Looking at the CCP about Partition and the equitable powers of the court,  the person paying the down payment should be reimbursed what they paid for the down payment before any distribution of the proceeds.  In re Marriage of Leversee (1984) 156 Cal. App. 3d 891 involved a married couple who prior to marriage  purchased a home as joint tenants. Id. at 894. The court of appeal held that the house was not as community property, and that the property’s disposition must be pursued in a partition action. Id. at 897. The court stated that in such a partition action “the court may order an equitable compensatory adjustment to compensate [the plaintiff] for her use of separate funds for the down payment on the residence.” Id. Similarly in Demetris v. Demetris (1954) 125 Cal. App. 2d 440 where one co-tenant had paid more than his fair share of the purchase price the court held that the co-tenant was entitled to a credit. Id. at 444 – 445. Therefore, one co-tenant may be awarded credit for having paid more than her share of the down payment or purchase price.

City of Los Angeles: Technically, short term rentals are currently illegal in Los Angeles. ( (Chen vs. Kraft (2016) LA is slow moving but in April 2018 the City Counsel committee approved a measure to allow short term rentals but CAP the number of days that a primary residence can be rented out to 120 days a year. A “qualified host” category may also be included to allow more rental days. Neighbors (or the City) must approve if you want more than 120 days a year of short term rentals.


I love city reports such as this that cost tens of thousands of dollars (or more) to prepare:


Santa Monica: In 2015 Santa Monica passed a law requiring the “host” to also stay in the rental unit. Air BNB sued Santa Monica and in March 2018 the US Federal District Court denied Air BNB’s request for an injunction against the City indicating the City will win. It seems Air BNB has made over $31 million since 2015 in fees from Santa Monica short term rentals!
West Hollywood: In March 2018 West Hollywood banned renters from hosting short term rentals and the homeowners must be on site for at least 4 hours a day.
Pasadena: In January 2018 Pasadena enacted an ordinance to ALLOW short term rentals for 90 days a year and unlimited rentals so long as the host is on the premises. Air BNB must pay a tax and register with Pasadena.
Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach: No short term rentals are allowed.

In denying a motion to quash an unlawful detainer summons, the trial court may not restrict a defendant’s responsive pleading to an answer. Van Butenschoen v. Flaker; Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles – filed Oct. 16, 2017 Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 5258 Full text click here

This makes complete sense because the statute says that after denial of a motion to quash the defendant my respond as per law, including filing a demurrer.

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.

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.  http://www.chicagotitlela.com/blank_documents.html

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)


A common question is how to count the days referred to in the Real Estate Purchase Agreement and related CAR (Calif. Assoc. of Real Estate) forms.  In October 2016 CAR published a concise article on this in their magazine.  In essence the CAR attorneys confirmed that every day counts, even holidays, but if the last day is a weekend or holiday, then the next business day would be the last day.  That confirms with Code of Civil Procedure §12.  More specific examples how to apply this are as follows and are in this great article and summarized below.  See page 10 at http://www.onlinedigitalpubs.com/publication/?i=341167#{%22issue_id%22:341167,%22page%22:10}

Continue Reading Counting Days and Loopholes in CAR Real Estate Purchase Agreement Forms

promissory-note-elpWhile Commercial Code 3118(a) provides for a 6 year statute of limitations which can apply to a promissory note (9-109(a)(3).  The key is this ONLY applies to a negotiable instrument (Comm. Code §3102)  So,  you have to make sure your promissory note falls under the Commercial Code.  Most real estate promissory notes do NOT qualify as negotiable instruments.  Here are some factors to consider : Continue Reading Does a 6 year statute of limitations apply to a promissory note secured by real property?

Home-Inspection-Issues-The Business and Professions Code §7199 provides up to four years to bring suit for breach of a home inspector‘s duty to use the degree of care a reasonably prudent home inspector would exercise.
Moreno v. Sanchez, 106 Cal. App. 4th (2003) 1415, 1429

Business and Professions Code section 7199 provides the time to bring an action against a home inspector for “breach of duty arising from a home inspection report shall not exceed four years from the date of the inspection.”