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Virginia Real Estate Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I have no written rental agreement, and rent was month to month. Can I change the locks of my house?

she rents a room inside my home. She got a written notice to pay within 5 days what she owes about a month ago.

Elizabeth Crego
Elizabeth Crego answered on Mar 30, 2020

You cannot legally just change the locks, even if your lease was unwritten. You would need to make sure you go through the proper procedure to file an unlawful detainer action and evict her.

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Visitor My fiance and I have agreed to purchase a home in an unmarried status. My credit score was low so we decided to

Visitor

My fiance and I have agreed to purchase a home in an unmarried status. My credit score was low so we decided to have the loan in his name. The home won't be available until June. How can I secure myself in the event of a breakup? We both put money in on the deposit. If he decides to... Read more »

Shafeek Seddiq
Shafeek Seddiq answered on Mar 28, 2020

I assume have have not closed on the house. If so, then part of preparing closing documents is a deed which is basically a title, a document showing ownership to the property. Make sure your name goes on this deed. A lawyer will be drafting this deed to transfer ownership from seller to purchaser.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: I moved into a trailer with the intent to buy. They changed mind & want me out. I am not on lease with trailer park

He was 3 months behind on lot rent & I was to pay 250 over to go towards his arrears $650 lot rent and 250 towards his arrears that will pay for trailer, for a cost of 2000. I was to move in and do repairs and start paying on the 1rst. And he was to just add me as a roommate in the trailer park... Read more »

F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on Mar 20, 2020

In Virginia, all tenants of residential housing have rights under the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act, which was recently revised on July 1, 2019. Generally, a landlord must give written notice to a month-to-month tenant before going to court to seek an order of possession in order to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: In adverse possession, there was a garage in the spot. It got taken down and replace fence. Will the time restart?

The garage was in the spot for 20 ish years. Then it got taken down due to new construction and a fence was put in by the new owner.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Mar 18, 2020

Adverse possession is one of the more complicated areas of real estate law. You need to consult a real estate litigation attorney This forum is designed and good for simple, general questions that will get you to the 'next step' for legal situations. Sometimes all people need is a simple answer.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Foreclosure and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My grandmother had a loan against her trailer in 1994. The last payment made was in 1997 before the bank changed names

The current bank has no record of the title. Dmv states that there is a lean against it. She has agreed that I have the trailer. Can I file for abandoned property

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Mar 12, 2020

In 35 years of practice, I've never seen this issue. Interesting. Plainly, you need to file some equivalent action to a Quiet Title action, and you'd probably name that a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment. But, I'd need to hit the library as to how to clear title to a residential trailer. I though... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I need a simple explanation as to the ownership of limited common elements of a condo association.

I'm convinced that the limited common elements associated with each unit (in our case the patio is the area in question) belong to the Association while only the upkeep therefore is the responsibility of the unit owner. We have may unit owners that insist that they own the patio and do not have to... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Mar 12, 2020

What you need is a legal review of your condo docs and titles. Other than reading them, there is no reliable way to know what they say.

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My fiance/I signed a contract to build a new home. We've both put monies down for the deposit. We are having major

issues. We knew that my credit score wasn't high enough to be on the loan and agreed to proceed. The loan will be in my fiance's name. If we break up prior to the completion of the home what are my rights as far as my share of the deposit.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Mar 11, 2020

Your rights need to be defined in a contract. Otherwise, both of you will have the right to pay one of my brethren and sisters lots of money to resolve it in court.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: If my father was my grandfather's executor and my father passes away does that responsibility come down to me?

My father was my grandfather's executor and my aunt and uncle were the administrators. My father passed away and I became his executor of estate and I am his only heir. Does his role as executor for his father's estate come to me? Or does it cancel him out and only the two administrators are left?... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Mar 3, 2020

There is a whole lot of information you didn't provide - and you're in a complex situation. Before you make any (more) mistakes consult an experienced probate lawyer for an overview of all estates and advice on how to handle them.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: what are my rights to home if owner passed away?

i was once on deed and have lived here for 20 years and removed my name due to divorce never had an agreement due to i had already paid my half, owner passed and family selling property, do i have any rights?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Mar 2, 2020

A lawyer would need to read the deed, the divorce decree and settlement, and any other agreements related to the property in order to evaluate your situation. If you were merely a tenant by sufferance, your rights are quite limited in Virginia.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: can a financial conservator force me to take my deceased MIL's trailer?

