When can a tenant legally withhold rent?

Although it’s never ideal, sometimes it may become necessary to withhold rent until problems with a rental unit are corrected. Tenants need to be very careful when doing so. A tenant must provide notice and be sure to follow state or local laws. Not following the rules can lead to an eviction for failing to pay rent. First, always give the landlord a reasonable opportunity to fix any problems. But if you have repairs that need to be made and your landlord refuses to make them, or won’t even return your call, eventually withholding rent may be an option. Unless…..

Continue Reading

Precautions to take before starting a home-improvement project

You’ve selected the right contractor, picked out the materials and set aside the necessary budget. It might seem like you’re ready to embark on that home-improvement project. But have you contacted your insurance agent? Experts recommend that homeowners get in touch with their insurance agent before a home-improvement project to make sure they have sufficient coverage, and after the project is done to see if policy limits need to be increased to provide for enough insurance to rebuild the home. Some projects, such as replacing a roof or installing impact-resistant windows, may even qualify you for an insurance discount. If…..

Continue Reading

Weigh the risks in contractor disputes

Construction projects can get tense, and when a dispute arises mid-project it takes some finesse to maintain working relationships or at least get the project done. It’s always best to bring up any concerns right away and see if by talking it out you and the contractor can find resolution. Often contractors will be willing to redo work, or make changes to completed work, for a discounted price. That can be the most cost effective way to resolve an issue, and can also help keep your project close to the original timeline, as the contractor will want to maintain the…..

Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court rules on regulatory takings

Property owners forced to hash out regulatory takings in court may lose out more often thanks to a new test used to determine whether two adjacent properties with a single owner could be considered a larger parcel. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Murr v. Wisconsin found that the properties in question were a single parcel, and because the owners were not deprived of all economically viable uses of their property they could not establish a compensable regulatory taking. The case addressed land use regulations that merged adjacent parcels (one developed, one undeveloped) into one for environmental reasons, despite the…..

Continue Reading

IRS now allows private debt collectors to dun taxpayers

In a move that could be confusing to seniors who are vulnerable to scams, the IRS is using private debt collection agencies to collect past-due taxes. The new program began in April 2017. Pursuant to a law Congress passed in December 2015, the IRS may now contract with private debt collectors to collect certain debts. The private collection agencies can work on accounts where the taxpayer owes money but the IRS is no longer actively working on the account, perhaps because it is older or because the IRS does not have the resources to continue pursuing it. Historically, scammers have…..

Continue Reading

Five things to know to reduce your tax on capital gains

Although it is often said that nothing is certain except death and taxes, the one tax you may be able to avoid or minimize the most through planning is the tax on capital gains. Here’s what you need to know to do such planning: 1. What is capital gain? Capital gain is the difference between the “basis” in property (usually real estate or stocks, but also including artwork and collectibles) and its selling price. The basis is usually the purchase price of the property. So, if you purchased a house for $250,000 and sold it for $450,000 you would have…..

Continue Reading

Using a prepaid funeral contract to spend down assets for Medicaid

No one wants to think about his or her death, but a little preparation in the form of a prepaid funeral contract can be useful. In addition to helping your family after your passing, a prepaid funeral contract can be a good way to spend down assets in order to qualify for Medicaid. A prepaid or pre-need contract allows you to purchase funeral goods and services before you die. The contract can be entered into with a funeral home or cemetery. Prepaid funeral contracts can include payments for embalming and restoration; a room for the funeral service; a casket, vault…..

Continue Reading

Estate planning for a single person

If you are single, you may not think you need to plan your estate. But single people have as much reason to plan as anyone else. Estate planning not only involves determining where your assets will go when you die, it also helps you plan for what will happen should you become incapacitated, perhaps as the result of a stroke, dementia, or injury. If you don’t make a plan, you will have no say in what happens to you or your assets. Without a properly executed will in place when you die, your estate will be distributed according to state…..

Continue Reading

What to consider before backing out of an offer

Standard real-estate contracts contain inspection and mortgage contingencies that allow buyers a limited amount of time to back out of the contract and receive a refund of their deposit. They also spell out the terms of the deposit and where the money is held in escrow, whether with the buyers’ agent, the title company, an attorney or the developer. But once all contingencies are satisfied, buyers are locked in and attempts to back out could mean losing earnest money and potentially having to pay brokers’ commissions. That’s because even if the seller lets the buyer off the hook, he or…..

Continue Reading

Bank slapped with fine after failing to modify loan terms

In a move called “unprecedented in its magnitude,” a bankruptcy judge recently opted to levy a $45 million fine against Bank of America Corp. for its treatment of homeowners who had requested lower mortgage payments. If it stands, the fine would be the largest punitive damages award for violations of the bankruptcy law’s automatic stay rules, which ban lenders from advancing foreclosures and taking other actions. The case highlights the importance of consulting a lawyer in any situation involving requests for loan modifications or in any case involving a foreclosure. In the ruling, the judge said bank representatives mistreated California…..

Continue Reading


Office Hours

Mon. - Fri.: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm

avp
Address
The Spectrum Building
613 N.W. Loop 410, Suite 840
San Antonio, Texas 78216-5507
Contact

Phone: (210) 742-1410
Fax: (210) 742-1414

9.3Gilbert Vara Jr.
powered by Birdeye