135 Apartments Under Construction at Jordan Downs

Public housing in Los Angeles has been going through various changes in the last few months, and the latest project at Jordan Downs in Watts will certainly bring cheer to those seeking good accommodation at affordable rates in the city. Apart from the 135 new apartments, this project also includes a sketch highlighting the future transformation of the site with a larger community space and shops.

 

The Angelenos in this housing society will have the desired opportunity to enjoy a convenient and easy lifestyle as the redevelopment is planned accordingly. The residences in this site will include one- to five-bedroom sets and they would be built in six different blocks. It is already decided that most of the apartments would be allotted to low-income people; however, the number of units reserved for the current residents is still unknown.

This is a $73-million project and The Michaels Organization is responsible for its expansion. It is also a part of the multi-phase redevelopment plans that are designed for this complex. Once the development is complete in all the phases, the entire compound would boast of 710 new houses and townhouses, almost 9 acres of parking space, and a retail space of approximately 165,000 square feet.

 

BRIDGE Organization, an NGO, and The Michaels Organization are the masterminds behind the whole redevelopment plan. A half-mile expansion of Century Boulevard is also in the pipeline and it will eventually connect Grape and Alameda streets and act as an important new road in the Jordan Downs area.

About Gomez & Simone

Gomez & Simone is home to experienced and reputed real estate law attorneys known for providing seamless solutions to clients. Their supremacy, strategies, and commitment are evident from the number of clients who approach us daily. Gomez & Simone has assisted numerous clients and businesses in recovering from financial losses and other such predicaments. Associating with them means your well-being will always be considered.

80 Single-Family Homes to Be Built in Porterville, CA

A new neighborhood by the name of Cambria is planned to be built on 15 acres of land by partners San Joaquin Valley Homes and Preside Residential Capital. The recently bought farm land is sited in Porterville, California and the residential project would cost over $18 million. 80 single-family garden homes would be scattered all over this plot to offer some respite to families looking for proper accommodation.

The construction of the model home is expected to start in January 2019. This project will offer the perfect opportunity to local residents to live in a beautiful area. The modern-style homes of Cambria will have sizes varying between 1,297 to 1,597 square feet. Residents can also opt for 3-bedroom or 2-bedroom sets with open floor, and their carpet sizes would range from 4,750 to 5,840 square feet. Various rural housing projects and agricultural properties surround this residential complex, enhancing the beauty of the location.

 

Image Courtesy: bdmag.com

Single-family homes have a local impact when built in typical metro areas. Single-story houses are very much in demand amongst those who are tired of living in high-rise apartments and a busy city life. Interestingly, Catalina, a newly built housing society in Visalia, California boasts of 51 single-family residences meant for serene and peaceful living.  Such projects in bulk can certainly help reduce the dearth of affordable housing options in the state.

About Gomez & Simone

Gomez & Simone is home to experienced and reputed real estate law attorneys known for providing seamless solutions to clients. Their supremacy, strategies, and commitment are evident from the number of clients who approach us daily. Gomez & Simone has assisted numerous clients and businesses in recovering from financial losses and other such predicaments. Associating with them means your well-being will always be considered.

Steps To Take If A Property Seller Conceals A Defect

There can be a scenario wherein someone buys a dream home but soon realizes that there is a defect in the property, which was not disclosed by the seller. Such instances can make you feel cheated and disgusted. A leaking roof or a malfunctioning plumbing system can be examples of defects that you may notice after moving into a new residence. You may end up incurring plum bills to fix the issue. Now, it is important to understand that paying such bills is not your responsibility if the seller concealed the defects. You can also file a lawsuit to ensure fair compensation for the damages incurred.

Sellers Required To Make Written Disclosures Regarding Defects

According to California law, a seller must share true and real disclosures regarding their property with a buyer. Anything that may dissuade a buyer from making the purchase should be disclosed in writing at the very outset. These vital details about a property are commonly called “material” facts, and a property seller may have to face harsh penalties if any of these facts is not disclosed on time.

Defining Material Facts in California

The information about a housing facility’s walls, floors, insulation, roof, doors, windows, building foundation, sidewalks, boundary walls or fences, electrical systems, plumbing systems, and other structural elements comprises material facts. It basically means that any fact of the concerned property is a material fact and it can affect the value of the property or its desirability for a potential purchaser.

