I wrote this step by step for Avvo a while back, called How to Evict a Tenant in California. It’s not just the basic procedures, but also gives a sense of the negotiation and settlement process that is key to working out a good deal.
Continue reading California eviction basics
This morning, my clients and I are going into the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Rosa, California, on a mottion for contempt against a medical creditor and their collection agency. The medical provider is Chase Dennis Medical Emergency Medical Group Inc., which, as this Medicare.gov search shows, operates throughout California and Arizona. The collection agency is Healthcare Revenue Recovery Group LLC, which the BBB gives an F rating.
My clients filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which was all fine until literally the day before their discharge came through. On that day, it seems, Chase Dennis referred one of the clients’ accounts to the collection agency. Interestingly, this was not one of the account numbers that were listed on the debtors’ petition, but both Chase Dennis and HRRG were listed, so both had notice of the bankruptcy.
HRRG sent a letter demanding payment and followed up with a phone call. The debtor returned the call and advised the collection agent that he had filed bankruptcy. The collector was aggressive and stated that “this” debt was not included in the bankruptcy. The collection agent pressured the debtor to charge the debt to a credit card. The debtor insisted that the debt was discharged but the collector wouldn’t let the matter drop until he talked to the debtor’s attorney and was given a BK case number. When I talked to him, he finally let the matter drop.
Continue reading What happens when creditor calls continue after bankruptcy? Santa Rosa attorney explains
It seems bankruptcy is the best thing to have happened to Vallejo, California, according to the Huffington Post.
With bankruptcy looming, city employees were depressed and the prospects seemed dire. “You go through a bankruptcy, you lose half your staff, do you really run out to your engine?” explained the fire chief.
And the city really didn’t handle their restructuring all that well. It seems they will still have to go back and seek more concessions from some employee unions. But the depth of the financial problems has unfurled a radical making of community.
Residents have lowered their expectations for city services and are stepping in to fill the gaps. Volunteers patrol for code violations, hold weekly graffiti cleanups, monitor the city’s high-end surveillance cameras and have built a sprawling wooden playground. The number of neighborhood watch groups grew from four to more than 300.
“In a weird kind of way, the bankruptcy was a blessing,” said Kathy Beistel, who founded the Kentucky Street Watch Owls after two pimps got into a shouting match on her lawn and the police failed to respond to her call. “I used to know two people on my street. Now I know everyone around me.”
Continue reading Santa Rosa attorney: What Vallejo teaches consumers about bankrupcty
I just answered this question over at Avvo.com:
When filling chap. 7 do I have to to give a secured debt such as a car an exemption?
My answer was basically, you need to hire a lawyer! Why? Because, as the question shows, bankruptcy concepts are not intuitive. I see lay people get in trouble constantly when filing pro se. And this is a pretty simple concept. If the person doesn’t understand that exemptions are to protect equity in assets, there’s virtually no chance they will make it through the whole petition unscarred.
Continue reading Santa Rosa attorney: Why you need a lawyer for bankruptcy
This doesn’t come as a surprise to any landlord-tenant attorney operating in California, but the details are interesting: The Federal Government is targeting commercial landlords who rent to California medical marijuana shops, according to Reuters.
The government uses its power to grab assets used in drug trafficking to threaten to seize landlords’ real estate if they don’t evict the pot shops. That’s a much cheaper alternative than launching federal prosecutions of medical marijuana operations.
One attorney Reuters talked to praised the PR value of the approach, which is also much less expensive than prosecution. “”If you bring criminal charges against these medical marijuana businesses, the federal government gets pilloried in the press for attacking California law and sick people.”
The question is still: WHY? Why is the Obama administration making it a priority to shut down medical marijuana?
Will the forced eviction procedure even work? It could be a game of cat and mouse, since landlords will be more attracted to the marijuana rent then afraid of the risk of federal action. In any case, landlords with underwater properties may not be so worried about forfeiting the property. Landlord Ken Carter said his property was worth half of the $1 million he owed and federal prosecutors never took legal action against him.
I get calls from time to time from people asking if they have to move out because they were served with a notice. So I thought it would be a good idea to run down some of the basics of California eviction procedure.
Eviction is a two-step process: first, the landlord has to give you a written notice. Then, if you don’t comply, she can serve you with an Unlawful Detainer lawsuit.
The most common notices are a Three-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit and a 30/60/90 notice without cause.
If you simply have failed to pay the rent and you get a notice to pay rent or quit, it would probably be a good idea to pay the rent. If you can’t pay the rent and you don’t have a place to stay, you may have to go through the unlawful detainer process. It’s better to avoid it if possible, but if not, it’s likely that your case will settle with you agreeing to move out and possibly paying the back rent. But you won’t have a judgment on your record – that’s important.
On the other hand, if you’ve been withholding rent for a good reason, then you may want to actually litigate the issue of whether the rent was owed, or if the unit was uninhabitable.
Continue reading Santa Rosa attorney on eviction basics
Just a reminder of the importance of playing it straight if you are filing bankruptcy. Lenny Dykstra just pled guilty to several charges of bankruptcy fraud, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Dykstra, who bought a mansion once owned by hockey star Wayne Gretzky, filed for bankruptcy three years ago, claiming he owed more than $31 million and had only $50,000 in assets. Prosecutors said that after filing for bankruptcy, Dykstra hid, sold or destroyed more than $400,000 worth of items without permission of a bankruptcy trustee.
It’s not Dykstra’s first brush with the law — He’s currently doing time for grand theft auto and falsifying financial statements; and he just pled no contest to exposing himself to women.
How the mighty have fallen.
I just answered this question”> on Avvo.com, in which a tenant reported that her toilet has flooded half a dozen times and the landlord does nothing to even clean it up, much less repair the problem. Tenant wondered whose responsibility it is to clean it up.
In light of this, it’s worth restating some basic rules of habitability. There is an implied warranty of habitability, as stated in the Cal Supreme Court case of Green v. Superior Court. This means that the duty to pay rent is dependent on the landlord’s duty to provide habitable conditions.
Continue reading The warranty of habitability: Santa Rosa attorney explains tenants’ rights for habitable premises
Federal income tax returns are due on Monday, April 17, 2012. If your return’s not ready, have you filed for an extension?
If you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy protection this year, it’s critically important that your return is filed on time. That’s because back taxes that are more than three years old can be discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy — but only if tax returns have been filed timely. That means that you either filed your returns or you filed for an extension (you still incur penalties for not paying by Tax Day).
Download the extension form, Form 4868
Continue reading Santa Rosa attorney: Owe taxes? Make sure to file return on time