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William Edward Shapiro

William Shapiro’s Answers

113 total

  • My 76 mother has early onset dementia. She has already made medical pwr of attrney a few yrs back. How do I activate it?

    Pwr of attorney done 8 yrs+. no short term memory. Doctor wiling to help with legal stuff. She has a companion at her home but mom is more of a sugar mom to him and he is taking advantage. I live out of state. I'm the daughter. Pwr of attorney liv...

    William’s Answer

    Typically, at least in the advanced health care directives (which is what California calls medical powers of attorney) that I draft and that I've encountered, there is usually a provision for when the document becomes effective. Sometimes it is effective immediately upon signing by the person it is meant to protect. Sometimes it becomes effective when either the treating doctor or the person's regular doctor (aka primary care physician) signs off on a statement that the person meets the criteria for the advanced health care directive to become effective.

    What you need to do is to read the advanced health care directive and see what the document requires to be effective. It may be that the attorney in fact (sometimes called the medical proxy. Its the person named to act in the advanced health care directive and/or the durable power of attorney) already has the power to start making decisions on your mother's behalf. Then you need to start coordinating with the attorney-in-fact to start seeing that your mother is being protected.

    Now, if you are worried that the attorney in fact is not doing the job and feel that this is placing your mother in jeopardy, then you are going to have to consider a conservatorship if there is no backup attorney-in-fact named. But that may be getting ahead of things based on your question.

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  • Who is liable if i was assaulted at a nightclub?

    A girlfriend of mine and i were assaultef by a larger number of girls at a nightclub. I felt hopeful when security got involved however quickly noticed they were unable to completely stop it right away. My friend was thrown to the floor and kicked...

    William’s Answer

    You should talk to an attorney about this. Furthermore, you should also know that you only have so much time to bring an action. The sooner you talk to an attorney who hands personal injury cases, the sooner you will be able to evaluate whether this is something you indeed wish to pursue.

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  • Does not having a rental agreement or lease count as violating one for eviction purposes?

    It's an attached unit, the owner lives in the other unit, an amount for rent had not yet been agreed on much less paid. "Tenant" or tenants friends have been stealing from the landlord, he suspects drug use but has no concrete proof. Tenant is h...

    William’s Answer

    A lease can be oral or written. Furthermore, what lawyers call consideration (or what the landlord gets for leasing the rental unit) does not always have to be money. There is a line of cases that states that services for the landlord, such as work done for the property, can be counted as rent.

    At its core, there needs to be an agreement that the tenant can have possession of the rental unit and the landlord receives a certain amount of consideration in return. The length of the lease can vary.

    One thing that I would caution, since I do not know if the person asking the question is the one who is the landlord, is where is the rental unit located. If it is in a rent control jursidiction, there may be local rules which govern what rights the "tenant" has. If the property is located in Santa Cruz, where there are not local rent control ordinances that I am aware of, then it looks like the landlord will have to go through unlawful detainer process.

    Now why a UD if there is no lease? In the situation you are presenting, the person who the property owner wants to evict came on to the property with the permission of the landlord. This makes them a licensee. California courts have held that where a person has permission to be there, as opposed to a squatter, then getting them out requires an unlawful detainer. The landlord does not want to try and use self-help means, or calling the police on this person, to get the "tenant" out. It could expose them to a wrongful eviction claim.

    You should contact an attorney who deals in landlord tenant matters to get some assistance in resolving this. It may cost some money up front, but especially where there is the potential for hostility, it would be better to bring a third party upon whom to focus their displeasure.

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  • Entered a plea agreement in feb of this year...was told one thing and presented with another...want 2 retract it

    i have a medical marj. card...was arrested public defender told me i was pleading 2 aone case when push comes 2 shove it's the same...need 2 know if i am wasting my time...or should i not accept this...any and all help is appreciated... McK...

    William’s Answer

    If you do not understand something that you attorney has said to you about the terms of the agreement, you are entitled to get them to explain to you what is going on. In this case, it sounds like you are not sure what the final agreement you are being asked to accept means. Speak up and ask your attorney to explain it in as much detail as is required for you to understand it.

    If you are being represented by the public defender, you are probably being served by someone who has a good deal of experience in these types of cases. Like any other lawyer, they are probably prone to speaking in legalese or legal slang that people who don't make their living as lawyers don't always understand.

    Ultimately, you are going to have to make the final evaluation yourself if the deal you have been presented with is in your best interest. I would say that you should listen to the advice of your attorney, especially if they have experience dealing with this type of situation.

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  • Withholding rent for habitability issues - California

    I know that CC 1942.4 allows for withholding of rent in situations where you have complained to a government agency, and if after 35 days the issue has not been abated, but what is the law on withholding rent when the unit is simply not habitable ...

    William’s Answer

    Withholding rent is never a good idea. Although it is permitted, a tenant who chooses to use Civil Code section 1942 repair and deduct scheme must actually use the withheld money to make the repairs. Otherwise, by not following the scheme laid out in section 1942, the tenant opens themself up to charges that they are simply not paying their rent. California, while it allows repair and deduct to used, does not allow for rent strikes.

    That being said, your landlord seems to have failed to provide some of the basics necessary to make the premises habitable. My suggestion would be to make a demand of the landlord that you will have your next rent reduced by the amount you had to lay out for hotel and meals (and parking if thats an issue) plus the daily rental for your unit for the period which you were out. If the landlord refuses, you can then take them to, presumably, small claims court.

