Question & Answer

Answers to some of your questions

Living with partner, not married, but have a house with both our names on the mortgage.

The mortgage (and the associated promissory note) are agreements between you and the lender. The lender simply looks to be repaid and does not truly care from where the repayment comes. Accordingly, your partner would need to prove to the lender that he/she is able and willing to assume the responsibility for the mortgage. If the lender is satisfied, they could then refinance the mortgage to get your name off of it. This can be done in a variety of ways. Otherwise, you would need to sell the property to satisfy the mortgage and split the proceeds.

I have a pistol from my great grandfather. It's never been registered, how do I get it registered? My great grandfather was a police officer in Chicago IL. I don't know what caliber it is. It has a 3 digit number under the hand grip on it, that's all. I've been told to bring it to the police station and have it check and I should be able to get it registered. I don't want to have it confiscated. This gun was made in the 1800s.

You can have it registered at your local police department. Normally, you need to have the purchase information, but when inherited or acquired without purchase information, you can fill out the paperwork to the best of your knowledge.

The Will states my father’s girlfriend can reside in my father’s home, not her grown daughter, can we evict the grown daughter? Father had stated in his will, as long as his girlfriend paid the mortgage payment, taxes and insurance, she can live in the house as long as she wants. She is not living in the house or making those payments, Her daughter is. Can we evict the daughter? Or do we have to take her to probate court to get her out? And what kind of proof would we need to show that the daughter is the one living there. Not the one it was intended for. Insurance and / or mortgage payment are always late. We would not like to see this property go into foreclosure. My sister would like to buy it. if at all possible, but not while she is living there.

Your question raises an interesting point: whether the girlfriend inherited the house with its financial responsibilities and the right to use it as she wishes, or only the right to reside in the home on the conditions you state. If she inherited the home and it is now deeded in her name, she would have the right to house her daughter there and the financial obligations are hers. If however, the home is not deeded to the girlfriend and she only has the possessory right to live there, she is required to meet the conditions of the will. You should contact the administrator of the estate and provide what proof you have that the girlfriend is not meeting the conditions of the will and is not residing in the home.

I had recently went through a situation And looked up a free consultation. The lawyer called me and immediately took it into his own hands. He called & basically was a messenger of how to resolve this issue. I am not in the financial standing to pay and was not aware of what was going to be charged (or that I was going to be charged at all) we are pretty much to the bottom of this mess & I was advised I'll be receiving an invoice. Am I obligated to pay? I didn't agree to anything, nor was I advised of any charges so I feel very taken advantage of. Please help!

It is customary for attorneys to meet with potential clients so as to learn about the case prior to entering a formal agreement. After this initial meeting, the attorney normally presents the client with an engagement letter that delineates what the client can expect from the attorney and the fee structure. Where no written agreement or engagement letter is signed, neither you nor the attorney have evidence of an agreement. If you rely on the attorney as your lawyer, an attorney/client relationship can be established. The attorney's work for you has value for which he or she could seek to be paid.

I am trying to sue a residential builder in Michigan for not finishing a house project on time per contract. I lost my construction loan and the house stands not even half framed after 10 months. If I sue the builder for 'breach of contract',, I know he has liability Insurance, what would motivate him to seek to have the Insurance company to 'defend against; and cover the claim? He is an independent contractor. Another avenue might be fraud. I believe he is committing feud by using client’s money in a pool against other projects. I am sure discovery would show this. He has multiple jobs going on at once. A lot of them in the same state of affairs.

Your remedies depend on the contract between you and the builder and the details of your relationship. You should contact a lawyer and show him or her a copy of the contract along with a timeline of the payment, work done and the loss of your financing. With that information, an attorney would be able to advise you on a more precise avenue to pursue.

I plan to buy a rental property and want my friend to manage it for me. However, he suspects he is not allowed to manage it because he is not a licensed real estate agent. I'm considering making him a partial owner to get around this situation. Can he manage it if he is a 1% owner or Is there a minimum percentage of ownership that he must hold in order to manage the property? 

