Articles Posted in Real Property

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Has your plumbing gone awry? Do any of your home appliances use water supply lines from EZ- FLO International, Inc.? Well, that may not be just a coincidence. According to a number of consumers, EZ-FLO water supply lines—the flexible tubing that is either covered with braided stainless steel or brass, or non-braided plastic, used to supply water to faucets, dishwashers, toilets, ice makers and other household fixtures—have been at the center of leaks around the country­­. These water supply lines often look like this:

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Considering the number of different places EZ-FLO water supply lines can be located throughout our homes, this is important information for any consumer! Comments for dishwasher supply lines include:

 

It has only been installed for 5 months and already the water line is leaking just before the connector. It was a slow drip and ruined our wood floors.

All 6 water supply lines that came leaked and had to be replaced by new ones bought at [L]owes, products were cheap but are not I got what I paid for, I wish I could return just the water lines but I don’t think amazon will allow me to do that. Don’t buy this product unless you only need the power cord.

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About a year ago we at the Blog notified you that CitiMortgage and other mortgage servicing companies may have been charging so-called “Property Inspection Fees” in violation of the law.  Indeed, several class action lawsuits against Citi and other mortgage servicing companies are currently proceeding in federal court in California.

But those lawsuits don’t focus on you – the high-rise condominium owner.  Is your condo above the first floor in a secure building?  Would property inspectors be able to get to your floor without your permission?  If you answered yes and then no, then the so-called property inspection fees on your monthly statement may be improper.

Here’s how it works.  You miss a few payments, go into default, and suddenly you have a monthly mortgage statement littered not only with late fees, but also a variety of new charges for “default services” including property inspections.  Codes like INVO may appear on your paperwork or in your mortgage records.     Continue reading

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You miss a payment or two – and wham!   Suddenly your monthly mortgage statement is littered not only with late fees, but with a variety of new charges you have never seen before and may not understand. Among them: Your lender might be charging you for unnecessary property inspections (http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-fees-can-the-lender-charge-if-im-late-mortgage-payments.html). Several mortgage lenders and servicers, including Citi Mortgage, appear to be automatically charging borrowers for inspections to make sure their homes are occupied – even if there is no reason to believe the home has been abandoned.

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In a growing number of class actions, homeowners say that inspection fees and other unreasonable, unauthorized fees are being tacked onto their statements automatically when they are late on payments. The mortgage companies allegedly program their computers to order the inspections after an account becomes a certain number of days past due. There is no human review or assessment of the account before the inspections are ordered, according to these lawsuits. And the inspections continue on an automated basis, sometimes as often as monthly.

The property inspection fees are typically small – in the range of $10 to $15. But since they are often charged monthly, they can add up (http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/challenging-late-other-fees-foreclosure.html).  Homeowners must pay these fees in order to save their homes from foreclosure.   Mortgage companies typically won’t reinstate a loan and halt the foreclosure process until all of the fees are paid, or even added to the balance of the loan. In some cases, homeowners have to pay these fees even when their homes are foreclosed. They are often deducted from the proceeds of the foreclosure sale. Continue reading

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Polyvinyl Chloride, or PVC, is a plastic-like product used in many applications.  The most traditional use for PVC is in PVC piping; however, its versatility has developed a wide variety of uses—such as plastic bottles, packaging, credit cards, and even clothing.  Another use for PVC is flooring.  Several companies produce wood-like PVC for use in outdoor decks.  AZEC, TimberTech, Tamko Building Products, and Wolf Home Products are large manufacturers of this product.

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Well-made and designed PVC decking re-creates the look of wood without the maintenance required with a hardwood or composite deck.  Wooden decking often requires staining, sanding, and other maintenance.  PVC decking is advertised as requiring none of this work and thus has risen in popularity in recent years.  As such, consumers and homeowners pay a premium for PVC decking products in exchange for the advertised low-maintenance, durable product.  PVC is also advertised and represented as less expensive in the long-run than all-wood or composite deck alternatives due to the supposed lesser degree of required maintenance.

