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Questions Answered by Richard Sternberg
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can 1 unit in a self managed condo (top-bottom) have exclusive rights to backyard w/out having plat or doc notarized?

Bought a “self managed condo”. 2nd unit claims ownership of yard. Plat is certified by engineer but not recorded by city.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 7, 2022

The plat is merely a resource. Review the deeds or get a lawyer to help.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Do I have to return my husband’s inherited property to his siblings after his death?

My father in law passed in 2013. His home and belongings stayed empty for 2 years before my husband, our young children and me bought out his siblings for the home. Before us moving in, the siblings and husband, split up their fathers belongings. My husband passed away in 2020 and the deed to our... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Dec 18, 2021

As I understand the facts, your father-in-law passed in 2013, and the personalty in the estate was divided among the heirs and the estate closed. Around 2015, you and your husband bought the house and its contents, and they belonged to him or both of you. Your husband passed in 2020, and now his... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Family Law, Real Estate Law and Federal Crimes for Virginia on
Q: VA Intestate Probate, on day of death, Spouse moved all money out of decedent's businesses he did not own any of

Spouse had wife own businesses while she was alive because he had "no credit", got huge loans in her name as guarantor, sometimes under false assertions about losses (SBA EIDL), acted as manager in member-managed LLC without being a manager or member, after 23 years of marriage used... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Dec 14, 2021

Your description requires a series of follow-up questions, but other than the car registration, I don't see anything that is likely to excite a prosecutor. There may well be a question of undue influence or competence at the time she signed everything over to him, but you will likely need to... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Civil Rights and Landlord - Tenant for District of Columbia on
Q: Hello, I am a landlord in Washington DC and need advice on how to deal with my HOA and my tenant.

My tenant is renting via the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Lease started March 1, 2021. He pays rent on time, keeps unit clean and I haven't had any problems. The neighbors have complained about his noise levels and says he has become a nuisance, aggressive and harrassing. Board called a... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Dec 7, 2021

I agree with Mr. Socci. This is a hard spot, and you are likely to experience the concept of a rock and a hard place if you attempt to evict or non-renew based on those facts in DC. I think you need to strategize to change the dynamic from you against the board to the board against the tenant. I... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: Hello, my question has a part one I am a license RE My client has a property working through pro-bate, I can I buy it

and stop the probate. Or will the client have to complete the probate process which just started on 11/22/2021. 2)The Deed is in the father's only. But he was married, and she has recently passed 11/14/2021. 3) The father's daughter's would like to just sell the property. But... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 30, 2021

If the property is in Maryland, you should not be able to close unless the probate resolved the deed. Without a review of the deed and the sequence of weddings, purchases, and deaths, it is impossible to define what needs to be done, but many lawyers cover both probate and real estate, and it... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: MD Cts & Jud Pro Code § 5-103 (2019) Government land

Government land (It Doesn't Have To Be Obvious Of Abandonment) If Government land Was Sold To Another Government Department It Was Obvious Of Abandonment It Was Obvious Of Abandonment Before And And After After It Was Sold/Transfer To The Other Government Department. Can That Land Be Adverse... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 28, 2021

Government land isn’t subject to adverse possession.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Hello, Home sold next door and new owner obtained survey. Property line is not what I believed.

I am original owner of my home. Have been maintaining mowing, landscaping etc. for 23+ years. What are my options ?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 20, 2021

The answer will depend on whether your possession was open, adverse, continuous, and hostile for the right number of those 23 years. Mowing someone else’s lawn isn’t very hostile, but fencing it certainly might be. I suggest you get a consult with a real estate lawyer to review the facts.

2 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: I Have A Wrongful Detainer Case I Filed A Motion - - Motion Of Reconsideration

I Have A Wrongful Detainer Case I Filed A Motion - - Motion Of Reconsideration The Motion Says Not Ruled On Judgment In Favor Of Plaintiff The Motion Of Reconsideration Say No Legal Bases Gavin For The Motion Of Reconsideration .... Of Both Motions I Put (MD Cts & Jud Pro Code § 5-103 (2019)... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 17, 2021

Citing Maryland Code defining an adverse possession is not an argument explaining how that Code section supports your position. The judge isn't your lawyer. You are. It sounds like your motion to reconsider is denied, so your next step is a timely appeal and seeking a stay of the eviction. If... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Civil Litigation for Virginia on
Q: This man rented a home to me without lease, doesn't even have a license to rent, Plus Deed not in his name.

We have 20 months of receipts.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 16, 2021

I think you need a lawyer to review the situation, but the law requires leases to be in writing. Sometimes, things that don't look like a lease, such as an exchange of written emails or even texts followed by written checks might be a writing. And, if no problem ever arises, then it... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Criminal Law for Maryland on
Q: adverse possession when the owner takes back land in the same manner as the adverse possessor.

adverse possession when the owner takes back land in the same manner as the adverse possessor.that regards squatting or or squatting (no claim of right).

