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Esquire Real Estate Blog

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Bryan Zuetel, Esq. quoted regarding Justin Bieber's rental issues

Bryan Zuetel

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Justin Bieber had some rental issues! Bryan weighs in on the landlords responsibility at Realtor.com:

A burst pipe is no joke—the extreme gush of water can flood basements, ruin drywall, and cause thousands of dollars in damage. Because of this, Bieber and Baldwin may be living the "suite" life for a while, says Bryan Zuetel, a broker at Esquire Real Estate and managing attorney of Zuetel Law Group in Irvine, CA.

"Mr. Bieber may be out of the property for a few months if plumbing, repiping, or significant air-conditioning repairs are required," he says.

However, Bieber shouldn't bank on his landlord footing the bill to put them up while the repairs are being done. The city of Los Angeles requires landlords to pay displaced tenants' hotel bills only if those tenants live in rent-controlled units.

"It does not appear to be applicable here because Justin Bieber was apparently leasing a single-family home, which is generally exempt from the Los Angeles rent control requirements," Zuetel says.

What Bieber's landlord is responsible for is providing "a safe and habitable rental property." More specifically, his landlord must provide a home that has effective waterproofing, unbroken windows and doors, and working plumbing. But if some thing breaks the landlord must repair it in a timely manner. If the damages aren't fixed, Bieber has the right to withhold rent until the repairs are complete or even terminate the lease agreement, according to Zuetel.

Here is a link to the full Realtor.com article.

Bryan Zuetel, Esq. quoted in National Realtor Magazine Article

Bryan Zuetel

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Bryan weighs in on the issue of disclosures during a real estate sale. He is quoted in the article:

“If you suspect your client is either unaware of property issues or being less than forthcoming about them, and you want to ensure more transparency in the transaction, you could disclose your observations of the property’s condition to the buyer and encourage them to seek further professional advice,” says Bryan Zuetel, a real estate attorney and broker-owner of Esquire Real Estate Inc., in Irvine, Calif. “For instance, an agent might smell a moldy scent in the basement and see what looks like mold, but the agent is not qualified—nor required to—conclude that there is mold in the basement,” Zuetel says. “The agent could simply disclose a ‘moldy scent’ or a ‘moldy appearance’ in the basement, and advise all parties to engage the proper professionals for further evaluation. Whether a seller acknowledges the issue is not relevant to the agent’s duty to disclose.”

- Bryan Zuetel, Esq.

Here is a link to the recent National Association of Realtors® Official Magazine article.

Use it or lose it...

Bryan Zuetel

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As the year comes to a close, so does the deadline for many real estate tax deductions and savings.  If you own investment real estate, take some time to consider these opportunities before the end of the year.  Of course, like any tax advice, your individual and unique circumstances will differ from others, so consult your tax professional for personalized advice.

Delay rent payments: It is usually advisable to delay rental payments until at least January 1 of the following year.  So, if you have a tenant who routinely pays rent before the first day of the month, consider asking the tenant to delay the payment until at least January 1.  That way, the income will be reported and taxable in the following year.

Pay expenses early: The recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act placed many restrictions on tax deductions related to your primary residence.  However, these restrictions did not affect tax deductions for your investment properties. So, if you have bills due in early January for your investment property, consider paying your mortgage, insurance, property taxes, repair contractors, utilities, and other recurring bills before the end of the year.  That way, the expenses will be reported and applied against your income this year.

Qualify as a real estate professional: This is not an action item that you can complete before the end of the year.  But, if you get to tax time and find out from your tax professional that you are not qualified as a real estate professional, consider completing this step.  Briefly, the IRS generally considers your income and losses on investment real estate to be passive. You cannot deduct your passive losses against your wages or self-employment income, which are considered non-passive income.  However, if you or your spouse “actively participated” in passive rental real estate activity and qualify as a real estate professional, you may be able to deduct passive losses against your non-passive income. You must materially participate in the real estate activities and qualify as a real estate professional based on a few specific formulas from the IRS.  Consider discussing this topic further with your real estate professional. The opportunity to apply passive losses to non-passive income can represent significant tax savings for some taxpayers.

If you have questions about your specific tax situation and investment real estate, contact Esquire Real Estate today before time runs out.

Maximizing Your 2018 Real Estate Deductions

Bryan Zuetel

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Now is the time to consider your 2018 real estate tax deductions. As the year is coming to a close, you can best finalize your real estate related expenditures.  Have you made the necessary tax preparations for the end of the year?  How are your investment properties?  The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed at the end of 2017 brought many tax code changes, including some that affect your real estate.

Section 179 deduction: Non-residential real property placed in service this year may benefit from the expanded definition of Section 179 property.  That section allows the taxpayer to include certain interior property improvements to take 100% of those improvements as a depreciation deduction.  Qualified property is property placed in service during 2018 and used predominantly (more than 50%) in your trade or business. 

SALT deduction limit: After the Tax Cuts Act, state and local property taxes are generally capped at a maximum $10,000 deduction.  In California, this will probably leave some of your property taxes and state income taxes as non-deductible.  Note that this deduction limitation only applies to property taxes for a primary or secondary residence, not an investment property (where mortgage interest and property taxes remain fully deductible).  California taxpayers and property owners should anticipate this tax change and plan accordingly with additional, available deductions.

Qualified business income deduction: Taxpayers with qualified business income (which should include rental income) may be eligible to take a tax deduction of up to 20% of the qualified business income from a pass-through business entity (sole proprietorships, LLC’s, and S-corporations).  Generally, the taxpayer will be able to capture a full 20% deduction on rental income, subject to certain restrictions for higher income levels.  This deduction is complicated and has many variables for deductibility. 

Need a real estate tax professional? We can refer you to professionals that specialize in real estate tax. Need a real estate attorney to draft your documents before the year end? Contact us, and we can help. Want to sell your investment property or second home within the United States? WE DO THAT!

Bryan Zuetel, Esq. in recent Realtor.com Article

Bryan Zuetel

California Real Estate Law doesn’t demand that buyers and sellers of real estate have a legal professional, namely a real estate attorney overseeing the mounds of legal documentation. Unlike California, many conservative states do require a real estate attorney to oversee the contractual agreements. Imagine how many law suits could be avoided if a licensed real estate attorney oversaw the whole legal transaction.

At Esquire Real Estate, this is what we do. Our standard of ethics and client protection goes above and beyond to our clients’ best interest. When our clients succeed in their real estate matters, so do we.

Considering a real estate sale or purchase? Give us a call.