SacCountyPublicLawLibraryDESK

Ask the County Law Librarian: Can Landlord Impose Pet Deposit Midway Through Lease?

Dear Law Librarian, We are 7 months into our 12 month lease at our home. My landlord recently found out that my dog broke one of the very old windows in our house which we immediately replaced with new, up-to-code (and much stronger) glass at our own expense. However, she has decided that he is now “capable of anything.” She is requiring us to put down an additional $500 “pet fee” and up our renter’s insurance liability to 1 million dollars. Is this legal? I understand that she is worried but we have never had any incidents with our dog and it was the thin, old glass that was the issue in the first place. Thank you very much, Rachele Dear Rachele, Your landlord is not entitled to change your lease mid-way through the term. You don’t say whether your lease has a no-pets clause. It’s permissible to refuse to rent to tenants who have pets, or impose conditions on permitting tenants to have pets. There are exceptions for service animals. Cal. Civil Code § 54.1(b)(5). If your lease does have a no-pets clause, your landlord might be able to evict you if you refuse to get rid of the dog. That is her only option until the lease runs out. Even if your lease does have a no-pets clause, if she knew about the […]

Continue reading

Ask the County Law Librarian — Homeowners Bill of Rights

Q. Hello. I submitted a loan modification application to my mortgage company on August 1. They sent me a letter on August 7 stating that the modification was “under review.” On August 20, they recorded a “notice of trustee sale.” My neighbor told me that they couldn’t do this because of some new law that protected homeowners against foreclosure. Is this true? I can’t believe they would sell my house out from under me when we’ve been talking about modifying the loan! I feel so betrayed. Please help! Molly A. Oh, Molly, I’m so sorry—that sounds awful! Depending upon the circumstances, there are a couple of new laws that might help you—California’s Homeowner Bill of Rights (HOBR) and the National Mortgage Settlement NMS). Key provisions of HBOR, Attorney General Kamela Harris’ response to the state’s foreclosure and mortgage crisis, effective January 1, 2013, include: • Restriction on dual track foreclosure: Mortgage servicers are restricted from advancing the foreclosure process if the homeowner is working on securing a loan modification. When a homeowner completes an application for a loan modification, the foreclosure process is essentially paused until the complete application has been fully reviewed. • Guaranteed single point of contact: Homeowners are guaranteed a single point of contact as they navigate the system and try to keep their homes – a person or team at the […]

Continue reading

Ask the County Law Librarian – Attorney complaints

Q: I hired a lawyer to help me with my divorce and while he was working on my case, he asked to borrow $10,000. I felt pressured to loan it to him, so I did. It has been 2 years, and he told me he has no intention of paying it back. I feel he was dishonest. How can I get his license revoked so he can’t do this to someone else? Juan A: Sorry to hear about your situation. Protecting California’s consumers is one of the primary missions of The State Bar of California . The State Bar has a limited authority to address unethical behaviors by attorneys as defined in the Rules of Professional Conduct and the State Bar Act. Licensed attorneys are bound to follow these rules if they want to remain in good standing and continue to practice law. According to the State Bar website, the” Attorney Discipline System, which takes complaints against attorneys from citizens and other sources, investigates those complaints and prosecutes attorneys against whom allegations of unethical conduct appear to be justified”. To lodge a complaint against an attorney you must mail the complaint form to the address indicated on the form. Depending on the type of offense, the penalties will vary from a warning or being unable to practice law in California. In an effort to help […]

Continue reading

Ask the County Law Librarian – Statutory Will Form

Q: I would like to write a will, to make sure everything is taken care of if anything happens to me. I don’t have a lot of property, but as a single parent, I’m concerned about making sure I appoint someone to care for my son in the event of my death. I’ve called a few lawyers, but it is really expensive, so I think I will need to do it myself.  I found lots of forms online, but they’re all different. I want to make sure it’s legally binding, but I don’t know what’s required. Any suggestions where I can find information about this? Thanks! Craig A: You have several options, depending on the size of your estate and how you would like it distributed. If your estate is fairly simple, you may want to consider using the California Statutory Will, which is spelled out in Section 6240 of the California Probate Code. The California State Bar has uploaded this simple will form to its website, which you can download for free. This will form works well for California residents with simple estates, allowing for specific gifts of real estate, vehicles, cash, and household and personal effects. This will form also includes clauses for appointing a guardian to care for minor children, and a custodian to take control of assets left to minor children. […]

continue reading

Ask the County Law Librarian: Who Do I Notify After a Name Change?

Q. Hi Law Librarian, I recently did a name change through the Sacramento court. I changed my birth certificate already, but what else should I change? I know I need to change my driver’s license, passport, and social security card. I also own two pieces of property under my old name. How do I change the deeds to my current name? Otis A. Hello Otis, There are more agencies and businesses to contact than you might think. As you mentioned, you should change your name on real estate deeds, social security card, passport, and driver’s license. You need to change your name on any vehicle registrations, too – this is not changed automatically when you change your license.  You should also change your name with any other public agencies you deal with, such as the post office, voter registration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, or public assistance and benefit agencies. As long as you change your employment records, you should not need to notify the IRS, but you do need to notify the California Franchise Tax Board.  Be prepared to provide a copy of your new social security card and California ID. You should also change your name with your employer and any businesses you use regularly, such as banks, credit cards, and mortgages; insurance companies; telephone and utility companies; and other debtors and creditors. […]

continue reading

Ask the County Law Librarian – Can you be arrested for failing to pay back a payday loan?

