Author: Benjamin J. Smith

May a bona fide purchaser claim title to a property based on a default judgment when the judgment is later voided?

OC Interior Services, LLC v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC Facts: A property owner defaults on a mortgage secured by a trust deed on their commercial property. In an attempt to cancel the mortgage, the owner files a complaint against the lender, falsely claiming to have paid the mortgage in full and to have given notice to the lender. The lender fails to respond, so the owner obtains a default judgment cancelling the trust deed and the lender’s interest in the property. The owner sells the property to a buyer who is aware of the default judgment. The lender then learns...

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May a landlord collect rent directly from a Section 8 tenant after the housing authority stops providing rent payments due to uninhabitable property?

Scott v. Kaiuum Facts: A landlord and a Section 8 tenant enter into a rental agreement in which the local housing authority pays the bulk of the tenant’s rent. The housing authority inspects the property and determines it fails to meet federal habitability standards. The landlord does not correct the deficiency and the housing authority ceases making Section 8 payments to the landlord. The landlord demands the full rent payment directly from the tenant. The tenant does not comply and remains in possession. Claim: The landlord seeks to remove the tenant from the property and recover the full rental...

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May a landlord charge higher rent for a rent-controlled unit after entering into a buyout agreement with the former tenant and briefly occupying the unit?

Geraghty v. Shalizi Facts: A landlord of a rent-controlled property intends to move into a currently occupied unit. The landlord and the tenant enter into a buyout agreement in which the tenant agrees to vacate in exchange for an agreed-upon sum of money to avoid an owner move-in eviction under the rent control ordinance. The tenant vacates and the landlord moves in. A year after taking occupancy, the landlord vacates, then rents the unit to a new tenant at a higher price. Claim: The former tenant seeks to rescind the buyout agreement, claiming the landlord misrepresented their intention to occupy the...

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May a buyer of foreclosed residential property serve the holdover owner with a notice to quit prior to perfecting title?

US Financial, LP v. McLitus Facts: A buyer purchases a home occupied by the owner at a foreclosure sale. The buyer immediately serves the owner a three-day notice to quit before recording the transfer of ownership. The prior owner refuses to vacate and the buyer attempts to regain possession under an unlawful detainer (UD) action. Claim: The prior owner seeks to retain possession of the property, claiming the notice to quit and subsequent UD action are invalid since the buyer was not the owner of record for the property when they served the notice to quit, as they had...

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May a buyer of foreclosed rental property serve a tenant with a notice to quit prior to perfecting title?

Dr. Leevil, LLC v. Westlake Health Care Center Facts: A landlord defaults on the mortgage encumbering their commercial property. The property is occupied by a tenant under a lease containing an automatic subordination clause. The property is later sold to a buyer at a trustee’s sale. The buyer serves the tenant with a three-day notice to quit prior to recording the transfer with the county and perfecting title. The tenant holds over and is evicted in an unlawful detainer (UD) action. Claim: The tenant seeks to regain possession of the property, claiming the notice to quit and subsequent UD...

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Zestimates are great conversation starters with sellers and buyers. Zillow has done more for our bottom line than NAR ever has or will. Don’t fight the current of the river, learn to run with it. Disruption is inevitable in any industry that is fragmented or inefficient. Granted, it does feel like armchair experts and platforms are plentiful in real estate these days, but when the tide rolls out we will see the value proposition of the truest professionals in this industry shine once again.

Justin Bonney, on Zillow’s impact on the real estate industry

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