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Maryland Real Estate Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Can a regular member of an HOA send a mass e-mail to all members concerning HOA business?

There is a provision in the Maryland Homeowners Association Act that states, "Except for reasonable restrictions to the time of distribution, a recorded covenant or restriction, a provision in a declaration, or a provision of the bylaws or rules of a homeowners association may not restrict a... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Sep 14, 2021

Anybody can send an email to as many people as they choose. There is no law against it. You just need to have the email addrsses.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: When 2 adjoining lots that has rights to a section of common easement to the second lot; does the 1st lot cont to use ?

If an owner of 2 lots with the rights to use a sec of a common easement that leads to the second lot and is a need I necessity easement for lot 2. The owner of lots 1&2 sales lot2; does lot 1 get to continue to use that section of the common easement if there is no longer a need for lot one to... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Sep 12, 2021

Your question is confusing the way you phrased it. Let me rephrase it how I think you intended it: Seller owns two lots. Lot 2 is landlocked with no route of access except over Lot 1. Seller sells Lot 2, but continues to own Lot 1 and continues to use the portion of Lot 1 over which the easement... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: When 2 adjoining lots that has rights to a section of common easement to the second lot; does the 1st lot cont to use ?

If an owner of 2 lots with the rights to use a sec of a common easement that leads to the second lot and is a need I necessity easement for lot 2. The owner of lots 1&2 sales lot2; does lot 1 get to continue to use that section of the common easement if there is no longer a need for lot one to... Read more »

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Sep 10, 2021

If the easement is written and recorded, yes. A recorded easement can only be extinguished by another recording, or by strict proof of "abandonment" (the reverse of adverse possession or use). Necessity is not a factor.

But, if the easement is one of implication or necessity...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Deck Size Restrictions in Hanover Maryland (21076)

I am trying to look for a home in Howard County Hanover MD. Only one house in the community has a larger deck while the rest are of same size. The seller says it was built prior to HOA rules being formed and its the only home with larger deck. Will one home be allowed to have a larger deck like... Read more »

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Sep 10, 2021

Check with the HOA. As part of most home sales in such communities, the HOA issues a certification prior to closing that states whether there are existing violations of the covenants for the subject property. Don't accept the seller's representations. Of course you can sue, later, if they... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: I have received the letters of administration for an estate. The will authorizes me to sell real property.

How long do I have to wait after being appointed as PR to sell real property? Do I need to file anything with the court or notify interested persons of the sale? In addition, decedent also owns a mobile home. Am I required to get a formal appraisal for the mobile home?

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet answered on Sep 9, 2021

There is no waiting time. Once you are appointed as PR your obligations are established by the Statutes and court rules. A PR runs into trouble when they wait too long, allow bad things to happen to the property, let others live in it, don't pay the mortgage, etc. But a PR may sign a contract... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Will my earnest money deposit be refunded to me if I rescind an agreement of purchase for a new construction home?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 3, 2021

The answer is in the contract. You need to read it. If you need help reading it, you should have a lawyer help you read it. Not all contracts say the same thing, and, if you don't know what you signed when you signed it, you can guess that the terms favor the other side who did read it.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: If my lease renewal was not the same as my original lease, without any notice, what can I do.

My lease renewal did not have any option to include or disinclude parking, which was included on my original lease. I received an email that my parking is being revoked and I now have to park 10 minutes away from apartment complex. I never received any notice of any changes to my lease prior to or... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 2, 2021

It might be a good idea to review the lease and the local L&T law in the context of the statutes, but you are probably within your rights to give notice that you will not be renewing and, if you are month-to-month or under the notice period provided by the lease or local law, stay under the old... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Can You File A Quitclaim Deed Maryland Regarding Adverse Possession MD Cts & Jud Pro Code § 5-103 (2019)

Can You File A Quitclaim Deed Maryland Regarding Adverse Possession MD Cts & Jud Pro Code § 5-103 (2019)

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

Adverse Possession is a cause of action. To obtain title the claim must be asserted in court, and granted by a judge. If you choose to file a deed on your own (I don't know who you'd describe as the "grantor") you risk being sued or slander of title by the true owner.... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: can a reverse mortgage be sold/bought as a short sale to a family member/heirs ? house in estate of PA

reverse mortgage amount is higher than value of the house. house was appraised 110. Gift of equity 20.loan 90 with 20% down for my grandson. The mortgage company says that i still have to pay like 7000 closing costs.what about if I do a short sale to reverse mortgage and simultaneal sale to my... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 7, 2021

Short sales require the approval of the lender, which is obtained by convincing them it’s the best way to get the most money. Why would they agree to this deal? Why not take the house by foreclosure to cover their loan?

