Types of Tenancy

When you live in a home owned by someone else, you are living in one of four types of tenancy: fixed-term, periodic, tenancy at will, or tenancy at sufferance (also called holdover tenancy). It’s important for tenants and landlords to understand the rights and responsibilities that come along with each arrangement. Fixed-Term Tenancy The first … Read more


Screening Tenants

When it comes to renting your property to a new tenant, it is worth investing the time to screen the tenant thoroughly, because the process of evicting the wrong tenant is no fun. Trust But Verify In low-stakes situations, it’s fine to assume the best of people; however, when it comes to renting your property … Read more


Land v. Improvements

When you buy real estate, the assessed valued is divided between the land and any improvements; improvements can include everything from houses and other structures to landscaping and septic systems, basically anything that isn’t bare land. Figuring out how best to divide the value between land and improvements is as much an art as it … Read more


Reverse Mortgages Can Provide Needed Cash

Did you know that if you are 62 or older, you can use a reverse mortgage to borrow against the equity in your home? Instead of making mortgage payments, the bank will pay you, either in a lump sum, with monthly payments, or via a line of credit—and as long as you continue to live … Read more


2022 Projections and the High Cost of Regulation

Every year, the California Association of Realtors (CAR) makes projections for the coming year based on housing trends and financial market activity. In late 2021, CAR said home prices will likely continue to increase and that home sales will slow. Their projections are based on statewide data but based on what’s happening locally, I think … Read more


Homeowners Insurance Cancelations

Homeowners’ insurance companies have taken a beating in recent years, especially those that cover homes in rural areas like ours. Consider the payouts to homeowners in Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, and other communities devastated by wildfire. The unfortunate result is that homeowners throughout Mendocino County are getting notes like the one I just received from … Read more


Bait and Switch – California’s Zoning Change

In last week’s column, I referred to recent legislation affecting residential zoning. Here are the details. This fall, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 9 (SB9), and in one fell swoop almost entirely ended single-family residential zoning in California. The new law allows people to build as many as two duplexes on lots zoned single-family residential, … Read more


Be a Good Neighbor and Get Agreements in Writing

I cannot tell you the number of times people have made agreements with their neighbors sealed with a handshake rather than a contract, only to discover the legal value of a signed agreement. I know it can be awkward to ask a neighbor to put your friendly agreement in writing, but when relationships sour—and they … Read more