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Sunday, December 16, 2012

New 2013 California Laws affecting Landlords, Real Property Owners, and RE Agents

Landlord Must Disclose Notice of Default to Prospective Tenants: Starting January 1, 2013, every landlord who offers for rent a residential property containing one-to-four units must disclose in writing to any prospective tenant the receipt of a notice of default that has not been rescinded. This disclosure must be made before executing a lease agreement. If a landlord violates this law, the tenant can elect to void the lease and recover one month’s rent or twice the amount of actual damages, whichever is greater, plus all prepaid rent. If the lease is not voided and the foreclosure sale has not occurred, the tenant may deduct one month’s rent from future amounts owed. The written disclosure notice as provided by statute must be in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean. A property manager will not be held liable for failing to provide the written disclosure notice unless the landlord has given the property manager written instructions to deliver the written disclosure to the tenant. This law will expire on January 1, 2018. Senate Bill 1191.

Restrictions Against Cancellation Fees for HOA Documents: Beginning January 1, 2013, an HOA cannot collect a cancellation fee for HOA sales disclosure documents in either of two situations: (1) a request is cancelled in writing by the party who placed the order and work had not yet been performed on the order; or (2) a request is cancelled in writing and the HOA had been compensated for any work performed. Moreover, an HOA must refund all fees collected for HOA documents if a request is cancelled in writing and work had not yet been performed on the order. Additionally under this new law, the HOA cover sheet itemizing the HOA sales disclosures must be in at least 10-point type. Our C.A.R. standard form Homeowner Association Information Request (Form HOA) complies with this requirement. Assembly Bill 1838.

Landlord May Dispose Abandoned Personal Property Less Than $700: Commencing January 1, 2013, the total resale value of personal property left behind by a tenant after termination of a tenancy that the landlord must sell at a public auction (rather than dispose of or retain for his or her own use), has been increased from $300 to $700, if certain procedures are followed. This law, however, also prohibits a landlord from assessing any storage cost if the tenant reclaims personal property within 2 days of vacating the premises. The statutory notices of Right to Reclaim Abandoned Property have been revised to reflect these changes. Furthermore, a landlord’s notices of termination of tenancy and pre-move out inspection must contain specified language that former tenants may reclaim abandoned personal property left on the premises, subject to certain conditions. Assembly Bill 2303.

Tenant Entitled to a 90-Day Notice to Terminate After Foreclosure: Effective January 1, 2013, a month-to-month tenant in possession of a rental housing unit at the time the property is foreclosed must be given a 90-day written notice to terminate under California law. For a fixed-term residential lease, the tenant can generally remain until the end of the lease term, and all rights and obligations under the lease shall survive foreclosure, including the tenant’s obligation to pay rent. However, the landlord can give a 90-day written notice to terminate a fixed-term lease after foreclosure under any of the following four circumstances: (1) the purchaser or successor-in-interest will occupy the property as a primary residence; (2) the tenant is the borrower or the borrower’s child, spouse, or parent; (3) the lease was not the result of an arms’ length transaction; or (4) the lease requires rent that is substantially below fair market rent (except if under rent control or government subsidy). The purchaser or successor-in-interest bears the burden of proving that one of the four exceptions has been met. This law does not apply if a borrower stays in the property as a tenant, subtenant, or occupant, or if the property is subject to just cause rent control. This law will expire on December 31, 2019. This new California law is similar, but not identical, to the 90-day termination notice requirement under the federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (12 U.S.C. § 5201, et seq.) (as extended by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act), which is set to expire on December 31, 2014. Assembly Bill 2610.

Settlement Agreement Cannot Prohibit DCA Complaint: As of January 1, 2013, a license regulated under the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), or an agent of the licensee, must not include or permit inclusion in a settlement agreement of a civil dispute, a provision prohibiting the other party from contacting, filing a complaint with, or cooperating with the DCA, or a bureau, board, or program within the DCA. The licensee is also prohibited from including or permitting a provision for the other party to withdraw a DCA complaint. A provision as described is void as against public policy. A licensee violating these requirements is also subject to disciplinary action. This new law also provides that any DCA board or bureau that takes disciplinary action against a license based on a complaint or report that is also the subject of a civil action that has been fully settled monetarily, cannot require a licensee to pay any additional sums to someone who was a plaintiff in the civil action. The DCA has the authority to adopt a regulation exempting settlement agreements for certain causes of actions from these requirements. Real estate licensees will be regulated under the DCA commencing July 1, 2013. Assembly Bill 2570.

