Real Estate & Landlord Tenant Law

Date: December 14, 2009
Host: Roger T. Dunaway

View Transcript | Archive Index For All Legal Chats

Whether you're picking your way through the complicated process of buying or selling property, or concerned about whether the lease you're about to sign really protects your interests, bring your questions to real estate and landlord/tenant attorney Roger T. Dunaway for a live chat on December 14th, beginning at 2 PM Eastern (1 PM Central, 11 AM Pacific).

Law Office of Roger T. Dunaway, PLLC
321 High School Rd. NE STE D3 PMB 612
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Phone: 206-719-4396
Fax: 206-338-3154
roger@rtdlaw.com

  • "AV" Martindale Peer Rating
  • Superb rating on www.avvo.com (see profile for client/ peer reviews)
  • 2010 Top Lawyers- Seattle Metropolitan Magazine
  • Cum Laude graduate from University of Puget Sound School of Law
  • American Jurisprudence Award for Academic Excellence
  • Licensed to practice in Idaho, Oregon and Washington

My goal is to help clients solve their legal issues in a timely and cost-effective manner. I have been a transactional business/ real estate attorney for over 24 years. I have experience with negotiations, contract preparation and due diligence work for business/real estate transactions; commercial leasing; residential real estate; general business management; and corporate governance issues.

I have both private practice and in-house experience. I previously served as General Counsel for one of my business clients and understand issues faced by many small businesses.I most recently practiced with a regional law firm and have now opened my office on Bainbridge Island.I would welcome the opportunity to help you with your general business and/or real estate needs.

Live Chat Transcript

tisha145851: "Does a landlord have the right to recieve background, credit, license, work, school information on someone who visits you frequently and does not occupy space in your apartment?"

Tee in VT: "My late mother lived in a senior independent living apartment in VT. She signed a Resident's Agreement which stipulated that upon termination of the Agreement she would receive a partial refund of her ⿿entry fee⿿ if her apartment is re-leased within 12 months. In the event the apartment is not re-leased within 12 months, the facility will re-lease the apartment in this case from resident's estate at a price equal to 90 percent of the lesser of (a) "entry fee" or (b) the then fair market value of the apartment as determined by an independent appraiser. If an independent appraiser determines a fair market value for the apartment, a copy of the appraisal report will be shared with the resident or their personal representative. Twelve months have more than passed with no re-lease of the apartment, no refund from the facility per the agreement and no independent appraisal report has been received. The facility has suggested delaying the payment of the refund for seven months. The facility has also had a bad year leasing apartments due to the down real estate market. The family is concerned that the facility may be nearing bankruptcy although no petition has been filed. There is nothing in the resident's agreement that defines a time limit for receiving the refund. What options does the family have for forcing the facility to pay the refund?"

Tee in VT: "My late mother lived in a senior independent living apartment in VT. She signed a Resident's Agreement which stipulated that upon termination of the Agreement she would receive a partial refund of her "entry fee" if her apartment is re-leased within 12 months. In the event the apartment is not re-leased within 12 months, the facility will re-lease the apartment in this case from resident's estate at a price equal to 90 percent of the lesser of (a) "entry fee" or (b) the then fair market value of the apartment as determined by an independent appraiser. If an independent appraiser determines a fair market value for the apartment, a copy of the appraisal report will be shared with the resident or their personal representative. Twelve months have more than passed with no re-lease of the apartment, no refund from the facility per the agreement and no independent appraisal report has been received. The facility has suggested delaying the payment of the refund for seven months. The facility has also had a bad year leasing apartments due to the down real estate market. The family is concerned that the facility may be nearing bankruptcy although no petition has been filed. There is nothing in the resident's agreement that defines a time limit for receiving the refund. What options does the family have for forcing the facility to pay the refund?"

gvictor234: "I gave a sixty day notice to quit premises to my two tenants who have been renting a recreation room for two years. we made an oral agreement where explained that it is illegal to rent a recreation room and live in it until I wanted. They agreed with the conditions and in good faith after I asked for them to leave I gave told them I gave them two months of free rent while they looked for a new place to live. After the two months passed I asked for them to sign a Tenant⿿s Notice of Intent to Vacate where I was giving them an additional two more months of free rent to leave but they didn⿿t sign it. Since they refused to sign by law I told them I had to give them a sixty day notice to quit premises. After giving it to them they told me there was no problem and that they were looking for a new place to live in. Now they are saying that if they knew that it was illegal to live there in the first place they wouldn⿿t have moved there and are asking me to pay them relocation assistance and for me to return pay them back all the rent they had paid them. I have my Certificate of Occupancy which was issued in 2007 and is not under rent control. Can this be my defense if we were to go in trial and if I run a risk of paying them back the money or if not what can I do?"

