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Real Estate

Hidden Hazards: The Thomases’ Battle with Unpermitted Structures and Past Violations.

July 12, 2024 | By

Imagine purchasing your dream property only to be blindsided by fines and legal battles over issues you didn’t create. This is the reality for the Thomases in Humboldt County, California. After buying a property unknowingly used for illegal cannabis cultivation by previous owners, they now face at least $1 million in fines due to an unpermitted structure. This case underscores the critical importance of thorough property investigations before buying, as hidden violations can lead to significant financial and legal consequences for new homeowners.


In 2019, Humboldt County’s code enforcement department raided the property in Miranda, an unincorporated community, and shut down an illegal cannabis operation. The then-owners were cited for unlicensed cultivation and having an unpermitted structure, leading to an administrative penalty of $12,000 over 90 days.

Six days …

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Posted In: Blog, Real Estate

Court Strikes Down Excessive Default Interest Penalties: What Borrowers Need to Know

July 8, 2024 | By

In a landmark decision that has significant implications for borrowers, the California Court of Appeal in Honchariw v. FJM Private Mortgage Fund, LLC ruled that excessive default interest and late fees in non-consumer loans can be deemed unenforceable penalties. This ruling serves as a critical reminder for borrowers to be vigilant about the terms of their loan agreements and offers a pathway to challenge unfair penalty provisions.

Case Background

Nicholas and Sharon Honchariw borrowed $5.6 million from FJM Private Mortgage Fund, LLC, secured by commercial real estate. Their loan agreement included an interest rate of 8.5% per annum, a 10% late fee on missed payments, and a default interest rate that increased to 18.49% upon any default. When the Honchariws missed a payment of $39,667 on September 1, 2019, these …

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Posted In: Blog, Real Estate

Correcting Identity Errors in Real Estate Deeds: Ensuring a Clear Chain of Title

July 4, 2024 | By
Correcting Identity Errors in Real Estate Deeds

In the complex world of real estate, the accuracy of deed documentation is crucial for maintaining a clear chain of title. Errors in the names of grantees or grantors can lead to significant legal and financial complications. Understanding the process of correcting these errors is essential for property owners, real estate professionals, and attorneys. This blog delves into the methods and legal considerations for correcting identity errors in deeds, drawing insights from Miller & Starr’s authoritative guide on California real estate law.

The Importance of Correcting Deed Errors

When a deed contains a misnomer or a slight difference in the spelling of a name, it can create ambiguity about the identity of the property owner. Such discrepancies can disrupt the chain of title, making it difficult to establish clear …

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Posted In: Blog, Real Estate