Smoke Alarm Requirements for Home Improvers and Landlords: Starting not next year but January 1, 2014, for all dwelling units intended for human occupancy for which a building permit is issued for alterations, repairs, or additions for more than $1,000, the issuer of the building permit will not sign off on the completion of work unless the owner demonstrates that all smoke alarms (previously “smoke detectors”) required for the dwelling unit are devices approved by the State Fire Marshal. Also starting January 1, 2014, to be approved and listed by the State Fire Marshal, a smoke alarm must display the date of manufacture, allow a place for the date of installation to be written, incorporate a hush feature, incorporate an end-of-life warning, and, for battery-operated devices, contain a non-removable 10-year battery. These rules may be superseded by a local rule or ordinance that is more stringent than state law. For properties rented or leased, an owner is generally responsible for testing and maintaining smoke alarms in an apartment complex or other building starting January 1, 2013 and in a single-family residence starting January 1, 2014, and also responsible for installing additional smoke alarms as needed to comply with building standards starting January 1, 2016. Senate Bill 1394.

Protections for Homeowners in Mobilehome Parks: A long time coming for some of our members, a mobilehome park must, starting January 1, 2013, provide a personal property mobilehome owner with a specified notice in the rental agreement for space, and before February 1 every year thereafter. The new notice sets forth the mobilehome owner’s rights and responsibilities, including the right to a 90-day notice of any rent increase, the right not to waive any rights in a rental or sales agreement, the right to just cause termination, the right to sell the home in place in the park, the right not to sell the home to the park, the right not to pay any transfer or selling fee, and the right not to use the park-approved broker or dealer. Assembly Bill 2150.

Lender Must Provide Summary for Foreclosure Notices: A lender must provide a borrower with a specified summary of information attached to a copy of a notice of default and notice of sale for any property containing one-to-four residential units. The summary must be in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean. The beginning of the notice of default and notice of sale must also state in these 6 languages that the summary is attached. The attached summary does not need to be recorded or published. The Department of Corporation (DOC) must provide a standard translation of the statement free-of-charge on its website at www.corp.ca.gov. This requirement takes effect on April 1, 2013 or 90 days after the DOC issues the summary translations, whichever is later. Under existing foreclosure procedures, notices of default and notices of sale must be mailed to borrowers by registered or certified mail as specified. Assembly Bill 1599.

Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act Has Been Reorganized: Effective not next year but on January 1, 2014, the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act that regulates condominiums, townhomes, and planned developments, among others, has been comprehensively reorganized. The goal of the reorganization was to give unit owners and volunteer board members a more logical and user-friendly format. Certain sections that were unclear have been clarified, and terminology has been standardized. The California Law Revision Commission took a conservative approach to making substantive changes to the law, which include, without limitation, providing relative authority of governing documents, providing procedures for amending a common interest declaration, prohibiting a self-interested director from voting on specified matters, and requiring an HOA to release a lien recorded in error within 21 days. Assembly Bill 805.

New Requirements for Brokers Who Sell Notes: Starting January 1, 2013, a real estate broker who engages in a transaction involving the sale or offer to sell a note secured by real property, or the sale of an undivided interest in a note secured by real property, must generally comply with new requirements. Some of the new requirements are substantially similar to current requirements for brokers exempt from securities qualification under Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code section 10238(h), including requirements involving loan-to-value and appraisals. In addition, a broker must obtain and retain for four years a specified statement of the note purchaser’s qualifications of income or net worth. The broker must also make reasonable efforts to ensure that a loan is a suitable and appropriate investment, based on the client’s financial situation and investment objectives. This new responsibility is included in the disclosure statement applicable to negotiating for a client to make a loan or buy notes under Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 10232.4. Senate Bill 978.

Anti-Discrimination Protections For Religious Grooming and Breastfeeding: Commencing January 1, 2013, the protection against religious discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) has been expressly expanded to require an employer or other covered entity to make reasonable accommodations for an individual’s religious grooming or dress practice. Religious grooming or dress is to be broadly construed, and includes head, facial, and body hair, head or face coverings, religious clothing, jewelry, artifacts, or other items that are part of the observance of a religious creed. Segregating an individual is not a reasonable accommodation of someone’s religious grooming or dress practice. No accommodation for religious grooming or dress is required if it violates another law that protects civil rights. Additionally, the FEHA protection against sex discrimination has been expanded by way of a declaration, not a change in existing law, that requires an employer or other covered entity to make reasonable accommodations for breastfeeding or medical conditions related to breastfeeding. Senate Bill 1964 and Assembly Bill 2386.