Unfortunately, not all PVC decking is well-made.  Since PVC decking entered the market in 2007, its popularity versus other decking options has risen, and common complaints about certain PVC decking products have also become apparent.

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We here at the blog have spent a lot of time recently on water heaters, a major purchase that can leave consumers with a serious headache. But there is one thing far worse than a non-working water heater – a water heater that leaks, puddles and floods. In fact, any water leak, whether from a toilet, dishwasher or sink, is a homeowner’s worst nightmare – whether a small leak that goes unnoticed or a major component failure that causes thousands of dollars in damage to your floors, walls and carpets, water damage is a scary thing. But the culprit may not be your water heater, dishwasher or washing machine. The problem may be a simple piece that often goes unnoticed – defective braided stainless steel water supply connectors manufactured by Watts. According to various internet complaints, Watts supply lines suffer from a hidden problem that causes them to leak and, on occasion, burst, potentially causing thousands of dollars of damage in the process.

Water supply connectors are an important part of any home appliance that depends on water – water heaters, dishwashers, faucets, toilets, refrigerators, ice makers and washing machines all use them. Water supply connectors help get water from your home’s water lines to the appliance, hopefully without leaking in the process. More expensive than traditional copper connectors, braided stainless steel supply connectors like those offered by Watts are still expected to offer the same functionality and reliability in a more flexible product that fits easily into any space. Watts braided stainless steel water supply connectors are made from an extruded core of PVC tubing. The core is then over-braided with polyester yarn and another layer of PVC material, and a final layer of stainless steel braiding covers the entire product to provide a finished look and, supposedly, protection against leaks. The supply lines connect to the appliances using fittings attached to the ends of the lines.

Although Watts touts their products’ reliability and “protection from vibration and bursting under extreme pressure surges,” research indicates that their stainless steel water supply line connectors suffer from a variety of issues. Some users believe that the inner lining is not well-manufactured and can harden, crack and deteriorate as it’s exposed to your home’s water. As the internal PVC tubing hardens, it begins to crack and water begins to seep out through the braided stainless steel exterior. Water heater supply connectors are particularly susceptible to these problems – the interior lining seems unable to handle the intense temperatures, causing the lining to fail and water to leak from around the connectors.

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When Watts supply connectors fail just behind the fitting have witnessed Watts braided stainless steel connectors fail just behind the fitting, a failure that allows large quantities of water to leak at a much faster clip and causes even greater damage to your home.

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Supply connectors may be inexpensive relative to the cost of your appliance, but a failed connector may cost you thousands of dollars in damage all the same. Continue reading

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Owning property or buying a home is a huge component in achieving the “American Dream.”  Most who buy a property take out a mortgage to finance their purchase.  Making the final payment on that mortgage is an immensely satisfying experience and a well-earned accomplishment.  You are free from future mortgage payments, and in the eyes of the bank, the government, and the public, you can do with the property what you wish.  In many cases, property owners pay off their mortgages when selling their properties and moving to a new home.

To ensure that everyone knows that your property is all yours either to keep or sell to new owners, when you pay off your mortgage, the bank (also known as the “mortgagor”) records a satisfaction of mortgage notice with the county clerk in the county where your property is located.  This demonstrates to the county that your mortgage is fully satisfied and paid for, in full, including all principal, interest, and other fees.  It also shows the county and the public that you are the legitimate and full owner of the formerly-mortgaged property.  Among other things, this allows you to sell your property.  In most cases, the mortgagor is required to record this notice within 30 days of the day you paid off your mortgage, or the mortgagor owes you money.

If the mortgagor does not record a satisfaction of mortgage notice, this can complicate the transfer process when you are selling your property.  Unfortunately, when a potential buyer does a title search on the property, it will appear to the buyer and the county that you do not have a marketable title and cannot transfer it to the new owner.  This may derail a potential sale. Continue reading