    Furthermore, you may live in an area which is covered by a rent control law. There may be an administrative procedure available for you to recover your losses. Before you do anything, I would suggest that you contact an attorney in your area who represents tenants and understands the local rent control laws which may apply to you.

    If the problem is serious enough, and the landlord has allowed a condition to exist, or caused it to exist, which makes your home uninhabitable, you may have a cause of action for constructive eviction or breach of the warranty of quiet enjoyment.

    However, in order to make an intelligent choice, you need to sit down with an attorney and see what your options are.

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  • What do I do about my roommate who has his girlfriend staying here and she's not on the lease?

    So I got an apartment for college. When I signed it was with two other guys, one of them an international student one of them a student at my school. Before we moved in, the roommate told me he didn't have a girlfriend and didn't want another girl...

    William’s Answer

    If your roommates are covering their portion of the rent, then there is not a whole lot you really can do through legal means. The issue of guests is a thorny one for landlords and tenants. If you bring this up to the landlord, and there is a provision in your lease which limits the number of nights you are allowed to have a guest stay over, you may risk your landlord attempting to evict all of you. And that may be the landlord's only option depending on how the lease is set up.

    I would encourage you to talk with your roommate and try and set some ground rules for over night guests. Given that you appear to all be on the same lease, you don't really have the position to do anything other than negotiate with them to change the living situation. If you feel you need an outside person to help faciliate the discussion, you can contact the San Francisco Rent Board. They have a program to try and mediate problems among tenants or tenants and landlords.

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  • Can I sue my landlord for some compensation for renting out an apartment that he does not have a permit to rent, now condemned?

    Me and my wife just got back from vacation overseas from march 24 to april 15, and we found out that our apartment got condemned by the city while we were on vacation,now we had to find a place to stay asap,because the last day we can live on our ...

    William’s Answer

    Whether you can sue is not the question. You can always file a complaint. The question is whether it is a good idea to sue or whether there are grounds to do so.

    California courts have found that where there is no certificate of occupancy, a landlord cannot collect rent from tenants. In fact, the court in the original case said that the leasing contract itself was void. What this means is you can sue to get back the rent you have paid. Usually, however, this question comes up in the context of a landlord attempting evict their tenants in an unlawful detainer action. That does not mean you cannot use it in an affirmative case.

    There are a few things you should consider before initiating a suit. One is how much have you paid to the landlord? Another is whether you were there under a term lease or a month to month lease. If rents are higher now, you may have also lost the benefit of the bargain of your lease for the remainder of the rental period.

    Before you make any decision, I believe you should contact an attorney and talk to them about your options. I would encourage you to seek out an attorney that represents tenants.

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  • How can I go about getting a security deposit back from my old landlord?

    I moved out of the apartment on 3/19/12. It has been over 21 days and still no deposit. They haven't even tried to contact me. I called today to ask about it and she said the management company handles the deposits. She gave me the name of the com...

    William’s Answer

    Per Civil Code section 1950.5 you are entitled to your security deposit back. Since they are dragging their feet on this, you need to send a letter to the management company and/ or the landlord. Tell them that the time period has past. Remind them that under section 1950.5 that you are entitled to a refund of the full depaoti (since they haven't given a accounting). Tell them they have a dealline ( usually two weeks is what I recommend). If they don't comply with the deadline, tell them you will have no choice but to take them to court. Make are you keep a copy of the letter. I would also strongly recommend you send it certified mail or with return receipt requested so that you have proof.

    If they do not give you the money, then you are entitled to take the case to court. Most security deposits do not exceed the $7500 maximum of small claims court. Therefore, you would file your case there. Remember, in addition to the donut, you can also seek statutory damages for the landlord's misconduct in withholding your money.

    I would not skip the demand letter. You need the proof that you actually asked and they failed to come through. Otherwise, I have seen cases where the landlord says " we tried but the tenant gave us the wrong address".

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  • Is it unlawful for a landlord to ask for a copy of tenant's vehicle registration?

    The CC&R's for the condo I own and rent out requires all vehicles to be registered and operative. The tenants tell me that all vehicles have current registration, but the neighbor insists the tenants are lying and their vehicle is not registered. ...

    William’s Answer

    I would be hesitant to start asking for registration information, if the car has California license plates with valid tags, asking for more proof could get you into a grey area especially with regards to privacy. You can ask for the license plate for the car. What I would do is ask the tenants to take picture of the license plate (or do it yourself the next time you go). That way, if the tag is good, that should end the inquiry for you.

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  • Without divorce or legal seperation, is their any court action I can take to force my husband to give me access to our money?

    I am 100% controlled financially by my husband. He has never allowed me access to any of our money. We have been married 3 years & we have 2 children. He tells me all the time that it's not my money. We have 401k and IRA that he had for years befo...

    William’s Answer

    I think you may wishtoreconsider your position on divorce given what's going on in this situation. However, I respect that you might not want to go down that path at this time.

    Short of a divorce, you could petition the courts for an injunction to get you access to the financial accounts. The exception would be if there is a pre or post nuptial agreement which affects the character of the property in the marriage.

    However, if you start litigation against your husband, this could do irreparable harm to your marriage. I think it would be best, before you go the litigation route, Tory to get him to be reasonable and open the books and give you access to the accounts.

    If he does not, I think you should contact an attorney who practices family law.

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