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Virginia Land Use & Zoning Questions & Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Virginia on

Q: I'm in Virginia neighbor removed our survey states corner pi

Neighbor also has fence 14-18 ft on our property looking for virginia code that is survey stakes ann corner pins

Anthony M. Avery answered on May 3, 2019

You have a boundary line dispute. The longer you wait to file suit is the longer you acquiesce to the other's asserted boundary. Hire a competent attorney now to perform two title searches, possibly a surveyor or the boundary line only, and file and serve the suit. You will lose because of time... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Real Estate Law, Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on

Q: Is my lease valid if the owner did not have the proper zoning permit for an accesory dwelling in Arlington?

Zoning enforcement just said the property is in violation of zoning because the owner does not have the proper permit to divide a single family home into a duplex. Can i get my deposit and rent money back? The owner doesn't want to end my lease.

Do I have good grounds to file a lawsuit?... Read more »

F. Paul Maloof answered on Apr 7, 2019

If the landlord will not agree to terminate your lease, you will need to file suit and seek a judge to determine the lease is void as a matter of law.

2 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning, Small Claims, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on

Q: Can my vehicle be towed from a private property without notice?

My plates had expired and my vehicle was towed from private property (my apartment complex). The towing company said they placed a notice on my car Tuesday, however I never seen a notice. Is it a time frame that they have to give me prior to towing the vehicle?

F. Paul Maloof answered on Feb 28, 2019

I do not handle car towing matters. Sorry.

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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning, Real Estate Law and Gov & Administrative Law for Virginia on

Q: How in the world do I get a 1991 map in order to prove I own land? I own a large piece of land ..

close to Tehran, Iran and the city wants me to provide them a map of that area in 1991 in order to prove my rightful claim. Is this legal, even in Iran??? I am living in the U.S. and need direction and advice on how to approach this. Please advise! Are they just being unreasonable or is this... Read more »

Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 11, 2019

You are going to need an Iranian lawyer.

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on

Q: Can heirs of an original owner claim a portion of land which was reserved from a deed conveying the balance of the land?

John Doe died in 1877, leaving 120 acres of woodland. The land was sold by special commissioner, the deed reserving an old burial plot, about 70 x 70'. The new owner sold the land in parcels, one of which included the burying ground. The land was sold and resold several times without mention of the... Read more »

Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 15, 2019

Of course, the heirs can claim title. In most circumstances, I would then reiterate the teachings of a professor of mine from Penn, and I'd say that any idiot can make a claim if they have a pen, paper, and the filing fee. Usually, prospective clients want to know if they can win, and can be a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Virginia on

Q: Can a private individual own a state road?

A year after purchasing my home I found out that the neighbor across the street owns across the road and about 10 feet onto my front lawn, along the the entire front of my property. We have a deeded right of way, which we believed to be with the town, as there is an old road bed there. We have done... Read more »

Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 13, 2018

It is possible for a private individual to own the land on which a right of way is given to another. Many jurisdictions prohibit creating and selling parcels that are “landlocked,” but it sounds like yours isn’t. Often, though, the neighbor’s claimed rights don’t match the recorded... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on

Q: I want to petition for an increase lot size requirements in an R1 zone neighborhood. How do i go about doing this?

I live on Blue Mountain in Front Royal, Va. We are zoned R1 and the neighborhood is located in a Sanitary District. Through a FOIA, I have pulled permits for various lots around the area and these fly by night builders are building on expired permits. What can a citizen do to increase lot size... Read more »

Richard Sternberg answered on Jun 11, 2018

Changing zoning to up-zone property owned by someone else is going to be an uphill battle. There are tricks and skills, but it isn't going to be accomplished inexpensively, and it isn't going to happen based on an Internet-explored plan on a pro se budget. You need to sit down with a Virginia real... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on

Q: tenant is hauling truckloads of junk and storing it outside storage building causing complaints. What can I do?

Repeated requests to tenant to clean up and store inside of large storage building have been ignored

F. Paul Maloof answered on Jun 10, 2018

This sounds like a commercial lease, which is controlled by its own provisions about the tenant's obligation to maintain the premises. Check the lease for the landlord's remedies if there is a breach of the lease.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Virginia on

Q: I opened a paper street to access my driveway easier is there any way to stop kids riding dirt bikes from tearing up?

