Summer 2019 Real Estate Law Newsletter

Summer is here, and with it comes the excitement of a bustling real estate market in the Bay Area. The months of June, July, and August traditionally bring a greater volume of real estate transactions, as families seek to establish their roots before the start of the school season. During this busy time, the real estate attorneys at Brewer Offord & Pedersen shift into overdrive – placing a high priority on educating agents on best practices, as well as supporting all the great work that real estate professionals are doing. We hope you have a wonderful and safe Fourth of July holiday!

Highlights in this month’s issue:

—Get to know our newest associate real estate attorney, Kathryn L. Holt, Esq.

—Read four recent blog articles about a range of real estate topics, such as transferring title, failure to disclose, and emotional support animals

—See highlights from our recent community involvement, including sponsoring a local little league and supporting two real estate foundation fundraisers

—Watch replays of our two recent webinars produced for the American Apartment Owners Association (AAOA), about evictions and about marijuana legalization

—Check out news and updates about the firm, including speaking engagements, leadership positions, arbitration successes, vacations, conferences, and more

We hope you enjoy reading the Summer 2019 edition of our real estate law newsletter!


Kathryn L. Holt, Esq.

This month, we are excited to welcome Kathryn “Katie” Holt to our team as an associate real estate attorney! Katie obtained her JD from George Mason University School of Law. She practiced law in Massachusetts for a few years before recently moving to the Bay Area and passing the February 2019 bar exam.

Welcome Katie!






What Really is Required for a Failure to Disclose Claim?

Failure to disclose cases are very common in California. Buyers will feel cheated when they find out something negative about the property or its history. Often, their reaction is to immediately bring action against the seller. To pursue a failure to disclose claim against the seller — and possibly their agent — there are several critical elements that must be present. Attorney Simon Offord writes about this process through the lens of a recent case in his latest blog article.

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Elisor Provides Shortcut to Forcing Compliance

In real estate disputes, unhappy parties can sometimes use aggravating tactics, which complicates the execution of judgments or transactions. Thankfully, California has a unique tool – called an “elisor” – that can help compel obedience when an opposing party refuses to execute documents. In some cases, an elisor can help clear title or execute a deed. Attorney Ashlee D. Gonzales writes about this unique tool in her most recent blog article.

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A California Landlord’s Guide to Emotional Support Animals

The use of emotional support animals is emerging as a popular way for coping with mental and emotional conditions, such as stress, anxiety, and depression. However, the law does not consider emotional support animals to be the same as service dogs for disabled persons. As a result, the laws protecting service dogs do not similarly cover emotional support animals. Attorney Katie Holt writes about these differences in her very first blog article for our firm.

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5 Things to Consider When Transferring Title

The way in which title is held has a meaningful impact on the ownership rights and benefits for real property. The transfer of title must be completed with the correct instruments in order to avoid unexpected issues or clouds on title in the future. Whether you are determining how to hold title or deciding to transfer title, there are several important things to consider. Attorney Ashlee D. Gonzales highlights these considerations in her blog article.

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Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS®

On June 5th, Simon Offord gave a presentation to the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® about risk management for brokers and agents.


Granada Little League – Livermore

Our firm is excited to be a 2019 sponsor of the Granada Little League baseball club in Livermore. In this photo, Jack Pedersen (son of Adam Pedersen) makes a great catch in front of our firm’s banner!

SAMCAR Foundation Bowl-o-Rama Fundraiser

On June 20th, our firm was proud to be a sponsor for the San Mateo County Association of REALTORS® (SAMCAR) Bowl-o-Rama fundraiser at Bel Mateo Bowl. Attorneys Ashlee Gonzales, Katie Holt, and Lorena Roel had a great evening bowling strikes and networking with agents, all while supporting an important cause.

Santa Clara County Realtors Foundation Golf Tournament

On June 10th, the Brewer Firm team attended and sponsored the 66th Annual Santa Clara County Realtors Foundation Golf Tournament at the Silver Creek Valley Country Club in San Jose. All proceeds from the event are used by the Foundation for grants that support local non-profit organizations. These groups provide critical services and do important work towards improving our communities, in areas such as homelessness, STEM education, veterans care, low-income youth, special needs, and disaster recovery. Our team served up traditional mai tais in a makeshift Hawaiian oasis, and attorneys Adam Pedersen, Katie Holt, and Lorena Roel enjoyed meeting hundreds of real estate professionals!


Unfortunately, evictions – or unlawful detainer actions – are a form of recourse that apartment owners occasionally have to perform. California has some of the most tenant-friendly laws of any state in the country, and there are several legal pitfalls that owners and managers should be aware of, in order to prevent losses and future litigation.

