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Questions Answered by Ross Cameron Hart
2 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: My daughter put in an "intent to renew" form on her apt. The company says the form is a new lease. Is that accurate?

The current lease does not expire until July 31, 2020, but the leasing office is telling her she has to sign. I was the guarantor on the current lease, but have not indicated I plan to again, but they are also telling me I have to sign.

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

Without looking at the existing lease, the form for 'intent' and the proposed new lease we can't give a specific answer.

Generally speaking, a 'letter of intent' is not a contract - it's just an indication that someone plans to do something, however if there is no final agreement or...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: In adverse possession, there was a garage in the spot. It got taken down and replace fence. Will the time restart?

The garage was in the spot for 20 ish years. Then it got taken down due to new construction and a fence was put in by the new owner.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Mar 18, 2020

Adverse possession is one of the more complicated areas of real estate law. You need to consult a real estate litigation attorney 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.... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Is an unlawful detained and eviction the same th ing in va
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Mar 18, 2020

You asked this on two separate forums - yes, Unlawful Detainer (note correct name) is an eviction. If you don't move after 10 days the landlord can have the sheriff physically remove you from the property and your stuff can be removed from the property.

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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: My moms landlord sold her townhouse without telling her, now the new owner is trying to make her pay more on her lease
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Mar 14, 2020

If your mother is on a written lease that has not expired, then the 'old' rent continues. Many leases revert to month-to-month leases after the first year (or so) and if that's the case, and the new owner gave appropriate notice, then the new rent is due.

One other item to consider -...
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1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Virginia on
Q: My spouse is a Ward if the State and went into a nursing home yesterday. What rights do I have to his income for support

My spouse recently became a Ward of the state. He has a public guardian & conservator. How do I get protection under the spousal impoverishment laws? I depend on his income. He receives retirement from the railroad of $3400 per month. He went to a Nursing Home yesterday. His care will run $6000.00... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Mar 12, 2020

Your question is remarkably complex. 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... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: In Va. I want to review my tenant file and all the contents. Am I within my rights to request this of my PM?

I want to go and request to review my tenant file with my property manager. I want to see what contents are in the file. The Property Manager is telling me no and that I am not entitled to review the file. If the file is about me and concerns me and residency then why can't I review it?

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Mar 11, 2020

See Virginia Code 55.1-1209-D, found here: https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title55.1/chapter12/section55.1-1209/

it says:

D. A tenant may request a copy of his tenant records in paper or electronic form. If the rental agreement so provides, a landlord may charge a tenant...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: If my father was my grandfather's executor and my father passes away does that responsibility come down to me?

My father was my grandfather's executor and my aunt and uncle were the administrators. My father passed away and I became his executor of estate and I am his only heir. Does his role as executor for his father's estate come to me? Or does it cancel him out and only the two administrators are left?... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Mar 3, 2020

There is a whole lot of information you didn't provide - and you're in a complex situation. Before you make any (more) mistakes consult an experienced probate lawyer for an overview of all estates and advice on how to handle them.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: can a financial conservator force me to take my deceased MIL's trailer?

The financial conservator sent me a letter saying that since i paid for the funeral then as reinbursment of the estate that i could take the trailer. I dont want the trailer. It would cost way more to have it moved off the lot then what i paid for the funeral. if i dont sign her form, then what... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Mar 2, 2020

Under the facts you don't have to take the trailer (mobile home). It sounds like the conservator is trying to conclude the conservatorship and no one has been appointed as administrator (or executor) of the estate, and there probably isn't enough money to justify doing that. The conservator does... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: My grandmother just passed February 6th. I've lived with her since January 2015 and was her caretaker up until her death

Our eldest cousin was her power of attorney and is listed the only one on her will. What is my rights to living at the resisidence

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

I'm sorry for your loss.

You may not have many rights, at all. Your phrase 'only one on her will' doesn't give me guidance: is she the only person named to inherit grandmother's property, or is she the named executor? Does the executor have authority over the real estate.? What does your...
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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: Can a probate Judge change the deed of distribution. In other words can he change the distribution breakdown.

Change he/she change the percentage on three different properties so all three equal 100% for each person.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Feb 16, 2020

You have not provided any facts in order for us to review your question in context with the estate. Was there a will? What did it say about the property? Were there any other assets distributed other than real estate?

And there is no official named "Probate Judge" in Virginia, but that's...
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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Can real estate be sold in VA if the will has not gone through probate?

My grandfather passed away in late 2019. His will says that all belongings should be divided equally between the 4 children. My uncle is named executor but he has yet to file the will into the probate court. Can he try and sell my grandfather's home to a family member for half of fair market value... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Feb 16, 2020

Your question leaves out some information - I'll point out that 'belongings' is generally personal property (household goods - TV, furniture, etc) and is not real property such as the home. What does the will say about the real property.

