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Virginia Land Use & Zoning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Virginia on
Q: How do i go about getting a shared septic and well agreement in Va, that will transfer if the property is sold?

We are buying a property, and the owner had a verbal agreement to share the well and septic that are on the neighbors property. She has no problem sharing, but we are concerned what would happen if she sold her property.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Sep 1, 2020

You don't say whether or not you've signed a contract to buy the property. If you have you may have a big problem.

Make sure that obtaining a written agreement is part of the contract - that is the most important part of your transaction.

And you need a lawyer. NOT a...
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2 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My dad recently passed away. My mom’s name is not on the deed. As the spouse, does she have rights to the house?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 11, 2020

We need more facts to answer. Was she the spouse at the time the house was acquired or was it premarital property? Since you refer to them as your mother and father, we might assume this was a traditional marriage, but that is far from certain. If they bought the house while married, And they were... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Agricultural Law, Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Is there a legal document that will not give ownership or others can stake claim to property they are working/living on?

It is 30 acres of land in VA where 2 of the 5 owners with the other owners permission is setting up what is called The Eden Experience-The Eden Experience is about creating a new sense of community and family based on permaculture farmsteading that thrives and coexists along harmoniously with the... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 13, 2020

This reads like a fairly simple sharecropper agreement with no rental value unless the tenant breaches. To achieve you complete objectives, you probably want to customize the lease, but doing this without a signed agreement will be a very bad idea, especially if your project succeeds and the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: As one remainderman of my moms life estate (my brother is the other) can I build a house on the property if all agree?

My grandparents left the house and 50 acres to my mom as owner of the life estate. My brother and I will inherit the house and 50 acres after her death to be split evenly (we have already agreed my brother gets the house + 20 acres and I get the remaining 30 acres). Am I able to build a house now... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on May 2, 2020

If everyone agrees yes. But you do need to check building and zoning codes. You might be prevented from building a house without a legal subdivision. Or not. It is something to be verified.

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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Hi My grandfather owned a tract of land in NOLA and he passed away in 1988. I am searching to find ownership now

My mother gave me a letter from 1988 stating a lawyer would contact her from NOLA and that never happened. I have no idea what happened to the tract of land. DO we still have any rights to the land?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 11, 2020

It’s unlikely, but it’s possible. The answer is learned by ordering a title search, and that will cost money.

Q: Without my notice, my grandfather’s Culpeper VA home was sold by forced partition sale. Do I have any recourse?

Recently I received an email from a paralegal asking if I’d recieved a check. A PDF was attached with a partition sale documents showing my final proceeds to be about 1.5% of my perceived value of the land that had been in my family for decades; after expenses. About 2 years ago my 2 sisters has... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 13, 2020

It is unlikely that you can reverse the process at this late stage, and it will be useful to understand why you ignored the issue so long. But, in many circumstances, Virginia law in partition rulings is not final for two years after the final order. That might help, but you need to start... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Animal / Dog Law and Land Use & Zoning for Virginia on
Q: Can I challenge the legality of Va. Code 18.2-136 "Right to Retrieve" in appellate court?

Owners of hunting dogs can access private property with or with out permission of the owner at any time. In fact, by code, a property owner can't deny access to private land under any circumstance.

I think the General Assembly has this wrong. How can I challenge this in court. Seems... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 26, 2019

One thing I love about law practice is that I keep learning new things 35 years after I started practice and about 29 years after I became a Virginia lawyer. Interesting Code section. A trip to a real library rather than the Internet version would get the history of the statute first enacted before... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can my neighbor invite a friend to live on his property in an RV?

It is being used as a full time residence.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Oct 2, 2019

Maybe, maybe not.

Two considerations: a) subdivision restrictions and b) zoning ordinances.

a) If you are in a subdivision with restrictions and covenants, there may be a prohibition in them. They will sometimes refer to it as 'temporary housing' or refer to campers,...
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1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation, Contracts, Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Family land since 1800’s in Surry Va. Want to stop unlawful sale.

What can we do to stop sell of land. Heirs do not want to sell our land but the court is trying to force. All taxes are paid every year and we have roughly 45 acres. Heirs never had a dispute but courts seems to think so. How can we stop a sale we never asked for

F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on Aug 11, 2019

Appeal the court's decision and ask for a stay of the order to sell.

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning for Virginia on
Q: Lawyer question about VA inheritance law.

Hi,Is anyone know if is Ok to put grandma’s land to the estate to her granddaughter in Virginia?They did in PA before but they’re not sure if it’s also fine in VA.

