California Real Estate Newsletter

Member of the California Bar Association Since 1976

REAL ESTATE LAW UPDATE

  • Scott Souders
    Scott Souders Attorney & Author

Dear Friends:

If for any reason you wish to review a law update for a case that has previously been cited, law updates for the past year are here on my website,

ScottSouders.com.

Enclosed herewith for your review are brief summaries of new cases.

Broker Scams His Client

1. Homeowner Who Sues  His Broker for Negligence Does Not Need Expert Witness Regarding  the Negligence In the case of Ryan v. Real Estate of the Pacific, the seller’s broker held an open house in La Jolla. At the open house the next-door neighbor came by to let the broker know that he intended to […]

Landlord’s Property Rights Upheld in San Francisco

1. Landlord’s Property Rights Upheld in San Francisco In the case of Levin v. City and County of San Francisco, 9thCir., Court of Appeal, Case No. 14‑03352 CRB, the 9thCircuit which is notoriously liberal, has upheld the judgment in the District Court restraining the City and County of San Francisco from wrongfully taking a landlord’s property rights […]

Another Loss For Employers

1. One Stray Remark Can Lead to Harassment Lawsuit Senate Bill 1300, effective January 1, 2019, has amended the Government Code in California to make a single incident of a stray remark potentially relevant to a harassment lawsuit. It defines “impermissible conduct” as disrupting emotional tranquility in the workplace or otherwise interfering with a victim’s work. […]

Oral Contract Enforced

1. Contract Will Be Enforced if it is Sufficiently Definite for the Court to Determine Each Parties’ Obligation. Yuri and Tony are Russians who are involved in a number of companies in the business of oil exploration in Russia. Yuri talks Elliot Broidy into investing in one of his companies. Elliot gives Yuri $750,000 with […]

Runaway Jury Decision Rejected!

1. Huge Victory for Mobile Home Park Owner The Fourth District Court of Appeal recently overturned a $58 Million Dollar verdict in favor of the mobile home tenants in the case of David Bevis v Terrace View Partners LP, Case D071849-Feb. 28, 2019. In this case, 69 current and former residents of Terrace View Mobile Home […]

Huge Victory For Lender

1. Lender Induced to Make a Loan Under False Pretenses May Recover Triple the Amount Lent Even If the Borrower Is Never Criminally Convicted In the case of Bell v Feibush, the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Case No. G046166 awarded triple damages to a defrauded lender based upon Penal Code § 496(a) even though […]

Lenders Get A Win With Foreclosure

1. Supreme Court Considers Changing Balance of Power Between Borrowers and Lenders in an Important Foreclosure Case In the case of Black Sky Capital LLC v. Cobb, S243294, the California Supreme Court is considering the ruling of the 4th District Court of Appeal that held that the owner of both the senior and junior loan on […]

New Real Estate Laws For 2019

1. New Real Property Disclosure Requirements Existing law provides that transferor must deliver to the respective transferee a real estate disclosure form and the transferee has certain time in which to terminate the deal. Assembly Bill 1289 now says that the specified time [within three days of delivery in person, or five days after delivery by […]

Renters Beware

1. There is a Presumption That a Right of First Refusal in a Written Lease Expires When the Initial Leasehold Term Expires, Even Though the Tenant Holds Over on a Month-to-Month Basis. In the case of Smyth v. Berman, the California Court of Appeal has denied Smyth a right of first refusal to purchase the […]

TREE LAW

Tree Law Trees with trunks standing entirely on the property of one owner belong exclusively to that owner even though the roots may grow into the adjoining owner’s property. See Civil Code Section 833. This means that the tree and its branches are owned by the person upon whose property the trunk is located even […]

AUTOMATIC DUAL AGENCY

California Supreme Court Affirms Appellate Court Ruling That A Real Estate Agent Who Represented The Seller Owes Fiduciary Duties to The Buyer, Not Just Seller, In A Case Where The Brokerage Represented Both Sides of The Deal. In the case of Horiike vs. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Co. 2016 DJDAR 11503, the California Supreme Court […]

2018 NEW LAWS

Important New Laws Enacted In 2017 Civil Code § 4528 Effective January 1, 2018, Civil Code § 4528 now provides a statutory disclosure form for a homeowners association to complete and give to a seller of a unit, at no cost to the seller, to include copies of relevant association information to a buyer such […]

SELLER’S ESCAPE DISCLOSURE LIABILITY

Sellers Not Liable for Failing to Disclose Deficiencies in Residence Converted Into Wine Tasting Room Where Sellers Lacked Actual Knowledge of Alleged Deficiencies. In the case of RSB Vineyard, LLC vs. Bernard A. Orsi, the issue before the trial court was whether knowledge could be imputed of defects to the defendants based upon presumed knowledge […]