A real estate license is generally required for the purchase and sale of real estate, and leasing/renting of it. A license is required for the leasing or renting, or the offering to lease or rent, of real property of others for a fee, commission, compensation, or other valuable consideration pursuant to a property management employment contract. However, if the activities provided do not include leasing or renting services, a license is not required. If your friend is merely receiving the rents and maintaining the property for you, he should not need a license. Please note that a license is not required if the property manager is your direct employee.

I did a paint job for a long time business associate of mine and he has not paid me and wont return my phone calls. I haven’t had a problem in the past so i did it without contract. This is the largest job i did for him and i have invested a lot of money into labor and materials. Can i place a construction lien on the property?

First, I am assuming that you are licensed or do not need to be. State law requires residential builders, home improvement contractors (when labor and materials equal $600 or more), electrical contractors, fire alarm contractors, mechanical contractors and plumbing contractors to be licensed. While you have no contract, it is unclear if you provided a Notice of Commencement or a timely Notice of Furnishing. Such documents are required for placing a lien on residential property. Otherwise, you may have claims to file in court for breach of the oral contract, unjust enrichment and/or quantum meruit.

2 days ago my girlfriend signed for a car and the payment is too high and her credit is to bad so I cosigned for the loan. We don't like the deal we got so we don't want to me to sign for it she is the cosigner and I'm the main signer. I just want to know if the dealership can make me sign for it anyway.

You should quickly contact an attorney. It depends on what you co-signed. If you co-signed a loan, you are responsible for the payments and/or return of the car plus any deficiency. If you signed the purchase agreement without signing for a loan, you may need to find financing for the purchase. Again, an attorney will need to look at these details to see what options you have.

I would like to do 4-12 Real Estate investing deals per month using Assignment of Contracts. The deals will consist of a Seller, Buyer, and End-Buyer (Real Estate Investor). I would be the Buyer and will negotiate a purchase price and sign a purchase agreement with the Seller and then sell the home for a higher price (fee)to the End-Buyer. I would like to Assign my Interest invested in the home to my End-Buyers. I would post the home online and build a Buyer List so that I would have an End-Buyer to purchase the home? I would like to know how many of these deals I can do per month and year and if I need a Real Estate License to Assign the Contract to End-Buyers in Michigan? Is conducting Assignment of Contracts in Real Estate Investing in Michigan legal without a Real Estate license?

You should hire an attorney to review your particular situation. Initially, the facts you have shared present possible problems.

Michigan's administrative code, R339.22319, requires a real estate license for someone who: 

  1. engages in more than five real estate sales in any 12-month period, or 
  2. holds himself out to the public as being principally engaged in the sale of real estate, or 
  3. devotes over 50 percent of his or her working time, or more than 15 hours per week in any 6-month period, to the sale of real estate is engaged in the sale of real estate as his principal vocation. 4-12 sales per month would quickly put you over the 5 per year limit.

The MI Attorney General has held that a person who purchases and sells real estate as a principal business activity is a real estate broker (thus requiring licensing) even though he does not purchase or sell for others. OAG 4,669 (May 14, 1971).

It is a misdemeanor to violate these codes without a license, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. MCLA Sec 339.601(4). Acting without a license will also prevent you from getting a license later. MCLA Sec 339.602(d).

Claim - $4509.30 She Claims - Oral Agreement. It is her personal loan in her name only. There is no written agreement. I do owe her about $643 for things throughout the relationship; however, not the personal loan she is suing for. I have written her 2 checks in the amount of $200 in November and December of last year. The loan she is claiming I owe her is for $161 per month. She brought this up in a DVPO case last week to which her claims were unfounded outside of me admitting I do owe her debt in the amount of $643. Is there a possibility she can win? Should I retain an attorney?

It is hard to determine the strength of her case or your defense given the brief facts here. It sounds like there is little to no evidence of the loan and all the evidence about it will be your word against hers. Credibility will be crucial. Since she is the plaintiff, it is her burden to prove her claims. It could be helpful to discredit her story if she cannot produce any emails, letters, agreements, etc. that reference the loan or monthly payments of $161 per month.

