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Wednesday
Nov072012

California Landlord Tenant Law – Responsibilities of Landlord in Default and Foreclosure (SB 1191)

Corporate Litigation Lawyer Los AngelesBusiness Litigation Paul C. Bauducco
818.907.3245

 

New California landlord tenant laws go into effect in 2013 for rental property owners facing foreclosure.

Senate Bill 1191 was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in September, adding Section 2924.85 to the Civil Code. (Read about other new laws for landlords, housing associations, and property managers in last week's blog, Seven New Laws in Effect January 1st.)

 

Notice of Default - California Civil Code Section 2924.85
(Effective January 1, 2013)

 

If you provide single-family homes or multi-family dwellings of four or fewer units for rent and have received a notice of default for a mortgage or deed of trust for the property, you are required to provide written notice – in English and other languages per California Civil Code Section 1632 – of that default to any prospective tenants.

In your notice to a prospective tenant, you must disclose that the property may be sold in foreclosure and that the tenant may, or may not be forced to move in the future.

You should also state that a new landlord or property owner must honor the lease unless the new owner chooses to occupy the property as a primary residence or if there is a "Just Cause for Eviction Law" applicable in your city.

If you are buying a rental property in a foreclosure sale, you'll need to provide the tenants with a 90 day notice of eviction if you plan to evict.

 

Penalties for Violating Section 2924.85

 

Section 2924.85 provides for certain tenant rights in the event a landlord fails to give the required notice, including:

  1. Allowing the tenant to void the lease and recover the greater of one month’s rent or twice the actual damages suffered; or

  2. If a foreclosure has not occurred, allowing the tenant to elect not to terminate the lease, but to deduct an amount due to the landlord equal to one month’s rent.

 

Foreclosure Notice - California Civil Code Section 2924.8
(Effective March 1, 2013)

 

As a property owner, you should direct your managers to deliver written notices of foreclosure to existing tenants in writing.  The exact language for the Notice is set forth in Section 2924.8, including notice that:

  1. Landlord LawForeclosure has begun which may affect the tenant’s right to continue to live in the property.

  2. The property may be sold 20 days or more after the date of the notice.

  3. The new property owner may give the tenant a new lease or provide the tenant with a 90 day eviction notice.

  4. The tenant may have the right to stay in the property longer than 90 days if he/she has a fixed term lease, which the new owner must honor, unless the new owner will occupy the property as a primary residence.

  5. In some cases and in some cities, where there is a “just cause for eviction law”, the tenant may not have to move out.

  6. The tenant may wish to contact a lawyer or legal aid office to discuss his/her rights.

Paul C. Bauducco is a Construction Defect and Real Estate Litigation Attorney at our Firm. He is also the Chair of the Business Litigation Practice Group. Contact him via email: pbauducco@lewitthackman.com.

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.
Thursday
Nov012012

California Election - Los Angeles County Measure by Measure

Los Angeles Environmental AttorneyLos Angeles Environmental & Business LitigationStephen T. Holzer
November 1, 2012

Los Angeles Environmental Attorney

We've already discussed the pros and cons of the California Propositions appearing on the ballot next week, with a look at what major groups were for, or against each initiative.

This time, we're going to take a look at some of the Measures up for vote in Los Angeles County and the San Fernando Valley – though there are many others that pertain to individual cities in Southern California. (If you'd like a look at all of the ballot measures, click here.)

 

Los Angeles County Election Ballot Measures

 

The first three, Measures A, B & J, will affect all Los Angelenos, while the last two, Measures HH & MM, affect only those in and around the Santa Monica Mountains and the San Fernando Valley. 

 

 

Measure A:  Appointment of County Assessor – County of Los Angeles

Should the Los Angeles County Assessor's position be appointed, or elected? Currently, it's an elected job, but this measure seeks to change the California Constitution and the Los Angeles County Charter to make the position an appointed one. This is a non-binding vote, meaning it's a temperature check to see what the public thinks.

