Tenant's Rights When a Landlord Violates Residential Lease Laws

California law provides residential renters basic legal rights regardless of the terms of a lease agreement or the invoices of a landlord. Based on the situation, you are able to address a suspected violation of the rights as a tenant in several ways. You can file a complaint with a government agency, take your landlord to court or, in certain circumstances, use self-help remedies such as abandoning the lease unit.

Report to a Government Agency

Various government agencies oversee the activities of landlords and act on complaints to ensure that tenant rights aren’t violated. For example, on the state level, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is investigates and litigates housing discrimination complaints, including those associated with a prospective tenant’s effort to lease a residential unit. Local agencies are usually responsible for health related problems, such as pest management and habitability issues. If your landlord does not properly address such difficulties, it is possible to report your landlord to the local health agency. The agency will inspect the property and, if appropriate, issue a notice of violation with directions to the landlord to remedy the situation.

Repair and Deduct

If your rental unit sustains damages that affect its habitability, you are eligible to fix the hurt yourself and deduct the expense of repair from the rent under certain circumstances. The “repair-and-deduct” remedy is only accessible after you first notify your landlord of these required repairs and give the landlord a reasonable time to make the repairs. Under California law, 30 days is presumed to be a reasonable time. You can use the repair-and-deduct remedy if the landlord fails to make the repairs. This remedy has added limitations: the repairs cannot be more expensive than one month’s rent and you cannot use the remedy over twice in a 12-month interval.

Abandon the Rental Unit

As an alternative to the repair-and-deduct remedy, it is possible to abandon the lease unit. This remedy is usually used when the cost of repairing the settlement is greater than one month’s rent. You must also give the landlord notice and a reasonable time to fix the harm as you have to with the repair-and-deduct remedy. When this remedy is used properly, you are no longer responsible for paying rent after the unit is vacated. The vital point is the harm to the unit must leave it unfit for habitation.

Civil Lawsuit

You have the right to take your landlord to court any time that your rights as a tenant have been violated. This includes suing your landlord though you still occupy the rental unit. For example, if the landlord failed to create needed roof repairs and your own personal possessions sustained water damage during a rain storm, you can sue your landlord for the damage to your house whilst still renting your unit. Also, you can sue your landlord after vacating the unit, which usually takes place when the landlord wrongfully withholds a few or all of your security deposit.

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How to Find a Real Estate Lien Holder

A lien is a claim against a property. If you’re interested in a specific home, it is important to uncover any hidden liens. Real estate liens attach to the property, not the debtor. When ownership changes hands, then the lien remains on the home. Mortgage businesses require a clean title before a loan is issued. If you’re purchasing the home outright or purchasing a foreclosure at an auction, check for property rebate yourself prior to signing a contract. California county recorders keep a searchable property database that provides lien holder information.

Obtain property details in the county tax assessor. Tax records are public record. It is possible to view the owner’s name, description of the land, lot and assessor’s identification number.

Go to the county recorder’s office. Some counties offer information on the web, but in most cases you’ll need to search the registry of deeds in person. With the particular property information, you can see legal documents regarding the ownership, for example, mortgage holder and judgment liens filed by creditors.

Piece together the info. Each previous sale, transfer, mortgage, mortgage, mortgage release, and lien make up the property’s “title”. The records are not all grouped together, but rather filed by date of occurrence.

Pay to get a title report. If you don’t need to search yourself, you can employ a title company, attorney, or escrow company to retrieve the info. The title report comprises the names of titleholders and the way title is held, tax rate, property taxes due, and encumbrances, like mortgages, liens, deeds of trusts, recorded judgments.

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What Happens to Your Home Equity Line of Credit When You Default?

Default equals. A home equity line of credit is just a line of credit secured by a lien on your home. Essentially, a home equity line of credit is exactly like a second home loan. Default under the home equity line of credit enables the creditor to foreclose and sell your home.


When you apply for and get a house equity line of credit, the lender will require you to sign a mortgage or trust deed, both of which are legal documents that give the creditor a lien on your home. The lien is your lender’s remedy if you default in your repayment on the line of credit. The creditor exercises which remedy by carrying out foreclosure after you default.


The very first thing happens when you default on your house equity line of credit is the lender will send you a Notice of Default and Election to Sell. This Notice of Default is an official letter which initiates the foreclosure procedure. The Notice of Default points out that you’ve breached your repayment obligation and the creditor intends to sell your house in foreclosure.


The Notice of Default also accelerates the home equity line of credit, which basically means that the creditor is now demanding payment in full online of credit. Rather than paying the line of credit off over time, after acceleration you must pay back the full amount of the outstanding balance on the line of credit immediately in order to prevent foreclosure.

