Monday, December 24, 2012

Alameda County Superior Court, Oaklans, CA

Untitled by TulipFleurs
Untitled, a photo by TulipFleurs on Flickr.

Oakland, CA Happy Holidays from Real Estate Mediation Services.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Arbitrator Training Jim Hildreth

Arbitrator Training by JimHildreth
Arbitrator Training, a photo by JimHildreth on Flickr.

Completion of Arbitration Training at The San Francisco Bar Association November 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I had the opportunity to work with Jim Hildreth on one of my Real Estate transactions recently in Copperopolis, CA. This transaction required Mediation Services. Mr. Hildreth was the Mediator. He followed through with every detail and the transaction closed escrow in a timely manner. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

California Landlord Tenant Dispute

As a mediator I was assigned a mediation between Landlord and Tenant, over a dispute involving the security deposit.  The landlord had taken a larger amount of the security deposit and the case ended up in court.

Legal disputes between landlords and tenants have gained a reputation for being almost and strained and emotional as divorce court.

Many disputes are unnecessary and could be avoided.

In this case, Landlord had used a property manager, and no move in or move out inspections were completed.

In the mediation it was apparent communications between all parties had broken down, including the property manager.

Questions about worn carpet, a room with no heat, a room that had been painted for a baby's room, cost that were deducted filled the room in the 2.5 hour dispute.

The lesson to be learned in this heated exchange, that if the property manager had used an initial Move In Check List and had been copied to the landlord and in the end when tenant requested a Move Out Inspection, the manager should have completed this task, much of this dispute would have been avoided.

In addition it is the wise Landlord who will invest in knowledge of Rights and Responsibilities of Landlord Tenant Law in California.

It is also prudent, that tenants know their legal rights.

One good source for both Landlords ad Tenants is the Nolo Series, you can order these online, buy them at your favorite bookstore, or often find them at your local Law Library.

For the real estate community Move In and Move Out Inspections forms are available via the California Association of Realtors.

In the end the parties reached a settlement in Mediation.

Jim W Hildreth-Mediator-Referee- Arbitrator

Monday, October 1, 2012

Abandoned Personal Property

 California Landlord News

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.


Jim W Hildreth-Mediator

Notice of Default Disclosure

 Foreclosure News & Notice of Default with your Tenants.

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.

Jim W Hildreth-Mediator

California Smoke Alarms Requirenents.

 California Smoke Alarm News.

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.

Jim W Hildreth-Mediator

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Modified Seller 2nd Note Wiped Out

Modified Seller Held Note Subject to Anti-Deficiency Statutes.

Appellant buyers purchased a multi-unit parcel from the seller for $1,265,000.00. The purchase price consisted of a cash down payment, a purchase money first trust deed financed by an independent lender, and a purchase money second trust deed in favor of the seller securing a promissory note for $245,000.00.

A few years later, the buyers sued the seller for non-disclosure of housing code violations in the original transaction. In settlement of that lawsuit, the parties agreed to reduce the amount of the seller’s note. The note was also modified to extend its term and reduce the monthly payments to interest only

Sometime thereafter, the buyers defaulted on both first and second promissory notes. The holder of the first trust deed foreclosed on the property, wiping out the second trust deed.

The seller, thereafter, filed a motion to enforce the settlement agreement as a separate judgment under the provisions of section 664.6 of the Code of Civil Procedure, claiming the full amount of the note plus interest and attorneys’ fees. The buyer opposed the motion on the grounds that the anti-deficiency statute (section 580b of the Code of Civil Procedure) precluded the seller from recovering a deficiency judgment and limited the seller’s recovery to the note’s security, which had been exhausted. The trial court entered judgment in favor of the seller for $215,615.00 for the principal amount, unpaid interest, and attorneys’ fees.

The Second District Court of Appeal reversed the judgment in Weinstein v. Rocha B235931, filed August 1, 2012. The DCA held that the settlement agreement, “… did not create a separately enforceable independent obligation…” for the buyer to pay the seller $200,000.00. The settlement agreement was tied to the promissory note as a modification of the terms of the note, which was a seller financed note secured by a deed of trust. As such, the seller’s sole remedy was limited to his note’s security, which was exhausted by the foreclosure of the first trust deed.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Orange grove, Orange County, 1961

Was asked to resolve a dispute today in Orange County involving a consumer and a real estate agent, who is being rude, defensive and unprofessional. Jim Hildreth Mediator of Real Estate Mediation Services has a specialty involving & resolving real estate disputes in California.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Superior Court

Superior Court by JimHildreth
Superior Court, a photo by JimHildreth on Flickr.

Will meet with a Buyer over a California Estate Dispute involving non-disclosure issues.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Reminder Californians

Contaminated Smoke Detector by rport
Contaminated Smoke Detector, a photo by rport on Flickr.

