This article was posted on Tuesday, Feb 01, 2022

Dear AOA and its Members:

Having practiced real property law for the past 45 years (I was admitted to the California State Bar in November 1976), I have decided to retire as an attorney, hang up my shingle, spend my spare time with my family and friends, and pursue my passions for traveling, scuba diving and flying my Cessna to new and interesting destinations.

With that decision, I am now realizing that one of the hardest aspects of retirement is giving up writing this monthly column for the Apartment Owners Association, which I have done for the past 40 years.  In fact, the first article I authored on behalf of AOA was in March 1982.  

Although AOA was born earlier, March 1982 was also the month and year that Dan Faller (AOA’s first and only President until April 2021 when Dan’s son, Jeff Faller, took over as President), published his first widely-circulated “President’s” editorial for owners of buildings throughout Los Angeles County.  

As for me, during the decades that followed the 1980s, I authored monthly articles for AOA covering nearly every aspect of real estate law as it pertains to multifamily residential housing.  Among those topics were discussions about driveway easements, unlawful discrimination against children and how to avoid it, tenant liability for making disparaging comments in social media about their landlord, defending against tenants’ lawsuits, partition of real estate between joint apartment owners, laundry leases, pitfalls to avoid when signing purchase contracts and backup offers for apartment buildings, expunging mechanic’s liens, liquidated damages, usury, tree law, service animals, Airbnbs, etc.

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Additionally, longtime AOA members may have noticed that, since 2002, in each January issue of this magazine (including last month’s January 2022 issue) I have presented a detailed discussion of the California laws which govern the employment of resident managers.  Because those laws changed nearly every year, and a violation of them could expose a landlord to hundreds of thousands of dollars of liability, it is probably the single most important series of articles I have written.

Collectively, I have published nearly 500 real estate law articles for AOA.   However, truth be told, I had help from two sources.  

First, what caused me to feel so comfortable about writing for AOA was that over several years in the early 1980s, I became very well acquainted with Dan Faller.  During that time, he and I had many frank and deep discussions.  Most significantly, I learned of Dan’s intense commitment to high moral and ethical standards and his unmitigated passion and integrity to protect the rights of, and enhance opportunities for, apartment owners throughout California.  I felt exactly the same.  So, authoring articles for AOA was always a most gratifying experience.  

Second, from 1982 through this February 2022 issue of AOA’s magazine, I have always had the unwavering support and exceptional assistance of Patricia Harris.  Pattie has been the senior magazine editor of AOA for the past 40 years.  Talk about devotion and dedication to the cause!  Throughout Pattie’s tenure, AOA members have undoubtedly enjoyed and benefited from important information and insightful tips she imparted in her own AOA columns, such as her December 2021 article entitled, “Should You Give Your Tenants Holiday Gifts?”

With every article I wrote for AOA, my objective was always the same: to inform and help educate residential landlords and management companies about real property law as it applied to their ownership, operation or management of their apartment buildings.  

I hope I have succeeded in my endeavor and you have found them useful.  Thank you to all AOA members who have read and hopefully, enjoyed, my column over the years.  

In closing, I would like to give a huge heartfelt and special “Thank You” to Dan and Pattie for graciously allowing me the opportunity to write these articles for the past four decades.  It has truly been an honor and a pleasure.  Farewell my friends.

With warmest regards,      

Dale Alberstone is a prominent real estate attorney who has specialized in real property and resident manager law for the past 45 years.  He is a former arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and a former mediator of real estate disputes.  

Mr. Alberstone has been awarded a 5-Star AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the 134-year-old national rating service of attorneys.  A 5-Star AV rating is the highest possible rating bestowed and reflects an attorney who has reached the heights of professional excellence and who is recognized for the highest levels of legal expertise, communication skills and ethical standards.

Comments of a general nature are warmly invited.  Address correspondence to Dale S. Alberstone, Esq., ALBERSTONE & ALBERSTONE, 269 S. Beverly Drive, Suite 1670; Beverly Hills, California 90212, or phone: (310) 277-7300.