Foreclosure Sale

Three to six months, depending on state law, after sending the Notice of Default, the creditor then has the right to send a note of a foreclosure deal. The foreclosure sale is a public auction where a third party, called a trustee, sells your home to the highest bidder and then uses the money earned to pay off the home equity line of credit. Any sales proceeds that are excess will be reimbursed to you.


After the foreclosure sale, you no longer have a right to occupy your house. If you try and stay in the house, either the creditor or the new owner who purchased the house at the foreclosure sale may file an eviction suit and have the sheriff eliminate you from the house. Eviction means the sheriff forcibly removes you and your possessions from your house.


Default on a house equity line of credit is every bit as significant as according to a primary home loan. You stand to eliminate the very house that secures the line of credit. It should go without saying, then, that default should never be an option.

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Can Bankruptcy Prevent Foreclosure?

Foreclosure allows a mortgage business to seize property when the borrower discontinues his monthly payments. The rationale behind the lack of payments differs depending upon the homeowner, but frequently a change in financial situation is to blame. In cases like these, some people file for bankruptcy to stop foreclosure from occurring.


Bankruptcy prevents foreclosure through an automatic stay. Santa Clara University Law defines the automatic stay as an injunction preventing any creditor from taking legal actions against a person who has declared himself bankrupt. His mortgage company may not initiate or proceed with foreclosure. Debtors receive protection through the automatic stay regardless of whether their personal bankruptcy case is a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.


According to the Federal Trade Commission, Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows debtors to repay outstanding debts rather than lose property as a consequence of their previous inability to make payments. Chapter 7 bankruptcy, however, requires the bankruptcy trustee to sell off any non-exempt assets the debtor owns–including her property. Thus, if the individual’s home does not fall under the exemptions allowed by her state or the national government, she could lose her home to the bankruptcy court rather than her mortgage lender.


A debtor who can afford to cover his mortgage payments after the bankruptcy court releases other outstanding debts might have the option to”reaffirm” their own mortgages. This prevents foreclosure from the mortgage business whilst at the same time preventing the bankruptcy trustee from seizing and selling the property. Reaffirmation is readily available for debtors in Chapter 7 bankruptcy who would otherwise lose their homes provided they have sufficient monthly income to cover their house payments and the mortgage lender agrees to the reaffirmation.


In a typical bankruptcy case, irrespective of chapter, the automatic stay remains in place until the insolvency verification, which takes approximately 60 days. The U.S. Bankruptcy Code, but contains provisions which shorten the distance of the automatic stay if the debtor filed prior bankruptcies which were disregarded over the previous 12 months. If somebody registered one previous bankruptcy which was dismissed by the court, then the automatic stay just remains in effect for 30 days. If he registered two preceding bankruptcies within the past calendar year, the court won’t grant him an automatic stay.


Although filing for bankruptcy can provide debtors with an effective approach to reduce foreclosure from occurring, mortgage lenders may request the court to lift the automatic stay when preventing foreclosure hurts the lender’s financial interests. If, by way of example, the debtor’s income won’t allow him to make mortgage payments after his bankruptcy discharge, the court may raise the stay and permit the lender to waive (See References 1).

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The Way to Locate a Deed for Land

If buying or selling land, locating the land deed is extremely important. A land deed determines validity of possession. Without a deed, the landholder could face legal battles for the right to use, insure or construct on the house. Additionally, Linda Ashar's & Sandy Baker’s publication “The Complete Guide to Planning Your Estate in California” explains that a suitable deed will allow for smoother property transition into loved ones upon departure or property intrusion (see Reference 1).

Look for deed documents employing Web-based public records databases. Land deeds are registered at the county level, so you’ll should utilize a public document database which includes county documents along with the usual country records. Most county sites include such databases. If performing an internet search using a website not directly connected with your county of residence, you should always make sure the search directory hyperlinks back to an official county registrar website for verification.

Contact your county recorder or recorder ’s office right if your personal county does not have an internet database. As stated by Online Searches, a website offering free public records searches, most county recorder or registrar’s offices provide searchable public records databases (see Reference 2). But, smaller businesses across the United States may accept only telephone or in-person public records requests.

Request official copies of their land deeds as soon as you have found them. A computer printout or complimentary county registrar photocopy may not hold up in court. For the greatest legal protection to your land, you’ll wish to acquire a notarized copy from the county recorder’s workplace. In most counties you’ll be required to pay a small fee for a formal copy of the deed. Once you’ve paid the fee, copies can be obtained at the registrar’s delivered or office through certified USPS mail.

Hire a lawyer to contest the common-law ownership of your land deed if the official deed does not indicate the real owner. All land in the United States is deeded, and duplicates of these deeds are always documented by the county recorder or registrar. However, the deeds aren’t always updated if preceding land sales or inheritances were handled through improper channels. Once found, a deed can be contested if the land owner isn’t accurately represented on the deed.

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