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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. 

Understanding blacklisting laws in California

“I will make sure you never work in this town again!” Most people have heard this phrase uttered in movies or read it in a book. While it can make for good drama, this type of blacklisting can have serious consequences for those who truly try to keep someone from working again in their industry. At the law offices of Lawrence R. Jensen & Associates, we know it is important for you and other California business owners to understand the laws regarding blacklisting.

Blacklisting, as you may know, is the practice of sharing information about a person with other employers in the area to prevent him or her from getting a job. Many companies keep informal blacklists to warn other companies that someone is undesirable or unemployable. There are numerous reasons you or your hiring manager may want to put a job applicant or former employee on a blacklist. He may have lied during an interview, embellished his resume or failed to show up for a scheduled interview. She may have been consistently late to work, incompetent or verbally or physically abusive to other employees. Understandably, you may want to spare others the agony of working with a difficult employee.

What is encroachment?

Boundary lines between properties in California are not always as clear as they should be. As a result, you may have a neighbor who puts up a structure that exceeds the boundary line and winds up on your land, whether in whole or in part. The legal term for this is encroachment. Your neighbor may encroach on your property purposely, or it may be accidental due to a misunderstanding or miscalculation. 

According to FindLaw, it may be necessary to take the matter of your neighbor's encroachment onto your property to court. However, since you and your neighbor will still have to live next to one another, it is often preferable to try to solve the matter through a discussion with your neighbor first. There are several different ways of resolving an encroachment without going to court:

  • Selling a portion of your property to your neighbor
  • Providing written permission to your neighbor to use the property
  • Asking your neighbor to move the encroaching structure

How do you form a limited liability company?

There are many different types of businesses you can start in California, and all involve their own strengths and weaknesses. If you would like to take advantage of pass-through taxation while protecting your personal assets from business creditors, a limited liability company may be a good option. According to FindLaw, there is no minimum number of people required to form an LLC, which means you can form one yourself and enjoy some advantages of both a corporation and a sole proprietorship.

Forming an LLC is a relatively simple process consisting of at least three steps. If you are starting your business in California, you must have an operating agreement, and even if you start your business somewhere else that does not require it, having an operating agreement is still a good idea, because then you can set your own rules rather than having the state impose default rules that may not be a good fit for your business. If a court should have to consider your limited personal liability, an operating agreement can add legitimacy to your LLC business status. The purpose of the operating agreement is to outline the responsibilities and rights of all the members of your LLC, as well as dictating how they will run the business.

Understanding the most common business types

At Lawrence R. Jensen & Associates in California, we represent many entrepreneurs who are starting their own businesses. Consequently, we know how important choosing the proper business entity type can be for a start-up. We therefore thought it would be helpful to review the most common types of business entities here on our blog.

The Internal Revenue Service lists the following as the five most common types of business entities:

  1. Sole proprietorships
  2. Partnerships
  3. Corporations
  4. S Corporations
  5. Limited Liability companies

What is "just cause" for eviction in San Jose?

In April of 2017, San Jose followed the lead of other California cities regarding landlord/tenant laws and tipped the scales in favor of tenants. After seven hours of debate, four of which involved solely testimony, the city introduced two new ordinances. One of those ordinances was the Tenant Protection Ordinance, which requires landlords to have "just cause" to terminate the tenancy of month-to-month residents. Santa Clara County Association of Realtors details what "just cause" is.

Under the old state law, landlords could evict month-to-month tenants without cause so long as they provided those tenants with a 60-day notice. Under the new laws, however, a landlord must demonstrate that a tenant's situation meets one or more of 12 requirements in order for the landlord to be able to evict the tenant.

How to protect yourself when buying an existing business

For many, owning their own business is the ultimate dream. Business owners gets to be their own bosses, guide a business to success and create an investment that will pay off year after year. However, starting a business from scratch can be daunting. You have no idea if your business will succeed, and the startup costs are expensive.

Buying an existing business can provide a good alternative for people that want to become entrepreneurs. It eliminates some of the risk and potentially provides many of the same payoffs. Before you jump into a sale, there are several factors you should consider.

Mediation as an alternative to business litigation

At the law office of Lawrence R. Jensen & Associates, we understand that business disputes are inevitable from time to time. Along with other business owners in California, you may assume that litigation is the only way to resolve a dispute. Fortunately, business owners have other options that can help them fix an issue before it becomes too costly.

Before deciding on having a judge rule on your dispute, you may want to consider going to mediation. This form of alternative dispute resolution is popular in family law but is gaining traction in other types of legal disputes, as well. Mediation involves you and the other party meeting with an impartial third party, who may make suggestions as you and the other party discuss possible solutions to your dispute. As FindLaw points out, mediation is known for being cost-effective and taking less time than traditional litigation. The issues surrounding your case are also kept private during mediation sessions. Mediation’s advantages make it an attractive choice for businesses, especially small business owners who often lack the time and resources for a lengthy court battle.

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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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