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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Small Claims and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: What type of lawyer specializes in home warranty cases? My builder is refusing to cover items in the 1-year warranty.
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 3, 2021

That’s just a litigator who practices in the county where the builder will be sued.

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 »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Elder Law for Maryland on
Q: My Dad died in Jan 2021 & owned a home in MD, with no estate. No other accounts or income.

From reading, I don't need to file income or estate taxes. I'm confused on the capital gains. Please help. Thank you!

Theodore David Vicknair Sr.
Theodore David Vicknair Sr. answered on Jul 29, 2021

Under federal income tax law, the tax basis of your father is "stepped up" to fair market value on his date of death. That is the basis you would use to determine capital gains, if any.

So for example, if you dad purchased his house for $75K in 1995, and when he died in January...
Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Balloon loan reached maturity in April. Investor wouldn't grant a modification. Refinance 3+ months with lendor.

Balloon Loan mortgage company taken over 3 months to refinance and has reported non payment since May to the credit bureaus. Do I have any recourse? This has destroyed my wife & I's credit score.

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Jul 28, 2021

The fault for not paying the balloon off is yours as far as the existing lender is concerned. You owed the money by a due date under the note. You failed to pay when due. The report to the credit bureau is not legally improper from that lender's perspective, since you defaulted on your... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Criminal Law, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Maryland on
Q: Hi. I bough a house for $265,000 inn November 2014 with a girlfriend. Her Father actually bought the house outright.

However, he was not put on the deed then or ever. Only myself and girlfriend were on the deed. I was hesitant in buying the house this was as I didn't feel like I was buying the house and didn't have the pride in buying my first home myself. Plus, I did not qualify for the first time home... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 27, 2021

Didn’t I answer this yesterday. When you sign papers, they matter. Let a lawyer review what you sighed… ya’know… like the grown ups. You will likely pay for the review.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Criminal Law, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Maryland on
Q: I bought a house with a girlfriend in November of 2014. On a side note concerning my girlfriend paying utilities.

Every envelope on the outside in bold all caps red letters read the following, "DELINQUENT NOTICE, PAY IMMEDIATELY OR FACE POTENTIAL UTILITY TURN OFF". One month I finally opened one and there was a substantial amount due because she had not been paying the bill. This similar thing... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 26, 2021

To recap, you need to review the real documents with a real lawyer. And, the next time you "signed a document her Father wrote that stated my signature signified I was off the deed" without reviewing it with a lawyer, you'll get exactly what the document might or might not say. What... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Banking, Contracts and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Good evening. I bought a house with a girlfriend in November of 2014. At the time of buying we had been together about

a year and a couple years. Fast forward we ended up breaking up in June of 2018. Quick detail, her father 'gifted her' $265,000, which is what was used to buy the house. Each month I would pay her Father $1,000, 'morgage' I would also pay USAA home insurance and property taxes... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Jul 24, 2021

You fail to identify whose name(s) is/are on the deed. That will determine legal title and ownership. If your name is not on the deed, then you are left with a claim to some equitable ownership interest based on your $1,000 monthy payment toward repaying the $265,000 "loan" to buy the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: If I'm a year to year tenant in md and a landlord refuse to renew. Does real property code 8-402 subsection 3 apply
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Jul 23, 2021

Yes, and no contrary provision in your written lease is legal to alter the 90 day notice to quit requirement for year-to-year leases. However, a lease with a one year term is not a year-to-year lease simply on account of the lease term being one year. A year-to-year tenancy automatically renews... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: What is the precedence proving when a contract is ratified. Is it when it is signed or when it is sent to the buyer?

Meaning if the seller signs it and holds it for 5 days, the buyer cannot meet the timeline to setup up inspections before the 10 day timeframe. Can the seller state the buyer is at fault for not meeting their deadlines?

Update: Was the response specific to MD or is the precedence valid in... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Jul 21, 2021

Offer + acceptance = ratified contract. Acceptance has to be communicated to be valid; there is no “secret” acceptance of a contract. However, a contract offer that is signed and placed in the mail is accepted on the date it is posted in the mail (unless the offer is made contingent on a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: Month to month unwritten lease, landlord changing verbal 60 day notice to vacate to written 30 day.

I have been renting on a month to month unwritten lease since January. My landlord, on June 29th gave me a verbal 60 day notice to vacate by August 28th. Then on July 8th, gave me a written notice to vacate by July 31st. Is it legal to change the vacate parameters? I have 2 other witnesses who can... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on Jul 9, 2021

Month-to-month tenancies require 30 day notice to vacate, so the July 8 notice to vacate by July 31 is not 30 days notice and is invalid. A landlord and tenant can agree to a longer notice, but it is unclear that you have such an agreement in place. You describe the landlord as merely giving you... Read more »

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