Benny Kass is a practicing attorney in Washington. There he has been writing the Housing Counsel column weekly since the early 1970s and ...

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Benny L. Kass

Benny L. Kass

Housing Counsel


Do words prevail over numbers in real estate deals?

July 6, 2014

Q: We signed a contract to buy a condominium. The sales price was $370,000.

  • Word of caution on lack of property disclosure

    June 26, 2014

    Q: We were in the process of buying a house that we knew was gut rehabbed, and during our inspection, the builder/seller of the house was nice enough to come by to answer our questions. Well, my inspector noticed that some of the electrical was not up to standard and asked to see the permits, to which the builder/seller stated he had not pulled any for the entire job. The house was completely gutted with new HVAC, electric, plumbing, insulation, even a carrier beam installed, all without an inspector coming by.

  • Get the facts on whether you owe time, share fees

    June 20, 2014

    Q: I am getting letters about time-share maintenance fees, and I don't remember ever buying into any time share.

  • Ways unmarried couple can take title to condo

    June 13, 2014

    Q: My girlfriend and I plan to get married next year, but we want to buy a condominium now.

  • What stays with the house and what goes? Put it in writing

    June 6, 2014

    Q: My husband and I signed a contract to buy a house, and the settlement will take place in about a month. We have the right to visit the house periodically so we can take measurements for some of our plans.

  • Homebuyer carrot might come with strings attached

    June 1, 2014

    Q: I was looking at realty listings in my area and noticed someone is selling a house with a free car. I'd never heard of that tactic before, and it struck me as an extravagant incentive.

  • Transfering deed after a death can be complex

    May 27, 2014

    Q: I need your expert advice. My wife died a few months ago, and our house is in joint tenants. Now I want to take my wife off and put my daughter as a joint tenant. I am going to do a warranty or quit-claim deed and put the property in our names and keep the deed at home. When I die, my daughter can record the deed. Is this the right way to go? My friend said this was OK to do. I'm 69 years old, and the senior center couldn't help me out.

  • Saving energy at home helps save money in taxes

    May 18, 2014

    Q: I obtained an automatic extension, and my 2013 income tax is not due until October.

  • Breaking lease a risky option to end renters' feud

    May 12, 2014

    Q: I own a town house and rent it to four individuals. Three people got along fine until one person left and brought in a new person to sublet.

  • Homeowners can challenge eminent domain compensation

    May 3, 2014

    Q: My state government has plans to expand our rapid transit railway system, and many of us are concerned that they will take our houses to complete the project. What is the law on this? Do they have the absolute right to do this?

  • Can landlord show property when tenant is not home?

    April 27, 2014

    Q: I signed a one-year lease that ended last year. My landlords/owners did not ask me to sign another lease but instead asked if I was interested in buying. I was not.

  • Avoid tax bite in transferring property to child

    April 19, 2014

    Q: My wife passed away recently. The property was in our joint names. I want to type a warranty or quitclaim deed, and transfer property to my daughter and myself as joint owners and keep the deed at home. If I die, my daughter can record the deed. Is this the right way to go?

  • Transfer property into trust to avoid probate

    March 14, 2014

    Q: Eleven years ago, my wife and I set up a trust and know we must restructure it now.

  • Borrower loses home but still has to pay equity loan

    March 7, 2014

    Q: My home was foreclosed a few years ago. At that time, I had a home equity line of credit on the property. I am not responsible for the main mortgage. Unfortunately, this didn't seem to affect my equity loan, and I am still making payments on it. What options do I have? I'd like to stop payment or settle for a lesser amount owed.

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