DEAR BOB: If I sign and record a quit claim deed to my adult son for rental property I own, can I still receive the income directly from the tenants? Or does the income then have to go to him and be transferred to me? I don’t want him to be responsible for the income tax – Val A.

DEAR VAL: If you transfer the rental property title to your son via a quit claim deed, the property becomes his and you no longer own or control it. He then must report the rental income on Schedule E of his federal income tax returns where he can also deduct the applicable expenses.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

You could manage the property for him, such as collecting the rents, but you no longer will be entitled to the income-tax deduction benefits because you no longer own the property. He, not you, then must report the rental income and deductions on his tax return since he owns the property.

I do not recommend your deeding the property to your son, even if you are in poor health.

As I often say in this column, it is usually better to inherit real estate than to receive it as a gift before death. Better yet, transfer the title into your living trust to avoid probate yet retain full control until you pass on.

If you gift the property to your son, he then takes over your probably low depreciated tax basis for the property. However, if he inherits the property after you pass on, he gets a new “stepped-up basis” of its market value on the date of your death. For full details, please consult your tax adviser.


DEAR BOB: My neighbor has several large trees that overhang my garden. I am very worried that during a storm they will fall onto my home. What can I do to have them cut down, trimmed or inspected for safety? The neighbor’s house has been a rental for many years and is neglected – Roger B.

DEAR ROGER: Unless there is evidence the trees are diseased and likely to fall on your house, there isn’t anything you can do other than very politely ask your neighbor to please trim his trees to minimize the probability of damage to your home.

You might offer to pay the cost of trimming, if that will help.

If there is evidence of negligence or tree disease danger to your home, you might ask your attorney to write a polite but strong letter pointed out the dangerous condition (if there is one) such as leaning trees. Other than that, there isn’t much you can do until damage occurs.


DEAR BOB: Why didn’t Congress vote to make PMI (private mortgage insurance) premiums tax deductible just like interest? I see the House of Representatives favored that change, but the Senate didn’t, so the bill was defeated. This seems like a “no brainer” because PMI is such a rip-off for borrowers who receive no protection although we pay the cost to protect the lenders in the rare event of a foreclosure loss. When I wrote my representative, he said he voted for PMI tax deductions but he blamed the senators – Dorothy R.

DEAR DOROTHY: You pretty well summarized the situation. The PMI industry has been lobbying Congress for years to make PMI premiums tax deductible for borrowers, just like mortgage interest is tax deductible. But the proposed change gets defeated every time. Sorry, I don’t have any easy solution.

The new Robert Bruss special report, “Everything Homeowners Need to Know About the New $250,000 and $500,000 Home Sale Tax Exemption Rules,” is now available for $4 from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010 or by credit card at 1-800-736-1736 or instant Internet download at Questions for this column are welcome at either address.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center


What’s your opinion? Send your Letter to the Editor to

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription