ARTICLES & NEWS

FAMILY REAL ESTATE ARTICLES

Morgage transfer

Will My Children Owe Mortgage Balance In Full When I Die?

By Christopher Combs | May 31, 2020

Question: I own three rental properties in Surprise. Each one has a bank mortgage with a “due on sale” clause, i.e., the mortgage must be paid in full upon any transfer of the rental property. My revocable living trust states that my three children become the owners of these three rental properties upon my death. Will the “due on sale” clause in each of these mortgages require my children to pay the entire mortgage balances on these rental homes when I die? Answer: No. Under a 1982 federal law there are exceptions to the enforcement by mortgage lenders of standard…

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foreclosure

HOA Can Foreclose on Home for Unpaid Dues

By Christopher Combs | May 24, 2020

Question: Our mother has been struggling with dementia that has worsened over the last year. We recently moved her from her Mesa home to an assisted living facility in Gilbert. The Mesa home is both a physical disaster (with numerous repairs necessary) and an HOA paperwork disaster. The HOA dues total more than $3,000, and have not been paid by my mother for over a year. In addition, there are numerous unpaid HOA fines of more than $2,000 for overnight parking in the street and for not making repairs to the exterior of the home. The HOA’s management company has…

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Baby room

Son Entitled to Appreciation in Home’s New Value

By Christopher Combs | May 3, 2020

Question: My son and his girlfriend bought a home in North Phoenix three years ago as tenants in common. They each contributed $15,000 for the down payment, and my understanding is that they have been splitting the monthly mortgage payments and other home expenses. Last year they had a baby, and they needed another bedroom. We loaned our son $20,000 to add on a bedroom. Although my son and his girlfriend are happy now, what happens if they break up and have to sell the home? Will my son get back from the proceeds the $20,000 cost of the bedroom…

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partition lawsuit

Partition of Home if Co-Owners Cannot Agree to Sell Home

By Christopher Combs | December 22, 2019

Question: Two years ago my boyfriend and I bought a home together in Chandler. Both of our names are on the deed and the mortgage as tenants in common. We are no longer happy living together, and I plan to move into an apartment. My boyfriend wants to continue to live in the home and doesn’t want to sell the home. He says that under the law I am required to continue to pay one-half of the mortgage. Can I require my boyfriend to sell the home now and split the sale proceeds? Answer: Yes. If you and your boyfriend…

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warranty deed beneficiary deed

Subsequent Deed Revokes Beneficiary Deed

By Christopher Combs | November 10, 2019

Question: My mother recently passed away. Her only significant asset is her home in Sun City West. Three years ago when her boyfriend was living with her she recorded a beneficiary deed granting the home to him. They broke up a year ago, and my sister moved into the home to help my mother. My mother then recorded a warranty deed of the home to my sister. Just before my mother died, however, she executed a will in the hospital giving the home 50/50 to me and my sister. What a mess! Who owns the home now? Answer: Your sister…

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service member terminate lease

Does Transfer of Air Force Lieutenant Automatically Terminate Lease?

By Christopher Combs | November 3, 2019

Question: We recently purchased an apartment building near Luke Air Force Base. One of our tenants is an Air Force lieutenant who is being transferred to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. He still has four months remaining on the lease, but says that after he moves he will no longer have any obligation to pay the remaining four months of the lease. Do we lose the rent for the remaining four months on the lease because the tenant is being transferred to another Air Force base? Answer: Yes. Under the Service Members Civil Relief Act, a service member is…

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girlfriend can rely on promise

Girlfriend Can Rely on Boyfriend’s Promise to Deed the Home

By Christopher Combs | October 20, 2019

Question: In a recent column you discussed what happens to a jointly-owned Scottsdale home after the boyfriend tells the girlfriend that he is moving out, and that he will deed the home to her. You told the girlfriend to immediately get something in writing, even an email from the boyfriend. Is an email from the boyfriend enforceable if he later changes his mind? Answer: The email itself would not be enforceable as an email doesn’t meet the requirements of a deed, e.g., notarization of grantor’s signature. Under the doctrine of promissory estoppel, if the girlfriend relied on the boyfriend’s promise…

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Owner liable for dog bite

Owner of dog in Arizona has strict liability for dog bites

By Christopher Combs | October 6, 2019

Question: We wanted to sell our Glendale home, so we contacted a local real estate agent who “farmed” our neighborhood. This real estate agent came to meet us at our home to sign the listing papers. Our son had left the back gate open, and our dog severely bit the real estate agent’s foot in our front yard. We then drove the real estate agent to the emergency room.  We understand that she had minor plastic surgery the next day. The agent was very upset with us for not warning her about our dog, and even returned the flowers we…

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