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