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Questions Answered by Thomas C. Valkenet
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Maryland on
Q: Still waiting: Does the State of Maryland require [by law] that an HOA be formed to enforce covenants?

I posted this question last week and received one very eloquent response as to the wisdom of forming an HOA so as to enforce covenants BUT, at the end of the day, I did not receive a straight up "yes" or "no" answer to my question which again is: "does the state of Maryland... Read more »

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Oct 12, 2021

Yes. The phrase "in place" means properly organized, and in good standing with the State of Maryland. There are instances where an HOA described in recorded declarations has been allowed to lapse, or is no longer functioning. There are reported appellate court decisions describing what... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: I planted trees & built a garden on the strip of land that the original owner of the property next-door told me was mine

The property has now sold for the third or fourth time & the new owners had a survey done. It shows the trees and garden are on their side of the survey line. We spoke to them within a week of their moving in and they said not to worry they couldn’t use that tiny strip of property next to... Read more »

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

Yours is a common issue. Our Firm recently had this exact issue (dispute over ownership of flower beds near shared boundary) in a D.C. case. Do you have a survey? Perhaps it conflicts with the neighbor's survey. Also, have you or your predecessors used the beds to the exclusion of your new... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Maryland on
Q: What type of legal representation is needed for an inheritance buyout dispute where the home is in MD and I am in GA?

My siblings and I were willed a house. One sibling wants to keep the house and has made a buyout offer. I don't believe the buyout offer is equitable. I am seeking expertise with interpreting the appraisal to obtain a fair buyout offer. I have no idea what type of legal representation I need... Read more »

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Oct 5, 2021

This is something our Firm can help with. We are also real estate brokers with access to valuation tools. You want to avoid the cost of a partition action. Where co-owners can't agree on a sale, any one of them can run to court and compel the sale.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: When 2 adjoining lots that has rights to a section of common easement to the second lot; does the 1st lot cont to use ?

If an owner of 2 lots with the rights to use a sec of a common easement that leads to the second lot and is a need I necessity easement for lot 2. The owner of lots 1&2 sales lot2; does lot 1 get to continue to use that section of the common easement if there is no longer a need for lot one to... Read more »

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Sep 10, 2021

If the easement is written and recorded, yes. A recorded easement can only be extinguished by another recording, or by strict proof of "abandonment" (the reverse of adverse possession or use). Necessity is not a factor.

But, if the easement is one of implication or necessity...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Deck Size Restrictions in Hanover Maryland (21076)

I am trying to look for a home in Howard County Hanover MD. Only one house in the community has a larger deck while the rest are of same size. The seller says it was built prior to HOA rules being formed and its the only home with larger deck. Will one home be allowed to have a larger deck like... Read more »

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Sep 10, 2021

Check with the HOA. As part of most home sales in such communities, the HOA issues a certification prior to closing that states whether there are existing violations of the covenants for the subject property. Don't accept the seller's representations. Of course you can sue, later, if they... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: I have received the letters of administration for an estate. The will authorizes me to sell real property.

How long do I have to wait after being appointed as PR to sell real property? Do I need to file anything with the court or notify interested persons of the sale? In addition, decedent also owns a mobile home. Am I required to get a formal appraisal for the mobile home?

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Sep 9, 2021

There is no waiting time. Once you are appointed as PR your obligations are established by the Statutes and court rules. A PR runs into trouble when they wait too long, allow bad things to happen to the property, let others live in it, don't pay the mortgage, etc. But a PR may sign a contract... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Can You File A Quitclaim Deed Maryland Regarding Adverse Possession MD Cts & Jud Pro Code § 5-103 (2019)

Can You File A Quitclaim Deed Maryland Regarding Adverse Possession MD Cts & Jud Pro Code § 5-103 (2019)

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

Adverse Possession is a cause of action. To obtain title the claim must be asserted in court, and granted by a judge. If you choose to file a deed on your own (I don't know who you'd describe as the "grantor") you risk being sued or slander of title by the true owner.... Read more »

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 »

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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 »

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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.

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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...
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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...
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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...
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