 

Under California law, a seller must disclose the material facts by completing a “Transfer Disclosure Statement” form. Through this form, the current status or condition of a property is described accurately. Before you decide to sue your seller, you should minutely verify the TDS to see if a defect that is upsetting you now was actually disclosed by the buyer or not.

Proving the Seller Hid a Defect

Once you are sure that the seller kept a known defect secret, you have the right to sue them for deceitful misrepresentation. Proving the seller’s fault in concealing the defect would be easy if you have sufficient evidence. For instance, a leaking roof that was intentionally covered with paint can act as solid proof. Another evidence to prove the seller’s wrongful intent would be the property agent’s statement suggesting the seller had instructed them to conceal the defect from you and other buyers.

Speaking to neighbors and your agent will assist you in collecting various related facts. If you decide to file a lawsuit, a competent attorney would interview the relevant people and try to establish that the seller knew about the defect, but kept it secret.

Seller’s Responsibility toward Damages Because of Cover-Up

Instead of unveiling the truth, if the seller knowingly hid a defect, you can sue them for wrongful misrepresentation. When you file a lawsuit, you may be eligible for the following damages:

  1. a) Compensatory Damages:The court may order the seller to compensate you for the expenses you incur because of the concealed defect. These can include repair costs and reduction in the value of the property as a result of the defect.
  2. b) Punitive Damages:You would be able to avail punitive damages if you prove that the selling party acted with malice while hiding the defect. Punitive damages are meant to punish people for their wrongful acts and they can be awarded to you along with the compensatory damages.
  3. c) Rescission:This is a rare case wherein the purchase contract is nullified or rescinded, your payment is fully refunded, and the seller gets their property back.

 

Remember that suing a seller is not the only option, and resolving issues informally too can help you save a lot of time and money. It is recommended that you call up a home warranty company to find out if a problematic item in the house is under warranty. Repairs can be done free of cost if the warranty is still on. Ideally, you should write a letter to the seller explaining in detail all the issues you are facing. You can demand payments for all the expenses required for repairing or changing the defective items. If all these actions aren’t fruitful, you can always approach an attorney for legal help.

Will the Housing Market Crash in Major US Cities?

The year 2008 witnessed the crash of the housing market, which rocked the economy of the United States. The current surge in real estate prices in the country is making people think that the real estate bubble would burst again. According to a survey, 58 percent Americans believe that there would be a major slowdown in the housing sector in the next couple of years.

It may sound weird, but there are also some people who are waiting for the bubble to burst so that they can buy properties at comparatively cheaper rates. A study by the UBS also suggests that even overvalued cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles are not in the grip of the bubble risk yet. Housing costs in these cities have soared uncontrollably, but the bubble risk has not reared its ugly head yet. It is to be noted that a bubble forms when the prices of properties exceed their intrinsic value because of increasing demand.

 

Image Courtesy: Sourceable.net

Amongst the major US cities, San Francisco is believed to be the least unsafe. In the last six years, housing prices jumped by over 80%. Conversely, incomes have risen just about 20% in the previous decade. Los Angeles has also witnessed soaring housing prices in these 10 years, but the situation is not as bad as San Francisco’s. LA home prices haven’t reached their 2006 peak yet. Only inadequate housing is causing the hike in the process presently.

Whether there is a bubble or not, there are some experts who say that the housing market situation is still quite worrying. The increase in prices and interest rates is reducing the demand, which leads to low sales. In big US cities, affordability as well as availability of good lodging would continue to be major issues that may cause the bubble to pop in the future.

About Gomez & Simone

Gomez & Simone is home to experienced and reputed real estate law attorneys known for providing seamless solutions to clients. Their supremacy, strategies, and commitment are evident from the number of clients who approach us daily. Gomez & Simone has assisted numerous clients and businesses in recovering from financial losses and other such predicaments. Associating with them means your well-being will always be considered.

22-Story Hollywood Apartment Building To Rise Beside the Fonda

In a few years time, Fonda Theater on Hollywood Boulevard will have a tall company in the form of a 22-story structure. The building setup plan and design is out and the tower is supposed to be built at the site, which is a parking lot right now. The best part about this construction is it would have a total of 220 apartments, 11 of which would be moderately priced.

This news will certainly bring a ray of hope to those looking for an affordable accommodation. People working in Hollywood belong to various countries and they have been desperately searching for affordable homes for years.

