Announcing New $225 Flat Fee Educational Consultation with an Attorney Regarding Your Foreclosure, Short Sale, and Bankruptcy Options

July 19, 2010

Are you facing a foreclosure? Considering bankruptcy or a short sale?

If that sounds like you, you should obtain legal advice regarding your individual options.  In order to help homeowners and individuals who are experiencing financial difficulties with the loss of a job or a pending foreclosure, Plastiras & Terrizzi is announcing a new discounted rate one-time consultation with an attorney to answer questions, evaluate options, and strategize a unique approach tailored to your personal situation.

While the consultation will focus on your concerns and questions, your meeting may include any of the following topics:

The consultation with an attorney from Plastiras & Terrizzi will include a one-time, 45-minute meeting either in person or via phone for a $275 $225 flat fee.*

In order to be sure the consultation is as productive as possible, please bring with you copies of all relevant documents and correspondence between you and all of your mortgage lenders, or send copies to our office prior to the meeting if doing the consultation by phone.

While we encourage loan modifications when feasible, our firm does not handle negotiations with creditors or mortgage lenders. However, we often assist clients in determining whether or not such loan modifications are likely to be successful.

To set up an appointment, call us today:

Attorneys At Law
24 Professional Center Parkway, Suite 150
San Rafael, CA 94903
Phone: (415) 472-8100
FAX: (415) 472-8110

*  This information may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions under applicable laws and ethical rules. The material above has been prepared by Plastiras & Terrizzi. The material is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  Plastiras & Terrizzi does not perform loan modification services or other loan forbearance services for residential real estate or collect advance fees for helping negotiate residential loan modifications.


Biggest Defaulters on Mortgages are the Rich

July 9, 2010

The NY Times is reporting that wealthy homeowners are quickly becoming the most common homeowners to go into default and foreclosure.  The article stated that homeowners with mortgages over $1 million are much more likely to stop paying, with 1 in 7 of these wealthy homeowners currently seriously delinquent, compared to 1 in 12 for homeowners with mortgages below the million dollar level who are currently seriously delinquent.

The article stated:

Whether it is their residence, a second home or a house bought as an investment, the rich have stopped paying the mortgage at a rate that greatly exceeds the rest of the population.

This is consistent with what I have seen throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area.  In my experience advising clients on various real estate and land use issues, I have seen numerous wealthy homeowners with properties and mortgages far north of $1 million who have fallen upon hard times.  For many of these homeowners, their own option is to stop paying their mortgages.  Sometimes homeowners are fortunate to have many years of ownership and equity built up, so they have options such as selling the property.

When they don’t have equity, then they need to consider attempting a short sale or a loan modification.  Unfortunately, due to the passage of SB 94 this past fall, homeowners attempting a loan modification are very unlikely to be able to hire an attorney to advise them on how to accomplish a modification.  That leaves a short sale or simply walking away as the most likely option.

Read the full article here.

John Corcoran is an Associate with Plastiras & Terrizzi law firm in San Rafael, California (Marin County).  He advises clients on real estate matters, small business issues, estate planning, and general civil litigation.  He may be reached at or (415) 472-8100 x211.

Debut of Plastiras & Terrizzi e-Newsletter

March 4, 2010

Today, Plastiras & Terrizzi debuted its first e-newsletter, which will provide legal news and analysis on a range of subjects, including real estate, civil litigation, community association law, legal malpractice, and debt restructuring/bankruptcy, among other areas.  Check it out here.

Advantages of Real Estate Syndicate Investing

February 23, 2010

Real Estate Syndicate Investing

In today’s economy, there are no sure investments.

Many investors have been stunned by steep losses in the stock market and real estate and have moved their money to safe investments like CDs and money market accounts.

As the economy begins growing again, many investors will start looking for investments which minimize their risk and chance of loss.

One way to minimize risk and yet still take advantage of the historical trend toward increasing real estate values is by using real estate syndicates to invest in larger properties which spread out risk.

A real estate syndicate is an unofficial term used to describe a pooled real estate investment group.

