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Questions Answered by Ross Cameron Hart
3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I need to know specific closing information if I'm buying a house in Virginia from out of state

I live in New Jersey and I'm buying a house cash in Virginia. We are not using a buyer's agent. We were told we needed to have a real estate lawyer or a title company when the paperwork was signed. I'm trying to find out if the title company needs to be in Virginia or if I can use... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Sep 19, 2020

1) Use someone in Virginia. period. Real estate law is different from state to state and no way in blazes will a New Jersey agent understand the traps and tricks of Virginia Law.

2) Use a LAWYER. title agents can't explain anything - they can't advise you on what to do in a...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Do i need homeowners insurance at closing if its a cash deal?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Sep 9, 2020

Mr. Sernberg took the words our of my mouth - or my typing fingers.

You're making a large investment - don't be an idiot, insure it.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Virginia on
Q: How do i go about getting a shared septic and well agreement in Va, that will transfer if the property is sold?

We are buying a property, and the owner had a verbal agreement to share the well and septic that are on the neighbors property. She has no problem sharing, but we are concerned what would happen if she sold her property.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Sep 1, 2020

You don't say whether or not you've signed a contract to buy the property. If you have you may have a big problem.

Make sure that obtaining a written agreement is part of the contract - that is the most important part of your transaction.

And you need a lawyer. NOT a...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: If I get notification in August, is the last day of the second month September or october?

The termination shall be effective on the last day of the second calendar month following the month in which Landlord receives the Notice of termination.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Aug 24, 2020

Notice sent DURING August (unless the notice was sent August 1), then the last day is Halloween, October 31.

2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: My landlord sold the home prior to our lease being up and refuses to refund our security deposit.

Laine and I (Darrell) provided 60 Intent to Vacate on June 1st, 2020. The owners closed on July 9th 2020, we only want the difference of prorated August.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Aug 23, 2020

Virginia law specifically says whoever owns the property at the end of the lease has to apply and/or refund the security deposit

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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Can my landlord evict me for smoking marijuana when he has no proof?

Landlord said he smelt pot last couple days and evicted us. Said he could smell in hallway. It wasn't me smoking and I offered him to come search he wouldn't

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Aug 23, 2020

You can only be evicted by a court order. Tell the landlord you aren't moving until there's been a hearing before a judge AND BE AT THAT HEARING and testify that you didn't have the pot.

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2 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My dad recently passed away. My mom’s name is not on the deed. As the spouse, does she have rights to the house?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Aug 11, 2020

I'm sorry for your loss.

While it is likely she has some rights, I always recommend that your mom consult an experienced probate lawyer in your area - there are too many variables that could affect the answer. AND DON'T GO TO THE COURTHOUSE TO DO ANYTHING BEFORE CONSULTING THE...
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3 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: I want to sell my rental; my month 2 month tenant has been paying on time w/o any issues. Can I give them 30 day notice?

My tenants have been living in the home since 2013. My husband and I are trying to relocate to help my Mom out in Alabama. I need to sell the rental. With the Cares Act, can I give my current tenants 30 days notice so I can make changes to the house and get it on the market?

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Aug 9, 2020

As the others have said, Yes.

My practical answer is different:

Do you really want to? It's possible that a purchaser - investor - would want a tenant who has a history of prompt payment. Talk with an experienced real estate agent and ask them.

AND by all means...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My rental lease just went month-to-month. When can I terminate the lease?

The lease states, “The lease may then be terminated by either party giving 30 days written notice prior to the end of the rental month.” If I give written notice on Aug 10, am I obligated to pay rent through Sept 30 or can I end my lease mid- September? This is in Virginia. The lease was... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Aug 8, 2020

The general rule for '30-day notice' clauses is that they run to the end of the next rental period following the date notice is given. Thus, in your example notice given today (or Monday, August 10) would be effective September 30.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I originally signed my lease October 28, 2016 the term on page one says fully ending on October 31, 2017

the renewal section it states the following ; Tenant at the expiration of the lease term shall become a tenant monthly at the monthly rental as paid for the last month of the lease term to be paid aforesaid, and tenant shall be subject to all agreements and conditions herein contained , either... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jul 23, 2020

Your notice of termination is effective August 31, 2020 - from your quote of the lease language: notice is "to be effective on the last day of subsequent month.". Otherwise it appears your interpretation is correct that you were on a month to month for the past 3 years. Since the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Can you rent a home and charge NO rent in lieu of repairs?

I have a second home that a person wants to rent. It is not up to code and would not pass the laws under the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. The person wanting to rent is a contractor and wants to make the repairs himself in lieu of rent. We would not charge any rent for an agreed... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jul 22, 2020

It can be done under the limited facts you provided. BUT IT IS DANGEROUS to both you and the tenant. There is no 'form' agreement and you'll need a customized contract regarding the quality of repairs ('to code' is a MINIMUM standard; 'workmanlike manner' is... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: If we vacate a Virginia rental before UDL first return date, is it dismissed? Or better to dispute due to unsafe home?