Designed by HKS Architects, the building would comprise a four-story podium and 18 stories would be utilized for residential purpose. A full-fledged restaurant along with an outdoor dining area is planned to be built on the ground floor. A landscaped courtyard would offer pedestrians a lovely view along the Hollywood Boulevard facade.

22 story building

Image Courtesy: HKS Architects

The residents of this new building would be able to park their vehicles in the two underground spaces. The construction is expected to commence in 2020 and should hopefully be completed by 2022. This is a major project planned for this Hollywood area to attract tourists and residents, and there are many other residential and commercial projects in the pipeline.

About Gomez & Simone

Gomez & Simone is home to experienced and reputed real estate law attorneys known for providing seamless solutions to clients. Their supremacy, strategies, and commitment are evident from the number of clients who approach us daily. Gomez & Simone has assisted numerous clients and businesses in recovering from financial losses and other such predicaments. Associating with them means your well-being will always be considered.

Resolving Disputes Concerning Purchase or Sale of Business

Purchasing or selling a business can lead to various disputes at times, which, however, can be resolved with the help of an experienced and reputed attorney. Disputes are not uncommon, but handling them through the guidance of a smart and reliable legal counsel is advisable. Avoiding disputes before they actually happen would be ideal.

If a disagreement happens while selling or buying a business, the best possible option is settling it amicably or directly without involving a third party. However, if you have certain interests that have to be protected, getting a lawyer to assist you would be better.

partnership

Image Courtesy: Smith Partnership

 

Getting Prepared for Buying a Business

Being a little judicious and transparent during the entire process of buying would save you from a lot of hassles and unnecessary rows. As a buyer, you need to be fully aware and careful about the information shared by the seller including the current state of the business, number of employees, clashes if any, and legal claims or lawsuits filed by the working staff, vendors, or competitors. Make sure you have a thorough look at the existing lease and the condition of the site or the building where from the business is operated.

Being new to the industry can be a little tiring and confusing. You can think about hiring the previous owner or a consultant until you feel confident about handling the business alone. Don’t forget to take the help of a transactional lawyer to get a purchase contract prepared in the right manner with precise details of the proposed deal.

business team

              Image Courtesy: Business Team

 

Getting Prepared for Selling a Business

If you are selling a business, you should ensure that the information you are sharing as a part of the deal is accurate and backed up by sufficient written records. Being a seller, you should be fully mindful of the buyer’s financial capabilities, especially if the purchaser is taking a loan or if financial approval is required for the transaction.

Let your financial adviser document your company’s condition before you share it with a prospective buyer. The information shared in the documentation should be consistent and accurate. The purchase agreement should have the terms and conditions mentioned clearly. Don’t hide anything that may mislead the buyer and affect the business in the long run. A competent lawyer will help you protect yourself even after the deal is finalized.

Common Causes for Disputes

There can be various disputes during or after a business sale. Some of the common reasons for the same are given below:

  • Misrepresentation or wrongful claims regarding the financial status of a business.
  • Fraud allegations related to the factual information provided by the seller during the deal.
  • Unreasonable and unfair practices.
  • Violation of the purchase contract.
  • Non-payment of any sum mandated under the transaction agreement.
  • Fraudulent trade secret

Disputes arising before and after a business purchase or sale can give you a lot of headaches. If you face an issue during a deal, you should consult a business litigator immediately. However, beware a lawyer who makes lofty promises including quick results. During a difference of opinion, you will certainly need the help of a strategic and competent attorney who is experienced in mediating and fighting cases in a court of law.

Claiming Property Based on Adverse Possession

When it comes to important real estate markets such as California, adverse possession is not a new phenomenon. Major cities like Los Angeles have seen numerous cases of adverse possession. As a California resident, it’s important to understand the nuances behind this type of ownership. State laws decree that trespassers can take possession of certain portions of your property under the principle of ‘adverse possession’.
The law states that trespassers may assume ownership of land if the real owner is unsuccessful in putting up an objection within a stipulated period of time. Such ownership is legalized if the trespasser pays property taxes on time for the said piece of land. As a property owner, it’s imperative to ensure that no one is able to make an unlawful entry into your property or estate. On the other hand, it’s equally possible that you may need to claim adverse possession of a certain piece of land. For these reasons, it’s important to gain a proper understanding of California’s adverse possession laws.

