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Questions Answered by Ross Cameron Hart
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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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: how much is adverse possession case?

My family has owned a 1/2 acre property with well, septic, trailer on it for 50 years. Someone bought the 1/2 acre in front of me & their surgery now claims my developed part is theres. No house has been on their property for almost 20 years & they had a well before too. We’ve paid taxes... Read more »

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

It sounds as if you have all of the elements (parts) required to claim adverse possession, but in no way is this a do it yourself project - you need a lawyer.

This forum is designed and good for simple, general questions that will get you to the 'next step' for legal situations....
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: How does one gift real property in VA? Via quit claim deed?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Apr 21, 2020

You simply have a deed prepared, sign it and deliver it.

A good lawyer (only lawyers can write deeds for a fee - it's considered the practice of law) will draft it as a 'Deed of Gift' and recite the section of the code that exempts the deed from recording taxes.

A...
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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: Probate Accounting: How to handle accounting when heirs put money into estate bank account to pay for home rehab?

My mother died last year and my brother and I were the only two heirs named in the will. I am the executor.

The will states that the house is to be sold and proceeds (along with other estate assets) be divided between us.

The issue was the house was very outdated and had bad water... Read more »

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

As always, my advice is to talk to your probate lawyer to make sure you handle it properly - different areas of Virginia may have different ways of handling it. If you don't have a probate lawyer consult one. If you don't want to do that, you can call the Commissioner of Accounts (COA)... Read more »

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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...
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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... 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...
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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... 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... 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... 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.

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