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 14, 2021

Adverse possession is a defense. It is not a claim. I have used it before by flipping claims and defenses using techniques like a petition to quiet title or a complaint for declaratory judgment, but it is generally a defense that gets asserted to block a summary dispossession. In other words, it... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Hi. In 2017, I did a ch 7 bankruptcy. I have a condo that I live in still pay each month.

I was told by PHH back then, that I would only have to pay off the new prin. Balance to own the home or$65k. Today, my account says there is a payoff of $188k or 1 & 2 prin Balance as payoff. I'm confused and want to know if I can refinance would it be only the $65k? I have a Screenshot.... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 11, 2021

The cheaper answer is to return to the lawyer who handled your chapter 7 and hope he still has the file. so he can remind the lender of the cram down. If this was a DIY or the lawyer is inaccessible or unavailable, someone needs to look up the file at court, get the cram down order, and start... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for District of Columbia on
Q: I would like to know if I have a legal case to sue the seller and her agent for misrepresentation.

I bought a house in April of this year. The owner’s disclosure paperwork did not include that there were some cracks on the living room floor or one of the walls. The home inspector did not see them because there was a rug and furniture covering the cracks and a big vase with flowers arrangements... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 9, 2021

You may have both a latent defect and a misrepresentation cause of action if the defect was latent and the seller knew and lied in the disclosure. The case may involve attorneys fees and treble damages.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: If an executor of an estate fails to perform his duties and all property sits unclaimed for years, can heirs claim it?

My ‘well to do’ great-great aunt died in 2005 with a will naming her nephew as executor, he and his wife as beneficiaries, and my father as an heir. This nephew died intestate in 2003. His wife died in 2005, five months after my g-g aunt. 2 months prior to wife’s death she appointed a friend... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 22, 2021

Your description is too imprecise to render an opinion, but it sounds like you need a probate attorney licensed in Virginia to re-open the estate of Wife. I don't understand from your description what Father's rights are. You call him an heir, but you tell me that the sole beneficiaries... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Estate Planning, Family Law and Workers' Compensation for Virginia on
Q: What happens when someone's in the process of getting a divorce by a online divorce site but passes before its processed

My fiancée passed away and he had filed for divorce but he was told he had to send $66 more and then the papers would be mailed out but he passed before he could pay the $66 can i do anything to stop his wife from getting his Medicare set aside assistance because he didn't want her to have... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 21, 2021

She is the widow, and you are not.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: My sister (66) receives disability SSI and medicaid. She lives with my mother (88). When my mother passes is my sister

allowed to have home placed in her name without losing her benefits? They reside in Va. There is currently a reverse mortgage on the home,but my mother has a large life insurance policy to pay they lean off. My sister has lived with my mother her entire life and has no other assets. I live in Ky... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 3, 2021

The correct answer is a revocable trust created by your mother before your sister comes into possession or vests in any way. While the house may be an exemption, Ma. White hurst is correct that everything else and anything mishandled is a potential disaster. Your mother needs a trust and a will,... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Maryland Montgomery County, real estate question on sewer easement.

A neighbor’s sewer line run across our property. They had a clog and asked for permission to dig / fix via our front yard since that’s where the plumber says the clog is at. Being neighborly, we gave permission (plumbers dug a hole way larger than we expected) . And Now they want to install a... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 25, 2021

The investigation starts with a title search and survey to know with more certainty than "we are not aware" whether there are easements recorded. There are then some very limited rights that sometimes resolve by necessity, but the caselaw on that is very fact specific. You need to review... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Municipal Law and Probate for Maryland on
Q: What type of deed is used in Maryland to transfer property from the treasurer to an individual? Is it a special warrant
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 20, 2021

There are three types of deeds in real property in Maryland: 1) General Warranty Deeds; 2) Special Warranty Deeds; and 3) Quitclaim Deeds. The first is rarely used in Maryland. It promises that the transferor's title was good from all claims before him. The second type merely warrants that the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: How do primary beneficiaries of an IRA work? What about secondary beneficiaries?

Wills and Estates

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 13, 2021

I have seen the terms use incorrectly before, so it is useful to have context, but the usual meaning go a primary beneficiary is the person, persons, or entities that are first in line to receive the proceeds upon the death of the grantor. A secondary or contingent beneficiary takes only if the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Real estate contract with home inspection contingency addendum, but "for information purposes only"

I have a real estate contract where a buyer submitted an offer to buy my rental property. There is a home inspection contingency addendum, but the offer was written as "for information purposes only". Upon performing the inspection, there are some minor repairs required, and the buyers... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 13, 2021

It depends on what the clause says, doesn’t it? If the clause gave all the possible rights to walk away but the words “for information only” were added, we might say the information was to inform the walking away. If the walking away was eliminated, perhaps the default clause is in effect and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Lunsford v. King 132 Ga. App. 749 (1974) 209 S.E.2d 27 I do not understand the case, please help.

I am trying to brief this case, but I do not understand it. I feel like I am not reading English.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 6, 2021

So, you would like us to do your preparation for you? That will surely make you a valuable addition to someone's legal team some day ... if your professors or the bar don't catch up with you first.

Okay, I'm going to help, but not by giving you the answer. The case is short,...
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