California Real Estate Newsletter

Member of the California Bar Association Since 1976


  • 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,

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

Huggers Against Fireworks

1. Tree Huggers Succeed in Getting 4th of July Fireworks Show Cancelled in Long Beach Complaints to the woke Coastal Commission succeeded. They claim that fireworks harmed water quality and migrating birds. Prior to the huggers’ complaints and for the past decade, organizers enjoyed an expedited application process. Now have a more robust application process […]

Tax Laws You Have To Read

1. California Becomes First State to Provide Free Medical Insurance to Illegal Aliens! Starts Jan 1, 2024. Estimates are 764,000 aliens will qualify as low income recipients of MediCal. Financial commitments to program increase from 835 million this year to 2.6 Billion annually next year. Comment: This is part of the reason why California will […]

Tax Laws You Have To Read

THE MOST RECENT LAWS/ORDINANCES/CASES INVOLVING REAL ESTATE 1. SB 567 Passes – Bad News for Landlords!! SB 567, which I reported on several months ago, has passed. It has been watered down a bit with help from the Realtor’s Association. Still a big win for renters at the expense of landlords. SB 567 will cause every rental […]

New Laws 2023

1. New Laws for 2023 a. SB6, called Middle Class Housing Act establishes housing as allowable use on any parcel zoned office or retail. In some instances, ministerial approval is only required! b. AB916 – Owners can add up to two bedrooms within existing home without requirement of public hearing. c. AB 2221 and SB897 […]

LA Mansion Tax

1. City of LA Mansion Tax Faces Legal Challenges in New Lawsuit Equal Protection Clause of Constitution raised in complaint in case filed by Newcastle Countyards LLC v City of LA. a. Tax is arbitrary and irrational “based on gross sales rather than net income.” Comment: Duh! If you buy a building or a house […]

Be Careful Who You Hire During The Holidays

1. Contractor Liable for Injuries to Subcontractors Employee Who Fell Off Scaffolding Brown v Beach House Design & Development. In this case the usual exemption from liability did not apply because the general contractor maintained control over the scaffolding by delegating to his employees duty to inspect and maintain the scaffolding. Should have left those […]

Business Fraud

1. California Supreme Court Affirms Treble Damages and Attorney’s Fees Penal Code § 496 cases involving theft apply to civil business disputes where the defendant is alleged to have stolen any form of property. In the case of Siry Investment L.P. v. Farkhondehpour, S262081 (C.A. Sup. Ct. filed May 8, 2020), the California Supreme Court clarified that the […]

Rent Control

1. AB 1482-Rent Control Cheat Sheet For those of you who own apartments that are subject to California rent control, you need to know: Rents can be raised only once a year. The current raise varies between 8.6% and 9.1%, depending on the county. Rent raises are based on CPI which comes out in April and […]

Year End Summary Of New Laws

1. New Law Curtails Phony Claims of Emotional Support Pets AB 468 provides new requirements to prove your animal qualifies as an emotional support animal. Designed to stop people from buying fraudulent tags, certificates and vests in order to take animals anywhere they want or to force landlords into accepting the pet! 2. Landlords Allowed to File […]

New Laws

Proposed New Law that You Should Be Concerned About 1. Eviction Moratorium to be Extended Landlords stand to get screwed again. Prospective new law AB 15 if passed, will extend eviction moratorium to January 2, 2022. Comment: Good luck ever collecting unpaid rent from March 2020 to January 1, 2022, from those renters who took advantage of the system. […]

Covid-19 Lawsuits

1. Covid-19 Lawsuits Covid-19 lawsuits against insurance companies seeking insurance benefits under Business Income, Extra Expense, or Civil Authority provisions of policies so far have been unsuccessful. Many of these cases have been decided at the pleading stage. Some have been given a chance to amend the pleading and some are on appeal. Insurance companies usually […]

Foreclosure Sale Error

1. Foreclosure Sale Error by Purchaser Costs Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars In the case of Matson v S.B.S. Trust Deed Network (2020) 46 CA5th 33, the Court of Appeal affired the trial court’s decision that the trustee’s sale is complete when acceptance of the final bid. The successful bidder refused to record the trustee’s […]

