Some National Title Companies have received recent underwriting instructions limiting involvement in real property transactions involving marijuana. Specifically, if the companies receive any notice that specific real property will be used to grow, produce or distribute marijuana they may not 1) handle escrow or 2) issue coverage for zoning. All title policies issued must include an exception indicating that the use of the land may violate federal law. Practically speaking this means that escrow for such transactions must be handled through legal counsel or other means, and the risk to buyers in purchasing such properties is very much increased.
A new law recently passed which gives law enforcement the authority to remove squatters from real property without a court order. Previously, if a property owner became aware that their home had been taken over by a squatter without permission, the only recourse available was to file an eviction lawsuit. This new law will protect property owners by allowing officers to remove squatters without court intervention. If a property owner signs a statement under oath declaring that (i) the squatter is and has not been a tenant for the past twelve months, (ii) has not had permission to enter or living in the property, (iii)has ignored a demand to vacate the property, and (iv) attests to the fact that the property was not abandoned when the squatter entered, a law enforcement officer may remove the squatter from the property. The property owner must also agree to indemnify law enforcement in the event the squatter's removal is adjudged to be improper. The squatter does have the opportunity to present evidence to the officer which they believe gives them authority to remain in the property.
This new law should be helpful in preventing property owners from having to expend significant funds on eviction and other legal action to remove squatters. The law should not be used to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. If you have questions or would like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact our office.
Cedar River Law Is Proud To Be A Finalist For Best Law Firm In Covington Maple Valley And Black Diamond
Recently a new statute was passed that allows businesses to convert from one legal entity to another. This process can be helpful if you have formed an entity and realize that you might be better served with a different entity structure. It can also allow entities domiciled in other states the opportunity to convert to a Washington entity without time consuming and expensive mergers or dissolutions. In order to compete a conversion, the principals of the entity must meet and agree upon a plan of conversion. Meeting minutes should be prepared and maintained. A Conversion Cover Sheet must be completed and filed, and Articles of Conversion following the requirements of RCW 25.15.436 must be prepared and submitted. The new formation document for the entity should also be filed. Before beginning a conversion, a business owner should consult with their accountant and lawyer. If our office can help, please give us a call.
Just a little over a week ago a Federal jury in Seattle ordered Zillow Group Inc. to pay $8.3 million for using photos on Zillow Digs that it had no copyright interest in. The images were produced by VHT Inc. a photo and image management company, and were uploaded by Zillow Digs without authorization or compensation. Be sure that if you are using photos from an image company you have a contract with the company and know the rights you are entitled to with regard to the photos. Copyright infringement is serious trap for the unwary realtor.
Cedar River Law proudly welcomes our new paralegal Rebecca Skaar! For more information click on the About Rebecca tab on our website.
Court rules have historically prohibited citations in any briefing to unpublished cases except in the very rarest of circumstances. About ten years ago the Federal Courts pushed a movement which allowed citations to those cases issued after 2006 which were not published. After 2006, it became confusing to many practitioners when or if unpublished cases could be cited and if so what jurisdictions permitted the same.
Washington State Courts have recently attempted to clarify this confusion by following the lead of the Federal Courts in the amendments to Washington General Rule 14.1 which took effect on September 1, 2016.
According to the amended rule in Washington, if a case was decided after March 1, 2013 and the case is unpublished it may now be cited as persuasive authority. Counsel must take care to identify the unpublished case as a “non-binding” authority which has no precedent and is cited only for persuasive value. The amended rule can be found at: http://www.courts.wa.gov/court_rules/?fa=court_rules.display&group=ga&set=GR&ruleid=gagr14.1.
Seller Disclosure Statements Are Required Even When Selling Property Without Using A Real Estate Agent
If you are selling your real property without using a real estate agent, one of the things you must do is to provide your potential buyer with a full and accurate seller disclosure statement. This disclosure is required by Washington law and involves affirmatively making representations to the buyer regarding all potential issues with the property. The disclosure statement must be provided to the buyer within five business days of a fully executed purchase and sale agreement. Once the disclosure statement is received, the buyer has three business days to either approve and accept the disclosure statement or rescind the purchase and sale agreement. Notice of rescission by the buyer must be provided to the seller in writing. The disclosure statement is required in all transactions unless:
Full disclosure of any potential issues should be made in the statement and sellers will be held liable for misrepresentations made when there is actual knowledge of issues with the real property. Please feel free to contact our office should you like assistance with completing, providing, or interpreting seller disclosure statements.
Depositions are an expected part of litigation, but when you are the one being deposed it is very important to be sure your preparation is top notch. This attached post is a great reminder that it is absolutely okay and most preferable to answer a question with "I don't know" rather than to try to speculate on an answer. https://www.depo.com/answer.html