Lawyers, Answer Questions  & Get Points Log In
Questions Answered by Thomas C. Valkenet
1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Maryland on
Q: I am the builder of a new home in Prince Georges County Maryland. I am having a horrible time with an overzealous HOA

I am representing a purchaser of a custom to be built home. The lot is within a 50 year old community called Montpelier in Laurel MD 20707. All of the houses with the exception of this one lot was built in the 60's . The association is Montpelier Community Association. They have an... Read more »

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Jul 30, 2021

Your questions says you are "developer," but that you "represent the owner." Regardless, you have a political and legal problem. If you can't negotiate your way through a community organization staffed by non-professionals, you have the legal option of seeking a declaratory... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Is The Law Of Adverse Possession (clearly established law )

Is The Law Of Adverse Possession (clearly established law) And And How Do The Police Determine Adverse Possession From Anything Else?

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Jun 22, 2021

Adverse possession is a civil legal concept. In Maryland, it is an inchoate claim that must be brought in court. Once all elements are proven, a court may grant possession and authorize recording of an instrument that includes the possessed property.

The police have absolutely zero to do...
Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: What is the best way for four families to build one shared residence?

We and three other families intend to sell our homes when our kids go to college and build one large custom home on acreage. Should we form some manner of legal entity to pool our money and deal with the builder, etc.?

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Mar 26, 2021

Some families set up a limited liability company to manage family vacation homes. With the appropriate operating agreement that defines everyone's financial responsibilities, and which defines who is responsible for repairs, taxes, insurance, etc., it can work. But be clear, what you are... Read more »

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: If I am unmarried and own a house (on title and mortgage) with with my ex-boyfriend am I entitled to half the equity?

There was no agreement in writing when we bought the home on who pays what. He is keeping the home and wants me to sign off.

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Feb 11, 2021

This is such a common issue. When love fails, it often leaves a forced business partnership that must be terminated.

If you are on title, you are a co-owner. If you were unmarried, it is possible that the deed designates what percentage of ownership you were granted, if not 50%....
Read more »

View More Answers

4 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: What details and clauses should be added in a Real Estate Assignment Contract and Purchase Agreement?

I want to ensure that I am following all laws and legal requirements. In order to ensure that I won't be liable for anything.

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Jan 26, 2021

Not to be too glib, but you should add all the laws and legal requirements for your particular type of transaction, and the requirements you seek to enforce or avoid. It has taken me 32 years to do it correctly. You should consider finding someone in you County with similar qualifications.

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Title company telling me I need to redeem ground rent. Is this true? Ground rent is not registered.

I am purchasing a renovated,previously vacant home in Bmore. The home was previously purchased by the Mayor and city via condemn- immed. Title and posses., then purchased by and investor who renovated it. My title company told me that I need to redeem a ground rent that was on a deed from 1967... Read more »

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Jan 23, 2021

Your confusion is understandable. Many don't apprehend that a leasehold property has TWO chains of title. One for the leasehold (what you purchased), and another for the reversionary interest (what you ground rent landlords own).

Non-registration doesn't strip the ground rent...
Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Environmental, Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Is It Illegal Not To Have Water From The City Regarding Adverse Possession And Is It By The Owner Or The Adverse Possess

I Have No Water And The Owner's Water Is Cut Off Long Sense And $6000 Pass Due I Contacted The City Regarding But Never

A Answer It Regarded Having The Water Bill Put In The Title Name Or My Name Regarding Adverse Possession And And That I Was The Adverse Possesser.

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Jan 7, 2021

The solution to your issue depends on your status as an occupier of the land. How did you enter the property? Are you a tenant with a lease? One without a lease? Did the owner invite you? Did you enter via trespass? What is your relation to the owner?

How the water bill is titled is an...
Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: If I put in an offer on a property for sale, how long do I have to wait before the current owner accepts or rejects it?

My friend put in an offer on a house more than 60 days ago. When they asked the seller about it (seller became elusive) they came back and said they want to wait and see if more offers come in first. Is this allowed?

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Dec 18, 2020

It is up to the offeror to put a time limit on the offer. A letter, now, giving a deadline or withdrawing the offer will work.

View More Answers

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Dear Sir/Madam, regarding to returning deposit to tenant + interest in Maryland

it says: " Within 45 days after the end of the tenancy, the landlord shall return the security deposit to the tenant together with simple interest which has accrued at the daily U.S. Treasury yield curve rate for 1 year, as of the first business day of each year, or 1.5% a year, whichever is... Read more »

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Dec 7, 2020

The commercial practice of the banking community is often out of step with what the Legislature has ordered by statute. The Maryland landlord must abide the written statute. Every once in awhile, the tenants catch a break.

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Regarding Adverse Possession The USPS The Mail Men Keeps Returning The Mail To Sender And Regarding That Its Vacant .