private property

Image Courtesy: Aviara Real Estate

How Adverse Possession Laws Work:

The concept of adverse possession originated in old Britain. The principle still prevails in the US and numerous other countries with a view to ensuring that a fair decision can be made when an owner neglects or forgets about a property for a long period of time.
Acquiring property through adverse possession in California isn’t easy under the existing state laws. Establishing proof of ownership is usually a major hurdle for any trespasser. As the rightful owner, you have every right to hold on to your property unless the adverse squatter can prove in a court of law that he or she deserves to get ownership of the property or a certain part of it.
At the same time, it is important not to confuse adverse possession with other analogous laws. For instance, easements such as using a common driveway belonging to a neighbor should not be confused with adverse possession. Easement refers to shared property rights of people staying close together, but doesn’t imply shift in title as in the case of adverse possession.

 

attorney services

Image Courtesy: Point of Beginning

Adverse Possession in California:

Like most states in the US, adverse possession rights in California are determined by the nature in which an intruder comes to possess the property and the duration of that possession.
There are four important factors that are taken into account while legitimizing an adverse possession claim:

a) Hostile Claim:

Under this provision, the adverse possessor must:
• Commit an honest blunder (like relying on a wrong deed),
• Simply occupy the property (with or without the knowledge that it is a private property),or
• Be conscious of his/her trespassing.

b) Actual Possession:

This implies that the trespasser should currently be living on the property and taking care of it as his or her own.

c) Open and Notorious Possession:
The reference here is to an act of intruding that cannot be a secret.

d) Exclusive and Continuous Possession:

The trespasser does not share land possession with others, and must possess the property for an uninterrupted period of time.

Depending on your perspective, the adverse possession doctrine could be either fair or unjust. Fortunately for property owners, gaining property through adverse possession is not an easy task. A proper understanding of the law is certain to help your cause. An experienced real estate attorney could help you understand the nuances of the law and support you during litigation.

Trending in California Real Estate:  Garage Conversions and the ADU Building Boom

Trending in California Real Estate:  The ADU Building Boom

by Stuart R. Simone, Esq.

Why does California need Accessory Dwelling Units (“ADUs”)?

California’s housing production is not keeping pace with demand.  In the last decade less than half of the needed housing was built.  This lack of housing is impacting affordability with average housing costs in California exceeding the rest of the nation.  The legislature has responded to this burgeoning crisis by passing new state laws that encourage the building and use of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) (also referred to as Second Units, Mother-In-Law Units, or Granny Flats).  New relaxed regulations and the low cost to build an ADU make it a very feasible affordable housing option, and ADUs can both help tenants by easing the housing shortage and can help homeowners by providing significant additional income.  A UC Berkeley study noted that one unit of affordable housing in the Bay Area costs about $500,000 to develop whereas an ADU can range from a small cost to anywhere up to $200,000 on the expensive end in high housing cost areas.  Garage Conversions are often the most cost-effective.

What is an ADU?

An ADU is a secondary dwelling unit with complete independent living facilities for one or more persons and generally takes three forms:

  • Detached: The unit is separated from the primary structure,
  • Attached: The unit is attached to the primary structure,
  • Repurposed Existing Space: Space (e.g., master bedroom) within the primary residence is converted into an independent living unit.

Why build an ADU?

There are many reasons for building an ADU on your lot.  Because ADUs are zoned to be rental units, they produce additional household income.  But ADUs can provide additional living quarters for caregivers, grown children, relatives or elderly parents as well as renters.  Or, “Empty nesters” can stay in their neighborhoods by moving into a smaller ADU and renting their larger existing home to pay the mortgage.

Checklist:  Can I Add an ADU to my Home?

  • I own a single family home;
  • My home (1) has a room or garage that can be converted into a unit with its own entrance, or (2) a garage in my back yard or (3) there is extra space in my back yard (see setback details below);
  • My home (1) has room and access for an additional parking space, or (2) is located within ½ mile from public transit.

 

 

Why are ADUs suddenly Trending?

In January of 2017, a new California state law took effect that encourages homeowners to build “granny flats.”  But many homeowners and residential real estate investors still do not know that the California has made it easier than ever to add a legal rental unit to a single-family home.

 

Real Estate Attorneys in Los Angeles

What is the law for ADUs in the State of California?

