respa-3California law allows commission splits and finders fees to be paid, but under the Federal Real Estate Settlement procedures Act (RESPA) they may not be legal.  If your seller or buyer wants you to split the broker’s commission with them, that may not be legal unless the seller/buyer is also a real estate licensee.    A finder can only introduce the parties, a finder cannot be involved in showing the property or advising or negotiating any terms.  (See also 78 Ops Cal Atty Gen 71)

Now if you are dealing with a single family house or up to 4 units, RESPA kicks in if a federally insured mortgage is involved (and usually they are).  RESPA prohibits all consideration if is in exchange for referral relating to the real estate settlement.  Now you need to look at what is a real estate settlement which is basically anything that leads to an escrow closing with a federally insured loan.  (12 USC 2607(a),  12 USC 2603(3))  RESPA 100% bars finder’s fees, but between brokers, referral fees are allowed.

LA and Adjacent Communities Lis if in rent controlWhile most rental properties in California are NOT under rent control, many cities have rent control ordinances that state two or more dwelling units, including condos, on a lot if built before a certain date are under rent control.  For example, Los Angeles’s cut off date for rent control is October 1, 1978, Santa Monica is April 10, 1979, West Hollywood is July 1, 1979 (houses are included if the same tenant has there since January 1, 1996).  Check here if in Los Angeles

Condos if in a rent control jurisdiction have limited “controls”.  Meaning, no “price controls” as to the rental  amount, but “eviction controls” still apply.  (CC §1954.50, et seq.)  Yes,  you can remove the tenant for cause, e.g. non payment of rent, unauthorized pet or occupant no problem, just start the eviction.  Yes, you can serve a 30 day notice if the rent increase is less than 10% or a 60 day notice if more than 10% .  (See Civil Code §827)  (Be careful, the 10% is a cumulative number and if you mailed the notice to change terms of tenancy  you need to add 5 days for mailing so the notice is effective 35/65 days after mailing.)

Note: the issues differ when the tenancy is terminated for no cause, e.g. a 30/60 day notice per CC §1946.1).

foreclosure_evictionA buyer purchasing after a foreclosure sale, can serve a notice to quit to a tenant/former owner before recording the deed, e.g. before title is “perfected”.  Citing Code of Civil Procedure § 1161a and U.S. Financial, L.P. v. McLitus (2016) 6 Cal.App.5th Supp. 1, the Court of Appeal affirmed, stating: “Here we reject the occupant’s claim that the notice to quit is premature, and hold that Code of Civil Procedure section 1161a does not require that title be recorded before the notice to quit is served.” (Dr. Leevil, LLC v. Westlake Health Care Center (Cal. App. 2nd Dist., Div. 6,  2017) 9 Cal.App.5th 450.)

I love Federal Court Judges.  Attached are actual court orders including an order striking “dreck”, and an Oklahoma District Court Judge lamenting that to attorneys acted as “schmucks” and the Court stated “This case makes me lament the demise of dueling.”   (Note the Court misspelled the word dueling, but I wouldn’t mention that to the Judge!  Click here: Yiddish in the Law for Web

Chicago TitleI love Chicago Title (even if it and many other title companies are all owned by the same conglomerate Fidelity Title!).  Here is a link for many basic real property related forms.

Don’t forget, its not the form, but what you put in the form that counts.  So hire a lawyer!  And if you want the best Chicago Title Escrow officer, call Cheryl Yanez (213) 488-4315

transfer on death deedThis provides a simple way to transfer California real estate at death without having to go through California probate.  (Probate Code §5600, et seq.)  The way to look at this is it is a “Transfer-On-Death Deed ” NOT a transfer during life deed.  It only applies to residential properties and must be promptly recorded after it is notarized.  This document is exempt from documentary transfer tax under Rev. & Tax. Code §11930. This document is exempt from preliminary change of ownership report under Rev. & Tax. Code §480.3.

For the specific requirements, click here: Continue Reading Revocable Transfer-On-Death Deeds (aka Lady Bird Deed) New Since 2016! (Probate Code §5642)