Just a reminder, The bottom line is that ALL SINGLE FAMILY 1-4 dwelling California residential dwelling units as of July 1, 2011 must have a CO detector, even those that are not being sold. All other dewlling units (multi-family, dormatories, hotels, motels, etc) must have CO detectors installed by January 1, 2013.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Columbia Stage Coach

Columbia Stage Coach by JimHildreth
Columbia Stage Coach, a photo by JimHildreth on Flickr.

In the past five years, I have done some interesting mediation's, from a stolen tractor, guns, a mummy cat, dog disputes and today I was asked to mediate a dispute involving a passenger on a stage coach.

I look forward in being the mediator.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mediation ADR Advantages

Untitled by TulipFleurs
Untitled, a photo by TulipFleurs on Flickr.

ADR can have a number of advantages over a lawsuit.

ADR can save time. A dispute often can be resolved in a matter of months, even weeks, through ADR, while a lawsuit can take years.

ADR can save money. Court costs, attorney fees, and expert fees can be saved .

ADR can be cooperative. This means that the parties having a dispute may work together with the neutral to resolve the dispute and agree to a remedy that makes sense to them, rather than work against each other.

ADR can reduce stress. There are fewer, if any, court appearances. ADR can be speedier, and save money and because the parties are normally cooperative, ADR is easier on the nerves . The parties don't have a lawsuit hanging over their heads for years.

ADR encourages participation. The parties may have more chances to tell their side of the story than in court and may have more control over the outcome.

ADR is flexible . The parties can choose the ADR process that is best for them. For example, in mediation the parties may decide how to resolve their dispute.

ADR can be more satisfying. For all the above reasons, many people have reported a high degree of satisfaction with ADR.
Superior Court,

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tuolumne County Superior Court

Do not risk loosing Attorney fees in California Real Estate Disputes awarded to the prevailing party in litigation. Mediate that dispute first.

Cullen vs. Corwin C-067861 06-07-12

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

California Landlord Tenant Dispute

The California landlord and tenant have a one year lease. The landlord insist on a one year extension. Landlord prepares a written extension and signs the document. Tenant refuses to sign the extension.

A physical fight develops and tenant end up in hospital with a $6,000 medical bills.

Both the Landlord and tenant insist the other provoked the fight.

Each files criminal assault charges against one another.

Landlord seeks emergency legal advise. No attorney's are available that day.

A mediator is called for a "emergency", landlord insist on an emergency mediation, however his real intentions is a "walk thru" as he wants tenants out.

Tenants refuse the mediation request and then change their mind, after trusting the mediator.

All parties agree to meet with the out of town landlord and mediator. The walk thru is not a mediation, and landlord further agitate tenants and they advise the landlord to leave their home.

Mediator's suggestion is let things settle down for a few days. Landlord want to serve a 3-day notice.

Landlord call both the tenants and mediator over and over wanting instant results.

Landlord promises mediator payment in full within days. Check does not arrive.

Landlord makes decision to partially pay mediator as he does not want to pay for 40 minutes of phone time prior to the walk thru.

Landlord claims wife sent check, landlord promises check will be in mail.

Tenants refuse to pay current rent as they do not trust the landlord.

Landlord has $3,000 security deposit.

Tenant's cant move unless they have their security deposit returned.

Mediator suggest a draft settlement.

Both landlord and tenant refuse to pay mediator, landlord sees it as a no value and tenant has no funds.

Landlord suggest a extra 30 days, with the same rent, but wants late charges weeks that equals $250 dollars, the previous late charge was $50.00

Looks like this dispute may end up in court.

All in a days work, as a California mediator.

Jim W Hildreth-Mediator
Real Estate Mediation Services

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Amador County Superior Court

A trail is set in early July 2012, for a partnership that has gone sour. The challenge is none of the partners had a written agreement, and millions of dollars are on the table. The case was sent to mediation and a second mediation is set prior to trial as a last ditch effort to attempt to bring the parties together in some form of resolve, thus avoiding a costly and emotional trial. Jim W Hildreth is the mediator neutral of Real Estate Mediation Services.

Oakland Skyline

Oakland Skyline by JimHildreth
Oakland Skyline, a photo by JimHildreth on Flickr.

Will complete this week in Oakland, CA a real estate mediation, involving a foreclosure and the owner of the fourplex. At the table will be multiple attorneys and the parties of record. Jim W Hildreth is the mediator neutral.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Jim Hildreth Mediator

Jim Hildreth by Miss Bliss 55
Jim Hildreth, a photo by Miss Bliss 55 on Flickr.

As a mediator, I travel from city to city in Northern California, doing real estate disputes. I like mediation and the satisfaction, that often it opens the doors to resolve disputes vs ongoing litigation. We have just taken the next step of offering mediation's CA via We can lower your cost and safe time.

Real Estate Mediation Services of Jim W Hildreth (209) 988-3905