The new state laws – AB 2299 (Bloom) and SB 1069 (Wieckowski), effective January 2017 – makes it easier to build an ADU on a single family lot by cutting out a lot of the red tape.  You can read the entire law at the California Legislative Information website by searching California AB 2299 and California SB 1069.  Please be aware that Cities may pass new laws that will affect ADU construction, so always check your city’s websites and talk to their planning departments.

ADUs are now permitted in all single-family zones.  Any lot in these zones, regardless of its size, can add an ADU if it will fit.  Your lot must have an existing house, only one ADU per lot is permitted, and the ADU cannot be sold separately from the house.  The owner is not required to live in either unit; i.e. both the main house and the AUD can be rented out even in single family zones, which can be a big deal to “buy-and-hold” Real Estate Investors.  An ADU must meet additional site requirements as well as building construction requirements as described in more detail below.  The new laws may also help homeowners who currently have an unpermitted ADU on their lot to upgrade it to permitted status; contact your city Dept. of Building and Safety for more information.

 

ADUs within Existing Space

Local governments must ministerially approve an application to create within a single family residential zone one ADU per single family lot if the unit is:

  • contained within an existing residence or accessory structure.
  • has independent exterior access from the existing residence.
  • has side and rear setbacks that are sufficient for fire safety.

These provisions apply within all single family residential zones and ADUs within existing space must be allowed in all of these zones.  No additional parking or other development standards can be applied except for building code requirements.

 

Governmental Fees

SB 1069 provides that ADUs shall not be considered new residential uses for the purpose of calculating utility connection fees or capacity charges, including water and sewer service.  The bill prohibits a local agency from requiring an ADU applicant to install a new or separate utility connection or impose a related connection fee or capacity charge for ADUs that are contained within an existing residence or accessory structure.  For attached and detached ADUs, this fee or charge must be proportionate to the burden of the unit on the water or sewer system and may not exceed the reasonable cost of providing the service.

 

Fire Requirements

SB 1069 provides that fire sprinklers shall not be required in an accessory unit if they are not required in the primary residence.

 

No Total Prohibition

SB 1069 prohibits a local government from adopting an ordinance that precludes ADUs.

 

Size Limitations

Generally, AB 2299 (Chapter 735, Statutes of 2016) requires a local government to ministerially approve ADUs if the unit complies with certain parking requirements, the maximum allowable size of an attached ADU, and setback requirements, as follows:

  • The unit is not intended for sale separate from the primary residence and may be rented.
  • The lot is zoned for single-family or multifamily use and contains an existing, single-family dwelling.
  • The unit is either attached to an existing dwelling or located within the living area of the existing dwelling or detached and on the same lot.
  • The increased floor area of the unit does not exceed 50% of the existing living area, with a maximum increase in floor area of 1,200 square feet.
  • The total area of floorspace for a detached accessory dwelling unit does not exceed 1,200 square feet.
  • No passageway can be required.
  • No setback can be required from an existing garage that is converted to an ADU.
  • Compliance with local building code requirements.
  • Approval by the local health officer where private sewage disposal system is being used.

ADU law requires local government approval if meeting various requirements (GovCode Section 65852.2(a)(1)(D)), including unit size requirements.  Specifically, attached ADUs shall not exceed 50 percent of the existing living area or 1,200 square feet and detached ADUs shall not exceed 1,200 square feet.

A local government may establish minimum and maximum unit sizes (GC Section 65852.2(c). However, like all development standards (e.g., height, lot coverage, lot size), unit sizes should not burden the development of ADUs.  For example, setting a minimum unit size that substantially increases costs or a maximum unit size that unreasonably restricts opportunities would be inconsistent with the intent of the statute.  Typical maximum unit sizes range from 800 square feet to 1,200 square feet.  Minimum unit size must at least allow for an efficiency unit as defined in Health and Safety Code Section 17958.1.

 

Impact on Existing Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinances

AB 2299 provides that any existing ADU ordinance that does not meet the bill’s requirements is null and void upon the date the bill becomes effective.  In such cases, a jurisdiction must approve accessory dwelling units based on Government Code Section 65852.2 until the jurisdiction adopts a compliant ordinance.

