Maryland Real Estate Law Questions & Answers

Q: What is the order of precedence between Maryland Code, County Ordinances (Code), and Corporation (HOA) By-Laws?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Answered on Apr 20, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
The order of precedence is State Code, County Code, and then private contracts like HOA Agreements even if they are recorded with the land. But, if there is an interpretation in which all applicable law and private contracts can be honored, that’s the correct interpretation. For example, if the HOA requires a 2/3 quorum, the county ordinance requires 1/2, and the State requires 1/4, then 2/3 meets all three requirements.

Q: Myself and my brother both inherited our mothers home in 2012. What is he financially responsible for as part owner?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Answered on Apr 13, 2019
Mark Oakley's answer
If neither of you are living there, or if both of you are living there, then it would seem fair that each of you bear one-half the costs (mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, ordinary and reasonable maintenance and repairs). If only one of you is living there, then you must account for that, with the one living there paying more.

Q: Myself and my brother both inherited our mothers home in 2012. I offered a buyout amount. He refused.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Answered on Apr 11, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
I don't exactly understand your question, but the bottom line is that the house should be sold and the profits divided if you cannot work it out, and you can force that result with a Petition for Sale in Lieu of Partition. The fair apportionment is the same that a court would use. You pay off all the debts of the house, reimburse any debts paid by one owner for which the other should have contributed, and split the proceeds. Sometimes, a court will attribute a value to the rental use of the...

Q: Is it a requirement for a buyer to hire a real estate broker in order to buy a real estate property in Maryland?

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Answered on Apr 9, 2019
Thomas C. Valkenet's answer
Not true. But an agent or lawyer can be useful.

When the unrepresented shows interest in a residential property, the selling agent will usually try to convince the buyer to use a buyer's agent in the selling agent's own office.

The other common fallacy is that you must use only the standardized Maryland Board of Realtors form contract, with little or no changes. This is wrong. There are several provisions in the standard contract that only benefit the brokers and agents, and...

Q: If I sell my Maryland house with a life estate deed WITH power before I die, is the remainderman entitled to anything?

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Answered on Apr 6, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
You need a title abstract and a bit of research. First, you need to know that the house actually purports to be held in a life estate with an unlimited general power of sale. Then, if that is how it is held, I'd want to review whether the Doctrine of Merger combines those two titles into a fee simple. A life estate with a lifetime general power of sale sounds like it would make sense in a second marriage, poor-man's testamentary setting, but I've never heard of using that technique, and it...

Q: A neighbor hired a landscaping company to do yardwork and they damaged my property, what actions should I consider ?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Small Claims for Maryland on
Answered on Mar 28, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
Your potential claim is against both the neighbor acting as principal and the potential trespasser or nuisance tortfeasor, acting as agent, the contractor. You should evaluate the case with a lawyer and consider issuing a demand letter.

Q: The fixes agreed upon in the inspection notice were not completed- Seller has now said he will NOT fix, what can we do

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Answered on Mar 26, 2019
Thomas C. Valkenet's answer
This is a very ordinary claim for breach of contract. You may sue to enforce the promise, or you may complete the work and sue for the actual cost to you of completing what was promised. The amount in controversy will determine the court where claim is brought. If the evidence is that the seller never intended to do the work, and tricked to you to settlement, then you may have other claims to bring.

Q: Water heater broke and leaked water all over basement and we're being asking to replace it

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Answered on Mar 23, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
The answer depends on the terms of the lease, who had the insurance interest, and whether anyone was negligent, and the result is fact dependent. While it needs to be reviewed before an opinion can be reached. One thing is certain. Doing nothing until the mold overtakes the house will turn a $700 problem into a much bigger problem. Both the renter and the landlord should report the incident to their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance companies.

Q: Could this lien be for a house sale because I did not live in Md. In 2015. Grounds and authorities: section 13-805 -

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Maryland on
Answered on Mar 22, 2019
Cedulie Renee Laumann's answer
While an attorney cannot analyze a purported lien without looking at it, property tax liens for failing to pay annual property taxes usually fall under the tax PROPERTY article, title 14 (not the tax GENERAL article).

The code section you cited in the general tax article usually applies to other kinds of tax liens. The Comptroller should be able to tell you what the underlying tax deficiency might be (income tax, inheritance tax, etc.)

While not legal advice I hope that...

Q: I want to put the deed to my mortgaged home in my sons name,what is the first step/

4 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Answered on Mar 20, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
If you transfer the deed to your son, you may need to do a deed of gift, and your mortgage company needs to clear that. It is very likely to violate the "due on sale" clause. You may be able to get the lender to agree to moving the home into a living trust that lists your son as a beneficiary. Alternatively, you can refinance. Or, you can do a will. There are many stories on TV and in novels as well as in lecturers making the circuit decrying the difficulties of probating wills. Most of that...

