Home title fraud earned the “latest scam” label from the FBI back in 2008. Home title fraud (also known as “deed fraud”) is different from mortgage fraud. Title fraud occurs when someone obtains the title to your home through fraudulent methods. Then, the criminal tries to use your home’s equity to secure as many loans as possible. Homeowners can be completely unaware of this until the lender tries to foreclose on the home. It can take your real estate attorneys months to undo the damage. Continue reading
We have been following a growing narrative in the commercial real estate press that the Covid-19 crisis will foster permanent changes in how companies organize and run their workforces.
Office Space Will Look Very Different Post-COVID-19 With Social Distancing
These rapidly changing needs are already having an impact on commercial real estate:
Title to Co-Ownership of Real Property Put to the Test When Co-Owners Die or Become Incapacitated
We are seeing more and more cases where a co-owner of a jointly owned investment property retains us after the other co-owner dies or becomes incapacitated (as a result of Alzheimer’s or some other illness or accident).
- In the case of the death of the other co-owner, our client is usually now dealing with a successor trustee, executor or administrator of the estate.
- In the case of the incapacity of the other co-owner, our client is usually dealing with an agent under a power of attorney or a conservator.
In many cases, our client is surprised to learn that the vesting language in the deed to the property does not reflect the client’s understanding or intent regarding their ownership share. Continue reading
We are proud to be celebrating thirty years of serving as legal advisors to businesses and individuals in Alameda County and Northern California.
Thirty Years of Handling Client Legal Matters in Northern California
From the day we opened our doors in a small office in Castro Valley dedicated to business law and real estate law, our mission has been to provide prompt, quality, results oriented representation and practical advice to our clients. We are proud to have stayed true to this objective over these three busy, challenging decades. Continue reading
When negotiating a commercial lease, every clause in the agreement must be examined to see how it defines your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, and the rights and responsibilities of the landlord. Here are some of the many common lease terms you should look for that corporate real estate tenants need to negotiate:
Clearly Defined Premises
Many leases do not clearly describe what you are renting. Your lease should clearly define your space, its size, and whether the size is on a rentable or usable basis. If your lease refers only to your usable space, get an explanation regarding the difference and include that language in the contract. Continue reading
Most business and real estate attorneys assume that the statute of limitations on an oral contract is two years, and on a written contract is 4 years. These are boilerplate assumptions that can trap a businessperson or a landlord; they do not always hold true once we delve into the specifics of a case. Continue reading
As we start work in 2019 in earnest, the commercial leasing market remains very active. We find ourselves representing a number of commercial landlords and tenants in connection with long-term commercial leases. One area in which we are adding great value is in the examination of “boilerplate language” within a proposed agreement that actually needs customization to protect our clients’ interests.
Great Commercial Lease Agreements Contain No Boilerplate
Most recently we represented a well-established auto body shop that sold its business to a national auto body and collision repair chain. As part of that transaction, the new owners leased the building that our client, the seller, owned to become the client’s tenant. Continue reading
The method you choose for holding title on your real estate property in California can have unexpected legal and tax consequences, especially years from now when death or disagreement brings change to the relationship between the co-owners.
Given these distant, hard-to-imagine impacts, choosing how title is vested by the co-owners is often an afterthought (or even overlooked)! But the consequences of improper vesting can be devastating. Typically, problems do not arise until many years after the recording of the grant deed that includes the improper vesting. Then, the improper vesting suddenly becomes a problem upon the attempted sale or refinancing of the property, or upon the death or dissolution of marriage of one (or more) of the owners.
The method of holding title is particularly important in partnership and co-ownership situations to make sure that the business agreement of the partners or co-owners is enforceable. Continue reading
Co-ownership of properties is a very common financial arrangement in real estate. With two or more persons involved in a purchase, their combined buying power can expand the number of properties that they can pursue. One party involved may also provide a higher credit score or more substantial assets that could win better loan terms.
Co-ownership lowers the business risk for both partners because it becomes a shared risk, rather than one which must be borne by a single person. However, these are long-term business relationships (even those between family members), and time can change the motivations of the people involved. Indeed, one partner may decide they wish to exit, and has the legal right to do so (more on that below.) Much can go wrong in a co-ownership partnership, if the possibility of these future issues arising is not accounted for in the initial partnership agreement.
How co-ownership can become problematic Continue reading
One of the most frustrating areas of maintaining a successful business is collecting on receivables. It has been said that “a sale to a customer is no more than a gift, until the payment for it has been collected and gets deposited in the bank.” Many businesses learn this truth the hard way, generating great sales and revenue, but suffering from terrible cash flow because payments due are not forthcoming in a timely manner.
Improving Debt Collection