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Virginia Real Estate Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can 1 unit in a self managed condo (top-bottom) have exclusive rights to backyard w/out having plat or doc notarized?

Bought a “self managed condo”. 2nd unit claims ownership of yard. Plat is certified by engineer but not recorded by city.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 7, 2022

The plat is merely a resource. Review the deeds or get a lawyer to help.

0 Answers | Asked in Civil Litigation, Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I own 50% of a trailer, but name isn't on the lease. Does the owner on the lease own the lot and can they keep me off?

I called the commissioner of Virginia Beach who notified me that I joint own the trailer with my mother, but she claims that because she is the only name on the lease, she owns the lot and can deny my entry to the lot the trailer (I own 50% of) resides on. My partner has paid our way in rent in the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Family Law, Real Estate Law and Federal Crimes for Virginia on
Q: VA Intestate Probate, on day of death, Spouse moved all money out of decedent's businesses he did not own any of

Spouse had wife own businesses while she was alive because he had "no credit", got huge loans in her name as guarantor, sometimes under false assertions about losses (SBA EIDL), acted as manager in member-managed LLC without being a manager or member, after 23 years of marriage used... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Dec 14, 2021

Your description requires a series of follow-up questions, but other than the car registration, I don't see anything that is likely to excite a prosecutor. There may well be a question of undue influence or competence at the time she signed everything over to him, but you will likely need to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: A faulty mechanics lien was put on our house. We had an addition put in over 10 yrs ago. The contractor never finished.

After 60 days we wrote the contractor to fire him so we could get another contractor to finish the project. Found out the first contractor was not a certified contractor. First contractor put a mechanics lien on our home, stating we owed him $2,000 for a cement patio. This patio under the contract... Read more »

Steven Krieger
Steven Krieger answered on Nov 22, 2021

You have to file an action to clear the title in Circuit Court. Of course, you could send a letter or have an attorney send a letter to the contractor explaining that if he doesn't remove the lien, you're going to ask the court to award you attorney's fees for the effort and filing.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Civil Litigation for Virginia on
Q: This man rented a home to me without lease, doesn't even have a license to rent, Plus Deed not in his name.

We have 20 months of receipts.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 16, 2021

I think you need a lawyer to review the situation, but the law requires leases to be in writing. Sometimes, things that don't look like a lease, such as an exchange of written emails or even texts followed by written checks might be a writing. And, if no problem ever arises, then it... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Civil Litigation, Divorce and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: What information does an attorney have the ability to find out about someone from their office?
F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on Oct 26, 2021

This question sounds like a personnel matter. I do not handle personnel matters. Sorry.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Legally, can a HOA have DRC guidelines prohibiting homeowners from taking down trees they believe diseased and a threat?

In our case, we felt certain trees were diseased and a threat to our home and took them down. Although the DRC rule does state that diseased and dead trees can be cut down without prior approval, they fined us anyway because they said the trees were alive (the DRC had no published definition of... Read more »

Thomas H. Roberts Esq
Thomas H. Roberts Esq answered on Oct 29, 2021

You may want to look at the Virginia Code - including https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title55.1/chapter18/section55.1-1819/ which governs the administration of home owner's associations. But be careful, the fine is much less than litigation costs where the looser pay not only their own... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I just realized that I put the wrong year on a signed lease. Is the lease voided. What are the terms for the lease?

Tenants signed the lease and have been living in the rental for 3 months. What's my recourse?

Thomas H. Roberts Esq
Thomas H. Roberts Esq answered on Oct 29, 2021

Not really a big deal --- where it is clear that both parties meant and understood the correct year, the court will enforce the lease with the corrected year --- The correction of a scrivener's error is a court-sanctioned action reforming a contract or other document. We note, however, that a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Real estate contract with home inspection contingency addendum, but "for information purposes only"

I have a real estate contract where a buyer submitted an offer to buy my rental property. There is a home inspection contingency addendum, but the offer was written as "for information purposes only". Upon performing the inspection, there are some minor repairs required, and the buyers... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 13, 2021

It depends on what the clause says, doesn’t it? If the clause gave all the possible rights to walk away but the words “for information only” were added, we might say the information was to inform the walking away. If the walking away was eliminated, perhaps the default clause is in effect and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Lunsford v. King 132 Ga. App. 749 (1974) 209 S.E.2d 27 I do not understand the case, please help.

I am trying to brief this case, but I do not understand it. I feel like I am not reading English.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 6, 2021

So, you would like us to do your preparation for you? That will surely make you a valuable addition to someone's legal team some day ... if your professors or the bar don't catch up with you first.