In a nutshell, it is the  process of combining capital from a group of investors to purchase real estate.

Real estate syndication allows a group of individuals to combine private savings to purchase larger real estate investments for which other financing is not available.

This method of real estate investing has been a popular method of financing the purchase and sale of commercial properties such as shopping centers, office buildings and warehouses.

Every real estate syndicate is different, and dictated by the terms of the agreement which is drafted to define the purpose and powers of the syndicate.  Typically these real estate investment vehicles are structured using some form of partnership agreement or limited liability company (LLC).

Advantages of Real Estate Syndicate

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Security Deposits Can Be Used for Unpaid Rent

February 10, 2010

Security deposit

One of the most common areas of friction between a landlord and tenant is the repayment of the security deposit after a tenant has moved out.
Landlords and tenants often squabble over when and under what circumstances a landlord is entitled to deduct from a tenant’s security deposit.
In California, a landlord of both residential and commercial property can deduct for unpaid rent from the tenant’s security deposit.

Residential Lease Security Deposits

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Rent Control Regulations and Security Deposits in California

October 5, 2009

Landlord-tenant relationships in California are regulated by numerous statutes at the state level and city ordinances at the city level.  Foremost among all these regulations is the concept of “rent control,” wherein a city regulates the amount a property owner can charge tenants for rent, including increases in rent during the term of a tenancy.  Other forms of rent control limit the circumstances under which a landlord can evict a tenant, or require specific notice before a landlord can order an eviction.  Numerous cities around California have some form of rent control, from many of California’s largest cities such as  Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, and San Diego, to many smaller cities such as Gardena and Los Gatos.

Several of these cities have well-established procedures and regulations with appointed boards or staff who mediate disputes concerning rent levels, rent increases, unlawful detainers and wrongful evictions.  The regulations often make up phonebook-sized volumes of guidelines and many attorneys focus 100% of their practice on landlord-tenant work.

In spite of the numerous regulations governing rent however, it may be a surprise to learn that relatively little regulation governs another area of landlord-tenant financial compensation – security deposits. Many tenants pay one month’s rent as a security deposit when they first move in. But what happens if a tenant lives in an apartment for 10 or 20 years and their initial security deposit remains the same? If the purpose of a security deposit is to compensate a landlord in case a tenant causes damage, then one month’s rent will eventually provide little “security” as costs to repair rise over time while the amount of the security deposit remains the same.

Cal. Civ. Code 1950.5 governs security deposits in California.  Under the code, a landlord’s security deposit can be collected as advance rent for many purposes, including (1) compensation for a tenant’s default, (2) repair for damage to the premises beyond ordinary wear and tear, or (3) cleaning of the premises after a tenant moves out to bring the unit to the same level of cleanliness it was in before the tenant moved in.

Under California law, a landlord can charge up to two months’ rent as a security deposit for an unfurnished rental or three months’ rent for a furnished unit.

As for increasing security deposits after they have been set, the general rule is a landlord may increase a security deposit during a tenancy up to these levels unless a local rule bars such increase.  No statewide law bars a landlord from increasing a security deposit during a tenancy up to the amounts listed above.

The city of Santa Monica is one of the few cities which does not allow security deposits. Santa Monica Rent Control Board Regulation 14002 prevents a landlord from increasing a security deposit during a tenancy at all.

In San Francisco, the S.F. Rent Board regulations do not prevent a landlord from increasing security deposits during a tenancy.  The S.F. Rent Board has stated:

There is nothing in the law that specifically allows the landlord to raise the security deposit amount over time, although some landlords believe that the deposit can be brought up to reflect two months of the current rental amount with proper notice. Since this is a matter of state law, the Rent Board does not handle such disputes.

Other cities may have a different approach to security deposits so it is important to check the local ordinance and regulations in order to know whether landlords are entitled to raise a security deposit after it has been initially set.

If you are a landlord, property owner, or a tenant and have additional questions about rent control, feel free to contact John Corcoran at (415) 472-8100 x211 or