Winter 2017 Real Estate Law Newsletter

Another year has come and gone far too quickly. Over the past 12 months, our firm, our region, our state, and our country has seen a lot of changes. But what has not changed through it all is the power of community. As we saw through the responses to devastating natural disasters right in our backyard, and to terrorist attacks across the country, it is the connections we have with other people that bring relief and recovery. When circumstances are disrupted by waves of change, it is our communal bonds that keep steady the path forward. The only phenomenon more remarkable than a total lunar eclipse is fact that millions of people across the globe came together to observe and celebrate. When faced with challenge or change, the most important thing to mobilize is community. 2017 has been an incredible year, and we are excited to carry the lessons we learned into 2018 — together, with you.

Highlights in this month’s issue:

—Register for our mCLE-approved seminar on January 31st about easements, presented by attorney Simon Offord

—Learn about partition actions by registering for our upcoming webinar on January 23rd, presented by attorney Ashlee D. Adkins

—Watch a video replay and download the slides of our recent webinar about disclosures, presented by attorney Adam L. Pedersen

—Read our latest four real estate law blog articles, about everything from recreational marijuana to rent control

—Express interest in our firm speaking to your group about the 2018 New Laws (and receive free copies of our printed publication)

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

—Catch up on updates from the firm, including birthdays, speaking engagements, charity donations, settlements, appellate decisions, award winners, and more!

We hope you enjoy reading the Winter 2017 edition of our newsletter!

NOTE: our offices will be closed from December 23rd – January 2nd. From all of us at Brewer Offord & Pedersen LLP, we wish you and your family a holiday season filled with happiness, togetherness, and peace. We treasure all of you and are dearly grateful for every opportunity we have to share with you. May the new year bring you continued prosperity and joy!

zoning webinar header

Earlier this year, we unfortunately had to cancel a breakfast seminar due to unforeseen scheduling conflicts. We are excited to reschedule this event for January 31st in 2018! Please join us for a breakfast seminar and an mCLE-approved presentation about Easements: How to Create, Extinguish, and Litigate Easements in California.

Presented by senior real estate attorney Simon Offord, this lecture will cover important elements of easements, including the process for creating easements and the basics of litigating easement disputes. The session is approved by the State Bar of California for 1 hour of mCLE credit in California. Breakfast will be provided during the in-person presentation, as attendees will gain a comprehensive understanding of easements and boundary law.


This event is being presented as an in-person presentation and as a livestream broadcast — so you can watch the program either in-person or at your desk. If you are not seeking mCLE credit, the program is free to attend! If you are an attorney and would like mCLE credit, there is a small administrative processing fee for the mCLE credit & certificate.

  • In-person Event Attendee (no mCLE credit) – FREE
  • Livestream Registrant (no mCLE credit) – FREE
  • In-person Event Attendee (mCLE credit) – $20
  • Livestream Registrant (mCLE credit) – $20


Date: Wednesday, January 31st

In-Person Location:

Palo Alto Art Center Auditorium (1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303)


  • Registration & Breakfast — 9:00am
  • Program & Livestream Begins — 9:30am


Register for Free Webinar on January 23rd!

To better understand what partition actions are and how the process of severing a co-ownership arrangement is performed, Brewer Offord & Pedersen LLP will be presenting a free webinar about the basics of partition actions in California. On Tuesday January 23rd, real estate attorney Ashlee D. Adkins will provide an overview of partition actions, and how property co-ownership arrangements can be dissolved in an equitable manner. REALTORS® should register and attend the webinar to better inform their clients about co-ownership of property. Homeowners and real estate buyers should attend the webinar, to learn what types of options they have if they decide to purchase a property with other people, while real estate investors should watch the webinar to understand how they can protect their partial interest in a co-owned property.

On Tuesday, January 23rd, attorney Ashlee D. Adkins will present a webinar about the basics of partition actions in California, discussing important topics such as:

  • Elements of Co-Ownership
  • Types of Partition Actions
  • Reasons Leading to Partition
  • Process for Filing Partition Actions
  • Balancing Competing Interests in Court
  • Using a Referee in Partition
  • Determining Equitable Outcomes
  • and more!

Register for our free webinar by clicking the “Register” button below!



