Author: Carrie B. Reyes

Lender not responsible for dependant adult abuse after foreclosure

A borrower who was a dependent adult took out a purchase-assist loan, then fell behind on mortgage payments. The lender contacted the borrower to discuss alternatives to foreclosure, then later recorded a notice of default (NOD) and completed foreclosure, causing the borrower to seek an alternative residence with advance notice limited to the foreclosure period. The borrower sought compensation from the lender claiming the lender committed dependent adult abuse since it failed to fully explore alternatives to foreclosure before foreclosing and forcing the borrower to find alternative housing. The lender claimed forcing the dependent adult to seek an alternate...

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Prohibited discriminatory practices allowed for roommate selection

A roommate pairing service, not licensed as real estate brokers, required users to disclose their sex, sexual orientation and familial status and matched potential roommates based on these disclosures. A fair housing council sought to stop the service from requiring users to disclose this information, claiming it violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA), which prohibits discrimination on the bases of sex or familial status. The service claimed roommate selection was excluded from these FHA prohibitions, since controlling who may or may not share a living space raises constitutional concerns. A California appeals court held the roommate pairing service’s practice...

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EIR not intended to show environmental impact on a project

A developer applied to the city to rezone a tract of land near a sewage treatment facility for mixed residential and commercial use. The city approved the new zoning and issued a mitigated negative declaration (MND) for the developer’s project, determining any environmental impact caused by the project would be insignificant. The owner of the sewage treatment facility demanded the city obtain an environmental impact report (EIR), claiming an EIR was required to assess the impact of the sewage treatment facility on the proposed project, since the odor created by the facility would create an unpleasant residential environment. The...

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Buyer’s deposit lost on cancelled probate purchase

A buyer signed a purchase agreement to purchase a home at a court ordered probate sale conducted by the estate of the deceased property owner. The buyer deposited 10% of the purchase price in escrow with the remainder to be deposited before the close of escrow. The escrow instructions did not contain a time essence clause. The buyer did not tender payment of the remainder of the purchase price before the date scheduled for the close of escrow, nor did the estate place the property’s deed in escrow until 20 days after the original closing date. The buyer cancelled the purchase transaction after the date escrow was scheduled to close. The buyer made a demand for the return of his deposit, which the estate rejected.  The buyer claimed the estate had not timely performed as it did not put the property’s deed in escrow until after the date scheduled for the close of escrow. The estate claimed it performed in a reasonable amount of time since its timing was consistent with the buyer’s failure to deposit the balance of the price in escrow and the escrow instructions did not contain a time essence clause. A California court of appeals held the estate was not required to refund the buyer’s deposit since the buyer did not prove the estate’s delay in delivering the deed after the date set for the...

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Arbitrator’s award names trust instead of trustees, award unenforceable

A buyer entered into a purchase agreement for an apartment complex with ownership vested in the name of a trustee under a trust agreement with the owners. The trustee withdrew from the sale and the buyer sought damages from the trust itself due to the trustee’s failure to sign the closing documents. The trustee claimed the buyer could not be compensated by the trust since the trustee held title to the property, and the trust arrangement did not. A California appeals court held the buyer was not entitled to compensation from the trust since trusts by their nature are...

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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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