Real Estate Matters: Readers Comment
Readers weigh in on some of our recent Real Estate Matters columns
Real Estate Matters: Realtor who wants to end lease early
Comment: I do read with interest your column, having worked in legal aid for about twenty years – mostly representing tenants being evicted. This is to comment about your advice in your recent column about the Realtor who wants to end her lease early.
The person who wrote in said that he was 80 years old and renting an apartment in a senior community. Your advice as far as it went was clearly spot on. However, I would like to point out another possibility. Given the person’s age, they may be able to receive free legal assistance from a local legal aid program. Legal aid programs are common for most jurisdictions, but vary in terms of available resources. Grant money for seniors may be available.
A local legal aid program may be able to provide a comprehensive assessment of the legal situation that this person finds himself in and provide legal assistance. If other debt is involved, a bankruptcy may be in order, for example. Thank you.
Ending a lease early because you want to isn’t legit
Ilyce and Sam Respond: You’re quite correct. Our column involved a senior citizen that had leased a unit in an apartment building only to have medical issues come up that limited his mobility. He asked if he could get out of the lease but the management company only gave him the option to terminate the lease with a two months’ rent cancellation payment.
The senior could have consulted with a local legal aid clinic. In some areas, local municipalities staff a tenant hotline that can mediate disputes like this one. There may be other tenant advocate centers that may assist tenants in need.
Given his medical condition, we should have suggested if a family member or friend could reach out on his behalf to these organizations to see if they could provide advice or assistance.
Real Estate Matters: Commenting on giving property to dead brother’s wife
Comment: I wanted to comment regarding your recent response to the brother of a decedent whose brother “gave” him the deed to home. Your response should have clarified that if the decedent signed the property over to him, then he should have had a deed of distribution done at the conclusion of probate. This would have enabled him to deed the property to his brother’s widow, his sister-in-law.
The advice you gave would have made it less likely that she would have gotten anything more than 50 percent if he died intestate or if she had to make an elective share, which is usually a third.
Wills and living trusts are helpful
Ilyce and Sam Respond: The original question related to a man who was married. The man died without putting his wife on the title to the home. But the man had given title to the home to the man’s brother. And now the brother wanted to make sure that the deceased man’s wife ended up the sole owner of the home.
We had to make some assumptions on what was done on the title to the home. Based on the question, we couldn’t tell if the deceased man had actually conveyed ownership of the entire home to the brother or had conveyed only a portion of the home.
Your suggestion is also correct. If the living brother was the sole owner of the home, he could have simply transferred ownership of the home to his deceased brother’s wife. Or, if the deceased brother’s estate went through probate, the brother could work with the probate attorney to make sure that his sister-in-law ended up as the sole owner of the home.
Comment: I read your article about unpermitted work not being disclosed prior to sale. I’ve been a State Certified Contractor in Florida for 35 years. I have seen it all. This is a good article but situations like this get very complicated. Potential buyers need to do their homework, especially for peace of mind.
Ilyce and Sam Respond: We couldn’t agree more. Thanks for your comment.
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