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real estate

Types of Commercial Leases

There are three basic types of commercial real estate leases which are organized around two rent calculation methods: “net” and “gross.” With a gross lease, a tenant typically pays one lump sum for rent, from which the landlord pays his expenses. The net lease has a smaller base rent, and the tenant pays other expenses. The modified gross lease is a happy marriage between the two.

Gross Lease Lease

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Month to Month Tenancies


In real estate law, a “Periodic Tenancy” has no defined ending date — the “term” keeps rolling over and over. (ex: month-to-month or year-to year). The tenancy continues for successive periods until the tenant gives the landlord notification that he wants to end the tenancy. In other words, if the landlord or tenant do not give the other a sufficient notice, the tenancy repeats (weekly, monthly, etc…) depending on what its initial periodicity. The periodicity might be stated in the lease; otherwise, it generally matches the rent interval.

How do I end a periodic tenancy?

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Elements of a Real Estate Purchase Contract

Well-drafted real estate purchase contracts in California should clearly delineate the terms of the deal – parties, price, escrow, closing date, time for inspections, etc… While it is not required that a real estate attorney look over your contract before closing, it is generally a wise idea. In some cases, the contracts do not contain all the necessary terms, or they contain language more favorable to one party. It may or may not be possible to claim that the contract is unenforceable once both parties have signed.

Indeed, in a 2008 Supreme Court decision, the court clarified that the only elements necessary for enforcing a real estate contract are the seller, the buyer, the price to be paid, the time and manner of payment, and the property to be transferred. If the case goes to court, the court can fill in based on what is usual and customary. The court also noted that if an essential element is reserved for the future agreement of both parties, there is no legal obligation until such future agreement.

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Overtime Penalties Under the FLSA

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that employers pay employees time and one-half of their regular rate of pay for every hour they work in excess of 40 hours in a given workweek (29 U.S.C. § 207(a)). Failure to comply with overtime regulations, absent an exception or exemption, can result in penalties and legal battles.

California employers that fail to make proper overtime payments are liable to employees for their unpaid overtime compensation. Damages can include backpay, which employees can seek by filing a claim in federal court, and liquidated damages, an amount equal to the pay employees should have received. In other words, the FLSA allows for employees to recover double “backpay” damages for unpaid overtime.

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Avoiding Construction Disputes

Construction is big business in Los Angeles, where land is scarce and developers spend millions to turn an existing property into something new and fresh. With all of this remodeling and renovation, disputes are bound to happen. Whether you are a contractor, owner, engineer, architect, developer, or other participant in a construction project, the outcome of construction disputes can have significant effects on all involved parties. If you are involved in a construction dispute, work with an experienced real estate lawyer to ensure the best possible outcome.

Types of construction disputes

Construction disputes in Los Angeles can involve an array of issues. These issues can include:

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Landlord vs Tenant: Who Makes Repairs?

You’re leasing an apartment, home, or condominium in Los Angeles and your landlord refuses to make the necessary repairs, or so you believe. What are your legal rights?

If you believe that the property you are renting needs repairs and that the landlord is responsible for the repairs under the implied warranty of habitability, it is best to notify the landlord in writing and with a phone call. An implied warranty of habitability is a warranty implied by law in all residential leases that the premises are fit and habitable for human habitation and that the premises will remain fit and habitable throughout the duration of the lease. Your landlord is required by law to keep his/her property “habitable,” even if the lease does specifically require him/her to make repairs.

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Can Contractors Be Held Liable for Construction Defects?

If you’ve ever remodeled or updated a property in California, you understand firsthand that hiring a contractor to make improvements or repairs to a home or business can be a complex process. From choosing the right licensed and qualified contractor for the job to getting a fair price for your project, it can be a stressful period for even the most experienced property owner.

While many contractors perform the job for which they were paid to do without issue, some do not. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for residential or commercial property owners to discover (especially after the fact) that a contractor caused more harm than good. As such, it is important to understand when it is appropriate to take legal action.

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Tenant / Landlord Debate: Who Owns the Fixtures?

The law of fixtures states that when personal property is permanently attached to a structure or land, by means of bolts, screws, nails, cement, glue or other permanent attachment, it becomes a fixture which is part of the real estate. In real estate, this means that a tenant who attaches a piece of personal property to a
wall may not be able to get it back when the lease is up. However, “whether an article is a fixture is ordinarily a question of fact to be determined upon the evidence in the particular case, and the question is determined not only by the manner in which the article is annexed to the realty but also by the relationship between the parties.” This means that if you and your landlord / tenant are having a disagreement about whether an item is a fixture or not, you may need the assistance of an experienced real estate attorney.

What is a fixture?

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Real Estate Disclosure Laws in California

In California, the law is relatively clear on the rules about what must be disclosed in a real estate transaction. Indeed, in many residential cases, sellers there are required to complete or sign off on over 50 pages of documents, including a Natural Hazards Disclosure Statement, Lead Based Paint Disclosure, Advisories about Market Conditions, and Megan’s Law Disclosures. Failure to adequately disclose any issues the buyer should be aware of could lead to a claim of fraud against the seller.

Fraud in a commercial or residential real estate transaction usually occurs when there is a material misrepresentation of facts, concealment or nondisclosure of facts, or breach of fiduciary duty by the real estate agent or employing real estate broker.

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The Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment

What is the ‘covenant of quite enjoyment’? In California real estate law, a covenant is a promise that the grantee or tenant of an estate in real property will be able to possess the premises in peace, without disturbance by hostile claimants. Quiet enjoyment is a right to the undisturbed use and enjoyment one’s real estate.

Often, a covenant is an agreement between two parties to do or refrain from doing something. For example, in the tenant / lessor context, the landlord promises that during the term of the tenancy the tenant’s use and enjoyment of the premises will not be disturbed. Unlike it’s name, quiet enjoyment does not just mean a right to a peaceful night’s sleep (peace and quiet). Indeed, quiet enjoyment includes the right to exclude others from the premises, the right to clean premises, and the right to basic services such as heat and hot water and, for high-rise buildings, elevator service.

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