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District of Columbia Real Estate Law Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Bankruptcy and Real Estate Law for District of Columbia on
Q: What is the worst that can happen when flipping a house with 100% private money financing??

If I am using someone else's money and a house that I flip sells for less then previously estimated am I out anything more then my time? Or can the private money lender sue me and make me cover the loss?

What if I am using an LLC?

I am mostly worried that the private lender... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Mar 19, 2022

If you find a private lender who would not require your personal guarantee and, often, security of your home co-signed by your spouse, you should hold that lender very close… or share his name with me. You will be completely liable on your project unless the lender is an idiot, and most hard... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for District of Columbia on
Q: Have a Final Judgement Order and want to put a Lien on a property that is owned by the persons. HOW to Do So?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Feb 2, 2022

In DC, you file a lis pendens. The law changed a number of years ago, and the lawsuit, itself, is not a lien. It is a great idea ti have counsel assist in this.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Civil Rights and Landlord - Tenant for District of Columbia on
Q: Hello, I am a landlord in Washington DC and need advice on how to deal with my HOA and my tenant.

My tenant is renting via the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Lease started March 1, 2021. He pays rent on time, keeps unit clean and I haven't had any problems. The neighbors have complained about his noise levels and says he has become a nuisance, aggressive and harrassing. Board called a... Read more »

Laurence L. Socci
Laurence L. Socci
answered on Dec 6, 2021

I am a DC landlord/tenant lawyer. As long as the tenant is not violating his lease, you cannot evict him. The evidence you discuss is not sufficient to warrant eviction. As to whether or not they can fine you, that depends on what is in any agreement you have with the Board. You will likely have... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for District of Columbia on
Q: I would like to know if I have a legal case to sue the seller and her agent for misrepresentation.

I bought a house in April of this year. The owner’s disclosure paperwork did not include that there were some cracks on the living room floor or one of the walls. The home inspector did not see them because there was a rug and furniture covering the cracks and a big vase with flowers arrangements... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Nov 9, 2021

You may have both a latent defect and a misrepresentation cause of action if the defect was latent and the seller knew and lied in the disclosure. The case may involve attorneys fees and treble damages.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate and Real Estate Law for District of Columbia on
Q: My mother passed and she left a Will. My sister and I are beneficiaries. Do we need to file large estate probate to sell
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Sep 6, 2021

Query: My mother passed and she left a Will. My sister and I are beneficiaries. Do we need to file large estate probate to sell?

Yes. In the District of Columbia, title passes on death to the estate, so the easiest way to confer title is by opening a. ADM private estate. There is a cute...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for District of Columbia on
Q: Can I evict holdover tenants in DC without waiting for 60 days after the moratorium?

My tenants are now considered holdover tenants and I want possession of property because I don’t want to rent any more and there are certain time lines for evictions in DC.

My understanding is 30 days wait/ 30 days notice to quit then eviction.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Jul 27, 2021

Your understanding is incorrect. You are not at the same kind of risk if you give proper 30-day notice and then file suit. That will merely be dismissed. But, if you attempt self-help, you are at grave risk. Buy a consult with a lawyer. For starters, it's a 90-day notice. Next, if the property... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for District of Columbia on
Q: Upstairs apartment leaked human wastewater into my apartment kitchen. What is my landlord's responsibility?

I have asked for a plumber - they are using a jack of all trades. I have asked to move into another empty unit, with the move fee waived - denied. I have asked for alternative accommodations until the repair and clean up is completed - denied. I have asked for a break in the rent, since the... Read more »

Steven Krieger
Steven Krieger
answered on Jul 27, 2020

In DC, you're able to withhold rent for housing code violations and wastewater coming into your unit seems to qualify. The landlord may take you to court and you'd have to explain the housing code violation, but this is a viable remedy for you.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for District of Columbia on
Q: What happens in the District of Columbia in a "joint tenancy" when an individual passes?
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
answered on Aug 5, 2019

The survivor of the two joint tenants becomes sole owner of the property as a matter of law. The survivor can, but need not, file a new deed to show the property is solely theirs. They will need the death certificate and a new deed drafted. Alternatively, they may only need to record the death... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for District of Columbia on
Q: I am the spouse of a deceased heir of an estate that died after the decedent. Am I entitled to receive any inheritance?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on May 3, 2019

You need to speak with a lawyer to fill in the family tree and discuss any Will or trust that might exist. Just for the first questions:

Is there a Will, and is your or you late husbands name in it?

Did "the decedent" -- the first person to die -- we'll call him or...
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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Criminal Law, Real Estate Law and Elder Law for District of Columbia on
Q: My father, who lives in Washington, DC needs to get out of a reverse mortgage scam. He wasn't 100% to sign a contract.

He was approximately 80 at the time. Diminished vision. Emotionally compromised. Victim of phone and mail fraud.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Feb 19, 2019

You should have a consult with a lawyer before he dies. The facts matter, and they should not be discussed in an open forum.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for District of Columbia on
Q: I have a pending real estate transaction that involves a listing agent who's refusing to split the commission. Advice?

