Property Ownership Issues

Property Ownership Issues —- Easements, Mechanics’ Liens, Fences, Title and Escrow & Real Estate Leases

We represent individuals and businesses regarding residential and commercial real estate matters related to property ownership such as easements, mechanics’ liens, as well as issues with fences, title, escrow and real estate leases.

Our approach is custom tailored to meet your needs. We advise you about your real estate transactions, prepare, review and negotiate terms, assist with enforcement, prepare leases, documents and agreements and represent clients in litigation when disputes arise.

We will give you our insight to allow you to make the final decision on the course of action whether you want to negotiate, litigate or let the matter go.

We are often successful in obtaining amicable resolutions through negotiation or mediation in neighbor or property disputes saving our clients time and money.

Our Real Estate practice includes:

Residential Rental Agreements and Commercial Leases

Are you a landlord interested in putting together a lease agreement for a large apartment complex you purchased? Are you a business owner interested in renting a large commercial space in order to expand your company? We strongly believe that our experience representing both landlords and tenants gives us the ability to quickly assess the situation and determine an efficient approach customized to suit your pocket book and to meet your goals. We are aware of the grounds for recovery and defenses available in landlord-tenant disputes. Our experience has taught us that the first step to writing, reviewing or negotiating a lease is getting to know who we are representing. You will have the opportunity to talk with us about your goals. With this information, we will make certain that the lease agreement you enter into is aligned with your goals.

Find out how you can benefit from our experience

Call (925) 463-9000 or contact us to discuss your situation with an experienced real estate attorney.

Representing Homeowners’ Associations, Developers and Owners

At the Law Offices of Lisa Wills, we represent homeowners associations (HOAs), developers setting up the initial Association and individual homeowners. Once an Association is set up, we provide legal guidance in all aspects of HOA operations.

HOA Governance

We prepare the covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs), bylaws and other important documents for the Association or developer. We provide direction about the timing and organization of meetings, operational matters and CC&R compliance issues. We also counsel homeowners’ associations and developers on a broad assortment of issues including:

To arrange for a consultation, contact us or call (925) 463-9000 to discuss your situation with an experienced homeowners association attorney.

HOA Disputes

Disputes between the HOA and a homeowner can be time consuming and uncomfortable. A dispute may arise over the payment of an assessment, a CC&R violation regarding storage of a boat or a water leak that damages another unit. A dispute may even arise between the HOA and a third party that provides services to the HOA and its members. We represent both HOAs and homeowners regarding disputes that arise. We personally tailor our approach to disputes and litigation, working with our clients to choose cost-effective strategies focused on their goals. Whether you are a homeowner or an HOA, contact us or call us at (925) 463-9000 to discuss your options for dealing with resolution of a dispute.

Boundary Disputes and Encroachments

We can help you if you are involved in a boundary line dispute, have an encroachment on your property consisting of tree branches, roots, a fence, or building addition. If you are concerned about an incompatible use of neighboring property we can evaluate your rights and provide you with options to resolve the issue. Boundary disputes between neighbors can get nasty. An encroachment or trespass onto your land can diminish the value of your property and expose you to potential liability if a person is injured on your land. If the dispute is not quickly and effectively resolved, your property may drop in value and be difficult to sell. Our objective is to help you resolve the disagreement while protecting your property, its value and neighborhood relationships.

We assist property owners with:
  • Disagreements over boundary lines or the placement of fences, buildings and other structures
  • Improvements that cross boundary lines
  • Nuisance concerns, such as noise, property use, waste or pollution
  • Title issues

You may be entitled to legal damages or other remedies for these actions. However, if you do not take action within a certain period of time, you may lose your rights. If you are involved in a boundary dispute, have an encroachment or other neighboring property concern, we will work hard to help you reach a resolution that protects your property and its value. For assistance, call (925) 463-9000 or contact us.

Easements

An easement on a property means that another party has the right to use part of that property. An easement might involve a shared driveway, an emergency vehicle access road to a property, access needed to maintain the property or a walkway to a mailbox. There are many types of easements including view easements, implied easements and easements created by deed. We can help you if you are concerned about an existing easement and want to have it removed or you are blocked from using an easement. We take a proactive approach whenever possible, working with you before problems arise. For assistance with interpretation and use of easements on and over property, contact us or call (925) 463-9000. We can help.

Title Issues and Adverse Possession
Did you know that a neighbor may gain title to your property if the neighbor:
  • Builds a fence over the property line and on your property
  • Builds an addition to their home or a building that goes over the property line
  • Builds a patio or deck that is on your property
  • Plants a garden or farms on your land
  • Paves a driveway over your property
Under California law, a person may acquire title to real property by:
  • Actually and openly occupying property
  • Adverse, hostile and exclusive possession
  • Continuous possession for at least five years
  • Payment of all property taxes during the five-year period

Adverse possession is a complex area of real estate law. We are will help you understand your rights, options and form a strategy to meet your goals. Call us at (925) 463-9000 or contact us.

Partition Actions

Do you own property with another party who does not want to sell or be bought out? The division of property may require joint property owners to resolve many different issues. Co-owners may disagree over their financial contributions to the property. They may disagree about the value of the property or who to use to list the property for sale. We provide skilled representation for property owners who need assistance to obtain division of real estate. We work hard to obtain a favorable resolution for you by a negotiated settlement or if necessary by a filing partition action. For more information about how we can help you with your real estate dispute or partition action, contact us today or call (925) 463-9000.

Do you have a Dispute with your Contractor?

Construction disputes are common and can threaten the safety and financial security of property owners. We vigorously advocate for our clients’ rights and interests in construction disputes and litigation. We can help you if your property has soil movement, water intrusion, drainage issues, improper materials, poor workmanship, or other signs of potential construction defects. We will proactively assist you, your HOA or your company when construction issues arise with builders, developers, design professionals and contractors. We will collaborate with you to use a variety of a negotiation, mediation, arbitration or litigation to effectively resolve your dispute. Our extensive experience in negotiating and preparing construction and design professional contracts and documents assist you in making your vision a reality for your property. For high quality attention to your construction related concerns, contact us or call (925) 463-9000.

Help for Property Owners Regarding Mechanics’ Liens

Has a mechanic’s lien been recorded against your property even though you paid your contractor? How can you contest the validity of the lien when the work was not completed, was defective or the contractor did not comply with the contract? Do you know that the consequences of not paying off the lien can affect your ability to get a loan or sell your property? Do you know that the lien can be foreclosed and your property sold? If you have had a mechanic’s lien filed (recorded) against your property, it is crucial that you contact us. There is very short timeline for action. We are experienced in assisting property owners regarding mechanic’s liens. Contact us or call us at (925) 463-9000.

Preparing to Meet with Your Real Estate Attorney

To help you prepare for your meeting, here is a checklist  for important documents and information you may be asked to bring to an initial meeting with your real estate attorney.

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