Opposition to Measure A:

The Los Angeles County Democratic Party, the Republican Party of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Times all advise voting NO on Measure A.

Opponents say that even though elected assessors may be susceptible to giving tax breaks to campaign donors, appointed assessors will be influenced by their appointers – boards of supervisors with an interest in keeping tax monies rolling in at a maximum rate.

Support of Measure A:

The Long Beach Telegram suggests a YES vote as the better choice, citing John Noguez's alleged abuse of power while in his position as County Assessor as a prime reason why.

 

Measure B:  Los Angeles Porn Actors Required to Wear Condoms Act

Now here's a hot topic. Should we make adult film actors wear condoms while shooting porn? This Safer Sex Initiative also requires the Los Angeles Department of Public Health to conduct inspections and enforce the Act – it's the enforcement that's at issue here, as a city ordinance already requires the porn stars to wear condoms.

Opposition to Measure B:

The adult film industry, the Republican Party of Los Angeles, and two Los Angeles newspapers all oppose the Safer Sex Act, citing another tax on the people as well as more runaway productions. The San Fernando Valley is an informally acknowledged capitol of adult entertainment, and has been since the 1970s.

Support of Measure B:

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the Los Angeles County Medical Association say Measure B will help reduce the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases with no cost to taxpayers. 

 

Measure J:  Los Angeles County Sales Tax for Transportation

This measure will continue the ½ cent sales tax increase (2008 voter-approved Measure R) scheduled to end in 2039, to extend another 30 years, to 2069. Measure R (and now J) is meant to finance new transportation projects and hasten those already in planning. To pass, Measure J needs a 2/3 supermajority vote.

Opposition to Measure J:

Two city supervisors and some local groups like the Bus Riders Union and the Beverly Hills Board of Education who form the Measure J opposition say it promotes gentrification – certain groups asked the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to upgrade the Crenshaw Boulevard Line, and to rebuild affordable housing destroyed when the Gold Line was built in East L.A. But the agency has "stonewalled" these requests. Some are calling Measure J a "blank check" to MTA.

Support of Measure J:

MTA says approval of Measure J will cost LA taxpayers approximately $25/year/individual, on average – but will generate $90 billion in revenue between 2039 and 2069. The Los Angeles Times and other major news groups support the measure, citing new jobs, less traffic and better accessibility to LA's more popular areas. 

 

The San Fernando Valley - Measures HH & MM

Measures HH and MM are similar. They are parcel taxes to help fund the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, or MRCA.

The MRCA acquires, maintains and improves open spaces, parks and wildlife corridors. The public agency improves fire prevention, protects water quality and facilitates security, among other things, at these places. MCRA has been funded by a 20 year old property assessment that will expire soon.

Measure HH helps MCRA to provide these services from the East Santa Monica Mountains into the Hollywood Hills by imposing a $24 per year tax for 10 years. The funds can only be spent in the Santa Monica Mountains east of the 405 freeway.

Measure MM imposes a $19 per year tax for 10 years to provide the above services in Encino, Tarzana and Woodland Hills. 

Opposition to Measures HH & MM:

There doesn't appear to be an organized opposition to the measures, though there are a few lone voices naysaying HH & MM.

Support of Measures HH & MM:

Both HH supporters and MM supporters have the backing of the Los Angeles Democratic Party, the Los Angeles Daily News, California State Assembly Member Bob Blumenfield, Los Angeles City Council Member Paul Koretz, and various homeowners' associations affected in the San Fernando Valley.

Need more California Election information? Read up on the pros and cons of Propositions 30-35, and Propositions 36-40.

 

Stephen T. Holzer is an Environmental and Business Litigation Attorney at our Firm, as well as the Chair of our Environmental Practice Group. Contact him via email: sholzer@lewitthackman.com.

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.
Wednesday
Oct312012

California Landowners & Managers: 7 New Laws in Effect January 1st

Corporate Litigation Lawyer Los AngelesCommercial Real Estate Litigation  

 

Paul C. Bauducco
818.907.3245

 

Whether you own private or commercial rental property, serve as a member of a housing association, are a California realtor, or just have an interest in buying, selling or leasing property, take note:

With the New Year come new rules regarding your real estate.