NEW EMPLOYMENT RELATED LAWS FOR 2013

FEHA's Definition of “Sex” Expanded to Protect Breastfeeding
The California Legislature has taken another step to expand the definition of "sex" under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which prohibits specified discriminatory practices in employment. Under existing law, “sex" includes gender, pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth. AB 2386 expands the definition of "sex" to include breastfeeding and medical conditions relating to breastfeeding.

Religious Accommodation under FEHA Enhanced
Under FEHA, employers must reasonably accommodate religious beliefs and observances of their employees unless the accommodation would create an undue hardship for the employer. AB 1964 clarifies that religious dress and grooming practices are covered "beliefs and observances." In addition, the new law states that FEHA's "significant difficulty or expense" definition of undue hardship, not the narrower federal Title VII standard, applies to the FEHA religious discrimination section. AB 1964 also specifies that segregation, such as assigning an employee to a stock room out of public view, will no longer be an acceptable religious accommodation.

Employee Social Media Privacy Interests Protected
AB 1844, an addition to the California Labor Code, will prohibit employers from requiring or requesting that employees or applicants disclose their user name or password information for any personal social media, or that they "divulge" any personal social media. "Social media" is broadly defined to include any "electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, email, online services or accounts, or Internet Web site profiles or locations." A limited exception will allow employers to ask employees to divulge their personal social media for the purpose of an investigation into alleged employee misconduct or violations of law.

Employee Rights To Inspect Personnel Files Clarified
While existing California law already provides employees with the right to inspect their personnel files, the law was previously unsettled on certain specifics of that process. AB 2674 eliminates some of that confusion by amending the Labor Code to specifically require that employers retain personnel files for at least 3 years following termination of employment, and to permit current and former employees (or their representatives) to inspect and receive a copy of their personnel records within 30 days of a request to do so.
The new law also specifies that an employer is not required to comply with more than 50 requests for copies of personnel records by "a representative or representatives of" employee(s) in one calendar month. In addition, the new law requires that employers develop, and provide upon request, a written form employees may use to request access to, and a copy of, records in their personnel file.

Temporary Services Employers Must Provide Extra Detail on Wage Statements
Beyond the extensive wage statement requirements already in place for California employers under the Labor Code, AB 1744 will amend the Code to require that temporary services employers (with the exception of certain security services companies) include additional information on employee wage statements. Specifically, temporary service employers will also have to include the rate of pay for each separate assignment, the name and address of each entity that secured the temporary employee's services, and the total hours worked for each such entity. These new requirements for temporary services employers will not take effect until July 1, 2013.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Appealing a Denied Life Insurance Claim

An Incentive to Deny


As you know, insurance companies make more money when they deny claims. They will look for any opportunity to delay or deny life insurance coverage. This may involve accusing the deceased policyholder of fraud or misrepresentation or look for improper policy exclusions that would allow them to deny the claim.

Appealing a Denial of Life Insurance Benefits

Many wrongful denials of life insurance benefit claims can be overturned without the cost, frustration, and delay of filing a lawsuit, simply by supplying the right information and knowing how to respond to your insurance companies accusations. Understanding the common tactics utilized by insurance companies and recognizing their deceptive behavior is essential in securing your rights and preparing an effective response. However, before you proceed, it is vital that you understand your rights and obligations under your insurance policy and the law that governs your claim. If you fail to meet your obligations, you may unknowingly fatally destroy your claim. Your response to your insurance company's wrongful denial of your life insurance claim depends on the law that governs your claim. Private insurance policies, purchased independent from your employment, will fall under your state's contract law. However, most group insurance policies, obtained as a product of employment (whether you pay your premiums or your employer pays the premiums) fall under the federal statute, ERISA. Both types of claims have unique and specific requires for claimants in responding to their insurance company's wrongful denial.