ladydiam010: "I was living in Ky and bought a house, a contract agreement was written by an agent and buyer. Everything was ok at first then the buyer was very late on his payments the first time i was relocating to nc the second pymt didnt come at all. But a letter did come saying he was sorry the economy was and he didnt have the money until a later date. At this point im furious and no longer wants to sell my house, legally can i do that? What are my options?"

dk57: "I have rented a guest unit in CA for past 6 yrs. Landlords live in the main house. Have always paid/wrote rent checks to the wife. (Never late. No issues. Still paying) They are now divorcing. He moved out. BOTH the wife and I were served 60 Day Quit Notices from his mother on Nov 10th (states she is legal owner of property). I attempted to contact her by registered mail to ask if I could stay on and/or request some additional time to find suitable housing. No response from her - negative response from her attorney. Can I file/petition the court for additional time? If so, how do I go about it?"

Roger T. Dunaway: "I will begin the chat by taking the pre-posted questions."

Roger T. Dunaway: "tisha145851: "Does a landlord have the right to recieve background, credit, license, work, school information on someone who visits you frequently and does not occupy space in your apartment?""

Roger T. Dunaway: "tisha145851: My answer would be "No." I cannot imagine that a state's landlord/ tenant act (in any state) would allow such a practice."

Roger T. Dunaway: "Tee in VT: "My late mother lived in a senior independent living apartment in VT. She signed a Resident's Agreement which stipulated that upon termination of the Agreement she would receive a partial refund of her "entry fee" if her apartment is re-leased within 12 months. In the event the apartment is not re-leased within 12 months, the facility will re-lease the apartment in this case from resident's estate at a price equal to 90 percent of the lesser of (a) "entry fee" or (b) the then fair market value of the apartment as determined by an independent appraiser. If an independent appraiser determines a fair market value for the apartment, a copy of the appraisal report will be shared with the resident or their personal representative. Twelve months have more than passed with no re-lease of the apartment, no refund from the facility per the agreement and no independent appraisal report has been received. The facility has suggested delaying the payment of the refund for seven months. The facility has also had a bad year leasing apartments due to the down real estate market. The family is concerned that the facility may be nearing bankruptcy although no petition has been filed. There is nothing in the resident's agreement that defines a time limit for receiving the refund. What options does the family have for forcing the facility to pay the refund?""

Roger T. Dunaway: "Tee in VT: My intuition is that this issue will be governed by VT law. I would recommend that you go to Lawyers.com to find an attorney in VT could can answer your questions and provide detailed advice under VT law."

Roger T. Dunaway: "gvictor234: "I gave a sixty day notice to quit premises to my two tenants who have been renting a recreation room for two years. we made an oral agreement where explained that it is illegal to rent a recreation room and live in it until I wanted. They agreed with the conditions and in good faith after I asked for them to leave I gave told them I gave them two months of free rent while they looked for a new place to live. After the two months passed I asked for them to sign a Tenant⿿s Notice of Intent to Vacate where I was giving them an additional two more months of free rent to leave but they didn⿿t sign it. Since they refused to sign by law I told them I had to give them a sixty day notice to quit premises. After giving it to them they told me there was no problem and that they were looking for a new place to live in. Now they are saying that if they knew that it was illegal to live there in the first place they wouldn⿿t have moved there and are asking me to pay them relocation assistance and for me to return pay them back all the rent they had paid them. I have my Certificate of Occupancy which was issued in 2007 and is not under rent control. Can this be my defense if we were to go in trial and if I run a risk of paying them back the money or if not what can I do?""

Roger T. Dunaway: "dk57: Let me answer the pre-posted question from gvictor and then I will take your question."

Roger T. Dunaway: "gvictor234: It sounds like the tenants are not going to voluntarily leave until you provide some relocation assistance. I can tell you from experience that an eviction law suit can be timely and expensive if the tenants are unwilling to leave. You may want to get some specific advice from a local attorney about the laws in your state. Alternatively, you may want to make a deal with the tenants to get them out. It might be cheaper to provide the relocation assistance than file suit to evict them. If you do provide any assistance, I would only give them the $$$ when they vacate and have any agreement made reduced to writing."

Roger T. Dunaway: "dk57: I see that you have a pre-posted question. Let me go retrieve it."

