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Questions Answered by Ross Cameron Hart
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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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Virginia on
Q: Property (land) 2 parcels assessment approx. $5,400 part of estate, now delinquent in taxes. Estate closed.

Heirs will not come together to do anything. Received notice for delinquent real estate ad. Please advise

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

You have given almost no facts on which a good answer can be based. Even if you had, however, I'd probably refer you to a real estate lawyer to help walk you through the law affecting the property. This forum is designed and good for simple, general questions that will get you to the 'next step'... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Virginia on
Q: can I as guardian and conservator put my fathers home and cd in a trust if hes already declared incompetent, on hospice

i am my fathers legal guardian & conservator my half sister not related to my father is executor of his will. Her and her husband set up the will where they can do what they want with the house and his belongings my father thinking she would do what the will says signed it. She plans on doing her... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jan 8, 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 experienced... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I’m in Virginia and have a question about lifetime right to property

I purchased real estate and allowed someone lifetime right and now she has been in a nursing home for almost 6 months I am being told she will never return and her son is in the property and trashing the place and not keep up with maintenance

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

I agree with Mr. Sternberg - and you need to see a lawyer who understands Life Estate issues. It seems that the son is committing 'waste' which is prohibited, and action could be taken to stop it. But it won't be easy or inexpensive.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My lease states once house is sold we have 30 days to vacate property.

We where told on November 17 that the person looking at house loan was approved. And we should have til end of December to find new place. Then on the 27 of November was told the closing would be on December 20. But on my lease it stated once property is sold we have at least 30 days to move. Does... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Dec 16, 2019

The general rule is that a document is construed strictly as to the drafter which I presume was the landlord. Anything unclear (capable of several meanings) is thus interpreted to favor the person who did NOT draft it. And words are usually given their 'ordinary' meaning.

Assuming,...
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1 Answer | Asked in Appeals / Appellate Law, Real Estate Law and Gov & Administrative Law for Virginia on
Q: Broker appeal REB decision? VA Supreme Court rule 2A:2(b) & 2A:4 within 30 days? What do I need to do? Thanks.

18VAC 135-20-160.B: There was incorrect DPOR form on file intended for mailing purposes. Since corrected. However, I sent them 4 other documents, including clerk of court certificate, that clearly indicate place of business address. Plus, a site visit was never done inside the residence. A site... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Dec 14, 2019

There's an old (very old) saying most popularly attributed to Abraham Lincoln - see https://quoteinvestigator.com/2019/07/30/lawyer/

In the past I have served on a state board, and represented others before state boards. The process is technical and full of traps - you need a lawyer....
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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: If a tenant terminates a lease early, do they forfeit the security deposit?

The tenant signed a two year lease at a discount on the monthly rent. After 15 months, they are moving out because they want to buy a house.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Dec 14, 2019

No and yes. No, it isn't an automatic forfeit - Virginia law generally disapproves forfeiture.

Yes, because the security deposit is to protect the landlord from damages and unpaid rent, and you can keep the deposit for that.

As a landlord, you have a duty to 'mitigate' or reduce...
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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: My landlord never gave me a new lease to sign. Would that mean I’m on a month to month I’ve lived here for almost 3 yrs

After year 2 he never came by with a new lease I’m just trying to figure out what to do if he tries to kick me out for being behind on rent or what I can do to move out and if I have to give hI’m a 30 day notice instead of a 60 day notice as he has stated in the old lease

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

Read the last lease the landlord provided - it may have an automatic renewal for another year. Or it may have terms for how 'holdover' (or continued occupancy) is handled. For example it could have an extended notice period (60 days instead of 30) to terminate. If the most recent lease says... Read more »

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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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