Residential Tenant Rights

Renting, whether it’s by lease or from month to month, is a lawful arrangement: The legislation gives tenants rights the landlord can not remove. Some rights are guaranteed by national law, the others by local or state government. If a landlord ignores your rights, then you might be able to sue for compensation and triumph.


Federal law prohibits multiple forms of discrimination against potential tenants, according to the Nolo legal website, such as religion, nationality, gender, disability, ethnicity and–with the exception of senior-living facilities–the existence of children. Some state and local laws go further: In California, for instance, you can not refuse to lease for any reason not directly associated with being a good tenant, and that the state says disallows bias based on sexual orientation and appearance.


Fair-housing law protects tenants who are denied apartments or evicted due to discrimination, but in addition, it protects against less obvious forms of discrimination, Nolo states. Your landlord can not set higher income requirements for some tenants rather than for others, as an example, or adopt an inconsistent coverage on the way she treats late rent payments. It’s also illegal for her to selectively screen tenants, by way of example only giving minorities criminal background checks.


Every lease includes an”implied warranty of habitability,” meaning you’ve got a right to a livable apartment or rental home, whatever the lease states, according to the California Department of Community Affairs. There isn’t any specific legal definition of habitability, but it’s generally taken to include running cold and hot water; functioning electricity; doors with deadbolts; working air-conditioning and warmth; a weatherproof building envelope; a supply of natural lighting in every room; and an apartment free of pests. If you’re to blame for the problems, however–for example, your unclean kitchen draws roaches–that the landlord can not be held liable.


If your landlord won’t make your premises habitable, you have several solutions available, the DCA states. It’s possible to pay for repairs and deduct the cost from the lease, for instance; you can withhold rent; even if the conditions threaten your family’s life or health, you can break your lease and move out. The DCA points out that all these measures involve legal points that should be carefully considered before you take any action.


Up till 2009, in case your landlord’s lender foreclosed on the house, your lease would develop into a month-to-month arrangement and also the new owner could tell you to leave. In 2009, Nolo states, the national government passed a law claiming that leaseholders could stay after foreclosure until the lease expires, unless the new owner wants to move in the apartment or house. Renters paying month to month must be provided at least 90 days notice until they’re moved out.

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Tax Implications of a Quitclaim Deed

Quitclaim deeds supply a simple process for people to move their interest in a property to another person. These deeds are occasionally utilized to present property to a relative, charity, trust or buddy. The quitclaim process requires no money . Rather, the land owner only signs a document, which must be notarized and recorded with the county recorder. When the document has been implemented, though, there are tax consequences that both parties need to take under consideration.

Property Tax Implications

A quitclaim deed is not a way of preventing back property taxes. If you owe property taxes, the tax must be paid by whoever wishes to transfer ownership. The grantee, or the person who takes interest in the house, cannot set clear title until the back taxes are paid. This is because the tax authority still has a right to put a claim on the property. A claim may nullify a quitclaim deed. If the grantor, or the person who brings interest in the property, pays the tax due before the quitclaim deed is contested in court, then the grantor still maintains interest in the property. A quitclaim deed also cannot be used to prevent a national or state income tax lien. After a grantee takes a home, he inherits the duty of paying the property taxes. The grantor no longer is obligated to pay tax on the property.

Gift Tax

Because no money changes hands during a quitclaim, the Internal Revenue Service applies federal gift tax rules to these transactions. Through a national income tax return, the grantor must pay tax on the home under the present tax principles. The receiver of this property is permitted to pay the tax when she agrees to make the payment. Individuals are permitted an exclusion of $13,000. Married couples who share ownership of the gifted property are permitted a 26,000 exclusion. Under these principles, the present tax is assessed only for the amount of value above the exclusion level.

Other Considerations

Quitclaim deeds aren’t taxable when they transfer ownership to your spouse. Many quitclaims are completed to allow a spouse ownership. This often takes places during a divorce settlement. Quitclaim deeds also aren’t taxed when they move land to qualifying charities. For income tax purposes, you cannot deduct the value of a present from income tax unless the gift is to some charitable organization. IRS Publication 950, Introduction to Estate and Gift Taxes provides many examples of how the present tax principles are applied to several situations.