I'm told they have right to ride on even though I paid to have graded and graveled.

Richard Sternberg answered on May 7, 2018

I’ve never heard of a private paper street. If it is really a public right of way, then people can drive on it. You might ask a lawyer, title agent, or surveyor to examine title to determine if it was a paper street, and you might ask the police to enforce road safety laws on the now-public right... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Environmental, Land Use & Zoning and Municipal Law for Virginia on

Q: I'm looking for the legal auth. for a railroad to maintain a bridge for public access to homes for emergency services.

The bridge is in Virginia and was built by the railroad company in 1892 and is maintained by them. The bridge does not carry rail traffic, rather it carries public vehicles on a roadway that was not taken into the Virginia Department of Highways system in 1932 when the State took control over... Read more »

Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 19, 2018

And, your anticipation is that some presently active lawyer will have a present sense recollection of the history of that property and the changing responsibilities for that bridge in 1892 and 1932? How quaint. What may be useful is if you follow the model of historical societies like Peerless... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Land Use & Zoning and Civil Rights for Virginia on

Q: Can my parents search my car that is solely in my name without my permission when it is on their property at night?

I am over 18

Richard Sternberg answered on Feb 13, 2018

First, it isn't a Fourth Amendment issue. That applies to the Government. I suppose you could try to file a criminal complaint for breaking and entering or a civil complaint for trespass, but I doubt you'd find a lawyer to help, because most of them would be laughing. Of course, your parents could... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on


Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 29, 2018

To get the answer to your question, you need a title search and a survey. A lawyer can help you get and read those things. Without them, any answer you get is questionable and useless.

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on

Q: My partner and I rent a house. 6 months ago let a friend move in. She doesnt pay bills at all.

She recently put a utility in her name no job has friends over all hours of the night

F. Paul Maloof answered on Jan 23, 2018

Not sure what is the issue that you have based on your inquiry.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Virginia on

Q: Heir property that was given by non-family member that did not own rights to the land how can you have them removed

Great-grandfather's second wife added her kids to the heir list of his land when he left the land to his biological children not to her. None of his kids have her permission to do so. But this occurred in a small town where everybody knows everybody and they really don't check anything even today... Read more »

Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 21, 2018

I’ve handled a bunch of three, and they are fun cases, but that’s from the lawyers’ perspective. First, there is no such thing as “heir property.” The term is a byproduct of the Jim Criw South and a pun on the word “air” indicating that title is “in the air. Correcting it is a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on

Q: What steps do I have to take to sell my inherited land?

45 acres willed to 4 ppl and has not been surveyed. It has been assessed by the county. Is a real estate attorney needed? I'm starting a point A. Thanks for your help.

Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 19, 2018

While the property passes directly, you still need to probate the Will, and it is often helpful to record a deed. If the 4 heirs agree to sell, it is easy from there and can be accomplished during probate. If you disagree, you may need to partition or petition to sell in lieu of partition. A lawyer... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on

Q: Can i be made responsible to pay lot rent if my mobile home has been condemned?

I recently recieved a mobile home from my grandma and a few weeks later the city had put a condemned sticker on the front door saying no one could enter or live there. It had been like this for 4 months as i am in the process of trying to sell it to someone who has the time and money to fix it up.... Read more »

Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 19, 2017

While it would be worthwhile to have a lawyer review your mother’s lease, it is rather likely that the lease gives the landlord a security interest in the mobile home parked there. If so, you can probably walk away from your mother’s lease and assets, you might not be able to take the trailer... Read more »

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Q: How to appeal county decision of vandalism on county sewer line backup/surcharge into home?

County sewer line backed up into home resulted in much damage and county has deemed as vandalism. Need to understand what is needed to appeal decision and which type of attorney can assist.

F. Paul Maloof answered on Oct 31, 2017

I am sorry but I do not handle that type of matter. You may want to call the Bar Association of the city or county in which you live and ask for a lawyer referral for your situation.

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning for Virginia on

Q: Can't find virginia state civil code pertaining to obligations of property owners on privately maintained road. Tks,

Paul A. Prados answered on Jan 30, 2011

Most if not all of the obligations regarding a privately maintained road will be found in your deeds, covenants, perhaps bylaws, and something called the common law. In this instance, the common law is caselaw decided by judges over the centuries regarding the rights and duties of people within... Read more »

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