However, that he's acting without at least recording...
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3 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant, Consumer Law and Contracts for Virginia on
Q: Can the power company refuse a tenant power due to the manger and /or owner of the property owing a bill?

The power company here in VA took my deposit, gave me a date to turn the power on, didn't, then required a notarized lease and whereabouts of the previous tenants, even though I as the new tenant didn't know the previous tenant, I get all this documentation even after they still haven't turned my... Read more »

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

Electric utilities are regulated by the Virginia State Corporation Commission - division of utilities. contact them to file a complaint: http://www.scc.virginia.gov/pur/elec.aspx

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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: My Landlord recently put the duplex I rent up for sale. What are my rights?Can I be evicted?What about my security dep?

I just signed a year lease on 12/1/2019. I do not have a copy of my lease to review because my Landlord did not provide a copy like he said he was. I have recently asked my Landlord to mail me my copy and he claimed he mailed it over 10 days ago. But I have yet to receive the said copy. Not sure my... Read more »

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

General rule is that a new owner takes the tenant and the lease that the prior owner had put in place and has to honor any existing contracts. In addition to getting a copy of the lease, make sure you have a copy of the 'move in' inspection report which shows the condition of the property when you... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: If you buy a house and another house is hooked to the Septic without conditions can we disconnect from the other house
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Feb 10, 2020

You question leaves out a lot of information that is needed for us to provide an answer. Whose land is the septic system on? If you disconnect your house where would your effluent (sewage) go? Your question says 'without conditions' - do you mean easement? Do you have title insurance? Have you... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: If an individual has life rights to a property until their death, do the Grantees have to pay off all liens?

Life rights individual has at least two federal liens on themselves, but it is an unknown to the Grantees if the liens are

attached to the property solely. Do the legally documented Grantees of the property have to pay for any of the liens? It is believed the liens are strictly for... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Feb 6, 2020

The term the law uses is 'life tenant' which means that that individual has the right to live on the property for their life; those who then get the property on death of the life tenant are called 'remaindermen' or 'remainder interest' (think of 'what's left after the life tenant dies'.... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Our landlord has overcharged us in rent by $82 a month for 11 months, against our lease agreement.

I am a resident in Richmond, VA that has been overcharged in rent by our apartment complex. According to our lease, we are to pay $1607 per month in rent. We have been paying $1689 in rent alone for 11 months. We’ve also been overcharged late fees and attorney fees based on the incorrect rent... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Feb 6, 2020

If you don't qualify for Legal Aid (and CVLAS that was suggested has the best landlord-tenant lawyer in Virginia, in my opinion) your school may have a 'student lawyer' who can advise you in more detail and possibly provide assistance.

You say you have a copy of a rental ledger that's...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I purchased a home and my realtor, title company, and former owner noted was no HOA. Newly active HOA is seeking dues.

I’ve simply refused to pay and asked for further documentation and the covenants and the cc &r. I also asked for the breakdown of the budget and why the dues are being exercised. I also noted that the HOA was never disclosed at any time and that I will be seeking legal advice.

They... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jan 21, 2020

You should have an 'owner's title policy' - look at it and see if there is any mention of a homeowner's association. If not, then make a claim under the title insurance policy as it may be a covered risk.

Homeowners associations can be crazy - many are good but some get idiots in control....
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Heir Land was sold without family consent without real estate assessment and without right of way. Current owners are tr

Heir Land was sold without family consent without real estate assessment and without right of way. Current owners are trying to sell land but have not been successful. As a family will we need to go to County first to assess where land boundaries are before we present an offer

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jan 16, 2020

You have provided a minimal statement of fact but no question. I'm not sure what you want to know.

If you came to my office I'd want to know how the land was sold and by whom, if it wasn't sold by the family. I'd probably then want a title examination to cover ownership to when the family...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: do you require a lawyer when property is given to more than one person and said property is to be sold?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jan 16, 2020

REQUIRE? No. Everyone has the right to represent themselves no matter how little they know.

GOOD IDEA? Absolutely. There are aspects to real estate ownership and sale that would surprise many people. I've lost count of the times I've looked at a transaction - after the fact or when it's...
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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Signing a fixed-term lease on house. In VA, can new landlord add a clause--if it sells new owner can give 60 day notice?

The new landlord said they're not likely to sell, but the property has two houses and it's possible she'll want to sell mine. There are plenty of people right here who would want to rent it, so I'm wondering--can I say no to adding that clause? Is it legal in VA or do I have no leverage if it's... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jan 15, 2020

As I understand your facts - you are occupying a house under a 2 year lease that will expire soon. Owner will extend but with a clause that allows owner to terminate the lease IF they sell the house and on 60 days notice.

First, yes they can do that. As a tenant I once did that - put in a...
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