February 2017 Real Estate Law Newsletter

Real Estate Law From All Sides

The State Bar of California certifies attorneys as “specialists” in many different legal practice areas. Lawyers can be certified as a specialist in appellate law, bankruptcy law, family law, estate planning, workers’ compensation, and many other areas. However, there is no specialty certification for real estate law in California. The practice of real estate law covers a wide range of topics and issues — from financing considerations to ownership disputes to contract negotiations. Although technically not “specialists”, our boutique law firm focuses on real estate law matters in California, and our attorneys handle complex and diverse property issues — from all sides.

The beginning of the year has been tremendously busy for our firm. As a result, we have combined our January and February newsletter into one, to bring you lots of brand new resources, articles, blog posts, and more! In this edition, you can download our annual new laws e-book for 2017, and better understand all sides of the new real estate laws in 2017. Commercial landlords and tenants will learn about all sides of commercial leases by reading articles and blog posts from Ashlee D. Adkins and Simon Offord. And finally, Julia M. Wei sorts through the different sides of a partition action in her most recent article.

Highlights in this month’s issue:

—Download our free e-book about the new real estate and lending laws in California for 2017

—Learn about the benefits of different commercial lease types from Simon Offord

—Discover essential elements of partition actions from Julia M. Wei

—Hear the podcast of Simon Offord’s appearance on the Brian Copeland radio show

—Check out recent blog articles published by Simon Offord and Ashlee D. Adkins

—Catch up on updates from the firm, including jury trials, speaking engagements, board appointments, presentations, victories, and more!

We hope you enjoy reading the February edition of our newsletter!


Between 18 statewide ballot initiatives and 807 bills becoming law, Californians face a number of new laws and regulations in 2017 that govern nearly all aspects of life. Real estate agents and brokers are subject to several new rules regarding business names, advertising, and discipline. Landlords and tenants across California must adhere to new bedbug management regulations. New rules about discipline and citations affect contractors, while developers must follow new laws about accessory dwelling units, greenway easements, and accessibility disclosures.

It is important for the real estate community to understand the scope and impact of these new laws. As a result, Brewer Offord & Pedersen LLP is excited to release 2017 New Real Estate and Lending Laws in California, a free e-book that breaks down 27 of the new laws that impact the broader real estate community in 2017.

Written by attorneys and staff at the firm, the e-book explains changes in the law, and analyzes the impact that the new laws could have on homeowners, real estate agents, lenders, brokers, developers, landlords, and more.

Download your free copy of our 2017 New Laws e-book by clicking the button below!

commercial lease types

Leasing commercial property involves determining whether certain expenses should be shared or should be covered by the tenant only — such as the cost of utilities, janitorial services, taxes, insurance, and maintenance. One of the main points of contention when negotiating commercial leases is the rent structure, and whether the rent collected covers certain expenses or not. Rent payments can be paid on “net” terms or on “gross” terms, or on terms that blend these two types of payment structures.

The type of rent structure depends largely on the specifics of the building and the requirements of the landlord and tenant. To explain these different types of commercial rent structures, attorney Simon Offord writes about commercial lease types in his most recent article.

Read More

partition actions

Co-ownership of real property is a popular ownership structure for real estate in California. Whether through inheritance, joint acquisition, or assignment, multiple people can own a single property as co-owners. Under California law, a co-owner has the right to force the sale of the property at any time through a partition action.

Different types of partition actions are available to co-owners, including partition in kind, partition by sale, and partition by appraisal. The type of partition action largely depends on how agreeable the other co-owners are during the process. In her most recent article, attorney Julia M. Wei explains the different legal options that are available when co-owners do not agree on the sale price of the property in a partition action.

Read More

simon on KGO

On February 17th, attorney Simon Offord appeared as a guest on The Brian Copeland Show on KGO 810. The popular radio talk show is hosted by Brian Copeland, an award-winning actor, comedian, author, and radio personality.

During the real estate clinic, Simon spoke about trends in the Bay Area real estate market and answered questions from callers, along with a panel of local real estate agents.

You can listen to the entire podcast of this month’s show, including Simon Offord’s insights, by clicking the button below.

brian copeland show


HOA disclosures

Buying Into an HOA, Part 3

When purchasing a home that is part of a homeowners association, the law requires that buyers be provided several additional disclosures about the HOA rules. To best understand the risks and benefits associated with buying into an HOA, buyers should evaluate the CC&Rs for the development, as well as conduct their own research about the HOA board. Simon Offord discusses potential pitfalls, and tips for researching HOAs, in his most recent blog article.

Read More

commercial lease renewals

Hidden Pitfalls of Renewal Clauses in Commercial Leases

The commercial leasing process involves negotiation around many different factors — from rent terms to tenant improvements to shared costs. One often overlooked element in a commercial lease is the renewal clause, which should specify how a tenant should exercise an option to renew. In her most recent blog article, Ashlee D. Adkins discusses what to look for in commercial lease renewal clauses and how to structure renewal options.

Read More



  • Ashlee D. Adkins and Charlie Bronitsky completed an 11-day jury trial in San Mateo county, in which the jury returned a unanimous, favorable verdict on every count (final judgment on non-jury claims pending)
  • Julia M. Wei gave a presentation to the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) Cupertino/Sunnyvale District about “How to Represent Buyers and Sellers in an HOA” on February 16th

  • On January 12th, Simon Offord appeared as a guest expert on the Brian Copeland show on KGO810, during the radio show’s monthly real estate clinic
  • Henry Chuang successfully negotiated on behalf of his client to reduce a mortgage payoff by 2/3rds for a property in Sunnyvale
  • Clayton Dodds and Peter N. Brewer attended the winter meeting of the executive committee for the Law Practice Management and Technology (LPMT) section of the California State Bar on January 14th in San Francisco
  • Julia M. Wei and Ashlee D. Adkins were awarded judgment in a commercial unlawful detainer action for an industrial space in San Jose, successfully obtaining writ of possession and judgment for the commercial landlord client
  • Director of Marketing Clayton Dodds was selected as the 2017 chair of the communications committee for the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) West region
  • Clayton Dodds served as a judge for the FIRST Tech Challenge Northern California robotics championship on February 18-19th in Newark, CA



Our firm is passionate about delivering a client experience around the highest level of quality. On our firm’s Yelp profile, you can read what many satisfied clients have said about our firm. If you would like to share a positive experience you have had with our firm, please submit a review on Yelp!