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Aug 7, 2019

Your question could have a better chance of being picked up in the Probate or Estate Planning sections. You could try reposting with those areas added. Good luck

Tim Akpinar

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Virginia on
Q: I'm in Virginia neighbor removed our survey states corner pi

Neighbor also has fence 14-18 ft on our property looking for virginia code that is survey stakes ann corner pins

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on May 3, 2019

You have a boundary line dispute. The longer you wait to file suit is the longer you acquiesce to the other's asserted boundary. Hire a competent attorney now to perform two title searches, possibly a surveyor or the boundary line only, and file and serve the suit. You will lose because of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Real Estate Law, Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Is my lease valid if the owner did not have the proper zoning permit for an accesory dwelling in Arlington?

Zoning enforcement just said the property is in violation of zoning because the owner does not have the proper permit to divide a single family home into a duplex. Can i get my deposit and rent money back? The owner doesn't want to end my lease.

Do I have good grounds to file a... Read more »

F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on Apr 7, 2019

If the landlord will not agree to terminate your lease, you will need to file suit and seek a judge to determine the lease is void as a matter of law.

2 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning, Small Claims, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Can my vehicle be towed from a private property without notice?

My plates had expired and my vehicle was towed from private property (my apartment complex). The towing company said they placed a notice on my car Tuesday, however I never seen a notice. Is it a time frame that they have to give me prior to towing the vehicle?

F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on Feb 28, 2019

I do not handle car towing matters. Sorry.

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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning, Real Estate Law and Gov & Administrative Law for Virginia on
Q: How in the world do I get a 1991 map in order to prove I own land? I own a large piece of land ..

close to Tehran, Iran and the city wants me to provide them a map of that area in 1991 in order to prove my rightful claim. Is this legal, even in Iran??? I am living in the U.S. and need direction and advice on how to approach this. Please advise! Are they just being unreasonable or is this... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 11, 2019

You are going to need an Iranian lawyer.

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can heirs of an original owner claim a portion of land which was reserved from a deed conveying the balance of the land?

John Doe died in 1877, leaving 120 acres of woodland. The land was sold by special commissioner, the deed reserving an old burial plot, about 70 x 70'. The new owner sold the land in parcels, one of which included the burying ground. The land was sold and resold several times without mention... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 15, 2019

Of course, the heirs can claim title. In most circumstances, I would then reiterate the teachings of a professor of mine from Penn, and I'd say that any idiot can make a claim if they have a pen, paper, and the filing fee. Usually, prospective clients want to know if they can win, and can be a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Virginia on
Q: Can a private individual own a state road?

A year after purchasing my home I found out that the neighbor across the street owns across the road and about 10 feet onto my front lawn, along the the entire front of my property. We have a deeded right of way, which we believed to be with the town, as there is an old road bed there. We have done... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 13, 2018

It is possible for a private individual to own the land on which a right of way is given to another. Many jurisdictions prohibit creating and selling parcels that are “landlocked,” but it sounds like yours isn’t. Often, though, the neighbor’s claimed rights don’t match the recorded... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I want to petition for an increase lot size requirements in an R1 zone neighborhood. How do i go about doing this?

I live on Blue Mountain in Front Royal, Va. We are zoned R1 and the neighborhood is located in a Sanitary District. Through a FOIA, I have pulled permits for various lots around the area and these fly by night builders are building on expired permits. What can a citizen do to increase lot size... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jun 11, 2018

Changing zoning to up-zone property owned by someone else is going to be an uphill battle. There are tricks and skills, but it isn't going to be accomplished inexpensively, and it isn't going to happen based on an Internet-explored plan on a pro se budget. You need to sit down with a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: tenant is hauling truckloads of junk and storing it outside storage building causing complaints. What can I do?

Repeated requests to tenant to clean up and store inside of large storage building have been ignored

F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on Jun 10, 2018

This sounds like a commercial lease, which is controlled by its own provisions about the tenant's obligation to maintain the premises. Check the lease for the landlord's remedies if there is a breach of the lease.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Virginia on
Q: I opened a paper street to access my driveway easier is there any way to stop kids riding dirt bikes from tearing up?

I'm told they have right to ride on even though I paid to have graded and graveled.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 7, 2018

I’ve never heard of a private paper street. If it is really a public right of way, then people can drive on it. You might ask a lawyer, title agent, or surveyor to examine title to determine if it was a paper street, and you might ask the police to enforce road safety laws on the now-public right... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Environmental, Land Use & Zoning and Municipal Law for Virginia on
Q: I'm looking for the legal auth. for a railroad to maintain a bridge for public access to homes for emergency services.

The bridge is in Virginia and was built by the railroad company in 1892 and is maintained by them. The bridge does not carry rail traffic, rather it carries public vehicles on a roadway that was not taken into the Virginia Department of Highways system in 1932 when the State took control over... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 19, 2018

And, your anticipation is that some presently active lawyer will have a present sense recollection of the history of that property and the changing responsibilities for that bridge in 1892 and 1932? How quaint. What may be useful is if you follow the model of historical societies like Peerless... Read more »

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