Our law firm recently teamed up with the American Apartment Owners Association (AAOA) to present an informative webinar about evictions in California. In this webinar, attorneys Ashlee D. Gonzales and Adam L. Pedersen provide a detailed look at evictions, including:

  • Meeting legal requirements for notice and service
  • Handling hostile tenants
  • Avoiding retaliation, harassment, and discrimination claims
  • Responding to common tenant defenses to eviction
  • Preparing for trial and obtaining post-trial relief
  • And much more!

Watch the replay and download the slides by clicking the “Watch Now” button below:

Watch Now

The legalized use of recreational marijuana in California came into effect on January 1st, 2018, as a result of the passage of Proposition 64 in the 2016 election. However, despite the fact that the state of California has now made the it legal to use marijuana recreational for adults over the age of 21, there are several complications regarding marijuana use, production, and distribution. The most glaring issue is the fact that the Federal government still maintains marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency, rendering the drug illegal according to Federal law. However, that classification hasn’t stopped the boom of the marijuana industry in the 30 states that has legalized some form of cannabis use. In California, the rapid growth of the marijuana industry has made many people excited to consume, distribute, grow, and sell. However, there are substantial real estate considerations that all parties should be aware of, before investing money or signing a lease for a grow facility.

Our law firm recently teamed up with the American Apartment Owners Association (AAOA) to present an informative webinar about the impact and issues caused by the legalization of marijuana for apartment owners and property managers in California. In this webinar, attorneys Ashlee D. Gonzales and Adam L. Pedersen provide a detailed look at this emerging issue.

Watch the replay and download the slides by clicking the “Watch Now” button below:

Watch Now

  • Congratulations to attorney Ashlee D. Gonzales, who passed the California Department of Real Estate Broker’s Examination and successfully obtained her broker’s license!
  • On May 7th, Simon Offord and Clayton Dodds attended the May General Meeting of the Sacramento Association of REALTORS® and gave a brief presentation as part of the firm’s sponsorship.
  • On May 7th, Adam Pedersen gave a presentation for the SAMCAR Central Tour Meeting about how using legal techniques can resolve issues in real estate transactions.
  • Simon Offord successfully defended clients in a failure to disclose case. Notably, the buyers of a residence in San Mateo County alleged that water damage/intrusion and dry rot damage were not disclosed by our clients in the sale of the property. The buyers sought in excess of $400,000. The case was arbitrated in San Francisco in a 2-day arbitration. The arbitrator determined that the buyers could not prove the sellers had knowledge of the alleged issues and failed to conduct their own inspection or heed warning signs from the disclosures and awarded the buyers nothing. The issue of recovery of our clients’ attorney fees is pending, with a determination expected shortly.
  • On May 30th, Lorena Roel attended the Bisnow Bay Area Power Women series in San Francisco.
  • Peter Brewer and his wife recently returned from a voyage down the Mississippi River in a stern-wheeler paddle boat. The river has been above flood stage for over six weeks, but the Brewers’ trip was only slightly inconvenienced by having to dock at alternate ports because the water was too high at some of the scheduled ones. Peter reports that he learned a lot about the Southern culture, Southern food, the lingering specter of the slavery era, the unprecedented importance of cotton cultivation to the antebellum economy, and more. But most surprising to him was the appreciation he acquired for the river itself. The Mississippi is the third largest river in the world, and is the watershed for 32 U.S. states, a drainage system of greater than 1.15 million square miles, or 40% of the landmass of the continental United States. At the present time the river is flowing at the rate of 1.3 million cubic feet of water per second. Peter calculated that if one drained Lake Michigan and could divert the Mississippi outflow into it, it would refill that lake in 35.5 hours. It is a hugely important river to our nation’s commerce and ecosystems
  • On June 3rd, Adam Pedersen gave a presentation about the real estate implications of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana to Marc Blaauw’s Mastermind Group.
  • On June 11th, Ashlee Gonzales and Adam Pedersen gave their “Save the Deal” presentation to the SAMCAR North Tour Meeting.
  • In his capacity as vice chair of the Law Practice Management & Technology (LPMT) section of CLA, Director of Marketing Clayton Dodds travelled to Huntington Beach on June 13th to attend the CLA Education Chair’s meeting.
  • On June 13th, Lorena Roel attended the Santa Clara County Bar Association (SCCBA) 7th Annual Women’s Symposium.
  • Ashlee Gonzales helped settle a contract dispute regarding the failure to disclose various construction issues.
  • On June 13th, Katie Holt attended the San Mateo County Bar Association’s Annual Judges’ Night Dinner and Reception.
  • On June 14th, Peter Brewer travelled to Huntington Beach for the California Lawyers Association (CLA) Solo & Small Firm Summit to give a presentation about “Small Law Firm Marketing: Discipline and Persistence for Success” along with his friend and long-time colleague Peter Rehon.
  • On June 26th, attorneys Ashlee Gonzales and Adam Pedersen gave a presentation about deposit disputes to agents from the Keller Williams – Silicon City branch.
  • Ashlee Gonzales helped resolve a cloud on title of a client’s property through the use of an Elisor.