No attorney; my daughter and I are co-tenants. We are now in the final month of the lease, and can safely afford to not renew the 12 month lease and move out.---> Multiple code violations have continued throughout our 2 year tenancy. A UDL was filed in October 2019. Our attorney for that case... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jul 10, 2020

ALWAYS appear in court when you are sued - the U/Detainer will show up on your rental record for 10 years and many landlords won't rent to anyone who has been sued for rent. If you don't show up the landlord will get a (undeserved) default judgment against you and mess up your credit.... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Tax Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Mom passes intestate in Fairfax Co VA, how can I file her final tax returns after the POA ends?

All assets were liquidated into a POD account years ago, all current income taxes, funeral costs, and debts have already been paid. Only final taxes on bank interest, a modest Social Security income, final IRA distribution costs and the POD account will remain when Mom passes. Does the estate have... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jul 10, 2020

I'm sorry for your loss. You may not have to do very much as everything was POD. And that included 'probate'.

I suggest you consult an attorney - in Virginia - to advise you and reassure you of where you are. Elder Law attorneys are familiar with estate law and procedure -...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I have a home in Fairfax, VA that I paid almost 80% of the property, but I still have 15 more years to pay it off .

I want to refinance my house with a better interest rate but I am in my 70's and I want to leave the house for my children What should I do? I don't think they will qualify for a loan themselves, but if I do refinance they will definitely be able to keep paying the mortgage. What would if... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jun 10, 2020

You know that 'whack-a-mole' arcade game where 'moles' pop up and you take a club and knock them back into the hole? Estate planning is a lot like that. You need a comprehensive review of your situation and a coordinated plan - failure to do that can seriously reduce what your... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant, Collections and Small Claims for Virginia on
Q: Warrant in Debt for a tenant; judgement 9/2/15 Wants to settle. Do we go to Clerk of Court or how do I proceed?

Contacted me yesterday. I want to make sure I do everything right!

Do we go to Clerk of Court to exchange money, does she bring $ to me then I contact courts its settled?

5 years have passed so its over $20k with the 6% interest. Can bankruptcy be filed to get out of it? But... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on May 26, 2020

Yes, she can file bankruptcy to discharge the debt.

All you really need to do is 1) agree on an amount 2) get that amount and give tenant a receipt, 3) within 30 days advise the court that the judgment has been satisfied. It's an easy form and the clerk will help you with it....
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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: With VA slayer statute, who pays slayers debts ?

This was a murder suicide. I understand slayer deemed to have died first in these cases and victims family becomes heirs to everything. What happens to skaters debt, and who pays slayers funeral expenses?

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on May 25, 2020

If this has happened in your family or close friend, you have my deepest sympathy.

Mr. Wilson is correct - Virginia law doesn't address the issue. What Virginia law does is prevent the slayer (or his estate) from profiting - getting money - from his crime. That means that anything...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can a son or daughter on the deed of their parents home, simply sell the house for profit if they have siblings?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on May 25, 2020

Mr. Sternberg is correct - you don't provide nearly enough information to answer your question. Being 'on the deed' can mean a number of things from simply a co-owner to having the remainder after a parents' life estate.

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I'm in Virginia. Entered into contract to sell my house. Buyers have now indicated that they no longer feel happy

about the purchase. They want out of the contract. They are pressuring me to sign a document basically stating a mutual agreement to break the contract and forfeiting their deposit. What alternatives do I have?

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on May 17, 2020

First, you need a lawyer, not an internet advice board. This forum is designed and good for simple, general questions that will get you to the 'next step' for legal situations. Sometimes all people need is a simple answer. From the facts you’ve given, it seems that you need a lot more... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Agricultural Law, Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Is there a legal document that will not give ownership or others can stake claim to property they are working/living on?

It is 30 acres of land in VA where 2 of the 5 owners with the other owners permission is setting up what is called The Eden Experience-The Eden Experience is about creating a new sense of community and family based on permaculture farmsteading that thrives and coexists along harmoniously with the... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on May 13, 2020

This forum is designed and good for simple, general questions that will get you to the 'next step' for legal situations. Sometimes all people need is a simple answer. From the facts you’ve given, it seems that you need a lot more than an internet answer. Find and sit down with an... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: What is allotment of dower mean?

There's 233,000 Acrea of land owned by family name.The farm has been owned and manned by my family for over 100 years .(with whom I've never met and by blood I am related)Is there any rights I have to this farm?

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on May 5, 2020

There is no way to tell from your question. You don't specify whether the land is located in Virginia or some other state - 233,000 acres is huge for Virginia; more likely in a western state. The laws of each state are different.

That said, you would need a title search to determine...
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