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Virginia Real Estate Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in DUI / DWI, Employment Law, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: What comes out in discovery during a lawsuit?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 1, 2021

The answers to the interrogatories asked, the documents subject to a document request, the admissions that the parties make in response to requests, the oral answers to depositions of parties and witnesses, and the documents and things that are sought to be examined. What those things are is... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: I'm looking for a legal service to take on joint partnership in a fixit upper property. My partner is refusing to sell.

I bought a fixit upper property from an auction with a partner to fix the house and sell it. After remodeling the house, my partner rented the property for the last 5 years to 3rd. party and refused to sell nor give me my share of the rental income. The deed in both our names half and half.... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 26, 2021

If this property is in Virginia, the correct pleading is a Petition for Sale in Lieu of Partition, and, under Virginia law, the legal fees are paid off the top from the sale. As such, most attorneys will want some form of retainer to cover the initial fees, but those can be reimbursed at the end,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: If my old but current will says give my house to my kids, but I title the house jointly with my fiance, what happens?

Will that directive be ignored and my fiance gains ownership as surviving owner? Or will the will override the title? I understand that I should have the two (title and will) in sync, but in the interim, what would happen upon my death?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 13, 2021

The two should be in synch, because having them inconsistent can be used to confess and delay proceedings when everyone needs certainty and dispatch. The inconsistency can be used as evidence that your testamentary intent was uncertain or that you were confused. Unless you can be proven... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I want to delete my late wife and add my fiancee to my Virginia house title. What is the simplest way?
Kevin M Rogers
Kevin M Rogers answered on Jul 13, 2021

I think that the easiest way to remove your late wife's name will be to quit claim the house to your fiancee. If your wife's "estate" was probated (or might still be in probate), you can quit claim the house to your fiancee as the executor of your late wife's estate. If... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: How do I go about putting a residence which is in Quit Claim into a Trust? My mother put residence in Quit Claim and

as both parents have past, the residence now comes to me and someone told me to put the residence in a Trust through my banking system. Is this correct? And how do I do this? The property is in Arlington, VA.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 3, 2021

The form of the title doesn't change the answer. Whether the quitclaim was recorded may matter. The short answer is that you need to transfer title to the trust by deed, and that isn't terribly difficult, but it may involve some expenses. Okay, let's break it down:

There are...
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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I signed a lease that was then signed and executed by the landlord. 8 days later the landlord informed me that the

previous tenant was on a month to month lease and had decided to not vacate, and was not planning to vacate anytime soon. They said the apartment is no longer available. I believe this is a violation of Virginia State Statute 55.1-1238 of the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act for failure... Read more »

Steven Krieger
Steven Krieger answered on Jul 3, 2021

Yes, you are correct. The question for you is whether you are trying to terminate the agreement or enforce the agreement, so you can take possession. If you decide to hire a lawyer, I'm sure anyone who responds would be happy to help. Good luck.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Civil Litigation and Small Claims for Virginia on
Q: Question on real estate fixtures and Law of Fixtures and how to interpret outdoor grill connected to natural gas pipe:

There is an outdoor grill that looks like a large portable grill on wheels and it has wheels, but the grill is connected to a natural gas pipe that was extended from the back of the house. The grill uses natural gas from the pipe as fuel for normal operation. The grill has been in the same spot for... Read more »

F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on Jun 29, 2021

In Virginia, a fixture is attached (i.e., bolted) to the ground and becomes an intricate part of the land. A grill which is movable is personal property, notwithstanding that it is attached to a gas line, and is thus not a fixture.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: How do I go about putting my wife on my deed?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jun 3, 2021

You record a deed, and, if you are wise, you discuss the transaction with a lawyer first.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Civil Litigation for Virginia on
Q: Would I be eligible to countersue for falsification of signatures on the purchase of a house

I bought a house with my partner (we are not married). She and I ended up separating.

I found out that she falsified signatures in the purchase of our house in 2018. Furthermore, in 2017 she left the property and did not pay any of the mortgages. Since that period I've made... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jun 3, 2021

You probably needed a lawyer when you made the agreement, and you certainly needed a lawyer when your partner in the house and you ended your social partnership. You also need a lawyer to interpret the agreement in light of the facts and the contributions of the parties. That consultation will be... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: I was falsely accused of smoking in my apartment. What are my options?

