Services

For tenants, landlords, real estate buyers and sellers

Areas of Practice

 

RESIDENTIAL LANDLORDS

Rent Control Counseling: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood each have their own rent control laws. Each city regulates rent increases and limits the grounds for evicting tenants, but the details of their respective laws differ.

If you’re in the process of buying an apartment building, I can explain the governing rent control law to you so that you can make an informed decision on whether or not to buy in a particular area. If you already own, I can help you craft a strategy to help you maximize rents or remove problem tenants.

Renting Tips: The best way for a landlord to steer clear of problems is to avoid renting to bad tenants, and to have suitable tenants sign a lease that protects all of the landlord’s interests.

I can’t overemphasize that the most common and costly mistake small landlords make is renting to the wrong tenants. I can give you several simple tips that will help you identify the types of tenants that are likely to not pay their rent or cause other problems.

You can lose the benefits gained by renting to good tenants if you use a substandard lease. Although many form leases are good, none deal properly with all of the issues that I’ve encountered in my years as a landlord-tenant lawyer. (One area where most fall short has to do with late fees.) As part of your consultation with me, I’ll give you a lease I’ve drafted that protects all of your interests.

Problem Tenants: If you do have a bad tenant, such as one that’s damaging the property, interfering with other tenants, or not paying rent, I can help you evict him or her. Evictions are costly and take time, even when they go smoothly. This fact makes understanding your rights, renting to good tenants only, and using the best possible lease all the more important.


COMMERCIAL TENANTS

If you consult with me before you rent, I can help you understand your rights, protect them, and avoid costly mistakes regarding:

  • Standard Terms in Rental Agreements and Leases
  • Tenant Improvements and Fixtures
  • Maintenance and Repairs
  • Assigning and Subleasing, Options to Extend, and other Clauses

Although I can’t guarantee it, I can often suggest and negotiate lease modifications that save you enough money to cover my fee!

If you’re already renting, I can advise you on how to protect your rights and resolve any disputes that arise, including those involving:

  • Rent Payments and Increases
  • Maintenance and Repairs
  • Assigning and Subleasing
  • Business Interference
  • Lease Extensions
  • Any other Problem with your Landlord or Neighboring Tenants

Disputes with Landlords often mushroom into eviction lawsuits. Eviction lawsuits are expensive to defend, and eviction court is not tenant-friendly. Since the survival of your business may be at stake, prudence dictates that you allow me to craft a strategy for solving your problem that doesn’t expose you to eviction unless absolutely necessary.

If you do receive an eviction notice or lawsuit from your landlord, contact me immediately! I can:

  • Help You Respond to an Eviction Notice
  • Explain the Eviction Process and Potential Defenses to You
  • Help you Prepare and File Court Papers and Represent Yourself
  • Defend You in Court

The worst thing you can do is ignore a problem with or notice from your landlord!Even if you haven’t paid your rent, you have rights. Since your business is important to you, protect your livelihood by using my years of experience defending commercial tenants to your advantage.



COMMERCIAL LANDLORDS

Lease Negotiation and Drafting: Commercial landlords often pay substantial broker commissions to secure tenants. Many landlords, though, skimp when it comes to lease preparation. I can help you negotiate and draft a lease that protects your interests with respect to rent payments, tenant improvements commissions paid to brokers and other issues.

Solving Tenant Problems: Because commercial landlords incur substantial upfront costs in securing tenants, they are often better served by trying to resolve disputes with tenants informally before unleashing a flurry of “lawyer letters”or rushing off to court. I have years of experience dealing with problem tenants, and can advise you on how to resolve conflicts quickly and economically.

Evictions: Sometimes, landlords have no choice but to evict tenants, particularly if the tenant is simply not paying the rent. I have handled countless landlord-tenant cases, and can represent you in court competently and aggressively when necessary.


BUYING REAL PROPERTY

I can help you understand your rights, protect them, and avoid costly mistakes by:

  • Reviewing the Purchase Contract (and escrow instructions) to make sure your interests are protected.
  • Counseling you regarding the due diligence necessary to sidestep potential title, land use, environmental or landlord-tenant problems.
  • Representing you aggressively and skillfully if you have a dispute with the seller or a real estate agent during escrow or after the deal closes.

If you are buying real property, having a lawyer by your side can help you avoid costly mistakes. I have helped many real estate buyers safely navigate the minefields inherent in any property purchase. Please contact me to learn how I can help you in this regard.


