I had the privilege of sitting down and talking with Patrick Macias to discuss some do’s and don’ts for homeowners looking to build a new home, addition, accessory dwelling unit (ADU), and/or becoming first time landlords.
Patrick is a long time attorney, who has focused his practice primarily on Real Estate Law and secondly on Business Law. Patrick has practiced law for the past 38 years, the last 5 in Nevada County and prior to that he spent 26 years in Marin County. Patrick attended law school at Berkley and made his undergraduate achievements at Stanford.
As a homeowner, what types of contracts should home owners be engaged in?
Patrick advises having a written contract with all service providers whom the home owner is working directly with. If a home owner is looking to have design work completed, the designer/engineer/architect is a service provider and should be contracted with. Once a contractor is identified and on board with the project, they too should be contracted with. Contractors are required by their licensing board to have a written contract with their clients, so it becomes a red flag if you are have not received a written contract from your contractor. Also, if a home owner plans to become a landlord, having a written lease agreement is a must.
As a landlord, or future landlord, what steps can one take to protect themselves?
The first step is understanding the current tenant-landlord laws in the State you are operating in. You can do this by researching online, talking with your local property management groups, and/or talking with an attorney who specializes in tenant-landlord laws.
Secondly, having a signed lease that abides by the current tenant-landlord laws. The California Association of Realtors has a great leasing form that can be used. Make sure you have the most current version of the form. Additionally, an attorney can draft a leasing form for you.
And lastly, document everything along the way. The lease outlines the expectations for both parties, and documenting non compliance along the way, no matter how small, will help protect you in the event legal recourse becomes necessary.
What tips do you have for a home owner looking to undergo an extensive remodel, new home build, or similar project?
Patrick emphasized the need to work with a reputable design professional (architect, engineer, designer or combination of). A reputable design professional will know the needs and requirements of the local building and planning departments. This will greatly reduce the chance of a project making it all the way through design (and the home owner paying for those services) only to find out the property cannot sustain the proposed building and permits are denied. A reputable design professional will also have strong ties to the contracting community, helping ensure the home owner works with a reputable contractor.
How can Patrick assist homeowners on their projects?
Patrick is available for consultations, whether reviewing the current tenant-landlord laws, reviewing proposed contracts by service providers, writing contracts for landlords, or navigating through any issues that arise during the course of work.
Patrick is based out of Nevada City, serving most of the north state, and can be found online via Facebook, LinkedIn, Alignable, or contacted directly at or 415-308-0447.
About our “Conversation” series
As part of our conversation series, Jackson & Sands Engineering Inc will be talking with related industry professionals to help provide resources and knowledge for homeowners, contractors, developers, and more. If there’s a specific topic/industry you would like covered, please leave your suggestion in a comment below.