Los Angeles County now accepts online notarization.  LA County Recorder Accepts Electronic Notarization

Essentially you Facetime the notary, provide your ID and they email you the notarization certificate and document notarized.  It is the absolute best way to notarize.  I’m sure its only a matter of time for the fraudsters to exploit it.

I have used www.notarize.com.  They have an app, it costs $25 and is simply amazing!  I believe Virginia, Texas, Minnesota and others directly allow for electronic notarization.  See also here:States allowing online notarization

LOS ANGELES (Updated April 24): “All civil trials scheduled to begin for the period March 17 through June 17 have been or will be continued by General Order. Because civil jury and non-jury trials are not included in the enumerated time-sensitive essential functions set out in these General Orders, they will be continued, or advanced and vacated and a trial setting conference will be scheduled. The parties will receive individual minute orders issued by the trial judge to whom the case is assigned continuing these trials to a date after June 17 or advancing and vacating the trial dates and scheduling a trial setting conference on or after June 22. The length of the continuance will be determined by reference to a number of factors, including most critically, the ongoing need to protect the public, potential jurors, attorneys, witnesses, court staff and judicial officers through the use of social distancing. Many courtrooms, jury boxes, jury deliberation rooms, audience seating and size and counsel table locations may not be well-suited to maintain the social distancing measures that we assume will continue even after our court moves into hearing non-emergency matters. Thus, our total available supply of jury trial-ready civil courtrooms may remain constrained for some period of time. The length of the continuance will also be influenced by the ability of our criminal courts to summons and secure a sufficient number of jurors to enable them to meet all constitutional speedy-trial requirements. Given that any pool of potential jurors must first be allocated to those criminal matters with constitutionally mandated trial dates, civil jury pools will be restricted for the foreseeable future. Further, limiting the ability of civil courts to resume civil jury trials immediately upon reopening of the courts to non-essential matters is the need to comply — to the greatest extent possible — with the statutory preference schemes articulated in CCP section 36, and the statutory mandates for unlawful detainer trials. The same considerations requiring the court to continue civil jury trials for the period from now until June 17 apply to those trials currently scheduled to begin on or after June 22. While the continuance orders may not be immediately issued, counsel should be prepared for the possibility that courts will find good cause for further continuances of non-preference civil jury trials throughout the summer. Because our courtrooms and courthouses are very likely still to be operating under social distancing requirements when we resume operations, counsel are strongly encouraged to appear telephonically for all calendar matters. In fact, our ability to resume calendars of any substantial size, is wholly dependent on counsel’s willingness to appear telephonically. The electronic filing system for non-complex civil matters continues to accept filings. Motions for Complex courts can be filed using drop boxes. Civil law and motion matters are not enumerated as time-sensitive essential proceedings under the Court’s existing and future General Orders. The Court at this time must direct its resources to ensuring that the constitutionally and statutorily mandated time-sensitive essential matters in criminal, dependency, delinquency, mental health, probate and family law can be timely heard and decided. Also, please keep in mind that more than 75% of the court staff is away from the courthouses during this emergency period. The court simply cannot process civil law and motion matters at this time.” More “All courtrooms will remain closed for judicial business through May 12, except time-sensitive, essential functions. All other matters will be continued by the Court. Access to all Los Angeles County courthouses remains restricted at all times to judges, commissioners, court staff, co-lessees, Judicial Council staff and vendors, and authorized persons.” More “Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile, in a webinar on Friday…speculated that civil trials will start up again in August or September, and said civil trials now scheduled for late June will probably be continued.” More “Effective March 23 and until further notice, the Superior Court of Los Angeles County will close the Clerk’s Offices at all 38 courthouses.” More

 

