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Maryland Real Estate Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Can my HOA decline my request to display the US flag on a flag pole in the state of Maryland? Flag pole is 20 feet tall

Flag is 3x5

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 28, 2020

The HOA can require you to follow its rules, and neither flags nor images of religious icons change that. To determine whether the HOA is following its rules, retain counsel to review the Declarations, and the rules and rulings of the HOA.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: Are landlords allowed to go & maintain rental properties under the stay-at-home order in MD, if properties are vacant?

Tenants are moving out, but as an owner/landlord, I need to switch out locks, clean, and maintain the residential rental property. As an owner, if my rental home is vacated, am I allowed to go, under the current COVID-19 MD stay-at-home order?

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann answered on Apr 21, 2020

At the outset, we are working under a totally new set of rules and while attorneys can attempt a reasonable stab at interpretation, no one has had the ability to see how things would play out if challenged. Under the Maryland order, employees and owners generally may go on-site to non-essential... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Can a mortgage company add fees to the loan that raises the balance, but not list the amount of the fee

Our mortgage was sold last year to another lender, and the new Servicer inflated the loan balance, but not listing the amount or what it is for

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann answered on Apr 17, 2020

A lender can only charge what fees the loan documents allow. While a borrower should carefully check the paperwork signed, normally if a mortgage is being paid on time the only charges allowed by the loan documents will be principal and interest plus any escrows (taxes/insurance). A borrower... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Can a tenant legally remain in a property that is being sold?

I am in the process of buying a house. The house is currently occupied by tenants. The tenants were given notice of the home being sold by the sellers on April 1st, giving them 30 days to move out. The tenant refused to let our inspector inside the house due to COVID-19 risk, but agreed that the... Read more »

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann answered on Apr 15, 2020

There are two intertwined questions in the scenario. First, can a tenant "legally" refuse to leave if their lease is up and they've been given proper notice? Assuming the appropriate notice has in fact been given, legally, "No."

That said, the second and...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Environmental, Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: I live in Maryland and have a cement alley that is not maintained by the city. Water leaks into my house; Can I sue?

Hello –

I have water leaking into my city basement home. I have done numerous repairs and attempts to lead the water away from my home but realize that I cannot control this without the city properly maintaining their alley. The cement alley has numerous cracks throughout and has an old... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 12, 2020

You need to start with a title search to determine whether the alley is owned by the city or whether the city merely has an easement to it. You then need to determine who has the duty to maintain, and whether you have the right to make the repair yourself. If the responsibility belongs to the city,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning, Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for Maryland on
Q: Eminent domain What Regards That Government Has To Pay Just Compensation And And You Have To Pay Just compensation

What Regards That You Don't Have To Pay Just Compensation As A LLC / Individual / Private Company Non Profit Company..... As In Thing That Regard Regard Tax Exempt Is It Just As In That Thing That Regard ( Tax Exempt )

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Apr 9, 2020

Eminent domain is subject to the requirements of local statutes and ordinances that provide the payment formula. There are appraisers that deal with condemnation appraisals. And if you and the condemning authority cannot agree, you can take a case to trial in a circuit court where a jury will set... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning, Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for Maryland on
Q: Can You File For Eminent Domain Regarding Government Property

Can You File Eminent Domain In Regards Regards Government Property .....( International Law )

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 8, 2020

You have the concept reversed. Eminent domain is the right of the sovereign to take private land after paying reasonable compensation. It is limited to legitimate public purposes. You can’t exercise eminent domain unless you are a government.

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3 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning, Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for Maryland on
Q: How Do You File For Eminent domain In Maryland Is It That I Go To The Court Or A Special Place / Online / Dref My Oun.

Regarding Baltimore City and and St Mary's Country

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 8, 2020

Unless you are a governmental agency you do not have the authority to file an eminent domain action. If you want to challenge an existing eminent domain action against your property you would file your challenge in the same court where the case was started.

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: How could I back out of a house purchasing contract due to the impending housing market downturn due to COVID19?
Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Apr 9, 2020

Your potential remedies are written in the contract. It depends on the available contingencies, and whether they have expired, and what may constitute a default. However, a change in the market after a contract becomes specifically enforceable is rarely grounds to back out. But this is America, and... Read more »

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4 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: My dad died without a will owning land with his siblings, his only sibling alive is selling it now who gets my dads part

My mom also passed he had bo will she did

Brian Robert Gormley
Brian Robert Gormley answered on Apr 7, 2020

It depends on how the land is titled. If there are say 3 people who own property, they can own it as either joint tenants with right of survivorship, or as tenants in common. If the former, the person last alive will own 100% of the property. If the latter, then we would need to open a probate... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: i am trying to find out in the state of MD how much a broker is allowd to charge on a residental purchase of a property
Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann answered on Mar 31, 2020

Whatever the broker and the property owner agree to. Maryland law does not mandate any kind of brokerage commission for private sales, though there usually are reasonable and customary "norms." If you call several brokers you will probably get a pretty good sense of the normative range... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Does Section 11.114 of the Maryland Condo Act exempt my Condo Association from covering the repair cost to my floors?

