Skip to main content
Clifford L. Tuttle Jr.
Avvo
Pro

Clifford Tuttle’s Answers

747 total


  • My girlfriend and I bought a house. Mortgage is in her name but I am listed on the deed. What are my legal rights in a split?

    Dec 2012 girlfriend and I purchased a house. I wasn't working at the time so the mortgage is in her name only. I provided all the funds for closing and signed a form stating it was a gift. I recently learned the title company put my name on the...

    Clifford’s Answer

    As a joint owner of record, you would ordinarily be entitled to one half of the property. As such, you should have been included as a party on the mortgage, even though you didn't borrow the purchase money and don't owe it. However, you have admitted on the record (anyone can read your question to AVVO) that it was a mistake. If you filed a partition action in court, to obtain your half, this evidence would probably lead to you losing the case.

    Why don't you do the right thing and give her a quitclaim deed for your interest in the property? Who knows, it might even save the relationship.

    By the way, since you are not married to each other, you don't have the real estate rights that a spouse would have in the property. I don't practice in the domestic law field, so if you want advice in that area, you'll have to consult a domestic lawyer.

    Clifford L. Tuttle, Jr.
    Attorney at Law
    Pittsburgh, PA

    See question 
  • I serve a tenant a 15 day eviction last month. HE is now in jail. How do I finish the process sine he will not be getting out?

    I served an eviction notice to this tenant on may 16th and he was to be out by May 31st. Well I found out today that he is in Jail and will be going to prison for probation violation. How do I finish evicting him so I can refill the apartment he w...

    Clifford’s Answer

    Ask the Magistrate to serve him in jail. Then ask him if he would like to settle the case by having a friend move out his stuff in exchange for you waiving delinquent rent and a consent judgment for possession. He will probably say yes.

    Clifford L. Tuttle, Jr.
    Attorney at Law
    Pittsburgh, PA

    See question 
  • Can a new owner of a home i rent withhold my security deposit?

    The home i rent was sold. The new owner is saying he will return our security deposit once he has a walk through after we pay him rent. Rent is due 6/1/2014, my lease is up 6/30/2014 i was told 5/29/2014 that house was sold.

    Clifford’s Answer

    Didn't he walk through the house with the seller just before the closing? What does he expect to find on June 30?

    My guess is that he is planning to dock your security deposit or take the whole thing. This would be on top of whatever deductions might have been taken from the purchase price of the house. Tell him, in view of the circumstances you want him to keep the security deposit for the last month's rent.

    Yes he could sue you for damages. But your defense will be that he bought the house for a price that took the so-called damages into account.

    Clifford L Tuttle, Jr
    Attorney at Law
    Pittsburgh, PA

    See question 
  • Selling my deceased parents vacant land to my cousin. Can I officially sell it to him for $1.00 and accept a donation from him?

    The donation would be in my parents honor. My cousin has been taking care of the property for years and has grown up with like a brother. He has the same last name as me as well.

    Clifford’s Answer

    First, you have to be authorized to sell it. This means that it may be necessary to administer the estate of one or both, depending on the facts. There are too many questions involved to determine this in a Q&A format. You need to talk to a lawyer.

    However, to address your specific question, it sounds as though you are trying to avoid transfer tax. Without getting too complicated, when a property is conveyed for a nominal consideration, it is usually necessary to file a Statement of Value and to pay tax based upon the assessment. You should talk to a real estate lawyer about this too.

    Clifford L Tuttle, Jr
    Attorney at Law
    Pittsburgh, PA

    See question 
  • I think I messed myself up for signing a judgment by agreement today at court .

    I signed a judgment by agreement today at court (for back rent) I was first told that I owed for Feb @ March...but when I showed receipts.... They then showed me a payment history showing that I was past due for October 2013 instead. We did not go...

    Clifford’s Answer

    You have done it. Unless they mislead you, you have to live up to your agreement.

    Rent payments are generally applied to the oldest amount due. Thus if you missed October and November, the payment in December is applied to October and so on. Thus, you actually did owe the last two months if you were two months behind. However, if you can provide proof you paid more than the ledger shows, take it to your landlord immediately and ask for credit against the amount you agreed to pay.