I am the procuring agent in this transaction as I brought the buyer to the table... the property hadn't sold in years after being listed with same agent.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Dec 11, 2018

If you are both members of the National Association of Realtors, GCAAR (and/or MAR) and the MRIS, there is a mandatory arbitration system maintained by either GCAAR, MAR, or MRIS. That might be useful, or you might get a lawyer involved early on in the hopes that, by communications with the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for District of Columbia on
Q: My friend owns 2/3rds of a house and wants to sell. Does she need to get permission from the 1/3rd owner? P

The other party was willed their portion of the house. The 2/3rd owner has lived in it for 50 years

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Dec 4, 2018

All owners have to agree to a sale unless a court orders sale in lieu of partition. That petition is, however, fairly straightforward in the hands of experienced counsel.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for District of Columbia on
Q: My daddy left a will to his wife, myself and my brother. My stepmother had a letter written and notarized before death.

The letter: This is to supercede xxx Last Will an Testament. Because of health problems and aging, I, xxx, do hereby relinquish all rights, privileges and duties to and for the estate as stated in his Last Will and Testament to his children,

What is the legality of this document?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Aug 6, 2018

What a perfect example of the old adage “Pay me now or pay me (much more) later.” A revision of the Will would have cost a few hundred. An estate plan that effectively cut spousal rights to the legal minimum would have cost a few thousand. I could argue either side of that one, and that... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Tax Law for District of Columbia on
Q: We had to sell our house before the bank foreclosed on us. Do we have to pay taxes on it?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Feb 26, 2018

If taxes are due, yes. But, that will rarely be the case. See a qualified CPA or lawyer.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Contracts and Construction Law for District of Columbia on
Q: WHAT TYPE OF LAWYER DO I NEED TO SUE A GENERAL CONTRACTOR FOR STEALING 22K FROM ME AND DOING NOTHING TO MY PROPERTY?

ALREADY FILED A COMPLAINT WITH DCRA AND UNSUCCESSFULLY WAS NOT ABLE TO OBTAIN MY MONEY BACK EVEN TRIED MPD WITH NO SUCCESS. I WAS ADVISED BY MY INVESTIGATOR FROM DCRA TO PURSUE LEGAL ACTION AND GET BACK TO HER SO THEY COULD POSSIBLY TAKE HIS LICENSE. I NEED A LAWYER BECAUSE HE HAS DONE NOTHING TO... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
answered on Feb 8, 2018

Unfortunately, unlike Maryland's MHIC, the DCRA does not have a proactive investigatory and civil enforcement arm to it, and there is no insurance fund for consumers to claim against in the event a licensed contractor fails to perform a home improvement. Homeowners in DC are left to sue on... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Real Estate Law for District of Columbia on
Q: Can I take my aunt to court for a equal share of the sale of the house and bank accounts?

...

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
answered on Feb 13, 2018

Not enough facts to answer this question. What gives you the right to claim an interest in "the sale of the house and bank accounts"? Were you named in a will by the deceased owner of these assets as an heir or legatee? Is your name on the title to these assets? If so, you will need... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for District of Columbia on
Q: How do I get assistance with upstairs neighbor that is dropping heavy items, slamming doors and walking back and forth?

Condo building/tenant is renting/ was not vetted by board /not able to sleep through the night because sleep is constantly interrupted.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Oct 8, 2017

1. Walk upstairs, introduce yourself, and then politely discuss the problem assuming they don’t know they are disturbing you;

2. Get a lawyer to review all your condo docs to find all possible violations, and lay out a game plan to get rid of him:

3. Get a sound meter and...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for District of Columbia on
Q: If my mother wants to sell an apartment that we jointly own, does she need my permission to do so?

My mother and I share 50/50 ownership of an apartment. If she decides to sell it, does she need my written permission to do so? And if she sells it, am I entitled to 50% of the profits?

Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
answered on Jul 26, 2017

She may need your permission, depending on the type of ownership rights you share. The same goes for the profits. More details are necessary to provide a professional analysis of your issue. The best first step is an Initial Consultation with an Attorney such as myself. You can read more about me,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for District of Columbia on
Q: Can the renters of the place I am buying get my agents license revoked because I (the buyer ) contacted them?

I am buying a place in DC. The renters have already signed their topa rights away. However i need them to sign the notice to vacate so my bank can move forward. They are supposed to be out the 30th of june. 2 days from now and have agreed. I also went to back to the place to show my GF and the... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Jun 28, 2017

No. You talking to a tenant is not grounds for revocation of your realtor's license. But, it does sound like you need a lawyer in your corner to make things go smoother.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for District of Columbia on
Q: Is it possible to sue a neighbor anonymously?

I am a homeowner in an "unsavory" area of Washington DC. A few houses down from where I live, there is an apartment building where the residents (and their visitors) keep noise outside of the building at all hours of the night. It is disturbing my sleep and the police do nothing when... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Jun 21, 2017

As a theoretical matter, no. As a practical matter, again, no. But, if you are rich enough and committed enough, maybe. You might act through others in forming a neighborhood association in which you'd really be the anonymous donor, but would appear to be a mere member. The association would... Read more »

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