WE PLACED A 1999, 28X60 MODULAR HOME WITH A FULL DAYLIGHT BASEMENTON MY PARENTS LAND IN 1993 AND HAVE BEEN LIVING THERE EVER SINCE THEN. WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF MY PARENTS LOSE THEIR PROPERTY TO UNPAID TAXES, THE STATE TAKES IT IN THE EVENT OF THEIR DEATH OR THEY SIGN IT OVER TO MY BROTHER? WILL WE LOSE OUR HOME OR BE MADE TO MOVE IT? IS THERE ANY SUCH THING AS SQUATTERS RIGHTS AND DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE ON HOW TO HANDLE THIS ISSUE? THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP.

You are living on the property at the pleasure of the owners (your parents). Unless some other agreement is made, you would need the permission of future owners to remain on the property after a transfer from your parents. Given the information you provided, this could be done by entering a lease with your parents that would run with the land after a transfer. The bigger problem would be the tax foreclosure that could possibly strip other encumbrances on the property such as leases.

I'm trying to found out how much money is 1/6 of my property is worth.

Assuming that you need an evaluation of your real estate, you do not need an attorney. Rather, you can get an appraiser to value your real estate.

After searching for, selecting and researching a credit processing service, I made contact with a sales rep. I was provided an application contract by email which I reviewed thoroughly to make sure it matched expectations based on our conversations. They had me sign electronically through software with my mouse. Now I have been charged a $300 termination fee that is clearly stated in bold as $0.00 on our application. I do not know if the contract I signed was altered and I must subpoena a copy. Is this fraudulent or do I have no case because I signed without re-reading the fine print?

If you have a copy of the contract that you signed stating no termination fees, then you should send them a copy and explain that there is no such fee in the contract. If they disagree, ask to see their proof that such a fee is in the contract. That will then let you know what action you will need to take.

I'm representing myself in a litigation case and the judge ordered case evaluation. The opposing counsel did not file a case evaluation summary. Are there any sanctions or consequences for this besides the $150 for not filing on time? I'm guessing this is strategy on his part but he's wasting everyone's time ignoring the judge (and also filing motion after motion, which seem to be frivolous in general).

The penalty for not filing a case evaluation summary is the $150 filing fee. See MCR 2.403(I)(3). Additionally, case evaluation summaries help the panel prepare for and evaluate your claims or defenses. The case evaluation award need to be taken seriously as they can result in sanctions. There is an article on my website regarding case evaluation sanctions.

The prior attorneys are correct. You should record your Quit Claim Deed before proceeding with the eviction. Thereafter, you will need to serve a Notice to Quit on the holding over tenant. If they do not vacate the property by the date you set, you will need to file the eviction complaint and have it served on the hold over tenant. The forms for the Notice to Quit and the Complaint (as well as the judgment) can be found online by searching for 'SCAO forms'. While you are not required to hire an attorney to help with the eviction, an attorney can be helpful to navigate through the courts and make sure the paperwork is properly completed the first time.

I have been self-employed for the last 3 years and have file my taxes but haven't paid my taxes that I owe because I haven't had steady work where I can afford to pay my taxes, its not a lot that I owe, but I have filed all my taxes, will that be proof enough or will I be denied by the courts since I owe the federal government taxes?

Your filed tax returns help show the trustee your income. Filing the returns is the crucial part. Payment of the underlying taxes can be rolled into the Chapter 13 plan. A bankruptcy lawyer experienced with Chapter 13 should be able to guide you through this.

Opposing party was asked by Referee to submit an amended brief because the original he submitted was "sparse" didn't meet the requirements as defined by the court. They only have one day left to meet the "7 days prior" rule. Considering they haven't even filed their motion for subpoena of a key witness they stated they would be needing I'm thinking they aren't going to get this brief submitted on time. Original brief had vague descriptions of witnesses which referee stated would need to be specific in amended brief. Attorney did state, in court at the time of judges request for amended brief, two specific witnesses. If brief with list of specific witnesses and exhibits is not submitted on time can I ask that they be barred from the proceeding?

