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What leads to boundary disputes?

It may seem that a boundary dispute between you and an adjacent property owner in California arises quickly. However, according to Point to Point Land Surveyors, boundary disputes can be years, and sometimes centuries, in the making. 

Sometimes a boundary dispute arises because of the carelessness of one of the landowners. Without checking the legal boundaries first, another property owner may mistakenly build on your land, thinking it is his or her own. If there is not a physical boundary marker between the two properties, this becomes an even easier mistake to make. Having a land survey done prior to any construction decreases the likelihood of this type of dispute arising. 

How do you choose between an S-corp and a C-corp?

Forming a corporation in California offers protection for your personal finances in the form of limited liability. Once formed, there are two different types of corporations for tax purposes: so called " S-corporations" and "C-corporations."

Though similar in some ways, each offers different advantages for your business, as well as potential downsides. The type you choose depends largely on your goals and objectives for the corporation. 

The government's power under eminent domain

Many residents in California may have heard reports over the years about government entities obtaining privately held land for public projects. One example of this is when older homes are purchased by the government to make way for a new freeway or other thoroughfare. The rights under which this is allowed to happen are referred to as eminent domain It is important for property owners to understand what is entailed in eminent domain and how they might protect themselves if approached by the government about a property they own.

One of the most basic parameters about the eminent domain law is that any land taken by the government must be intended to be used in a manner in which serves the public. There must also be a demonstrable need for whatever project is proposed for the land. Not all land is able to be obtained under eminent domain laws. Property that houses graveyards or factories, for example, may be exempt from the government's reach.

Is urban exploring against the law?

You may understandably have some concerns about trespassing if you own a vacant building. Depending on the location, age of the property and length of time that it has been unoccupied, it can be dangerous for those who enter without permission, not to mention damaging to your property. Even so, many people in California and elsewhere enjoy exploring empty properties that they deem abandoned, which can be problematic for property owners.

The act of creeping through empty structures is known as urban exploring. Most people who explore these properties do not mean any harm and do so simply to satisfy their curiosity, take some photographs and have some thrills. However, you might not want anyone entering an empty building you own and getting hurt, leaving garbage or causing damage. HowStuffWorks explains that you may discourage urban explorers and protect your legal interests by installing a fence around the property, putting up “no trespassing” signs and padlocking entrances. These precautions signal that someone owns the property and that it is not completely abandoned. Additionally, entering property that is locked and clearly marked as private can be considered breaking and entering, which is against the law.

Pros and cons of arbitration in business disputes

When your business faces a dispute, you may dread the anticipated time, energy and resources to spend on reaching a resolution. Fortunately, a contract dispute, partnership disagreement and more do not always have to resort to litigation.

Many California businesses prefer arbitration over litigation in resolving a conflict. An alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method, some contracts require mandatory arbitration to resolve future disputes. Whether the decision to attempt arbitration was previously determined or agreed upon by both parties, there are several benefits and drawbacks to consider.

Adding Someone to Title? Think Again!

In the course of our real estate law practice, we often are asked to help a homeowner "add someone to title."  At other times, we encounter a prospective client that has already "added someone to title." While preparing and recording the paperwork to do this is relatively straightforward, we almost always end up recommending that the homeowner not proceed, because there can be serious negative consequences.  As for those that have already done so, we sometimes have to represent the client in extended court proceedings in order to try to undo the damage that has been done.

Is my company at risk for workplace violence?

Violence at the workplace may seem like it only happens to other people, but a violent incident can occur without warning at any company, no matter the size. You and other California business owners should understand the risks, as well as what to do to reduce the chances of a violent incident endangering your workers and affecting your legal interests.

The National Safety Council explains that workplace violence falls into four categories: criminal intent, customer/client, worker-on-worker and personal relationship. The following examples can make it easier for you to understand:

  • An armed robber attacking staff behind the counter
  • A disgruntled customer physically attacking a cashier
  • An angry former worker returning to the workplace and opening fire
  • A violent ex-spouse coming to a place of business to attack his or her ex

What is an easement?

Generally speaking, if you own property in California, you are the only one with an interest in the land and the only one with a right to use it. However, it is possible for someone who does not own a particular piece of property to gain a nonpossessory interest in it allowing the use of the property despite not being an owner. According to FindLaw, the legal term for this nonpossessory interest is an easement.

In rare instances, an easement may be negative, which means it prevents you from using your property in a particular way. For example, an easement may prevent you from building on your property because the resulting edifice would restrict the view from a neighboring property or interfere with the light it receives. However, most easements authorize a non-owner to use your property in some way, making them affirmative easements.

Can forming an LLC really limit your liability as a landlord?

As with running any business, renting property as a landlord inherently exposes you to a certain level of risk. Right or wrong, our current society has become increasingly litigious. This means that everyone has to be more aware of issues surrounding liability to better protect themselves.

Landlords may be attracted to forming an LLC for a great variety of reasons. One of which may be the possibility of insulating themselves from liability risks. However, there are many factors at play when it comes to this topic.

Frivolous condo litigation results in sanctions

Being a part of a homeowners association in California often involves cooperation and compromise with others. Legitimate disagreements and conflicts may arise, but it is best to resolve these through means other than lawsuits whenever possible. 

A condo owner in Chicago has allegedly been making the living environment within his community unbearable by filing frivolous litigation, with no legal or factual basis, for some time against fellow residents, the condo association and legal representation for each. A judge in Chicago recently decided that the voluminous filings amount to harassment of other community members and show disregard for the legal process. Therefore, she recently sanctioned the litigant and his attorney, whom she called a "willful enabler" for his role in filing the suits, for $1 million. The money is to go to the head of the condo board, the condo association and the attorneys representing both parties to cover insurance costs and legal fees. 

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Lawrence R. Jensen & Associates
95 S. Market St.
Ste. 550
San Jose, CA 95113

Phone: 408-465-0293
Fax: 408-899-2403
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