My hardwood floors sustained substantial damage from a water leak that originated in the heating system. My condo unit is only 10 years old. The repair/replacement cost is approximately $18 grand and my condo association is taking the position that they are not responsible for the cost because the... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Mar 26, 2020

Have you filed a claim with your homeowners insurance? For $18,000, which you can easily pay counsel to try a case on whose responsibility is primary, you ought to let the two insurance carriers battle it out. They will usually do that in an abbreviated arbitration proceeding to which you... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Can I hold a buyers agent liable for fraud in Maryland real estate transaction?

I sold home in Md in May 2019. Buyer agent fraudulently advised buyer to get out of contract using HOA Docs disclosure law when there was no buyer complaint with docs. Buyer home inspection showed serviceable roof with 3 minor issues. Buyer requests roof replacement. I refused and said would... Read more »

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Mar 24, 2020

The HOA contingency operates regardless of intention. But having accepted a new deal, and closed on that new deal, you are likely estopped from claiming any damages against the purchaser and the former agent. The HOA contingency is a well-known "out" to a contract.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: In a Maryland contract, buyer's gift is rescinded by giver prior to closing. Does buyer lose earnest money deposit?

Father is gift giver for real estate contract and decides not to give gift prior closing. Gift addendum and proof of funds in father's account was provided by buyer. Buyer cannot qualify without gift under financing contingency. Does buyer get earnest money deposit back>

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Mar 18, 2020

It is worth your money to have a lawyer review the contracts focusing specifically on the financing contingency, but if the loan was approved subject to the gift, and if the financing contingency was released, then you will breach when you fail to close. Your relationship with your father is not... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Am I required to pay a security deposit at the home I’ve been residing in for almost two years without a lease?

Long story short, we live at house month to month without a written lease. There were previous tenants who occupied the space before we moved in. Before moving in, there was no official inspection or written lease. Now, our land lord is giving us 60 days to pay for a security deposit.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Mar 15, 2020

The landlord can't force you to pay a security deposit, but he can terminate your tenancy by sufferance. How that happens and whether you can negotiate with him based on the awful position he is in having a tenant with no lease is a more complex issue. In some jurisdictions, getting rid of you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Leasing office charging me 6070$ after I reported to them am leaving because contenants brought another person in house

He even Bring another tenant to live in house and charging him rent and move himself to the unfinished basement with her girlfriend and 4 years old daughter. At that point I can’t even use the basement to wash my clothes. I reported to the leasing office the illegal presence in the house along... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Mar 13, 2020

I do not understand the facts as you've presented them, and there is little any lawyer can do for you without reviewing the lease, the licensing of the unit, the correspondence, and the rest of the oral facts. Further, it probably matters where the rental unit is located, but your message... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Business Formation and Land Use & Zoning for Maryland on
Q: Do shareholders have rights (as a individual would have) on properties owned by the company in Maryland?

For example, a company purchases and owns a 200 acre property, does every shareholder of this company have the right to use the property, just like if an individual owns it? Will they be considered as owners of the land to camp, hunt, fish and other outdoor activities on the land?

It is... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Mar 12, 2020

A corporation is like a separate person. The fact that you have rights in the person does not give you rights in its property. Those rights are defined by corporate law, the articles of incorporation, the bylaws, and any applicable contracts

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: I put a double security n rent as well as a holding fee never signed a lease but landlord wont return money what do I do

He said I had to pay for blueprints n other work he had done while we were trying to come to an agreement. That shouldn't be on me for improvement to his building correct. He has 12 grand my entire savings. I m a single mom who is still out of work I need my money back

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann answered on Mar 10, 2020

The answer will vary dramatically depending on whether this was a commercial or residential lease.

Residential leases have very clear guidelines on how a security deposit is handled and strict timeframes for return of the deposit. Commercial leases on the other hand generally are up to...
Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: The appraisal just came back low on the home I am selling. My real estate agent said only the buyer can contest. Why?

I responded by telling her it was my understanding I could challenge the buyer's appraisal by having my agent call the lender. My agent agreed to make the call. However, I'm concerned as to why my agent was untruthful with me about my right to contest. The home is under contract, but... Read more »

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann answered on Mar 10, 2020

Thanks for your post.

Federal law requires that lenders give a copy of the appraisal to the BORROWER for residential loans. This is an expansion and relatively recent change in the law - historically lenders didn't give copies of the appraisal to anyone, including the buyer/borrower,...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Foreclosure, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: I have a stay of eviction until April 14, 2020. But, Wells Fargo turned off the electricity and I don't know what to do.

Is that a form of self help eviction? What can I do about willful diminution of services?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Mar 5, 2020

Neither DC nor Maryland allow self-help. Turning off the electricity is likely to be wrongful eviction. You should seek out a lawyer or, if you cannot afford one, find a local Landlord-Tenant legal clinic or Kefal Services office.

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