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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 34884
Experience:  I have 30 years legal experience. Additionally, in CA I held a Real Estate Broker's license.
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I hope you can help me. The house I've lived in (a rental)

Customer Question

I hope you can help me. The house I've lived in (a rental) my ENTIRE LIFE (56 years) is being sold because the owner passed away (over 4 years ago) and the executor & attorneys are wanted to sell the property. Before the owner passed away, he verbally promised me & the other tenant (there are only us 2 single bachelor tenants living on the property) that we shouldn't worry because we were "family and ALWAYS have a roof over our heads". The problem is he never wrote it down. In fact, he donated the property to charity. There are 3 homes on the property: mine, my front neighbors, & an abandoned house.
The house is in the city of Rosemead in Los Angeles County, California.
How can I stay in my home? My neighbor looked into buying our two homes from the executor before they put the "for sale" sign up. But my neighbor feels the executor already has a deal with a realtor before it is listed to go on sale. Something about a "pocketing" realtor. Is there such a thing where a realtor gets hush money about an available property. I guess I'm very naive.
Any ideas to keep me in my home?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 4 months ago.

Good morning,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. I have been a CA licensed attorney for more than 3 decades, and I handle real estate law and landlord tenant law.

Unfortunately, under CA law, a promise is not enforceable in court and any agreement for the lease of real property, to be valid for longer than one year, must be in writing. The fact that the owner willed the property to charity suggests that his promise that you could stay in the rental was intended to mean only while he owned the property. Under the circumstances, the only way that you can continue to stay in the rental is if the person who buys it also wants to rent it out and they allow you to stay on.

A "pocket listing" is simply a property for sale that has not been listed in the MLS yet and means little in your situation. And it is quite possible that the executor already has the Realtor chosen, but no, there is no such thing where a Realtor gets hush money to not list a property. Any seller, or executor, can direct the Realtor not to place the listing in the MLS. There would be no reason to pay a Realtor not to place the listing in the MLS.

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

If you have additional questions, you may of course reply back to me and I will be happy to continue to assist you further until your questions have been answered to your satisfaction.

Would you please take a moment to positively rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided by clicking on the rating stars---three stars or more. It is that easy. That is the way I am compensated for having helped you.

Thank you in advance. I wish you the best in your future,


Expert:  LawTalk replied 4 months ago.

Good morning,

Do you have any additional questions that you would like me to address for you?

In case you would like a phone call to further discuss these issues you have raised, I will make that offer to you. You are certainly not obligated to accept a call offer, but many people do find it helpful for clarification purposes, as well as to allow them to ask additional questions.

As I have provided you with the information you asked for, would you please now rate my service to you so I can be compensated for assisting you?

Thanks in advance,


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