 

Exemptions from Local Parking Requirements

SB 1069 reduces parking requirements to one space per bedroom or unit.  The legislation authorizes off street parking to be tandem or in setback areas unless specific findings such as fire and life safety conditions are made.  SB 1069 also prohibits parking requirements if the ADU meets any of the following:

  • Is part of an existing primary residence or an existing accessory structure,
  • Is within an architecturally and historically significant historic district,
  • Is in an area where on-street parking permits are required, but not offered to the occupant of the ADU,
  • Is located within one block of a car share area,
  • Is within a half mile from public transit.

To find out if your lot is within a half-mile of transit:  First, see if your lot appears to be within a half-mile radius of a bus stop, rail station, or a dedicated space where a shared-vehicle is parked by checking the City’s transit map at media.metro.net/ riding_metro/maps/images/system_map.pdf.  Second, call the Dept. of Building and Safety and give your property address; they can confirm whether you need to provide parking for your ADU.

 

More Info for Los Angeles City Homeowners

Rent Control

If your home was built before 1979, one or both of the units may become subject to Los Angeles’ Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO).  To determine if your ADU falls or will fall under the RSO, call the LA HCID (866) 557-7368.

 

ADU Size and Location Limitations

As stated in the state law, an attached ADU cannot be bigger than 50% of the existing house.  For example, if your existing house in 2,000 sq. ft., the attached ADU cannot exceed 1,000 sq. ft. in size.  In addition, most ADUs cannot exceed 1200 sq. ft.

Second, there is a “mansionization ordinance” in Los Angeles that usually restricts the total square footage of all structures on a lot to 45% of total lot size.  For example, if your lot is 10,000 sq. ft., the total built area (existing house, ADU, garage, etc.) cannot exceed 4,500 sq. ft.

Third, if your existing garage is at the front of your house, you may not be able to convert it to an ADU.  The Los Angeles Dept. of City Planning will need to verify the specifics related to your project.

If you are a landlord or potential landlord, it’s always a good idea to get good legal advice, and Gomez & Simone is here to help at (855) 219-3333.  Remember, there is a complex interplay between state and local laws, and since these are new laws, they are in constant flux.  This article is no substitute for legal advice.

Vehicular Accident

First Steps To Take After A Vehicular Accident

Any type of accident can be scary. It is quite possible that you may hit a car or a pedestrian while driving and not know what to do. Car accidents are very common these days; however, a few simple steps can save you from a lot of headaches. People lose their sanity, get emotional, and may even behave recklessly when a car accident takes place. However, there are some important steps that one has to take right at the accident scene and immediately after an accident.

The first steps to take after a vehicular accident are as follows:

Stay Where You Are

Staying right at the accident scene is a must. If you leave the place immediately to get your injuries treated, you may be slapped with criminal charges. However, if you feel that you are in an unsafe area, you should stay inside your car till the police or any other sort of assistance reaches you. If you still feel threatened, you can drive your vehicle to the nearest police station for help. Speak to the other driver by rolling down your window by an inch, but only if you think that there is no danger of confrontation. You can communicate to the other party that you have called 911 for assistance and you will wait till they arrive.

Call for Medical Help in Case of Injuries

Call for medical assistance immediately if there are any injuries to the passengers or the drivers of both the parties. Stay in your car until help arrives, and tell the other party that you are not getting out of the car because of security concerns.

Call the Police

Once you are sure that you are safe and medical help is on the way, call the police. Upon their arrival at the accident scene, the police officer who you have called will file a report based on the accident. You will need this police report if there is any physical injury or vehicle damage for insurance claim.

Record the Accident Scene

Take a lot of pictures from various angles at the accident scene. The pictures should clearly show both the vehicles in their respective states. These photos will help the concerned insurance company assess the extent of damage caused by the accident. After the accident, contact the insurance company and share with them the photos and the police report. Don’t ever lie because if you are caught for providing wrong information, your insurance will be canceled and you will have to pay for the damages from your own pocket.

Keep Medical Care Records

If you are injured during an accident, keep a record of all the doctor visits, medications, and treatments. These records will help when you contact an insurance company or your attorney.

Assess the Property Damage

Assessing the value of all the property damage that may include a fence, an electricity post, and more is important. Evaluate every moment of the accident and then share this information with your insurance adjuster. Hire an attorney for sure if there is any disagreement.