The attorney at RAXTER LAW is passionate about using his knowledge and experience in handling these complex legal issues to vigorously fight to protect your rights. Many denials can be overturned prior to litigation, by effectively preparing an appeal in response to your insurance company's wrongful denial of benefits. However, if an insurance company refuses to overturn its wrongful and unreasonable denial, RAXTER LAW will aggressively fight to obtain all the benefits owed to our clients in a court of law. 
 
Call us today for a free consultaiton and case evaluation.
(951) 226-5294
 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7363750n

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7363750n


A good video regarding Life Insurance Denials - Feel free to contact Raxter Law if your find yourself in this situation for a free evaluation.

(951) 226-5294 - Serving all of Southern California.

Life Insurance Denial

Life Insurance Denial


When you purchased life insurance you purchased is as a safety net (honestly, you hoped you never had to claim it). We hope that nothing will happen to us or our loved ones, but in the event that it does, we want those near us not suffer financial hardship.

But when an insurance company sells you a policy, it as a gamble. They have a system called an actuarial table, that virtually guarantees they will win overall. Just take a look at the record profits posted by major insurance companies in recent years and you will notice thier system works (works very well, to be honest). However, insurance companies are not satisfied with just winning—they want to win big, which they do by looking for an excuse to deny every claim, including yours.

One of the most common tactics life insurance companies use to deny your claim is accusing you or your loved one of making a "material misrepresentation" on your application for the policy. Often they will claim your loved one misrepresented his or her:
  • Age
  • Alcohol, drug, or tobacco use
  • Occupation
  • Employment history
  • Dangerous hobbies, pastimes, or behavioral traits
  • Ownership of other life insurance policies
They can claim that these material representations invalidate the policy, even if they had nothing to do with the cause of death.

In these cases, the material misrepresentation is ripe for legal argument. As an experienced life insurance attorney I can make sure the policy is honored even in the face of such claims by the insurance company.

With a lawyer on your side, the insurance company must follow all the rules (both legally and contained within the policy) thereby assuring you will not have to suffer from a "blanket denial."

First if you have lost a loved one, let me be the first to state that I am sorry for your loss. Second, if you have received a denial from your life insurance carrier, or expect one, call the Attorney at RAXTER LAW at  (951) 226-5294.

The consulation is FREE and most cases are accepted on a contingency basis - which means no recovery no fee. We represent client in all of southern california.

 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Estate and Lifetime Gift Tax set to expire

If Congress doesn’t act, the estate and lifetime gift tax exemptions, which are currently $5.12 million per person and $10.24 million per married couple, will expire at the end of 2012 and return to $1 million per person and $2 million per married couple in 2013...

Monday, October 29, 2012

School District's are not imune from lawsuit for negligent hiring

Recently the California Supreme Court decided in C.A. v. William S. Hart Union High School District (2012) 53 Cal.4th 861.

In this Case the court held that a school district under Section 815.2 of the Government Code could be held liable for negligent hiring and/or supervision which resulted in the plaintiff being sexually harassed and abused by a counselor. Factually, the case involved a high school counselor who harassed and abused a student. The student sued, and the superior court and Court of Appeal held that the school district could not be held vicariously liable for the counselor’s misconduct, which was outside the scope of her employment, and also could not be held liable under a negligent hiring or supervision claim. The Supreme Court unanimously reversed, permitting the plaintiff to move forward with his claim that the district can be held vicariously liable for the negligence of supervisory or administrative personnel who allegedly knew, or should have known, of the counselor’s propensities and nevertheless hired, retained and inadequately supervised her. The court reasoned that because school personnel owe students under their supervision a protective duty of ordinary care, if a supervisory or administrative employee of the district is proven to have breached that duty by negligently exposing the plaintiff to a foreseeable danger of molestation by his guidance counselor, liability may be imposed.

The Government Code does not protect school districts when they negligently hire a employee who harasses and abuses a child.

Contact RAXTER LAW today for a confidential free consultation at (951) 226-5294.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Southern California Eminent Domain Law Office

Under the law of eminent domain, municipal, state or federal governmental bodies have the right to take private land for public use. The power of eminent domain is used for public projects such as schools, government buildings, utilities, or transportation systems and highways. Eminent domain laws also give property owners the right to fair compensation and other remedies.

At the Southern California law office of RAXTER LAW, we protect the rights of residential and commercial property owners and displaced commercial tenants or business owners in the Riverside and San Bernardino County area and throughout Southern California.