Disclosure Webinar Replay

Non-disclosure disputes are the most common real estate legal dispute in California. On Tuesday November 14th, Brewer Offord & Pedersen LLP presented a free webinar about the real estate disclosures in California, which was presented in front of a live audience of over 50 agents as well as broadcast to a sold-out livestream audience! Real estate attorney Adam L. Pedersen discussed the law surrounding real estate disclosures, as well as the processes for prosecuting and defending claims of non-disclosed issues. Attendees got an in-depth look at how to properly make disclosure during the real estate transaction process, as well as an overview of how non-disclosure matters are litigated.

You can watch a video replay of the webinar and download the slides by clicking the button below!

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Progress Report on Rent Control Initiatives in Silicon Valley

Several Bay Area cities have tried to combat the housing crisis through ordinances designed to address housing affordability. One of the more controversial moves was by the city of San Jose, which recently passed a policy against no-cause evictions and a new rent control ordinance. These regulations can have a significant impact on Bay Area landlords and tenants, and Ashlee D. Adkins writes about the issues in her most recent blog article.



Conditions That California Sellers May Not Have to Disclose

The common advice given about real estate disclosures in California is to disclose, disclose, DISCLOSE! However, there are certain, although few, facts that sellers might not have to disclose. These exceptions may either be protected by particular laws, or may not qualify as material fact — as has been interpreted by the courts. Stay on top of disclosure requirements by reading our latest blog article.



Construction Contract Tips for Owners — Part 1

In the coming New Year, many homeowners will be inspired to make a change to their homes, such as building a deck, remodeling a bathroom, or constructing an accessory dwelling unit. When engaging a contractor to perform remodel work in your home, there are several considerations you should keep in mind before signing the contract with the construction company. Attorney Simon Offord discusses these considerations in his blog article.



Recreational Pot in 2018: High Times or a Buzz-Kill for California Real Estate?

Starting in January 2018, the recreational use and production of marijuana will be legalized in California. This has stirred up quite a lot of excitement — and an equal amount of concern and regulation. The legal issues concerning marijuana can be thorny, since California law conflicts with Federal law. Read attorney Adam L. Pedersen’s most recent blog article to better understand the impact that legalization will have on real estate in California.



Every year, our law firm publishes a book (e-book and hardcopy) about the new laws for the coming new year. We are very close to the final publication of our 2018 New Real Estate and Lending Laws in California! If you are interested in having our law firm speak to your group or brokerage, please submit an Expression of Interest form below. We have already begun booking dates for these free programs, as they are a wildly popular and tremendously valuable offering for brokers to provide to their agents. Let us know and we will be in touch soon about a setting a date for your group.

Submit Interest


On November 30th, 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.


Brewer Firm News

  • Team members at Brewer Offord & Pedersen LLP are proud to have supported several charities this holiday season, including: La Casa de las Madres, KAFPA (Kinship, Adoptive and Foster Parent Association), Community United, Disabled American Veterans, The Collings Foundation, KQED, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto – to name just a few!
  • Simon Offord settled a long-standing dispute between neighbors related to encroaching trees and roots at a property in Pacific Grove, CA on the eve of trial, whereby the neighbors agreed to remove the troublesome trees
  • Adam L. Pedersen won an appellate court decision from the First Appellate District, 4th Division, successfully denying the appeal of a claim of negligent misrepresentation of construction defects in Solano County
  • Attorney Ashlee D. Adkins attended the Third Annual Northern California Women in Commercial Leasing Law Symposium-Spotlight on Women in Construction
  • Director of Marketing Clayton Dodds was awarded the 2017 Legal Marketing Association – Bay Area Member of the Year, which recognizes professionalism and outstanding contributions to the practice of law firm marketing and business development
  • Attorney Ashlee D. Adkins was successful in an unlawful detainer action for a residential property in Northern California
  • Peter N. Brewer celebrated his birthday on November 30th
  • Simon Offord assisted in the preparation of multiple easements during transactions for the sale of properties in Palo Alto and Portola Valley
  • Ashlee D. Adkins helped a client successfully negotiate the closing and sale of a four-plex in San Jose
  • Clayton Dodds attended the leadership retreat for the 2018 Legal Marketing Association Bay Area local steering committee, for which Clayton is the incoming Vice-Chair
  • Charlie Bronitsky celebrated his birthday on December 12th by enjoying a vacation to Maui with his wife
  • Simon Offord celebrated his birthday on November 16th