    Clifford L Tuttle, Jr.
    Attorney at Law
    Pittsburgh, PA

    See question 
  • My landlord has been notified on several occasions about a leaking ceiling in my unit and had cut a hole in the ceiling& left it

    My landlord has been notified on several occasions about a leaking ceiling in my unit and had cut a whole in the ceiling to look for it and never found the leak and never resealed the hole. Now I have a hole above my stove/sink roughly 2ft long & ...

    Clifford’s Answer

    The problem is, the Magistrate has no power to force your landlord to make the necessary repairs. These defects sound as though they are making the premises uninhabitable. Take pictures. Send them by email to your landlord. Demand that he repair them in a reasonable time. And if there is no response, you can start looking for a better place to live.

    Unfortunately, the landlord may sue you for rent, so you will have to be prepared to prove that the premises are uninhabitable in their current condition, that you gave notice and a reasonable time to correct and that nothing was done.

    Clifford L Tuttle, Jr
    Attorney at Law

    See question 
  • Can i break my lease over roach infestation?

    We have lived at our apartment for 3 years. We have never had any type of pest/bug problems over the entire time of us living here. Recently we have seen roaches in our bathroom and kitchen. Our neighbors have also confirmed that they have seen th...

    Clifford’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    You must give your landlord notice and a reasonable time to cure the problem. Written notice is best -- email will do. If the landlord does nothing and you can prove that the infestation made the leased premises uninhabitable, case law says you can terminate the lease. However, you run the risk that the landlord may sue you for rent and you will have to defend the termination of the lease in court. You should have pictures that are dated. If you send them to the landlord by email, this establishes the date of the pictures.

    Some tenants call the County Health Department to bolster their case. In Allegheny County (I don't know about Erie County) the Health Department sends an initial letter, but frequently closes the case without further action as soon as the landlord files for an eviction. Don't count on the Health Department to prove your case.

    Rather than move, you can also hire your own exterminator and deduct it from the rent. However, if the landlord decides to sue for eviction, you will end up defending yourself at the magistrates.

    See question 
  • I am building a house. My mortgage bank is now saying I cannot afford the mortgage and we have invested a lot of money already.

    We are building a home. We have been giving the loan officer all papers pertaining to changes that have increased the price. All along he has said we could get this loan with 10% down and our incomes. We have been giving the builder deposits in ca...

    Clifford’s Answer

    You are going to have to find a lender that will invest construction loan funds in a partially completed house. This is difficult, but may not be impossible. Contact local community banks and credit unions. Good luck.

    Clifford L Tuttle, Jr
    Attorney at Law

    See question 
  • My landlord is trying to evict me for past due rent. But agreed to work with the urban league to receive the payment in full

    The urban league will pay the full amount but its at least a 90 day waiting period. So if my landlord agreed would they be able to evict me still

    Clifford’s Answer

    Will the Urban League pay one month or three months after 90 days? Regardless, how are you going to get back on schedule, assuming that the Urban League payment comes through?

    You need to work out a deal, in writing, that includes the Urban League payment but does not rely on it alone. Then keep the agreement.

    By the way, in my experience, these grants take longer than the agency says to come through. You need to plan to pay something while you wait for the Urban League money.

    CLT

    See question 
  • Do I need an attorney for an eviction proceeding?

    I have resided at my current address for 6 months. During the course of my residents my landlord has produced no receipts for payment of rent. My landlord wants to evict me for nonpayment of rent. If my landlord goes to the district justice for an...

    Clifford’s Answer

    Unfortunately, you are the one who will probably have to prove by documentary evidence that you paid. Your landlord will testify that you didn't pay and perhaps make reference to ledgers that he keeps. Then you will testify that you did. Who do you think the Magistrate will believe? If you paid in cash you may have a big problem.

    If you have check statements, money order receipts or anything like that, get them together.

    Clifford L. Tuttle, Jr.
    Attorney at Law

    See question