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Questions Answered by Ross Cameron Hart
2 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Is the tenant obligated to pay rent under a lease that the property manager didn’t sign?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Nov 2, 2019

did you move in and are living there? The you owe the rent. Virginia law provides that if a lease is delivered but not signed AND the parties act is if it was in force, then it's in force and both the landlord and tenant must live up to their side of the bargain

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I am trying to find the deed record for a house I am wanting to buy in Va to see if there are any easements recorded.
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Oct 28, 2019

Get a title examination professionally done - and ask for a '60 year search'. That will disclose 98% of the likely title issues of the property you are interested in. Then sit down with a real estate lawyer to explain what the various items are and how they affect the property. A title search is... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Landlord Third Party Billing

A landlord is third party billing tenants for water service. Landlord is unable to provide an itemized list of usage and charges for this utility and is charging tenants 3x more than service would typically cost. The lease does not have a provision for this third party billing and tenants are... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Oct 23, 2019

Actually, there IS law on pass-through billing of utilities to tenants in Virginia Code 55.1-1212 - https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title55.1/chapter12/section55.1-1212/ (former code section was 55-226.2; it is essentially unchanged). The section of law is complicated, most lawyers don't know... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Virginia on
Q: Can someone presently be the nominee of a dead person? Do you turn into a nominee of their estate?

If someone is the nominee of a person when he/she is alive, does that person remain a nominee if the other individual dies or does that person become the owner of the dead person's property?

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Oct 18, 2019

I'm having trouble understanding what you mean by 'nominee' - it's not normally a term used in estates or powers of attorney. If you would ask again and explain the circumstances or details behind your question you might get a more specific answer.

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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: I signed my new lease 5 months ago and now the landlord is stating it was never signed and cannot be found.

I have been paying the new rent for months now and they are saying I have to sign a new lease. I have been here 3 years with no issues until I filed a complaint a month ago against my neighbor and now all of a sudden 5 months after I signed my lease they say I never signed it which is a lie. What... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Oct 10, 2019

You have been paying the 'new' rent since the effective date of the 'new' lease. Virginia Code 55.1-1207 (which is identical to its predecessor statute) https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title55.1/chapter12/section55.1-1207/ supports your thought that that lease is still in force even though... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My realtor & broker refuses to take our property off the market after we told them to. Is this legal?

We wanted to get out of our contract but they declined that. So we decided to take the house off the market. They then told us the house would remain listed until the contract expired. Can they do yhis

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Oct 8, 2019

First you need to read the listing agreement you signed. Or consult a lawyer to review it and advise you of your obligations.

If you remove the property from the market, you may owe commissions and fees for early termination. And if they produce an offer that EXACTLY matches the terms...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can I break my lease if my apartment complex is being sold to a new company?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Oct 5, 2019

No. Your lease or rental is 'assigned' to the new owner and you are answerable to that owner. And that owner has to refund your security deposit when your lease ends unless there were damages to the unit you caused.

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: If my brother and sister didn't mention me in the probate process and listed that they are the only heirs,is it fraud

They knew about me and my father's septic business, but they never mentioned neither in their probate process.i just found out today that they are listed the only two heirs and his wife who is not either of our parents just passed away 4 months ago.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Oct 2, 2019

Yes, absolutely. And there is a time clock ticking. You absolutely need a probate lawyer - preferably one who can litigate (sue). 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 »

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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can my neighbor invite a friend to live on his property in an RV?

It is being used as a full time residence.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Oct 2, 2019

Maybe, maybe not.

Two considerations: a) subdivision restrictions and b) zoning ordinances.

a) If you are in a subdivision with restrictions and covenants, there may be a prohibition in them. They will sometimes refer to it as 'temporary housing' or refer to campers, tents and...
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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Can a tenant leave before 30 days after the tenant has given a verbal 30-day notice to their landlord? (Month-to-Month)

We have been at a residency for 7 years and have to leave on an emergency basis for our extened family. We warned landlord over a month before that we may be moving soon since he was a friend of ours. We verbally notified him on the 14th of Sept. and he then in returned gave us a written... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Sep 19, 2019

From your facts the landlord acknowledged your verbal notice but said it extends to the end of October (the next full rental period after you gave notice). The landlord is correct on the termination date of the lease.

You can leave whenever you want - simply you owe rent until the end of...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: In a Life Estate Will can siblings NOT design. to live in the house, move in w/o approval of those who were designated?

Should the sheriff be called if non-will-designated siblings try to move into the

House?

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Sep 2, 2019

Your question - including abbreviations - is too cryptic and lacks enough information for a complete answer. Restate with enough information (use "A", "B", "C" to designate individuals, such as "A" died and in her will . . . "

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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Do I have to allow an ESA as an owner of one SFH?