I was falsely accused of smoking in my apartment when I am a non-smoker. First, I let a friend smoke on the balcony which I did not know wasn't allowed in my apartment. I apologized but was given a 21/30 to cure the smell (which of course there was no smell in my apartment), so I cured it... Read more »

F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on Jun 2, 2021

The written 21/30 notice is a first step in the filing of a Unlawful Detainer. The folks who are accessing you of the smoking have the burden of proof so you should go to court and deny their claim and put them to the test. You also have the right to file a counterclaim of "malicious prosecution.:

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: If a tenant's lease states that it may be auto-renewed if notice isn't given 60 days prior to the end of a lease...

Can the landlord opt to not renew the lease within 30 days of the end of the term? Or change the term to a month to month lease?

F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on Jun 1, 2021

In Virginia, the automatic renewal provisions contained in a residential leas are binding on the tenant and the landlord. One party to the lease, such as the landlord, doe snot have the right to unilaterally change the lease to a month-to-month tenancy.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: If three people with undivided ownership in property disagree on who is allowed on the property, how is that resolved?

In the state of Virginia, three people own an undivided interest in a private road. Other members in the community have a deeded right to ingress and egress over the road. Two of the three owners want to prohibit community members from storing/parking on the road. There are community members... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 30, 2021

The answer probably depends on the deed language and possibly any other recorded agreements, and it might depend on long-term use and interpretation of that language, as well as possible claims of adverse possession. Basically, it the three owners or the owners of the rights of egress and access... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: We were under contract to buy and close on a house June 10th. The guy backed out after his appraisal. Can we do anything

We had offered $5k more then appraisal value and he had accepted our offer and we were ratified.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 26, 2021

Huh? You need a lawyer to read this contract. Generally, it is the BUYER who has the right to back out if the property doesn't appraise for the loan, because the transaction cannot be completed without the loan, so the contract includes a clause letting BUYER escape. It's got to be a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Why do people sometimes try to avoid going to court by settling? In other words, what is the fear?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 24, 2021

Losing?

Major legal expense?

Inability to collect?

Witnesses forget the facts?

Party says something stupid?

Risk... risk... risk.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I am in negotiations with my 2 sisters for purchasing my dads home. I already own 1/3rd.

Is it legal for them to put in the contract that if I sell the house before 10 years that they get part of my profit over 250,000 less the price of the home and any renovations?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 23, 2021

Why would you agree to such a term? You can settle on just about anything as long as the settlement doesn't cause you to commit a crime, but why agree? You would be paying your sisters full value as the property has now and then give them none of the loss but a portion of the gains over ten... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: How can a company garnish my wages twice?

I moved out of a apartment complex 6 years ago because they had bed bugs and would only do one apartment at a time and the bed bugs will travel,

So 4 years later they garnish my wages for $700+ now they are garnishing me again for the same amount they took my $799 deposit when I moved.

F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on May 6, 2021

In Virginia, the law that effects the garnishment of wages and/or bank account has a set period of 180 days before the matter goes to court. If the full amount of the judgment is not satisfied by the initial garnishment, the judgment creditor has the right to file a second garnishment to seek the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: My fiancé signed a lease of a trailer in a mobile home park but are now finding issues that we had no knowledge of.

We just found out the air ducts in our home are pulled out of place and two rooms are not getting the air (it’s literally just pouring AC out under the home), and many other small things that weren’t noticeably to the eye during a walkthrough

F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on Apr 28, 2021

Your course of action is to call the Office of Housing Code Enforcement for the city/county in which the premises is located and make a formal Complaint.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My husband and I divorced in March 2019. In Sep 2019 he passed away. Prior to his death he had signed a pocket deed.

Giving the property to me. The mortgage for the property was in his name. What happens if I stop making mortgage payments. My name is not on the mortgage, but is on the deed.

Thank you,

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 16, 2021

If there is a valid mortgage lien on the property and the loan isn't paid, the lender will foreclose its equity. If you were not on title and of record before the mortgage recording, their claim would be unaffected by you. You might be entitled to the excess after foreclosure, if there is any,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I'm thinking of buying the property that I currently rent. It us a multi family unit w/ month to month lease.

I would like to remodel it into a single family home. Am I allowed to terminate the lease of the 2nd family after my loan is approved? Since it is an FHA 203k loan what are my options during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 11, 2021

The lease is a binding contract. You need to review that lease carefully for its termination provisions, and then you need to check both state and local landlord-tenant law about tenant rights. There are three specific areas to research: 1) whether the tenant has a right to holdover, which often... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: If a co-signer dies, what happens to the loan?
Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Apr 10, 2021

The loan is still in force - the other individual will still be responsible for payment. It is also possible that the estate of the person who died will have to pay it - and in turn could require the other borrower to repay the estate. Every case like this is different and a lawyer should be... Read more »

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