Proposed New Law

1. 25% Automatic Rent Reduction There is a pending Assembly Bill 828 which will require all residential landlords to reduce rent by 25% for a year for renters with coronavirus hardships. Comment:  I hope everyone who is reading this fires off an email to their elected representatives in the Assembly and the Senate and object to […]

New Landlord/Tenant Law

1. Senate Bill 329 and Senate Bill 222 Requires Landlords to Accept Section 8 and Vash Vouchers and Other Forms of Rental Assistance As of January 1, 2020, you can no longer inform a prospective tenant that you do not accept Section 8 or Vash Vouchers, or any other forms of rental assistance when considering their income. See […]

Lease Requirements For Stay At Home Order

1. Does Doctrine of Commercial Frustration Allow a Commercial Tenant to Terminate its Lease or Suspend Lease Payments During Stay-At-Home Order The World Health Organization has declared a pandemic. President Trump has declared a public health emergency. Governor Newsom has issued a statewide stay-at-home order except for essential needs. These government-imposed restrictions have forced the closure of […]

Posting Requirements for Apartments

1. Posting Requirements for Apartments For four units or more the following signs must be posted in a conspicuous place in your building: Federal Fair Housing Poster Toxic Substance Warning – Prop 65 Emergency Phone Numbers 2. Supreme Court Grants Daughter the Right to Challenge Trust Amendments that Disinherited Her from Her Mother’s Trust In […]

New Laws Starting in January

1. New Law Starting January 1, 2020 Requires Employers to Provide Accommodations in the Workplace for Mothers who are Nursing Senate Bill 142 was signed into law. Commencing January 1, 2020, if you are an employer, you must provide the following to nursing mothers in the workplace: 1. A clean room (not a bathroom), free of hazardous […]

New Mortgage Collection Dangers

1. Limitation on What a Debt Collector Can Do Regarding Mortgage Debt As of January 1, 2020, the Rosenthal Act (Fair Debt Collection Act) now defines mortgage debt as consumer credit. In addition, attorneys no longer enjoy an exemption from being defined as a debt collector when it comes to mortgage debt. In California, debt collection […]

Smoke Alarm Inspection Requirements

1.  California Law Requires Landlords to Inspect and Maintain All Smoke Alarms Health & Safety Code § 13113.7(d)(2) requires all landlords, including multi-unit residential properties or single-family residences to install, maintain, and test smoke alarms on their properties. In the case of Golden Eagles Ins. Corp. v. Lemoore Real Estate & Property Management, Inc., the California Appellate […]

New Rent Control Law

1.  New Rent Control Law KEY PROVISIONS Caps annual rent increases at 5% plus the change in cost of living, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), for all rent increases occurring on or after March 15, 2019 If a landlord increases rent by more than this cap between March 15, 2019 and January 1, 2020, the […]

Void Mechanics Lien

1.  Mechanic’s Lien Void if Filed Before Contractor Has Ceased Work In the case of Precision Framing Systems Inc. v. Luzuriaga, the 4thDistrict Court of Appeal decided on August 29, 2019, that “a [mechanic’s lien] claimant other than a direct contractor may not enforce a lien unless the claimant records a claim of lien within the […]

You Can’t Always Trust Your Landlord

1.  Landlord Found to be Unreasonable and Acted in Bad Faith In the case of Bawa v. Terhune(2019), 33 Cal.App.5thSupp. 1, the Court of Appeal determined that the landlord’s refusal to accept the rental payment from the tenant (which was one penny short) was evidence of an intent to manufacture a default, allowing it to evict […]

Prohibiting Short-Term Rentals

1.  CC&R/ Getting Around Super Majority Requirements In the case of Orchard Estate Homes, Inc. v. Orchard Homeowners Alliance, 32 Cal.App.5th471, the HOA attempted to enforce a rule prohibiting short-term rentals of units of durations of less than 30 days in the Association. This was a rule and not contained within the CC&Rs. The Superior […]

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 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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 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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