Tenant signed no-pet lease with two other co-tenants and all parents. I found out the tenant had a dog and served her with a notice to get rid of the dog within 10 days per the lease or she would be evicted. Tenant then provided a letter from a family nurse practitioner that she recommended a dog... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Aug 28, 2019

This will confirm your call to my office where you provided some additional information. I advised you to see a landlord tenant lawyer in your area and suggested you call rental firms and large apartment complexes to see who they use.

There are very few guidelines on 'emotional support...
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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: If your residence has a shared yard (such as a duplex) who is responsible for yard maintance?

Question as stated above.

Also, what is the legal requirement for a landlord replacing carpet between tenants?

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Aug 26, 2019

The lease, if it was properly written, should say who is responsible for what items as to lawn care and maintenance. If the duplex is side-by-side it should be easy to do one half; if it's an up/down then it becomes more interesting.

There is no legal requirement at all for a landlord to...
Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Can a Landlord ask a tenant to share the cost of water main repair (problem not caused by tenant)?

The water main feed pipe on the landlord's property in Fairfax County, Virginia, failed, leaking water in the yard, and running up the tenant's water bills. The landlord asked the tenant to "share" the cost of the repair. The tenant declined, and within 48 hours the landlord advised that he was... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Aug 23, 2019

Under your facts, no. But be prepared to defend yourself in Court. In fact, that the waterline broke may (POSSIBLY - IT IS BY NO MEANS CERTAIN) entitle you to a credit or refund from the landlord for the excess water bill you had to pay. It's not worth arguing over the refund unless he pushes... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Do landlords need to make repairs to outside AC units if fan motor quit working

In state of virginia whose responsibility is it to make repairs to outside AC unit? The fan motor quit working and it cost me 300 to get it repair cause the landlord told I had too. Can I deduct 300 from the following months rent ?

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Aug 21, 2019

This may depend on the wording of your lease. Don't simply withhold rent - that causes other problems. Instead consider filing a 'tenant assertion' in General District Court and ask the court to have the landlord refund your money.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can a homeowner selling a house turn down a home buyer's offer based on the type of lending they are using?

Homeowner turned downed my offer on their house citing they did not want to sell to someone using my type of lending (USDA). The purchase offer was submitted with a financing pre-approval letter from my mortgage lender dated the same date as my offer.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Aug 15, 2019

Probably. A seller can turn down an offer tp purchase for just about any reason they want to, as long as it not a discrimination against a person in a protected class. Some lenders and loan programs impose requirements on sellers that they don't want to fool with - such as requiring discount... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: VIRGINIA. Son dies intestate. No administrator declared. Mom heir of succession. She dies in July with Will. Now what

My fiancé died intestate on June 8. No Administrator of his estate was filed and his mother was heir of succession. She died In late July before filing the affidavit of heirship on the house. Does the house now enter her estate and probate as she died with a will? Is the rest of his debt/assets... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Aug 15, 2019

I am sorry for your loss. I presume the unfortunate timing is that your fiance died first, followed by his mother. Assuming that fiance's father had also died (and was still married to fiance's mother at that time) then - absent a will by fiance - the mother would inherit all of her son's assets.... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Our mother died recently and some of her estate is in probate and they asked us if any of us have declared bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Record

Filed for Bankruptcy in Il: Reorganization (#1203036) Jan. 30, 2012

Bankruptcy Record

Filed for Bankruptcy in Ny: Liquidation (#0368257) Dec. 8, 2003

How do we find out if there are still creditors looking for payment? We are just interested, I... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Aug 10, 2019

It's a bit complicated: the relevant issues are that if someone dies and you are to inherit from them, your rights 'vest' (are established) at the time of death, not when the estate is distributed. If you file bankruptcy, normally only the assets you have as of the date of filing are considered... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Legal advice on purchaser wanting to terminate real estate purchase agreement. We have a binding contract.

Inspection has been done and accepted. Sewer has been pumped out and satisfied. Water well paid for a year. As far as we know everything on our end has been done. Appraisal has been done by purchaser but we do not know what the report is. Purchaser is obtaining a VA loan and has now asked to be... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Aug 4, 2019

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 experienced... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: My landlord is asking for rent early. Its due on 1st latest the 5th. Can he legally do this?

He's leaving the country for vacation, and can't deposit the check after the 29th.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jul 30, 2019

Can he ask for it? sure. Do you have to pay early? no. Will it hurt you to pay early? probably not.

And if you honor the request and need a favor in the future you're more likely to get it than if you don't agree to pay early.

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