Airbnb Rental

Airbnb Rental Determined as Illegal Use of Property. In the case of Chen vs. Kraft, [2016] 243 Cal App Supp. 13, Chen, the landlord, filed an Unlawful Detainer against Kraft who was using his rental to sublet on Airbnb. The property was zoned R-1 and was subject to Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance. Los Angeles […]

Foreclosure Abuse

Long Beach Jury Awards 30.5 Million Dollars In a Foreclosure Abuse Case Against Lender. In the case of Behm vs. Cervenka, Ms. Behm purchased a 7,400 sqft Victorian era home in Los Angeles for $400,000.00 in 2010. After acquiring the home she did extensive remodels and renovations to the property. She sought a loan to […]

Cannabis Laws

Important New Laws Enacted In 2017 Cannabis Regulation: Business and Professions Code §26000-26231.2 is the California Combined Medical and Recreational Cannabis Laws which are one comprehensive piece of legislation. These laws are effective January 1, 2018. California Adopts New Policy to Encourage Use of Solar Energy Systems Involving HOAs. Existing law, Civil Code §714-714.1, declares […]

Real Property Disclosures

Sellers Not Liable for Failing to Disclose Deficiencies in Residence Converted Into Wine Tasting Room Where Sellers Lacked Actual Knowledge of Alleged Deficiencies. In the case of RSB Vineyard, LLC vs. Bernard A. Orsi, the issue before the trial court was whether knowledge could be imputed of defects to the defendants based upon presumed knowledge […]

Equitable Easement

New Case Expands The Scope of Equitable Easements in California. In the case of Hinrichs v. Melton, 2017 DJDAR 4168 (May 3, 2017). The Court of Appeal fashioned an equitable easement despite no preexisting use of the servient owner’s property. This is the first time a preexisting use of the servient owner’s property has been […]

Open House Guidelines

Pre-dispute Jury Trial Waiver In Loan Documents Is Unenforceable Per CCP 631(f). In the case of Rincon EV Realty vs. CP III Rincon Towers the 1st District Court of Appeal held that a jury trial waiver in the loan documents was unenforceable hence a judgment against the borrower is reversed. The case was remanded for […]

Fiduciary Duty of Real Estate Agent

New Real Estate Laws Passed In 2016 Advertising Requirements Using “Team Names”. Business and Professions Code Sections 10159.5 through 10159.7 governs the use of a “team name” and a fictitious business name in real estate sales advertising. Those provisions require a responsible broker’s name to be displayed as prominently and conspicuously as a team name […]

Broker/Salesperson Laws

California Supreme Court Affirms Appellate Court Ruling That A Real Estate Agent Who Represented The Seller Owes Fiduciary Duties to The Buyer, Not Just Seller, In A Case Where The Brokerage Represented Both Sides of The Deal. In the case of Horiike vs. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Co. 2016 DJDAR 11503, the California Supreme Court […]

Arbitration

Arbitration Denied When Arbitration Provision Deemed Unconscionable, Both Procedurally and Substantively. In the case of Penilla vs. Westmont Corporation, 2016 DJDAR 9442, the Appellate Court agreed with the Trial Court deeming the arbitration provision in a mobile home lease both procedurally unconscionable as well as substantively unconscionable and therefore denied arbitration. Procedural unconscionability focuses on […]

Tree Dispute Between Neighbors

Owner Who Intentionally Erects Fence and Trims Neighbor’s Trees Without Consent Cannot Use Homeowners Insurance to Protect Him/Her From Liability. In the case of Albert vs. Mid Century Insurance, 236 Cal App 4th 1281, Albert (Owner) bought a homeowners insurance policy from Mid Century.  Albert decides to build an encroaching fence, without first having the […]

Unlicensed Contractor

Homeowner Not Liable For Injuries to Worker of an Unlicensed Contractor. The law is unsettled as to whether unlicensed contractor’s workers must be deemed employees of the homeowner who hires the unlicensed contractor. Remember the case of an employee who fell from a palm tree in Glendora and was severely injured. That employee was working […]

Premises Liability

Premises Liability Expanded For Employees Drinking After Work. In the case of Kai-Yen Cheng vs. OTB Mission Valley Restaurant, et al., the San Diego Superior Court found a San Diego restaurant chain (On The Boarder Mexican Grill and Cantina) liable last Friday for an employees allegedly drunken car collision though both the drinking and the […]

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