If the opposing party fails to submit paperwork as ordered (assuming the referee's opinion was adopted as an order or has that effect based on the jurisdiction), you could file a motion to show cause, which shifts the burden to the other party to explain why they failed to abide by the court's order. This can then subject them to paying your attorney fees and costs that you incurred due to their failure.

Recently, I withdrew a petition for a PPO without prejudice against an ex, as I was medically unable to continue. Now two months later, the ex's attorney filed a motion on May 20th for attorney fees, however, the package was never directly served to me. I moved from my prior home early April, and I had all mail forwarded to my new addresses., including any mail coming to the post office. The new tenants sent us a message yesterday that they had several pieces of mail for us, which I picked up today. The attorney's package was one of the items, Inside the contents, a hearing date is posted for next week. Had there not been any new tenants or if I moved out of state/country, I would not know about the hearing or the motion.. Is this still considered a legitimate proof of service?

I agree with Mr. Hutchinson's comments and add that signed proof of service is required when issuing summons to initiate a lawsuit. After that, service of motions is made by putting them in the mail to the opposing party (or their attorney). Now that you know of the motion, you have little argument about the service.

In the by-laws it states each home can have 1 dog or cat. Before I got a second dog I called the association to see if it was OK to get another dog considering I have been seeing many two dog families. They told me that I could. After that they are now saying I can't and that I should have never have been told that and that i have to get rid of a dog. I have a family dog and now since I had to use my medical reason the other is a therapy dog. Can they still take my family dog or is it considered my one dog they allow.

Generally, the by-laws govern the agreement between an owner and the HOA. That would mean that only one dog is allowed. The HOA concessions to other owners and the statement made to you suggest that they do not enforce that provision heavily. If they choose to enforce the one dog rule against you and not others, they may be arbitrarily enforcing the rule. This could be problematic for the HOA if you qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

I'm renting to own a manufactured home in Burton mi an water is still in their name I've been away from the home for 2 months with the water turned off from the pipes but they sent me a Bill for 180 dollars but again no 1 is there my house note an lot rent are up to date an on time each month but their threatening me with a eviction which I don't agree with paying so please help me with my options.

Normally, leases require the tenant to remain current on water bills. Failure to remain current can be a breach of the lease. You can get a water reading from the city and determine when the water was being used that is in the bill. If the usage was during your lease period (even if it was a leak), and payment of the water bill is a condition of your lease, you should pay the water bill to cure the default under the lease.

Leasing agency knew they were smokers on the application. Leasing agency is telling me that they can only charge a portion of cleaning and re-painting.

Depending on the language of your lease, tenants would need to reimburse your cleaning and painting expenses if they breached the lease by smoking. If the tenants are still occupying the house, the breach could be grounds for eviction as well. I would be curious why the leasing agency is limiting the charges you can recover. It may have to do with the language of the lease.

In the pre-agreement, we (landlord and tenant) negotiated and agreed on the charges of per square footage $16 down to $15 which equals $2250/month. In the lease, the landlord kept it at $16 which equals $2400/ month. I trusted that they wouldn't cheat me so I didn't check the totals on the lease and only realized it 7 months after I signed the lease. My landlord wants me to pay as it is on the lease. Can I fight this and not have to pay?

Agreements concerning real estate need to be in writing. Your pre-agreement if not written and signed would be difficult to prove and quite possibly unsuccessful. Moreover, the written and signed Lease likely contains a clause that says it trumps all other agreements or that the Lease is the complete and final recitation of your agreement (i.e. an Integration Clause).

Seller refuses to fix or reduce price and home inspector believes that homeowners had to know due to the furnace being down there and evidence that it was long term problem. Other than backing out of the deal, is there any recourse like recouping inspection and water sample costs?

As the prior attorneys have indicated, the seller is not responsible for your inspection or water sample costs. However, the presence of long term water may give you leverage to renegotiate the price, back out of the purchase or even question the seller's disclosures if no water was disclosed. You should contact an attorney with real estate experience to determine if you have any other recourse under the purchase agreement, including recovering any security deposit, possible fraud, etc.

I live in lower Michigan, but the disputed property is 2.5 hours away.

