easementsWhen an easement over someone’s land is granted, it creates rights and duties for both parties.  These are not always obvious.  A recent California appellate decision (Dolnikov v. Ekizian, Second Appellate District, December 10, 2013) sheds light on the principles at work.

Before turning to the facts of the case, a word about the terminology.  Suppose I grant you an easement to use a path to and from the beach through my property.  (If only I actually owned such a property…)  In that case you would be known (to lawyers) as the owner of the dominant tenement.  You would be the dominant owner.  I would be the owner of the servient tenement.  I would be the servient owner.  This may sound a bit counter-intuitive, because one might think that the person who grants the easement is in the dominant position.  But, as law and tradition have it, the easement burdens the land affected.  Thus the beneficiary is the dominant owner. Read more

A Reverse Mortgage Requires No Payments

reversemortgageAmericans are healthier and living longer and as we reach retirement age, a challenge many face is how to stay in their homes. There is no doubt that housing expense is one of the largest monthly obligations for many. Homeowners often will comment that they will have to sell their homes when they retire but what they really want is to stay in their homes. The Reverse Mortgage is a financing tool that allows homeowners over 62 to keep their homes and stay in it without a mortgage payment; however, they must continue to pay their property taxes and homeowners insurance. It also allows a homeowner to tap equity in their homes to use for whatever they want. There are a couple of options with a Reverse Mortgage: the homeowner may either receive regular fixed monthly payments for life or a lump sum in cash or have access to a line of credit. The reverse mortgage can be customized to each borrower’s needs and provide a combination of fixed monthly income and an equity line. To qualify, all homeowners who are on title (or, in the case of a purchase, going on title) must be over 62 and the home must be a principal residence of one to four units. Condominiums, townhomes (Planned Unit Developments), single family residences and manufactured homes built after 1976 are all eligible properties. Reverse mortgage recipients must participate in counseling with a Housing and Urban Development-approved counseling agency prior to beginning the loan process. Your mortgage professional can provide you with a list of HUD approved counselors. Read more