Personal property rights and related matters are often a subject of dispute. This can be the case when someone’s home is being foreclosed upon, someone abandons a home, as well as when someone is facing eviction. In all of these instances, it’s important to consult with an attorney that has experience with these areas of the law. This includes, but is not limited to, foreclosure, eviction, buying and selling homes, and personal property rights.
In 2013, for example, one out of every 96 homeowners reported that they experienced a minimum of one foreclosure. More recently, it has been predicted that one out of every 200 homes will face foreclosure. There are strict state laws and regulations to address the issue of foreclosure. In addition to issuing proper notices, homeowners also need to be provided with opportunities to pay prior to the sale of their property in a foreclosure sale.
When homes are abandoned, there are specific civil procedures that apply. If a home is abandoned in California, for example, Title 10 labels this as an “unclaimed property” under these circumstances:
- The property appears to be abandoned.
- A legal owner cannot be located.
In some instances, family members may not be properly informed that a house has been abandoned and that they may have personal property rights to the home itself or to items in that home. Once this is discovered, it would be in their best interests to consult an attorney. After three years have passed, however, and the property has yet to be claimed, then it will be transferred to the government of California.
In the case of eviction, when renters in the state of California have lived in a home and/or apartment for over a year, landlords must provide a minimum of 60 days’ notice for them to vacate the premises. When tenants approach their landlords in an attempt to resolve this issue, there is some recourse. The tenant or the landlord may request mediation or a trial. If the case goes to court, the judge will determine the outcome within an average of 20 days.
Real Estate Contracts
California law is very explicit as it pertains to written real estate contracts. The Statute of Frauds, for instance, requires that these specific types of contracts must be in writing:
- Leases that extend beyond a year
- Commission agreements made between principals and real estate licensees
- Real estate contract sales
Once someone has entered into a purchase contract, there are various factors that will determine how long it will take to close. While the contract should include the specific closing date and/or the number of days until closing, it will usually be finalized within four to ten weeks. This will vary from state to state, however.
When a prospective buyer is planning to purchase a home within California, for example, the law requires that real estate agents need to disclose specific information about the property. This is particularly the case when a death has occurred on the premises. In the event that this death occurred within three years prior to the sale, this must be disclosed.
It’s also important to have an inspection performed prior to purchasing a home. According to the National Association of REALTORS, 77% of prospective home buyers will do so before making a purchase. It’s also important for sellers to have a professional home inspection performed prior to putting their house on the market. In tis way, any necessary repairs can be taken care of prior to listing the house.
Some home sellers, however, may choose to sell their home “as is” without conducting repairs. In this case, the potential buyers need to be apprised of this. Given that some home buyers plan to either tear down an existing property to construct a new one or are otherwise planning to renovate, this, too, needs to be disclosed and approved by the proper authorities.
Why You Should Consult With an Attorney
Given the above, it’s important to consult with a real estate law firm so that you are aware of your rights and responsibilities under the law. Furthermore, an attorney can also review and draw up contracts, handle disputes, and other important matters, such as appraising you of your personal property rights.