Hopefully you are already in compliance with the new laws Governor Jerry Brown signed this past legislative season. If not, there are some important property ownership and management laws you should be ready for on January 1st.

 

2013 Common Interest Development & HOA Laws

 

Assembly Bill 1838 amends the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act,  which regulates common interest developments like apartments, condos, townhouse developments and stock cooperatives.

1.  Cancellation Fees: HOAs won't be able to collect cancellation fees for HOA sales disclosure documents under AB 1838 if the cancellation is requested in writing, and if the work on the order has not yet been fulfilled, or if the HOA has already been compensated for that work.

2.  Davis-Stirling Simplified: The Act has also been reorganized. Assembly Bill 805 (the bill relocates the Act to a different part of CA Civil Code) doesn’t go into effect until January 1, 2014, so HOAs won't have to change governing documents to reflect the move until the end of 2013.

 

New Laws for Landlords & Property Managers

 

If you own or manage apartments, townhouses or space in an RV park, these new California landlord tenant laws apply to you:

3.  Notice of Default: Landlords must disclose written notice of default under any mortgages or deeds of trust on rental properties to any prospective tenants, if renting properties containing one to four residential units, before signing a lease agreement. Under Senate Bill 1191, the tenant may void the lease and recover either one month's rent or twice the amount of damages and all prepaid rent should a landlord fail to provide notice.

4.  Foreclosure Notice: Month-to-month tenants must be given a written 90 Day Notice to Terminate a rental unit when a property is foreclosed. If a tenant still has a fixed-term lease, generally the tenant can remain until the end of the term, under Assembly Bill 2610

5.  Mobile Home Owner Rights: Per Assembly Bill 2150, managers or owners of mobile home parks must provide a specified notice in the rental agreement for space, before February 1st of each year, starting in 2013. The notice sets forth rights and responsibilities of the mobile home owner, including a 90 day notice of a rent increase.

6.  Abandoned Property: When a tenant quits the premises and leaves behind personal property, the landlord must sell the abandoned property at public auction if it is worth $700 (formerly $300) or more, per Assembly Bill 2521.

7.  Animal Control: Landlords who allow tenants to keep pets cannot require tenants to have their pets declawed or devocalized as a condition of occupancy, per SB 1229.

These are just some of the California real estate laws affecting landlord-tenant relations and home owner associations in 2013. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding real estate or construction law.  A better understanding of the law can prevent problems and litigation.

Paul C. Bauducco is the Chair of our Business Litigation Practice Group. You may reach him via email: pbauducco@lewitthackman.com.

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.
Wednesday
Oct242012

Employers: Methods for Computing Commissions Must be Put in Writing

Employment Defense Attorney Los Angeles

 

by Sue M. Bendavid
818.907.3220

 

Beginning January 1st, all companies employing commissioned workers in California must provide written agreements describing the method by which commissions are computed and paid, per Assembly Bill 1396

The new requirement comes from recent legislation which amends the California Labor Code. Formerly, it applied only to out-of-state employers who employ California-based workers. 

Employee CommissionsThe Labor Code defines a commission as compensation paid to any person for services rendered in the sale of such employer's property or services and based proportionately upon the amount or value thereof. 

Since commissions are actually wages, it's important for you as an employer to make sure you pay them correctly and on time, to prevent wage and hour claims. 

 

Avoiding Employee Claims for Unpaid Wages 

 

It is not enough to merely outline how commissions are computed and earned.  As someone who hires commissioned employees, you must describe the calculation methods into a written contract, sign it, and then obtain a signed receipt for the contract from the commissioned employee. 

You should clearly define when a commission is “earned.”  Will your employee earn commission when a sales agreement is signed, when products are shipped, or when the company receives payment from the client for the products or services? 

Make sure you follow the terms of your agreement with your employee. 