Be Prudent

Be cautious when you discuss the accident with anyone. Your attorney’s presence while you are talking to the members of other party will certainly help. Avoid discussing anything with anyone from the opposite party before you talk to your attorney. It is always better if your attorney does all the talking on your behalf.

Avoid Early Settlements

After the accident, you may receive offers for an early settlement. However, make sure that your settlement amount includes all your expenses like medical care, property value etc. Some injuries may show up several days after the accident; so, an early settlement should be avoided.

Taking the necessary steps after an accident will help in easing a lot of your worries. Your life will be safer and you will be compensated for all damages caused by the car accident. It is important to understand that the effects of a car accident can last very long; however, taking the necessary measures will help you protect your rights.

Foreclosure News Alert: The Keep Your Home California Program has Expired

By Sabrina Ortiz & Stuart R. Simone

Foreclosure

If you are a homeowner behind in your payments, in default, or facing a foreclosure sale date, this is big news.  Unfortunately, it is not good news.  Homeowners who have missed more than a couple of mortgage payments are in a terrible bind, because mortgage lenders legally can refuse to accept anything less than a single lump sum full reinstatement payment, and very few borrowers have the ability to pay tens of thousands of dollars in one payment.  Keep Your Home California was the California government program set up as a result of the National Mortgage Settlement, and it gave homeowners in this situation loans so that they could reinstate their mortgages and avoid foreclosure.  Now that this option is gone, borrowers who are facing foreclosure only have the options of (1) crossing their fingers and submitting a loan modification application, (2) filing for bankruptcy (usually Chapter 13) or (3) filing a civil lawsuit against their lender if they want to keep their home.

To reduce losses suffered by homeowners victimized by deceptive practices during the mortgage and foreclosure crisis, California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris obtained broad-ranging settlements from three major banks Bank of America, Citibank and JPMorgan Chase & Co in 2013 and 2014 related to the packaging, marketing, sale, and issuance of residential mortgage backed securities. While each is different, all of the settlements were used to provide reductions in principal balances, reductions in interest rates and other relief to qualified homeowners. The settlements also appointed monitors to oversee the banks to make sure they comply with settlement terms.  Most important, over $2 Billion – called “The Hardest Hit Funds” – were provided to the state of California to set up a free junior mortgage program to help borrowers avoid foreclosure.

Not every homeowner qualified for relief under the settlements. Those who qualified were contacted directly by their bank or servicer and may have received one or more forms of relief depending on their circumstances.  People would check their eligible for a loan modification, refinance, short sale or other foreclosure prevention relief under the settlements.

Keep Your Home California, the free junior mortgage program, helped over 82,000 California homeowners. While much of the assistance consisted of secured loans (where the liens would eventually fall off), KYHC also provided the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program (“UMA”) which payed unemployed borrowers each moth equal to the lesser of $3,000 per month or 100% of the PITI of their mortgage.  The demand for the programs remained strong until the end, even with a much-improved economy and housing market during the past couple years. The Keep Your Home California program accepted its last application on June 29, 2018 because all of the “Hardest Hit Funds” that were provided to the State of California to prevent foreclosures (over $2 billion dollars) were provided to approved homeowners or are committed to qualified homeowners in process. The program, once closed, cannot re-open.

Everyone who was approved for a Keep Your Home California program before the June 29th, 2018 deadline will continue to receive assistance.  UMA monthly benefit payments will continue as scheduled. If a homeowner becomes re-employed during this time period they are receiving UMA assistance, they are required to contact Keep Your Home California to discuss their benefit payments. Even though the program has closed, homeowners who have questions and want to discuss or appeal an ineligible decision letter should contact Keep Your Home California at 888.954-5337, Monday-Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm.

Although Keep Your Home California has expired, the law firm of Gomez & Simone is still here to provide legal assistance to homeowners struggling to keep their homes.  Are attorneys are experienced in civil litigation, negotiation and bankruptcy and have saved dozens of borrowers from losing their homes.

Gomez & Simone is a full service real estate law firm representing families and business people, homeowners and renters, landlords and tenants, with offices throughout Southern California.  This article is informational only and should not be used as legal advice.  Please note that laws may have changed since this article was published.  Before taking action, we recommend that you consult with one of our attorneys about your specific matter.  Please contact your local Gomez & Simone office or call us at 1-855-219-3333 or by email at info@gomezsimonelaw.com.  Attorney advertising.