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What Is the Difference Between Quitclaim Deed & a Warranty Deed?

One of real-estate legal records, the warranty deed and quitclaim deed are all key to nearly all transactions. Both of these records are essential to the sales transaction; they’re necessary to legalize the transfer of property from seller to buyer. Warranty actions and quitclaim deeds have similar purposes, but they offer different levels of protection to this buyer.

Characteristics of Warranty Deeds

The warranty deed is produced and signed by the vendor at the real-estate final. It includes a full legal description of the property, and pledges that the seller owns clear title to the property changing hands. The warranty deed additionally guarantees that the land is free of all liens and encumbrances. The individual signing the deed and communicating the land is the grantor or transferor; the individual receiving the deed and the land is the grantee or transferee.

Function of Warranty Deeds

The warranty deed (also called in California as a grant deed) is a form of insurance to the buyer. In effect, this type of deed guarantees that the land he or she is purchasing belongs to the vendor free and clear and is not the topic of any claims by third parties. If a claim is presented to the buyer after the transaction is closed, then the seller who has issued the warranty deed is legally responsible for compensating the buyer for any damages or collection activities.

Functions of Quitclaim Deed

The quitclaim deed is often used when the property is not the topic of a conventional sales transaction. Quitclaim deeds are frequently utilized to convey property through a will or as a gift, or with a third party, such as a trustee for a charity, or who’s legally responsible for that land. Quitclaim deeds are also used when land boundaries are uncertain, or from grantors who are conveying the property to your spouse–as in the case of a divorce proceeding–or to business partner. The grantor of a quitclaim makes no guarantees he or she owns legal and clear title to the property.

Insurance Benefit

Warranty deeds could be further strengthened with some form of title insurance, which compensates the property owner in the event of any third-party claim on the property. Quitclaim deeds aren’t endorsed by name insurance, so offer you a lesser level of protection to the grantee.


Warranty actions and quitclaim deeds aren’t revenue records. They don’t carry information regarding sales price, mortgage loans, taxes or any other financial part of the transaction. Rather, they help protect the buyer against present or future claims against the property. With no signed and witnessed warranty or quitclaim deed, a property transaction is faulty.

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What Forms of Contracts Are Employed in Real Estate?

As in any lawful trade, contracts are necessary to execute a property sale. Real estate buying and selling demand a number of contracts depending on the stage of negotiation. Some contracts are somewhat unique to the buyer or seller. Others have been shared and signed by both the buyer and seller. The laws and the contracts required may vary from state to state. It is a good idea to hire a lawyer before signing legal documents.

Exclusive Contracts

Licensed real estate agents are often utilized in property transactions. The buyer and seller obtain separate property agents to represent them in the trade. When enrolling with a realtor, the seller signs a contract typically known as an Exclusive Right to Sell Contract. This arrangement provides the broker exclusive rights to list and market the property. A purchaser signs what is often known as an Exclusive Buyer Agency Contract, which requires the purchaser to completely use the signed agent to buy a house.

Seller’s Disclosure

By law, the vendor must finish what is typically known as the Seller’s Disclosure and Condition of Property Addendum. This arrangement divulges specific facts about the house to prospective buyers. Sellers are required to answer questions concerning the era of the house, the roof along with the HVAC system. Foundation movement, bug issues and issues with the land or soil has to be disclosed in this contract.

Lead-Based Paint

Federal law requires sellers to finish a Lead-Based Paint Disclosure contract for homes built before 1978. The vendor should disclose any knowledge of lead-based paint in the house. Both buyer and seller fill out and sign this contract.

Financing Addendum

Buyers are occasionally needed to finish a Lending Addendum, which indicates the sort of financing obtained, whether the purchaser is prequalified to your home loan along with his arrangement to particular conditions in the contract. Some terms in the contract allow the purchaser to legally withdraw from the actual estate sale.

Sale Contract

When a buyer is ready to make a deal on a property, what is commonly known as a Residential Real Estate Sale Contract has been initiated. The vendor indicates what things will be included and excluded from the sale. For example, the vendor may want to include the refrigerator, but exclude the washer and dryer. Both buyer and seller accept and sign this contract.

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