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Maryland Land Use & Zoning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Maryland on
Q: Does a given property have the rights to remove a boundary fence at one end of his property to gain access to the r/w?

If a section of a common right of way is designated for the use and benefit of one property (B), can property (A) gain access to the common right of way from the far side of his property where it is designated for the use of property (B), just because it adjoins his property along the boundary? A... Read more »

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

If I understand your question, A owns the land over which an easement exists for the benefit of B. A has removed a fence marking the easement. If that is the fact pattern, then A has rights to access her own land. A is obligated not to interfere with B's reasonable use of the easement. The... Read more »

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 »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning for Maryland on
Q: In the state of Maryland do existing covenants (came attached to the land plat) require the formation of an HOA?

Our community (13 houses on 75 acres) was established ca 1985 and the developer established and controlled the covenants, this until January 1, 2010. After that, these covenants revert to the lot holders (13 homeowners). As the document reads, these are currently enforceable by each lot owner BUT... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Oct 11, 2021

If the covenants cover aesthetic issues like the type and color of roofs, whether windows are allowed on car garage doors, the type, location and set-back requirements (or prohibition) of sheds, sunrooms, fencing (including limits on type of fencing materials), location and type of shrubs, parking... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning for Maryland on
Q: Can I park my commercial vehicle on the side of my house in pg County
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Sep 29, 2021

If it is the type of commercial vehicle prohibited under the Code, then no, the prohibition reaches to all property within the residential zoned area. It does not matter that the vehicle is on privately owned property.

MD Transportaion Code, Section 21-1010 - Parking commercial vehicles...
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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Maryland Montgomery County, real estate question on sewer easement.

A neighbor’s sewer line run across our property. They had a clog and asked for permission to dig / fix via our front yard since that’s where the plumber says the clog is at. Being neighborly, we gave permission (plumbers dug a hole way larger than we expected) . And Now they want to install a... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 25, 2021

The investigation starts with a title search and survey to know with more certainty than "we are not aware" whether there are easements recorded. There are then some very limited rights that sometimes resolve by necessity, but the caselaw on that is very fact specific. You need to review... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Municipal Law, Agricultural Law and Land Use & Zoning for Maryland on
Q: Is there a way to own a rooster if my county’s municipal code states that owning a rooster is prohibited?

I live in Frederick county Maryland and our municipal code states that only female chickens are permitted; no roosters. There is a rooster at my local animal shelter that I have grown quite found of. I was wondering if there are any ways to get around this rule prohibiting them. Could registering... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Sep 9, 2021

Kinda like asking if there’s a way around speed limits because, well, you are fond of driving fast and speed is emotionally calming to you. If there’s no exception in the law that prohibits roosters, which I have not looked up, then there’s no way around it. Areas are zoned as farmland and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: What shall I do when my neighbor removed the surveyors stake between our properties?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 31, 2021

You might check with both the surveyor, the land records office in the circuit court, or the police. Removal of a surveyor's stake is often a criminal act, though removal is often overlooked if it was out of ignorance, and the surveyor might return, re-place the stake, and send the bill to the... 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 Contracts, Real Estate Law, Land Use & Zoning and Lemon Law for Maryland on
Q: "The law does not stand anywhere." Is this a fact of legal theory, or just something with which to hit me on the head

Your statement: The Law does not stand anywhere. Et tu quo que.

Your view of the Law depends upon where you stand; and where you stand depends upon the Laws view of you.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jun 19, 2021

The law’s view of condo governance is that the condo documents control, except where they don’t. There is no statute on BBQ on the balcony unless it violates fire code, but the condo association MIGHT be able to regulate it… if they did it correctly… which they often don’t.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Maryland on
Q: I bought the house, and land; not included were two small barns; with underground electric fed from the house.

I bought the house from the ex-wife; the ex-husband apparently owned the two small barns on the small adjoining lot; with shared utilities from the house. I've been told by a realtor that the small lots cannot be separated from the main property in this way by the previous owner divorcees. I... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jun 19, 2021

The law doesn’t “stand” anywhere. Your presumably discount purchase and closing resolves who owns what. Get a lawyer to read and interpret your deed and then look to the title insurance to defend your deed. If you have neither a recorded deed nor title insurance, your payment of taxes is... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Maryland on
Q: Can Adverse Possession Be Granted By The Clam Of Right And And The Adverse Clam Statement.