If you have received notice from the condemnor of a Resolution of Necessity hearing, our office can represent you at that proceeding. If the condemning agency has made an offer to you that you believe is too low, we can help you obtain your own appraisal and negotiate for fair market value.

Did you know that California law requires that the condemning government agency pay the property owner up to $5,000 for their own appraisal?

California Eminent Domain law is set forth in the California Code of Civil Procedure.

Contact RAXTER LAW for a FREE CONSULTATION regarding your eminent domain matter. Give us a call at 951-226-5294. We look forward to speaking with you.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What is the difference between a will and a trust?

Below is a link to an article that I authored regarding the "Differences between a will and a trust" that was published in the local Menifee Buzz newspaper.

Check it out here:

New Sign

Menifee Attorney
Menifee Lawyer, Sun City Lawyer, Menifee Attorney, Menifee Law Office
Our new sign! If anyone needs the services of a sign professional I would highly recommend

Jarrod Townsend of All Pro Signs. He is local, professional, and a true artist. You can reach him at 951-324-3289.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Menifee Buzz

Menifee Buzz is a local newspaper with the obvious Menifee focus. The paper is highly recommended and has a great "legal" writer (I'm clearly biased).

http://www.menifeebuzz.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=610:scams--if-its-too-good-to-be-truewell-you-know&catid=36:general&Itemid=149




Scams - If it is too good to be true...well you know!

I was planning to write an article covering the topic of conservatorships, however, an issue was brought to my attention this month that is of a more pressing nature. This month alone approximately ten clients have been the attempted victims of a scam. Luckily, none became actual victims. So, let me use this opportunity to discuss a few of the common scams that are running rampant as of today.

First- We all know about the “lottery scam” where a party, company, whoever tells you won a lottery. A lottery that is, that you never entered. That fact seems to elude most people. In order to claim the “prize” you must send money ahead of time (either for taxes, processing fees, etc). Well, you see where this is going. I suppose the first thing we must remember never (I mean never) send money via Western Union without personally knowing the recipient.

Second- This scam is fairly new and prevalent in our area. Scammers will often try to take advantage of the increased vulnerability of senior citizens who have recently lost a loved one. In one recent example, scammers would find targets by scouring the obituaries. They would then call the widow or widower and claim that their spouse had outstanding debts that needed to be paid immediately. Victims would then be persuaded to provide a blank check or credit card. Never fall victim to this scam. The reason probate was created was to protect creditors.

Third- This one is not per se illegal but still doesn’t pass the “smell test”. In this case, a very official letter arrives in the mail telling you that you “must send money in order to receive a certified copy of your deed” and that you must have a copy of your deeds in order to prove legal title. The letter I reviewed last month requested nearly $200.00 for this “service”. Please, understand that the reason the county recorder is around is to maintain the official property records of the county (among other things). In fact, if you would like a copy of your deed all you have to do is request one from the Recorder for a cost of less than $20.00.

No one is immune from scammers. In fact, as I type this article I am looking at a “certified cashiers” check that arrived in the mail from the Caribbean for a substantial sum for a client my office never represented. All “they” want in return is a large amount of personal information….so, if the check clears this may by my last article.

If you receive something in the mail, or a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. When in doubt, have an adult child, a family friend, or a professional review any offer before signing. For more information regarding scams please visit www.raxterlaw.com/scams Good luck.

Do not be a victim, knowledge is power.

http://www.menifeebuzz.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=610:scams--if-its-too-good-to-be-truewell-you-know&catid=36:general&Itemid=149

Saturday, March 17, 2012

We are moving (down the street)

Raxter Law - Menifee Lawyer and Attorney is moving to new office. Actually, the new office is only about a mile or so from the previous office. The new office is located at:

Raxter Law
27851 Bradley Rd, Suite 145
Menifee, Ca 92584
(951) 226-5294

Our phone number remains the same. The new office will allow us to provide better service and bis better suited to evening apppointments.

Stop by and say hello!


Menifee Lawyer has moved to a new office

Sunday, February 5, 2012

New Corporation types


As of January 1, 2012, there are two new subtypes of stock corporations in California — a

“flexible purpose corporation” and a “benefit corporation.” The new corporation subtypes allow

entrepreneurs and investors to organize stock corporations that can pursue both economic and

social objectives. The new stock corporation subtypes differ from traditional for profit

corporations that are organized to pursue profit and nonprofit corporations that must be used

solely to promote social benefits.