Q. A few months ago, my father took out a payday loan, but he wasn’t able to make all the payments. They had it set up to automatically withdraw from his bank account, but they payments were so high, it overdrew his account a few times, and the bank closed his account. Now a bill collector is calling him all the time. The past few calls, they’ve been telling my dad that they have a warrant, and if he doesn’t pay immediately, the sheriff is going to go to his work and have him arrested. They said he committed fraud by getting a loan he never intended to pay back. My dad works part time at a school, and is scared that he’s going to be arrested in front of the kids. He’s so scared of being arrested, he won’t even leave the house. My dad did intend to pay back this loan, he’s just having a hard time financially right now because his hours have been cut back. Can they really arrest him? Roger A. Oh, dear! Your poor father! He doesn’t have to put up with that! First of all, you cannot be imprisoned for debt. California Constitution Article 1, Section 10. Only the State, through the District Attorney, can have anyone arrested and charged with fraud, and the felonious intent required to […]

continue reading

Ask The County Law Librarian – Guardianship

Q. Hi Law Librarian, I have had custody of my niece since she was an infant. She is just turning four years old. I haven’t done anything legally because I hoped her parents would get their act together but realistically that is not going to happen any time soon. I will be enrolling her in school soon and I want to have legal authority over her. Is that a Guardianship? What’s involved with that? Cori A. Hi Cori, Guardianship is a court process by which a person other than a parent is given custody of a child or authority over a child’s property. Appointment as guardian requires the filing of a petition and approval by the court. Specific persons must be given notice of the petition before the court can hear the case. Relatives, friends of the family, or other interested persons may be considered as potential legal guardians. Some questions you may want to ask yourself before you file: o Is a guardianship really necessary? o Have you considered alternatives? o Do the parents consent to the guardianship? o Without parental consent, is there enough evidence for you to prove the need for a guardianship? Alternatives to guardianship include: Private agreements: You can make a private agreement with the child’s parents to provide care for the child. A written agreement can be made showing […]

continue reading

Ask the County Law Librarian — Civil harassment restraining order mediation

Q. I have a big problem with my ex’s new girlfriend. She puts up pictures of MY baby on her Facebook page, trying to pretend like he is her’s, saying stuff like “Ain’t he just like his daddy?” She picks him up from daycare when my ex is supposed to do it–the list goes on. How can I keep her away from my baby? Can I get a restraining order against her? Jasmine A. If you are worried about your safety because you are being stalked, harassed, sexually assaulted, or threatened by someone you do not have a family or past or present romantic relationship with, you may seek protection by filing a request for a civil harassment restraining order. The procedure for requesting a civil harassment restraining order is similar to the procedure used to obtain a domestic violence restraining order. The Sacramento County Public Law Library has Step-by-Step Guides to both procedures, complete with sample forms and instructions, on our website at http://www.saclaw.org/pages/protection-topic.aspx#research. You may also be interested in attending one of our new Family Law Pilot Project workshops on how to obtain a civil harassment restraining order. For a $10 Materials Fee, you will learn how to fill out the necessary forms, including, if eligible, a Request to Waive Court Fees, and leave the workshop with complete forms and written instructions, including […]

continue reading

Ask the County Law Librarian – Copies of court documents

Q: I live in Sacramento now but I got divorced back in 1993. At that time I lived in San Bernardino County and my ex-wife moved back to Sacramento. I am trying to apply to refinance my house and the bank is asking to see proof that I am divorced. I don’t know what county the divorce was granted in, I tried calling the court, but no one answers. Where can I get proof that the divorce was final in 1993? Rob A: Thank you for submitting your question. Court documents, including family law judgments are available from the court that handled the case. In some counties, you can access court documents online from the court’s website. However, many family law documents are not online for privacy reasons. Since an institution is asking for your papers, you most likely need a certified copy of the document. If so, you will need to request those directly from the court clerk. Typically, copies may be requested in person or by mail. The quickest way to obtain a copy is to go there in person. To locate the county courthouse where your divorce was granted, go to http://www.courts.ca.gov/find-my-court.htm and using the list of courts, link out to the county court website. At its website, in addition to contact information, you will probably find specific instructions for obtaining copies […]

continue reading

Ask the Law Librarian – Claim opposing forfeiture

Q: When my boyfriend was arrested a few days ago, he had almost $900 of my money in his wallet. The cops took the money because they think he got it from selling drugs. Really, it was my money that he was taking to pay some bills for me. I need my money back. They said I could file something, but I’m not sure what. Tanya A: It sounds like your money has been taken in a process commonly called “asset forfeiture.” Under California Health and Safety Code Sections 11469-11495, law enforcement agencies can seize property, including money, they believe is connected to the sale and manufacture of controlled substances. When money is seized in this type of procedure, all interested parties (the property’s owner(s)) must be notified. An interested party has 30 days to file a Claim Opposing Forfeiture. The person opposing the forfeiture must file papers with the court, and have the papers served on the prosecuting agency, usually the District Attorney. The Law Library has a step-by-step guide for completing the forms you will need to oppose the forfeiture. The guide is available online at http://www.saclaw.org/pages/opposing-forfeiture.aspx. If a Claim Opposing Forfeiture is filed on time, the prosecuting agency has 30 days from receiving your claim to file a petition with the court for judicial forfeiture. If they prosecuting agency doesn’t file with the court […]

continue reading
1 2 3 4 5 6 9