California’s new statewide residential rent and eviction control laws change almost 150 years of legal precedent.  The new rent control rules are contained in Civil Code section 1946.2 concerning termination of tenancies which now require “just cause” and Civil Code section 1947.12 concerning limitations on rent increases. Landlords must also be cognizant of additional new laws including, but not limited to, changing the content of leases, counting business days, not calendar days, for expiration of notices to pay or to perform or quit, and not inadvertently creating a rent-controlled property out of a rent-control exempt property.  One of the best attorney’s I know wrote an article on these laws.  Check it out: Simkin 2021 Rent Control Article CLA

CC&R’s cannot impose restrictions on the addition of ADU’s, including Junior ADU’s. Civil Code §4751 states that CC&R’s can impose “reasonable restrictions” so long as they do not interfere with Sections 65852.2 or 65852.22 of the Government Code. This probably means submitting plans for approval to their design approval board and paying a small fee for that review.

The legislature has passed several bills promoting additional housing loosening up restrictions on building Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s). Until 2025, new for January 2020, Senate Bill 13 adds Government Code §65852.2, and removes Health and Safety Code 17980.12 restrictions as to land use. The new law now allows ADU’s up to 1,200 sq. feet to be built where previously prohibited for both single-family or multifamily dwellings. You can add junior units and effectively create a triplex out of a single-family house! They can be attached to, or located within, an attached garage, storage area, or other structure. Maybe even in a large storage room!
The setback requirements are loosened for an existing garage conversion to only require five feet from the side and rear lot lines for an ADU constructed above a garage.
While a parking space must be provided, you do not need to replace parking spaces if a garage, carport, or covered parking is demolished to construct an ADU. There cannot be additional parking restrictions if the ADU is located within one-half mile walking distance of public transit.

The current law is only staying evictions or unlawful detainer actions for non-payment of rent.  Please read this memo: Letter re COVID-19 – UD

Civil trials will probably be continued until after June 1st.  The backlog will force most civil trials to be continued for months after that.  Most civil court hearings will be continued as well.  Issuance of new summons’ and Default judgments are stayed unless the public health is at risk.  Trials are also to be delayed 60 days unless the pubic health is at risk.  Read more here: April 6, 2020 Court Emergency Order on Summons, trials, etc.

If a tenants does not pay the rent,, the money is still due.  Tenants must prove an inability to pay the rent caused by the Covid-19 harm to business effects and the tenant will have one year to pay it back.  There are some technical legal issues, but landlords and tenants are encouraged to make a re-payment plan, however, there is a “legal secret” behind that to the detriment of landlords.  Nevertheless, I expect a flood of evictions from these issues.

While most things are negotiable, there are a few items which by law are allocated to the seller or buyer.  Even if allocated, so long as the legal obligation to perform is done, the parties can negotiate who pays for what.  See this memo as to costs applicable in Los Angeles including retrofit.  See this pdf: Seller pays for Retrofit and LA compliance certificate

As to allocation of title, escrow and some other closing costs, see this memo from a title company: Guide To California Closing Costs

Trial courts have great discretion as to determining what is a reasonable attorney fee.  Some judges look at what is a “market rate” and for high end clients they will pay $1,200 per hour.  In an unpublished opinion, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Fahey awarded attorney’s fees in favor of Latham Watkins, Gibson Dunn and Munger Tolles in excess of $1,200 per hour.

Judge Fahey in a case involving an professional and former Olympic beach volleyball player, Alan Jay Weil of Kendall Brill & Kelly, was awarded $850 which was his discounted rate in 2018 , discounted from his standard rate of $950; $360-$395 for the associate, discounted from $490; and $290 for the paralegals, discounted from $300.

https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/nonpub/B289681.PDF

The plaintiffs’ attorneys in a class action were denied attorney’s fees because some of the attorneys failed to disclose their lack of professional liability insurance to the client at the time the client retained the attorney.  The Court of Appeal concluded the agreement was unenforceable because of failure to comply with former rule 3-410 and reversed the fee award with directions to redetermine the division of fees. (Hance v. Super Store Industries (Cal. App. 5th Dist., Jan. 23, 2020) 2020 WL 373070.)  The new rule after 2018 is Rule 1.4.2.  Read the case: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/F075852.PDF