Okay, I'm going to help, but not by giving you the answer. The case is short,...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: what does the case means?

I do not understand the case. I have read it plenty of times. Please explain

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 5, 2021

Your question makes no sense: What case? In any event, this is what lawyers train to do. Retain one for a consult to review the case. An hour consult is not as daunting as a full retainer for litigation. Understand the decisions you are trying to make.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: My Mother in law willed her home to all 6 of her children. Her eldest son died having only a wife no children. His wife

Just died in the middle of the sale of the home. My mother in laws will states that if any of her children that do not have children their part goes back to the other children. Can my sister in law will her part of inherited land that was willed to her husband from his mother to her sister or does... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Aug 27, 2021

The exact timing matters and the exact wording of the will matters too. There is not enough information here to answer your question. You should schedule a consultation with a probate attorney.

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can a church open a brewery to raise funds to purchase land?

Greetings. We are trying to start a church and at present do not have enough funds to purchase land/property on which to worship. Are we able to open and operate a brewery for the purpose of raising these funds (and later supporting ourselves, to help alleviate the burden of donating from... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 24, 2021

hehe, Let me see if I get this. You want to open a tax-exempt Church of the Boozin' Bro's so you and the assembled spiritual can brew beer the way God intended it: tax-free. And, even though the Whiskey Rebellion started off this great nation right here in good ol' Virginny,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My sister is trying to sell her houses in PR. She hasn't stay in the house for almost 10 years and the houses was empty.

What are the % that she has to paid in taxes? They are asking 12 to 15% that sound a little bit too much to me. Apparently they asking this much because the house was empty and she never rented out.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 23, 2021

You need to consult with a real estate lawyer in PR. They will know or be able to check the tax rates and the exceptions. Asking in another state is a waste of time.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Title company never told us about ROW's found during their search. Can we sue after we have closed on the property?

We purchased land in VA in Feb 2021. We chose a closing company and they did a title search. They told us that everything looked good and that we could close on the property. (to me that means that nothing was wrong with the property). After we started construction, one of the neighbors informed... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 19, 2021

First, if you closed with a title company instead of a lawyer representing you, you may lack privity with the title agent. The agent represents the insurance company not you, and I’m unaware of a concept of malpractice for agents. The agent has duties to all sides to complete the transaction... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: What are the rights of a Home seller and their possessions still in the house after closing?

80% of my parents belongings are still in their house they just sold to their granddaughter. They don't have free access to it and were told to be out by the end of Aug. My parents are in their 70's. My dad is a Vet and receives disablity, has cancer and has 2 bad knees and back. My mom... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 9, 2021

This doesn't make much sense. They sold their home to their granddaughter and they are in it until the end of August but they don't have access to it. They are paying rent but there is no lease mentioned and they are living with you. I think you need a consultation to review the facts... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in DUI / DWI, Employment Law, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: What comes out in discovery during a lawsuit?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 1, 2021

The answers to the interrogatories asked, the documents subject to a document request, the admissions that the parties make in response to requests, the oral answers to depositions of parties and witnesses, and the documents and things that are sought to be examined. What those things are is... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: I'm looking for a legal service to take on joint partnership in a fixit upper property. My partner is refusing to sell.

I bought a fixit upper property from an auction with a partner to fix the house and sell it. After remodeling the house, my partner rented the property for the last 5 years to 3rd. party and refused to sell nor give me my share of the rental income. The deed in both our names half and half.... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 26, 2021

If this property is in Virginia, the correct pleading is a Petition for Sale in Lieu of Partition, and, under Virginia law, the legal fees are paid off the top from the sale. As such, most attorneys will want some form of retainer to cover the initial fees, but those can be reimbursed at the end,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: If my old but current will says give my house to my kids, but I title the house jointly with my fiance, what happens?

Will that directive be ignored and my fiance gains ownership as surviving owner? Or will the will override the title? I understand that I should have the two (title and will) in sync, but in the interim, what would happen upon my death?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 13, 2021

The two should be in synch, because having them inconsistent can be used to confess and delay proceedings when everyone needs certainty and dispatch. The inconsistency can be used as evidence that your testamentary intent was uncertain or that you were confused. Unless you can be proven... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I want to delete my late wife and add my fiancee to my Virginia house title. What is the simplest way?
Kevin M Rogers
Kevin M Rogers answered on Jul 13, 2021

I think that the easiest way to remove your late wife's name will be to quit claim the house to your fiancee. If your wife's "estate" was probated (or might still be in probate), you can quit claim the house to your fiancee as the executor of your late wife's estate. If... Read more »

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