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Questions Answered by Ross Cameron Hart
2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Don't agree w/ proposed property distribution of dead parent. What happens if don’t sign Receipt 4 Personal Property?

Estate attorney is pressuring me to sign. Other beneficiary (also the Executor) likes the proposed distribution, so I’m the holdout. Jurisdiction is Fairfax, VA.

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

Is there a specific issue? Have they responded to it? Is it what the will (or law) provides?

If you don't sign, then (1) you'll have to hire a lawyer to represent you when (2) the executor files in court to have the judge declare exactly what is to be paid to you. Your expenses: your...
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1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can a house be built on land to block the right of way & only access to another’s house, used for 100 years?

Family members used land as driveway to have access to their home. Portion of land bought by someone else now has home almost built land locking the house in back of it. Thought the land used as driveway by family members would be grandfathered in in Va. what is law? Does City have any... Read more »

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

It is certainly suspicious, but there are not enough facts to be able to answer your question. 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... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: We rent in The state of VA and our AC has been out for 2 weeks in the middle of a heat index of 110 degrees. We pur

We purchased With our own money a portable unit for our bedroom and an window unit that have been on constantly for 2 weeks. We’ve spent close to $600 and have yet to receive our electricity bill. Our landlord lives in another state and had someone for her home warranty come out and give an... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jul 20, 2019

You have the right to file a Tenant Assertion - this forum doesn't allow the space required for me to describe the process, so here's an outline I posted on another forum Here is an outline I prepared about Tenant Assertions in Virginia:... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: If I sell my primary home that I have lived in for 6 years will I owe takes on the profits in the state of Virginia?

We are moving to South Carolina and want to wait for a while before buying a house. Also thinking of paying off some debt in the process.

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

You need to check with a tax specialist (such as a CPA) for an answer specific to your situation. With that understood, the general rule is that there is no tax due on the gain from sale of your primary residence (gain = price sold - amount paid to buy plus certain improvements). I believe the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: With no written notice from the new owners, do I have to vacate by that date?

It was added to the contract that I would be allowed to stay until mid-July, which I was just shown on July 7th via email. Previously the old owners had asked if I could be out by mid-July. I had replied that I would try but I would need to secure a new place, which has been difficult. I have had... Read more »

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

Mr. Malouf is correct - the new owners inherited you as a tenant and you can remain for the remainder of your lease term or, assuming your rent is month-to-month, until you receive proper notice terminating your tenancy. If you are on a month-to-month, the notice has to include a full rental... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I've read online the fastest way to lose a lawsuit is to get caught lying in discovery! Is that accurate?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jul 7, 2019

Nope - it's the second fastest way to lose. Lying on the witness stand in front of the judge/jury is the fastest.

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: transferring a deed

I have been paying the taxes on property of deceased uncle and aunt since 2009.

I am the great nephew. All my great uncle brothers and Sisters are decease,

his wife was an only child. They have no children, I have been paying for maintenance since 2004.

I have reach out to... Read more »

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

I've heard this story over and over for the past 45 years. The only way to fix this is to consider a Partition suit.

Three people – A, B, & C - own property, A wants their 1/3 share. (note: this procedure works no matter how many people own a share of the property; for this example...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: is it illegal for a real estate company to list a property on the MLS and then not allow prospective buyers to see it?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jun 27, 2019

You asked a basic question but did not include any background leading up to the question. I have a very good friend who is a very good agent - sometimes the 'listing' has restrictions on showing; sometimes the listing is part of a very unfriendly divorce and the person in the property is not... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can I sell my decease father house if I am the administrator without having my siblings sign the paperwork as well.

Because the mortgage company lawyer says my name is the only one on it.

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

What does your lawyer say? Don't have one? Get one for advice. Estate administration has a lot of traps that can cost the fiduciary (executor or administrator) money from their personal assets if handled wrong. In this case, while you gave very little information, you used the term... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: My spouse died without a will. He has 2 minor children with me and 1 minor child with another women.