The financial conservator sent me a letter saying that since i paid for the funeral then as reinbursment of the estate that i could take the trailer. I dont want the trailer. It would cost way more to have it moved off the lot then what i paid for the funeral. if i dont sign her form, then what... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Mar 2, 2020

Why don't you start with explaining that to the personal representative (PR), noting that you would like to be reimbursed for the funeral expenses, and the trailer won't accomplish that. If the PR is acting fairly and honestly, you will detect that immediately. If not, you might need to file a... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Estate in VA. My GM died in '96, My uncle the estate executor died in 2015. Will may not have been probated. What next?

Grandma was sick and stayed with daughter in NC a few months b4 her death in NC. Do you have to probate both states, if Grandma was just there temp due to sickness. Executor died and no co-exc named in will, however; Grandma's will states heirs split property equally. What are the next steps to... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 28, 2020

If Grandma was a resident of Virginia, as can be shown by a variety of indicators, like where she had residential property, where she had a driver's license, where she paid utility bills, etc., then the probate is where she resided. Temporary residence during a terminal ailment doesn't change... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My older brother has sent my a form to gift over a deed to a timeshare week to him. Do I have to sign this if I object
Michael Hales
Michael Hales answered on Feb 25, 2020

You don't have to. It would probably be a good idea to speak with a timeshare attorney if you're looking for some advice.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: We just found out there was a fire in the home we bought. It was not disclosed prior to buying. What's our options?

Prior to buying we checked records for crime and work permits and only found a few permits but nothing major for work completed. AFter moving in and by chance our gas line was being replaced by the city and the worker mentioned the fire. We asked the neighbor and it was confirmed and mentioned it... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 23, 2020

If there is a latent defect, you may have a cause of action, but it needs to be latent, and it needs to be a defect. If there was something wrong with a house, like a fire, and it was fixed, it's not a defect. If you could see it upon diligent inspection, it isn't latent. It sounds like you are... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My grandparents had a house built on a property pur hased by one of their 14 kids. That kid sole the property to the

Older kid and the gave the rest some money for it-the house. Grandma was still in the house and so was one of my aunts who helped Grandma. Grandma passed away in 1998 but the older sibling had an arrangement to let my aunt be in the house the rest of her life or till dhe decided to move. The older... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 18, 2020

This is the result when laypeople avoid lawyers by having ambiguous understandings that transcend generations. Without reviewing the title and all correspondence, whether signed and on paper or by email, text, checks exchanged, or otherwise, I don't know what rights your aunt may have. At very... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Can real estate be sold in VA if the will has not gone through probate?

My grandfather passed away in late 2019. His will says that all belongings should be divided equally between the 4 children. My uncle is named executor but he has yet to file the will into the probate court. Can he try and sell my grandfather's home to a family member for half of fair market value... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 16, 2020

In Virginia, real estate passes outside of probate. If the unappointed executor is acting in derogation of the Will, and the Will has not been filed, you need to file the Will and move to appoint an Administrator cum testamento annexo (c.t.a.). This needs to happen now and it wouldn't be a bad idea... Read more »

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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.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: If you buy a house and another house is hooked to the Septic without conditions can we disconnect from the other house
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 9, 2020

I'm assuming the septic pipes and tank are on your property. Obviously, you cannot trespass to disconnect another person's house from his own septic system. It would be a very good idea to start with a title search to look for easements to access the septic system on your property. For safety, I'd... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I own a condo and have given tenant verbal notice to vacate within 30 days and he refuses
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 9, 2020

You need a lawyer. While Virginia has self-help for some landlord-tenant issues, you are doing it wrong, and you are doing it wrong in the wrong county to do it wrong.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: If an individual has life rights to a property until their death, do the Grantees have to pay off all liens?

Life rights individual has at least two federal liens on themselves, but it is an unknown to the Grantees if the liens are

attached to the property solely. Do the legally documented Grantees of the property have to pay for any of the liens? It is believed the liens are strictly for... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Feb 6, 2020

The term the law uses is 'life tenant' which means that that individual has the right to live on the property for their life; those who then get the property on death of the life tenant are called 'remaindermen' or 'remainder interest' (think of 'what's left after the life tenant dies'.... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Our landlord has overcharged us in rent by $82 a month for 11 months, against our lease agreement.

I am a resident in Richmond, VA that has been overcharged in rent by our apartment complex. According to our lease, we are to pay $1607 per month in rent. We have been paying $1689 in rent alone for 11 months. We’ve also been overcharged late fees and attorney fees based on the incorrect rent... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 5, 2020

Try contacting the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society -Richmond Branch.

101 West Broad Street, Suite 101 Richmond, VA 23220

804-648-1012

http://www.cvlas.org

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