 

AB 1396: Other Considerations 

 

The new law affects employers who routinely compensate employees through commissioned pay structures, as well as those who use this method on an occasional or even rare basis. 

Also per AB 1396: 

  • If your commission agreement expires, the terms of your signed agreement will remain in effect until you supersede it, or until the agreement is terminated in writing. 
  • You won't have to include short-term productivity bonuses (i.e. for retail clerks) or bonuses and profit sharing plans as commissions, unless you offer to pay a fixed percentage of sales or profits as compensation for work to be performed. 

This may seem like extra paperwork, but there is some good news for employers, as AB 1396 repeals a Labor Code provision making an employer who violates this section liable for “triple damages.”  Still…to prevent employee claims in the first place, get your agreements in order now, before the New Year. 

Sue M. Bendavid is the Chair of the Employment Practice Group, which defends employers from wage and hour and other employee claims. Email her for more information: sbendavid@lewitthackman.com.

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.
Wednesday
Oct102012

Rumble in the Employment Law Jungle: Campaign 2012

by Robert A. Hull

It’s a grudge match – a political campaign versus a law whose consequences could tilt the election. Who wins?  A fascinating battle ensued this past week between President Obama’s presidential campaign and the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.

In this corner, the WARN Act mandates that businesses of a certain size must give notice of a possible mass layoff or plant closing 60 days before such a layoff/closing (even if those businesses are not certain such layoffs will occur).

The reason?  To give workers a chance to look for new employment and prepare themselves for probable job losses.

In that corner, a lean, mean presidential campaign on guard against any dramatic events which could tip the election.

 

Background to the WARN Act Showdown

 

Certain dramatic across-the-board budget cuts (i.e., ‘sequestration’), including very deep defense cuts, are set to take place January 2nd, as the result of the failure of Congress to find a solution to the budget impasse. No solution is forthcoming.

Thus, many federal contractors are facing the likelihood that they will need to lay off many thousands of employees on January 2nd. Under the WARN Act, they would need to give notice to those employees by November 2nd, right before the general election.

To make matters worse, many of these employees are located in the battleground state of Virginia. Needless to say, workers receiving layoff notices immediately prior to an election would tend not to favor the incumbent.

 

Political Punch, Corporate Counter-punch

 

The bell rings. The President’s campaign looks confident, strong. Lockheed Martin plans to issue WARN Notices before the election, in Virginia.

A sharp uppercut: The Obama campaign is stunned, just for a moment. The White House requested that Lockheed hold off on the notices. In July, the Labor Department issued guidelines saying the contractors do not have to provide WARN notices before making layoffs January 2. They anticipated this bout.

The need for layoffs is “uncertain” because Congress can come to an agreement before then. Nice combination – jab, jab, straight right. But Lockheed responds that, if they don’t give WARN notices, they’ll face liability for failure to warn or else be forced to delay layoffs, a devastating counterpunch.

The Obama campaign struggles to keep its feet. But, wait – it's up and throws a haymaker!

The Office of Management and Budget issues a memo on September 28th saying that the government will pay for any employee compensation costs as determined by a court, as well as the litigation costs and attorney’s fees (irrespective of outcome), owed by the federal contractors for failure to give the WARN notices. WARN is down! Lockheed and other contractors agree not to issue layoff notices before the election. The campaign is victorious.

Lessons?  A presidential political campaign can be a force to be reckoned with, for certain. But, if you’re a business with a possible mass layoff or plant closure and are thinking about not providing WARN notices, be forewarned. Unless you face sequestration on January 2nd, you will have to pay for all of your compensation costs, litigation costs and attorneys' fees as a result of your failure to give such notice.

Final Word:  Lockheed and all others should TAKE heed. The September 28th memo appears to only cover liabilities associated with the failure to give notice under the FEDERAL WARN Act. (Read the full White House Memo.)

Many states, such as California (but not Virginia), also have certain STATE WARN-type provisions. If mass layoffs or plant closures occur in those states, and state laws are not complied with, companies like Lockheed may still be on the hook.

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.
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