And No Vacant Notice / Notice To Pickup Mail From The Post Office. I Had The The Addresses Verified By The Post Office. And 4 Time Within A Year I Reported That It Was Not Vacant And Non Of The Addresses There Of The Mail Will Begin And My Packages Will Come Then Vacant Return To Sender Again. The... Read more »

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Dec 7, 2020

Your question lacks basic facts. Unless you have a court order granting you a deed on the basis of "adverse Possession," you remain a trespasser. You have to go to court and prove the adverse possession claim.

2 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning, Real Estate Law and Criminal Law for Maryland on
Q: Adverse Possession Can A Owner Break Into A Building On The Land And Change The Locks If Not What Would Happen Regarding

A Owner Break Into A Building That I Adverse Possession And Changed The Locks. And A Time A Renter Of A Bissnesses On The Land Of The Same Campus Broke Into The Same Building On The Land And Stole The Water Heater Turned Off The Water/ And Close The Building Up. Also What Are The Owns Rights... Read more »

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Dec 7, 2020

Same response as before- Unless you have a court order granting ownership and a deed based on adverse possession, you remain a mere trespasser who may have a claim of adverse possession.

In Maryland, a claim for adverse possession must be proven, in an evidentiary hearing. It is not automatic.

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Can a family member of an HOA Board Member serve on an HOA committee?

We plan to require the related board member to recuse themselves from any nominations, voting or appeals of the family member's committee.

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Dec 3, 2020

Yes, unless restricted by the HOA by-laws. The by-laws often have restrictions on who may vote, based on household members. Service as a committeeman is not likely so restricted.

Of course, you folks can do what is appropriate under the circumstances.

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Can my listing agent sue for additional commission after settlement?
Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Dec 3, 2020

The answer will be discerned from the brokerage/agency agreement, the settlement sheet, and your written communications. If the broker's agreement calls for $X, but the disbursement out of settlement was less than $X, then you might owe he delta.

That is just the beginning of the...
Read more »

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Civil Rights, Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: Adverse Possession Can You Adverse Possession Two Campuses And And The Whole Two Campuses With Different Buildings.

And And Can The Land Be Just Adverse Possession Regardless Of The Buildings Of The Two Campuses.

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Nov 16, 2020

The question is pretty vague. But the crux of the biscuit is this: An adverse user is entitled to claim only to the extent of his use and possession, and no more. What I gather from your question is an eye toward land owned by a governmental entity. In that case, you may not adversely possess... Read more »

View More Answers

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Civil Rights, Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: Is Adverse Possession And And Squatting Two Different Things And Is Lottering Trespassing Breaken In Entey ( BNE )

The Same As Or As In Squatting Or Adverse Possession

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Nov 13, 2020

Squatting is simple trespass- one is residing where they have to legal or titled right. Adverse possession is a cause of action. One asserting the cause of action in court must make certain proof in order to persuade a court to award legal title.

A squatter has no rights, but may, at some...
Read more »

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Collections for Maryland on
Q: We would like to know what are options are in removing the lien from our home in Harford County in Maryland.

In 2008 my home had a lien put against it due to a credit card debt with Citibank. In 2017, I tried to show a bank that I paid off the debt but Citibank has no record of the account. I was still able to get a loan despite the lien but in the future this will still be a problem especially if I... Read more »

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Oct 29, 2020

A lien arising from a judgment lives 12 years, and can be renewed for another 12 years. How it was created is found in the court's file. You may visit the clerk's office to review the file, yourself. You might as well obtain a copy as any lawyer you consult will need a complete copy of... Read more »

View More Answers

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: If a property is abandoned/vacant how can I go about obtaining that property? What steps would I need to take.
Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Oct 22, 2020

Property is not truly "abandoned." It may be vacant, but it is still subject to municipal taxes. When left unpaid, the property is likely up for tax sale. The redemption laws might give you a way to obtain an interest in the property.

And if property is vacant, you are certainly...
Read more »

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Maryland on
Q: My father died in the state of Maryland without a will. What steps do I take to sell his house?

His fiancé still lives in the house, but I am his next of kin

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Oct 19, 2020

When one dies, ownership of his things passes to his Estate. That Estate is controlled by a Personal Representative. You must ask the court to appoint you as P.R. Only then will you have authority to administer the house.

You might also discuss with the fiance whether she wishes to...
Read more »

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: In cases of multiple owners of a property, does majority rule on questions of selling, renting, etc?

Also, would a majority ownership share rule?

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Sep 21, 2020

No. Unless there is a side agreement that describes such a voting system, every title owner has equal say in how the property is disposed of. That is the tricky part about having co-owners.

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: want to know about a land installment contract
Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Aug 4, 2020

They are a thing. But to receive a meaningful response, you should narrow your question. They are complicated, both legally and practically.

View More Answers

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.