Q: My HELOC was transferred. Does the assignment of deed of trust have to be recorded, and who bears responsibility ?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Answered on Mar 14, 2019
Thomas C. Valkenet's answer
Not in Maryland. But to protect the borrower, you are credited with all payments to the former holder/servicer until and unless you receive notice of the new beneficiary/note-holder.

Q: I own a timeshare with my mother, who is now deceased. How can I get her name off the deed?

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Answered on Mar 13, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
You can make the change once appointed Personal Representative of her estate. You may need to open a subsidiary probate in Florida to do the closing if it is a fee simple interest rather than a cooperative.

Q: We are on Septic, "Will we be able to sell our house?" - drain field is not on our property.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Answered on Mar 4, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
You should start with a title search of the property where the septic tank or field is located to make sure you have an enforceable easement that runs with the land. You may then want an engineering, environmental study. If anything doesn’t clear, you need to review your title insurance policy. What you plainly cannot do is conceal or fail to disclose during a sale.

Q: Can a settlement agent who signs a loan application also be the notary and witness on a deed of trust.

3 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Foreclosure, Real Estate Law and Securities Law for Maryland on
Answered on Mar 3, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
If the notary is applying for the loan, he cannot notarize his own signature. Almost all settlement agents are notaries. And, notaries can of course be a witness. That’s pretty much what a notary is: a witness to the authenticity of a signature. Maryland Law does require deeds and deeds of trust to be prepared under the supervision of a lawyer, but there is a loophole that you could sail a battleship through. If you doubt the enforceability of your deed of trust, you can ask a Maryland lawyer...

Q: What are my rights to appointing a walkthrough at the end of the lease? Maryland state

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Answered on Feb 26, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
I'm not sure what you mean by "appointing…". I'm going to assume that you mean "make an appointment for…". You aren't required to make an appointment for a walk-through unless your lease gives you that duty. A lawyer's review of the lease might be worthwhile. But, either way, you want to attend the walk-through to be certain that the landlord isn't going to charge damages against your security deposit for things you didn't damage. If you aren't there, the landlord could -- honestly or...

Q: My bank account has been levied. Can they take all of my money out ? or is there a certain amount that can be taken ?

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Answered on Feb 21, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
If it is a levy, that usually freezes the entire account until the parties return to court to condemn the funds. It is not uncommon for the bank to terminate its relationship with the customer after the levy is paid. It is often convenient to negotiate payment of the debt to free up some of the funds if they are not all owed or to maintain a relationship with the bank.

Reading an answer on the Internet does not create an attorney-client relationship. You are represented by me when we...

Q: Hi, i,m not sure what the future holds for me. My mother and i purchased a condo in 2002. My cousins name was on deed

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Elder Law for Maryland on
Answered on Feb 15, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
You should probably get a consult with a bankruptcy lawyer. I exclude bankruptcy from my practice, but I believe real estate not exempted would be liquidated to pay debts in the bankruptcy. The correct answer was to place the deed in a special needs trust three years ago, but that isn’t helpful now. A careful examination of title might help. Perhaps your interest in half the property has already matured, and perhaps a better strategy can be developed. It will not be free.

Q: My father recently purchased a single-Family home at auction. What is the best way for me to get a loan for 60% equity?

3 Answers | Asked in Foreclosure and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Answered on Feb 11, 2019
Thomas C. Valkenet's answer
The answer depends on who is asking. For instance, the best thing for your father is for you to obtain a loan and to pay him the full purchase price in exchange for a deed. He then walks away and you live in the house. The best thing for you might be an option to purchase, or a rent-to-own. These are tricky documents to write, and it means your father is waiting for his money while the property is locked up in your recorded option for possibly years. Whatever lawyer you bring this to will have...

Q: I have satisfied the amount stated in a court case ? Why won’t the other party ask for the case to be dismissed?

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Answered on Feb 10, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
I cannot determine whether your inquiry is from Virginia or Maryland, but, in Maryland, there is a specific rule requiring the filing of a paid & satisfied line when judgment is paid. I haven't researched it in quite a while, but there may be available awards including attorneys fees for failure to comply. Filing the P&S Line costs about $15, and pro se parties often refuse to file. On the other hand, if even 1¢ of the judgment and interest are not paid, there is no requirement to file a P&S...

Q: I have a Tax Lien certificate in Charles county MD. What statute shows allowable costs for Letter of Settlement?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Answered on Jan 24, 2019
Cedulie Renee Laumann's answer
The reimbursable expenses are outlined in Md Ann Code Tax Property Article Title 14. Specifically you'll want to look at 14-843. No, the costs of purchasing a lien certificate are not recoverable although the amount of taxes the original purchaser paid would be.

Because the statute allows for reimbursement of specified attorney fees, most tax sale certificate holders utilize the services of an attorney. You are encouraged to consult with an attorney. While I hope this online post...

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