SELLING REAL PROPERTY

If you consult with me before signing a Listing or Purchase Agreement, I can help you understand your rights, protect them, and avoid costly mistakes by:

  • Negotiating the Listing Agreement so that: The commission is as low as possible. Everything is negotiable, and commissions are no exception! The term is right. You don’t want to tie yourself to the broker for too long. The broke’s marketing obligations are spelled out. The Listing Agreement should require your broker to do more than put the property in the MLS.
  • Insuring that the Purchase Contract protects your interests. For example: Does the contract have loopholes that allow the buyer to break it if he or she wants to? Is the deposit big enough, and is it refundable? Have you made all the right disclosures? Should you agree to an arbitration or mediation clause? Does the contract clearly reflect what personal property, if any, is included in the sale?

If a problem arises after you’ve signed the Listing Agreement or Purchase Agreement, I can help you solve it. I have years of experience helping home sellers protect themselves against unscrupulous brokers and buyers. Special laws and procedures govern real property disputes. If you find yourself in a dispute with a broker or buyer, contact me right away so that you don’t lose important rights.

If you haven’t hired a broker, I can help you select the most qualified person in the area in which you are looking. I am also a licensed California real estate broker. If you work with an agent that I refer you to, that agent will pay me a referral fee, which is often sufficient to cover the cost of the legal services I provide.



RESIDENTIAL TENANTS

I am one of the few lawyers devoting a substantial percentage of his or her practice to working with tenants. If you consult with me before you rent, I can help you understand and protect your rights and avoid costly mistakes regarding:

  • Rental Agreements and Leases
  • Rent Control
  • Roommate Issues
  • Security Deposits

Although I can’t guarantee it, I can often suggest and negotiate lease modifications that save you enough money to cover my fee!

Once you’ve rented, I can advise you on how to protect your rights and resolve any disputes that arise, including those involving:

  • Repairs and Habitability
  • Rent Payments and Increases
  • Harassment by Landlords
  • Reduction in Amenities and Services
  • Subleases and Roommates
  • Problematic Neighbors
  • Security Deposits

These disputes have a nasty habit of mushrooming into eviction lawsuits. Eviction lawsuits are always expensive to defend, and eviction court is not tenant-friendly. Therefore, prudence dictates that you allow me to craft a strategy for solving your problem that doesn’t expose you to eviction.

If you do receive an eviction notice or lawsuit, call me immediately! I can:

  • Help You Respond to an Eviction Notice
  • Explain the Eviction Process and Potential Defenses to You
  • Help you Prepare and File Court Papers and Represent Yourself
  • Defend You in Court

The worst thing you can do is ignore a notice or lawsuit and blow a deadline! Even if you haven’t paid your rent, there are many defenses you can raise. I have years of experience defending tenants and often win cases that appear hopeless. And if your case is weak, I can often buy you time to move, reduce the damages you’ll pay, and prevent entry of a judgment against you.


HOMEOWNERS

Home ownership is the American dream. Unfortunately, legal problems can turn the dream into a nightmare.

Disputes between co-owners of real estate often arise when those sharing ownership disagree over their respective rights and duties with respect to the property. If co-owners cannot resolve such a dispute informally, a partition action may result. A partition action is a lawsuit in which a part owner asks the court to order a property sold and the proceeds distributed. Partition actions tend to be emotionally difficult as well as financially draining because the parties are often ex-friends or business associates, or family members.

Legal battles with neighbors are not uncommon. Disagreements over boundary lines, fences, tree roots and branches and noise can escalate and wind up in court. When they do, no one wins because not only are neighborly relationships irreparably harmed, but legal fees are usually not recoverable in these types of actions.

For people living in condominiums or other common interest developments, fights with homeowner associations also arise with alarming frequency. Sometimes an HOA officer acts in a heavy handed manner or does things the HOA’s governing documents do not authorize. Other times, owners do not pay dues and assessments. In such cases, the emotions involved often overshadow the amount in dispute and cause litigants to spend disproportionate sums of money on legal fees.

Finally, hassles with contractors often occur. Contractors sometimes don’t do the work properly, often don’t stick to the work schedule, and occasionally abandon the job when they’ve been paid most of what they’re due and more than minimal work remains. In any of these situations, homeowners are faced with expensive and difficult legal and practical problems to solve.

If any of these legal issues does arise, the aggrieved property owner must get sound legal advice quickly and take appropriate action immediately. Otherwise, important rights and remedies may be lost.