Can Adverse Possession Be Granted By The Clam Of Right And And The Adverse Clam Statement. ( Non Non Eminent Non Non Preeminent ) ( Non Eminent Non Preeminent )

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jun 2, 2021

Your word salad needs a light vinaigrette, because it’s got no relationship to law. Adverse possession has five elements. You haven’t named any of them. There are no clams involved unless you are serving clam chowder or a po’ boy, and I’m guessing it’ll be the latter.

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning, Real Estate Law and Small Claims for Maryland on
Q: Can my neighbor keep her gate open if it is blocking my driveway. What are my options for relief?

My neighbors fence is partially blocking access to our driveway. We've closed it since it is accessible from our own property, but she continues to open it. What are our options, and what maryland provisions cover this?

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on May 27, 2021

I suppose it's a form of trespass. Have you tried talking to your neighbor? If that fails, provide her with written notice not to open her gate across your driveway, which blocks your access in and out of your property. If she does it again, I suppose you can file trespass charges (I doubt... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: to take possesion of my parents land as the sole heir i am out of state can i do an out of state bond? the land is in

alabama and i live in md she did not have a will.

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Feb 23, 2021

You need an Alabama estate lawyer. The requirements for a non-resident executor of an estate usually involves appointment of a person in Alabama to act as resident agent for the executor for service of legal papers. Because the estate involves real estate, and you cannot easily travel to Alabama... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Construction Law and Land Use & Zoning for Maryland on
Q: do I HAVE to agree to a free, new well drilled for me (as required by co) so a company can build next door?

I like things the way they are, and can afford to pay for a new well myself should I ever need it.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 6, 2021

I know of no way to generalize to give you decent advice without reviewing the survey, running a title search for easements, and understanding exactly what the developer wants and needs. Generally, however, you do not need to agree with anything on your land unless your neighbor has an easement to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: (Is It A Hate Crime) If The Owner Breaks Into The Land That Is By Adverse Possession. And And Changes The Locks.

Can I File Criminal And Civil Charges Against The Owner Of The Land/Building I Adverse Possess. I Changed All The Locks And Put A New Chain And Lock On The Gate. But The Owner Keeps Breaking In And Changing The Locks. That Is A Hate Crime Based On (Law!) ? And .... ....

Laws & Legal... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 4, 2021

You have got to be kidding, right? First, a hate crime involves "race, color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or national origin," and you mentioned none of the above. Second, if you are breaking and entering on the property of another, it is you who is: "damag[ing] the real... Read more »

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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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: My mom passed in 2015 she had living rights to her sisters property she passed before my mom so my cousin owned it he

Sold the property in late October this year not once over that time did he ask me about it or let me know I had a time frame to get it cleared out I wrote him a week or 2 ago and asked about getting my moms stuff he said it’s gone it went with the house sorry ! I was like why didn’t you let me... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Dec 19, 2020

Your mom passed in 2015, and you never once in 5 years asked about her belongings? The house only sold this past October? I think any court would find you waited too long to assert your rights, and the property left in the house was abandoned. An estate should have been opened for your mother,... Read more »

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 »

Eric Todd Kirk
Eric Todd Kirk answered on Dec 7, 2020

The thrust of this question seems to concern property rights, and I would suggest your reposting it under the heading real estate/real property.

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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Do You Need A Work Permit Regarding Adverse Possession

Or Or Is It Regarding Enment Laws Landlord/ Tenant

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 26, 2020

I'm sorry. This question makes no sense at all. You need to retain someone to help you write a question. I do not understand how the concept of a work permit interconnects with the concept of adverse possession. You need a work permit to perform certain types of work on real estate, and you... Read more »

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.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 13, 2020

By “campuses,” I’m going to assume you are referring to the common use of the word referring to the collected buildings of a university, college, or other openly used area of property in which a large community collects for an educational or other purpose. If that is so, then you are there... Read more »

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