Articles Posted in Real Estate

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In general, subletting your apartment is a great way to save the cost of rent when you leave for a period of time–for example, to go on vacation or study abroad. However, subletting your apartment without considering the legal implications or local requirements can lead to a legal nightmare. At the Law Offices of Salar Atrizadeh, an attorney with knowledge and expertise in real property litigation and transactions can review applicable real property law with you and ensure that subletting your apartment is in your best interest

What Should I Do Before Subleasing My Apartment?

First, it is important to make sure that the area you live in allows for subletting and short-term leases. In some cities, such as New York City, it is illegal to rent for shorter than 30 days. California allows for subleases, unless a rental agreement specifically prohibits subleasing. To avoid future legal conflicts, make sure to check with your landlord to ensure the lease agreement allows for subleases. Additionally, it helps to consult an attorney who can review the law that applies in your area so you are aware of your rights and responsibilities under a sublease agreement. Even after you sublet your apartment, you are still responsible to your landlord for the property. For instance, if a subtenant causes damage to the property the landlord can initiate a lawsuit against you to collect a judgment for the cost of the damages. Therefore, it is in your best interest to make sure that the subtenant is a reliable tenant. As such, it is a good idea to ask for a security deposit. This way, if a subtenant does damage the property you have the authority to keep the deposit to cover any maintenance or repairs.

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In January 2013, the California Homeowner Bill of Rights will take effect, providing unparalleled protection for homeowners across the state. This Bill, which is the first of its kind, will reform the foreclosure process and provide unique protection for homeowners. The Attorney General of California, Kamala Harris pioneered the Bill in an effort to find a solution to the state’s foreclosure crisis. Under this legislation, homeowners in this state will have the best protection against foreclosures and lender abuses in the nation.

The foreclosure rates in California are one of the highest in America. This law comes at a time when homeowners struggle with banks to keep their homes, a battle that banks win more often than not. Indeed, a recent audit of the foreclosures in San Francisco revealed that 99% of the underlying loans had some legal issues. In addition, 84% of those loans exhibited “clear violations of the law.” However, after California passed the Bill, homeowners should be able to take on lenders more effectively in an effort to keep their homes.

A key provision in the Bill restricts “dual-track foreclosures.” As a result, lenders will be barred from continuing foreclosure proceedings while they are in loan modification discussions with homeowners. The Bill also imposes civil liability against lenders for utilizing “robo-signing” to file foreclosure documents. Through robo-signing lenders’ employees approve foreclosures without first reviewing the underlying mortgage documents. In order to help improve communications between lenders and homeowners, the Bill will also require that lenders present a single contact person for each customer. This will ensure that homeowners are able to facilitate sufficient communications with their lenders in order to efficiently reach a solution regarding their mortgages.

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The United States government recently filed suit against 17 financial companies, including, but not limited to, the largest domestic banks, for selling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities worth billions of dollars that turned bad when the housing market collapsed.

Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., JP Morgan Chase & Co., and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. were some of the financial firms which were targeted by the lawsuits. Also, European banks including the Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank, and Credit Suisse were also included in the recent lawsuit.

These complaints were filed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. This agency oversees Fannie and Freddie which purchase mortgage loans and securities issued by lenders. The total price of the mortgage-backed securities sold to Fannie and Freddie equals $196 billion.

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The federal government is suing Deutsche Bank, accusing the bank of committing fraud by repeatedly lying to the government and for reckless lending practices in underwriting thousands of federally insured mortgages that ultimately cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the bank “repeatedly and brazenly” took part in shoddy lending practices for mortgages “that were really ticking time bombs.” Bharara says sometimes the bank even failed to verify that a mortgage applicant even was employed. “In fact, they often seemed to treat red flags as if they were green lights. … While the homes the defendants issued loans for may have been built on solid ground, the defendants’ lending practices were built on quicksand.”

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