Roger T. Dunaway: "dk57: "I have rented a guest unit in CA for past 6 yrs. Landlords live in the main house. Have always paid/wrote rent checks to the wife. (Never late. No issues. Still paying) They are now divorcing. He moved out. BOTH the wife and I were served 60 Day Quit Notices from his mother on Nov 10th (states she is legal owner of property). I attempted to contact her by registered mail to ask if I could stay on and/or request some additional time to find suitable housing. No response from her - negative response from her attorney. Can I file/petition the court for additional time? If so, how do I go about it?""

Roger T. Dunaway: "Do you have a written rental agreement?"

dk57: "No. They were friends of a mutual aqaintance. It is all verbal."

Roger T. Dunaway: "OK....In most states, a verbal agreement is viewed as a month-to-month tenancy. The state's landlord/ tenant laws then determine how much notice is needed to terminate a month-to-month tenancy. It is 20 days in my home state (Washington). I am not aware of any statute that would allow you to file a petition with the court seeking more time when properly served with a Notice to Quit (based on a month-to-month tenancy)."

dk57: "Darn. I'm at a real loss as to what to do. Rents are way up and my pay is not... Thank you for your input. Sorry for the early submittal"

Roger T. Dunaway: "dk57: It sounds like you are the unfortunate victim of the parties' divorce. Early submittals are fine.....It may not hurt to call an attorney in your home town to see if there is any specific CA law that may apply here. I am only able to answer in general terms since the laws of the states are often very different."

Roger T. Dunaway: "NicoleRum: Let me finish up with dk57 and I will then take your question."

dk57: "As a sidebar, does it make any difference that my deal was with her son and his wife, and not her?"

Roger T. Dunaway: "Probably not...in my opinion if she is the legal owner. You still have a month-to-month tenancy. That is why I asked if you had a written rental agreement."

dk57: "Thank you, it was just a thought."

Roger T. Dunaway: "dk57: Any follow up before I take the question from NicoleRum?"

dk57: "No, thank you"

Roger T. Dunaway: "NicoleRum: Go ahead and post your question."

NicoleRum: "I moved out of a rental house Nov 13th in Iowa. We gave her over a month notice. I know she has 30 days to send our depoist or a list of why we haven't got a depoist. We haven't recieved it yet, and called today. She says she'll send it out tomorrow but had to take money out because of cleaning the carpet and reseeding the grass. Both of which we did before we moved out. Is there anything we can do? Or should we just deal with whatever amount she sends?"

Roger T. Dunaway: "NicoleRum: Take a look at the Iowa landlord/ tenant statute on this issue. In my state (Washington), if the landlord does not provide written notice (with an explanation as to how much of the deposit is being retained and why) within a time certain after the tenant vacates, the tenant has a claim for double the deposit amount."

NicoleRum: "Okay. I know all my research so far has said they have 30 days to send it, or they give up the right to keep any. If that's the case would I contact a lawyer to get it back?"

Roger T. Dunaway: "My intuition tells me that this issue will be addressed in the Iowa landlord/ tenant act. It might be worth looking into whether this issue is covered by the Iowa landlord/ tenant act if a large amount is at stake."

NicoleRum: "ok."

Roger T. Dunaway: "Parties can typcially represent themselves in small claims court. It depends upon the amount in dispute."

NicoleRum: "ok. Thank you"

Roger T. Dunaway: "NicoleRum: Any follow up before I answer the remaining pre-posted questions?"

NicoleRum: "nope"

Roger T. Dunaway: "OK....good luck to you."

Roger T. Dunaway: "ladydiam010: "I was living in Ky and bought a house, a contract agreement was written by an agent and buyer. Everything was ok at first then the buyer was very late on his payments the first time i was relocating to nc the second pymt didnt come at all. But a letter did come saying he was sorry the economy was and he didnt have the money until a later date. At this point im furious and no longer wants to sell my house, legally can i do that? What are my options?""

Roger T. Dunaway: "ladydiam010: Take a look at the contract. It sounds like the Buyer has clearly breached the contract by now paying on time. The contract should spell out your remedies as seller here. If not, I would consult with an attorney licensed in KY to help you here. KY law will apply since the contract was made in KY and property is located in KY. Go to Lawyers.com to find a KY attorney in the community where the property is located."

Roger T. Dunaway: "I have now addressed all the pre-posted questions. I will check back in about 10 minutes to see if anyone has joined the chat room."

Roger T. Dunaway: "I will sign off for this week if nobody joins the chat room by 15 minutes until the hour."

Roger T. Dunaway: "I will now sign off for this week."

My Community

Community Membership New Users:

`