First of all, you should hire an attorney that you trust. With that said, your choice of attorneys near West Branch or Roscommon may be limited. If you choose to hire an attorney from a more populous, yet distant, location, the cost may be higher but the return may also be more favorable.

Then I found out that they had intended on buying the property at a foreclosed price all along.

More information is needed to properly analyze your situation. If the tenant hid the notices from you with the intent of purchasing the property through foreclosure, then you should most definitely contact an attorney with experience in commercial litigation and real estate law.

Bought a foreclosed condo in June 2014 on an online auction house w/o right to inspect. The unit was uninhabited after late 2011 (over two years). The condo was previously flooded by a renter as an act of revenge in Autumn 2010 and rehabbed and rented again for nine month before Jan. 2012 when it was put on sale and finally declared abandoned by Sharif's deed in April 2013. Sometime during the last couple of years before auction sale, the unit was taking water through the concrete wall damaging the carpet, drywall, and kitchen cabinets which rotted. This also heavily contributed to mold growth since it was sitting there for a while with doors and windows closed. The condominium only accepts responsibility to plug the leak through the wall and repair the drywall.

Most purchases through foreclosure (and auction sites) disclaim any liability of the seller or previous owners. The prior comments are correct that you would need to review your recourse (if any) under the Condominium Bylaws.

How about if the attorney in question does BOTH state and federal litigation defense? Are we looking at a lot of money there? Lawsuit defense.

Legal fees are generally more specific to the attorney than the court in which attorney practices (with the exception of court filing fees and the court procedure itself). You should find an attorney that you trust, who will properly represent your interests and has the requisite skill to assist you in Federal Court and then negotiate the fee.

I withheld rent for issues the landlords wouldn't take care of, and received eviction notice, went to court without an attorney. Pleaded my case, I wasn't allowed to take in my cell phone with my info, dates to prove notice, pictures of problems, the judge took off $ for some things yet, I feel like I didn't I was represented without my phone. Our daughter has aml and the animals in the attic (bats, raccoons, mice, squirrel s) fecis and urine could affect her remission. And are potentially life threatening, this has been going on for three months and the landlord has done nothing also many other issues that aren't resolved .can I hire an attorney and appeal this decision? If not, how long can I stay in the house.

It sounds like a judgment was entered that likely requires you to pay the monetary amount within a specific time period or move out. It should also state the deadline for filing an appeal (normally 10 days from the hearing date). If you want to stay in the residence despite the health concerns, you should contact a real estate lawyer with Landlord Tenant experience prior to the deadline to pay/move and/or the appeal deadline (whichever is sooner).

My daughter had to break a lease because she was wrongfully terminated. She subsequently lost her nurses license, her driving privileges, pretty much her life (2nd dui). She has been sober for 2 years now but I still am her Power of Attorney. I am her mother, she now lives with me, I am disabled and retired on a fixed income. She is working but does not make enough and will have to return to school. Can I appear to the Notice to Appear on her behalf to the apartment complex sueing for money? We are looking into filing Chapter 7 at this point.

If you are not an attorney licensed in Michigan, you cannot represent someone else in a legal proceeding. With that said, you can speak and act on behalf of your daughter only as proscribed in the Power of Attorney (not as a lawyer however). Filing for bankruptcy protection would automatically and immediately stop the collection action by the apartment complex. You should talk to a bankruptcy lawyer to get the filing completed.

Purchased home 1 year ago, sellers disclosures stated no signs of water damage. Seller covered up current water damage stains. Black mold was present from this water problem in the basement which was in my climate control ducting spreading it all throughout house. Everdry had to come out and do extensive work inside and outside the foundation which was very costly, and my family in the house had been dealing with the negative side effects the black mold for multiple months. Because damage was not disclosed upon selling I believe the seller is liable however I have heard these cases are hard to win.

Your question raises two related issues: what does the purchase agreement/Seller disclosures state exactly, and did your home inspection cover the area that was affected by the damage. These issues will help to determine whether the seller knew of the problem (or should have known) and hid the problem from you. They also would help should if you should have known of the problem through the inspection. Your case is strengthened if the seller knew or should have known and hid the information from you, while a reasonable inspection would not have shown the damage to you.

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