an ADA action, you should consult an attorney who is experienced in this area of California real estate. Your attorney can advise you on whether your business already provides accessibility to disabled persons, whether you may need to make improvements to your business, and whether it may be advisable to settle the threatened ADA litigation vs. fighting the plaintiff in court.

Breach of Real Estate Agreements

There are many different types of real estate agreements and several different legal precedents that your real estate attorney may be able to use to enforce them. Breach disputes often arise in connection with real estate purchase agreements, lease agreements and sublease terms, and boundary or land-use agreements. There is specific case law and varying statutes applicable to each of these areas of real estate law. If a party breaches a real estate agreement, or if another party accuses you of breaching your agreement, it can be important to involve an attorney at the earliest possible stage to head-off expensive and time-consuming litigation.

Landlord/Tenant

California’s landlord-tenant laws are complicated and frequently changing. California law tends to be tenant-friendly, and there is a high number of legal requirements applicable to almost every aspect of a landlord-tenant relationship, from the amount of a security deposit to the duration of the lease term to the quality of the rental space provided. Property owners and tenants alike would benefit from legal advice if it looks like a landlord-tenant dispute may be heading toward a California courtroom.

Preparation of Required Notices and Other Forms

Real estate law often requires that notice be provided to the public at large, tenants, other potential owners, and innumerable other parties, depending on the specific action that you intend to take. Homeowners associations must post notices prior to board meetings and landlords must post notices prior to instituting eviction proceedings. Individuals attempting to secure their property rights to easements or real estate must also post notices. Furthermore, real estate law requires that you fill out specific forms in an even broader range of situations. At The Myers Law Group, our experienced California real estate attorneys can advise you on the type of notice required in a given situation and the specific forms required.

Evictions (Prosecution and Defense)

If you are a property owner faced with a tenant who has failed to pay rent, broken lease agreements regarding subleasing, noise, made structural alterations to the property, or otherwise made you regret entering into a lease agreement with them, you may wish to institute eviction proceedings. In California, these proceedings can be difficult and time-consuming for landlords, and landlords may find their attempts to evict a problematic tenant to be unsuccessful if they do not have qualified legal counsel.

If you are a tenant who has received an eviction notice, you have several legal defenses at your disposal that you might not be aware of. Our team of knowledgeable California real estate attorneys can help you protect your rights under California’s tenant-friendly laws.

Lease Drafting and Review

The best defense against potentially costly and time-consuming real estate litigation is a properly drafted lease. Each lease term should be carefully crafted to provide you with maximum protection. Similarly, if you are tenant, small-business owner, or sizeable corporation, lease terms proposed by another party should be reviewed with a fine-toothed comb. You may be a savvy business owner, longtime landlord, or maybe even an attorney yourself, but it cannot be stressed enough that having a real estate specialist draft your lease or carefully review its terms can save you innumerable headaches down the road.

Lease Termination/Modification Agreements

Even the most carefully drafted and durable lease may not cover every situation that may arise during your commercial or individual landlord-tenant relationship, however, ignoring seemingly obsolete or inconvenient lease terms can be a recipe for disaster, —leading to costly and protracted litigation. Prior to terminating or modifying a lease agreement, it would be prudent to consult an experienced California real estate attorney.

Assignment/Sublease Agreement Drafting and Review

Subleasing can be incredibly lucrative in California, with rents reaching sky-high records in many cities. However, subleasing also exposes you to significant personal risk. What if a tenant breaches your lease agreement or damages the premises that you have rented? It is critical that you engage a qualified real estate attorney to draft an ironclad assignment or sublease agreement prior to entering into such an important transaction. A real estate attorney can also review a sublease or assignment agreement proposed by another party.

Property Management Agreement Drafting and Review

Many landlords have more properties than they can individually manage. Even individuals who only have one rental property would prefer that a professional manage their costly investment. That said, given the value of California real estate to any portfolio, ensuring that a property management agreement properly assigns risk and offers you maximum protection can be absolutely critical. At The Myers Law Group, our team of California real estate attorneys can either draft such an agreement for you or review a property management company’s proposed agreement to ensure that your rights are not compromised.

Lease Guaranty Agreement Drafting and Review

The California Civil Code states that “a surety or guarantor is one who promises to answer for the debt, default or miscarriage of another.” Often, a commercial landlord will require a tenant to sign a guaranty agreement ensuring that they will meet the performance and payment obligations outlined in a lease. Guaranty agreements are subject to specific statutory rules and they can apply to a broad range of situations. A real estate attorney can be essential to protecting your rights under a guaranty agreement, whether in drafting such an agreement or in reviewing an agreement proposed by another party.

Breach of Lease/Guaranty Litigation

Litigation over the alleged breach of a lease or mortgage guaranty can involve highly technical legal rules and tremendously high stakes (given the value of most California real estate). If someone has threatened to file a lawsuit over the terms or breach of a lease/guaranty agreement, you should consult with a qualified California real estate attorney without delay.

Assist Clients with Fair Housing Compliance

Fair housing rules imposed by both California and the federal government apply to landlords, commercial property owners, and other businesses and individuals throughout the state. Complying with these rules can be a complex and may involve providing reasonable accommodations for disabilities in addition to avoiding the appearance of racial, sexual, or national origin-based discrimination, among other requirements. A California real estate attorney with experience in fair housing compliance can help you avoid costly litigation.

Litigation Involving Habitability Claims Including Mold, Bed Bugs, and Other Pests

California law, expanded by published California cases, imposes specific requirements for the condition of rental properties offered by landlords. Tenants can raise “habitability” claims in court if mold, bed bugs, and other pests are discovered in your properties. Our team of California real estate attorneys can apprise you of the specific habitability requirements that apply in California and advise you of whether tenants may or may not have valid claims against you, absent remediation.

Preventative Training

Landlords and other property owners who engage with members of the public may benefit from preventative training on subjects like ADA and fair housing compliance, landlord-tenant disputes, and other similar areas of real estate law. An experienced California real estate attorney can provide such preventative training to reduce the risk of future litigation against you.

Security Deposit Disputes

California law imposes specific requirements for the collection, amount and return of security deposits. Landlord-tenant law in this area is complicated and frequently changing, so it is in your best interest to consult an attorney before adopting or accepting specific security deposit lease terms. Your attorney can also advise you on next steps if a security deposit dispute arises.

Assisting Clients with Subpoena Compliance

Assisting Clients with Subpoena Compliance
Litigation involving real estate often results in subpoenas, whether that litigation involves landlord-tenant disputes, borrower-lender disagreements, quiet title actions or any other area of real estate law. Our experienced California real estate attorneys can offer you advice on how to properly comply with such subpoenas to avoid propagating legal obligations to appear in court in connection with orders to show cause, or motions to compel compliance.

Civil Harassment and Workplace Violence Restraining Orders

Civil harassment allegations and workplace violence restraining orders may result from a number of different real estate disputes, from landlord-tenant disagreements to commercial lease disputes. These allegations and orders can have serious consequences for all parties; so it would be wise to consult an attorney with specific experience in this area as soon as it becomes clear that you are involved in such a dispute.

It is critical to select a California real estate attorney who is well-versed in the nuances of this field of law. At The Myers Law Group, located in Newport Beach, California, our team of experienced real estate attorneys will devote their depth of knowledge and skill to help you achieve the best results possible. Contact us today at (949) 825-5590 for a complimentary consultation.