Do I the spouse inherit his sole property and our joint property. Do i have to go to court to change everything to my name and close his accounts.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jun 12, 2019

I'm sorry for your loss. You need to see an experienced probate lawyer quickly - there are several different ways this could turn out as to property in his sole name. Assuming the 'joint' property was with survivorship, then that is yours but there is some simple paperwork that may need to be... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Is it legal for my landlords to break my lease? Even though I've paid on time and kept good care of my rental.

We have lived here for 2 years and 4 months we have a year lease ending in February. We have had many issues with our rental including us finding out we have no drain field. I have stressed my issues and it is illegal to not have one in Va. So my landlord just told us today he wants us out come... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jun 12, 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 »

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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: My boyfriend and I recently moved into an apartment where half our stove tops didn’t work.

When we moved in our place wasn’t clean, theirs clearly water damage in our bedroom, also our flower beads were full of trash. We’re not able to read what temperature to set our oven at. The oven is still full of oven cleaner. We have been using only two burners to cook our food since and now... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jun 7, 2019

You have posted this question on at least two sites I subscribe to. You can file a Tenant Assertion - I've provided more details on how that works on that other site. Here is an outline I prepared about Tenant Assertions in Virginia:... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My father passed away and his rental property is under water, what can I do?

He was supplementing the rent each month, we personally would like to short sale if possible. The current renter has a lease through December 2019.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jun 6, 2019

I am sorry for your loss. What other assets are in the estate? Short sales are time consuming, frustrating, and generally not worth it - I usually suggest to my clients that they let it go to foreclosure unless there's other issues.

What does your probate attorney advise? If you don't...
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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Virginia on
Q: Can the irs enforce a tax lien on a cash sale for property?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jun 5, 2019

The IRS has a motto: "We've got what it takes to take what you've got".

Practical response: IRS has filed a lien on property; the Owner sells it to Buyer and Buyer pays Owner cash. IRS isn't paid. The lien remains on the property and IRS can file a suit to take the property away from...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: How long does it usually take for a real estate case to settle in Virginia?

Real Estate law

This involves the sale of a house, and the seller has yet to get paid! It's located in Fairfax County.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on May 29, 2019

I presume you mean some kind of litigation, not a sale and settlement of property.

What kind of case? How many parties to it? What are the issues the court is trying to unravel?

There is NO 'average', and the answer is dependent on too many factors to go into here.

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4 Answers | Asked in Employment Law, Personal Injury and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: What are the potential consequences for not answering questions during the discovery process of a lawsuit?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on May 28, 2019

Making a bad situation worse.

Not answering could result in you having to pay the other side's attorneys fees to ask the court to require you to respond. The court could prohibit you from introducing some evidence at the trial. If you piss the judge off enough, the court could rule against...
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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: In rental 7yrs no late no behind. The carpet wasn't new, house not newly painted. Can I be charged for either.
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on May 19, 2019

Maybe, maybe not. You cannot be charged for 'ordinary wear and tear' so unless you did something to ruin the carpet or walls, there shouldn't be a charge. Will the landlord try? Possibly. A lot of less-than-ethical landlords try to take stuff out of the security deposit - and if you feel they... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Section 13 of lease agreement: "Liability of Landlord/Agent." Prospective tenant has crossed out two lines. Bad for me?

My prospective tenant has crossed out these two lines in Sec. 13 of standard lease agreement (VR Form 200, revised 7/18) : "Landlord and Agent shall not be liable for negligence or tort" and "Tenant hereby release landlord and agent from any and all liability and agrees to indemnify landlord and... Read more »

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

In my opinion you are correct to be concerned. As Mr. Maloof said, it can increase your exposure. Among other things, make sure your insurance covers tenant claims for injury or loss on your properties.

By the way, there is no 'Standard Lease Agreement' in Virginia - there are only...
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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Can a LL evict me if I have recently become disabled? Not sure I can pay rent on time.
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on May 12, 2019

Unfortunately, yes. Look at it from their side: they have a mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, etc. that have to be paid; of the rent you pay them their 'profit' may be remarkably small. A roof over your head is one of the three most important things you can have (food and medical are the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: The Redemption Law of Virginia will not be on our side?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on May 12, 2019

You have asked a generic question without any factual background or context. Therefore it is incapable of being answered.

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