Virginia Land Use & Zoning Questions & Answers

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

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Answered on Jan 15, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
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 different question. In this case, however, making the claim may be quite effective, particularly if the objective is to ensure that the respect due to a family gravesite is protected. The chances of being...

Q: Can a private individual own a state road?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Virginia on
Answered on Nov 13, 2018
Richard Sternberg's answer
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 rights. The next step is to get a title search and a survey, and then have a lawyer read them.

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

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Answered on Jun 11, 2018
Richard Sternberg's answer
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 estate lawyer, who will need to spend time reviewing the current zoning, the putatively expired permits, the facts about the offending construction, and the political environment. It is most likely...

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

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Answered on Jun 10, 2018
F. Paul Maloof's answer
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.

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

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Virginia on
Answered on May 7, 2018
Richard Sternberg's answer
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 of way. Your best bet might be to Grimm it up to grade so the dirt bikes can’t degrade it. There are occasions in the law when you are not required to act, but, once you do, you are required to do...

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

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Environmental, Land Use & Zoning and Municipal Law for Virginia on
Answered on Feb 19, 2018
Richard Sternberg's answer
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 Rockville and research all of the documents and deeds, recorded or included in state bills, regarding that property. Combine that with a title search and a tax roll search in Arlington to create a history...

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

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Land Use & Zoning and Civil Rights for Virginia on
Answered on Feb 13, 2018
Richard Sternberg's answer
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 tell you to move your car and your behind off their property. I'm sure you have heard the expression, "My roof, my rules." Also, your parents could make your continued residence in their home...

Q: WHO OWNS THE DITCH, WE HAVE 226 OF ROAD FRONTAGE YET MY NEIGHBORS CONTINUE TO USE OUR PROPERTY

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Answered on Jan 29, 2018
Richard Sternberg's answer
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.

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

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Answered on Jan 23, 2018
F. Paul Maloof's answer
Not sure what is the issue that you have based on your inquiry.

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

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Virginia on
Answered on Jan 21, 2018
Richard Sternberg's answer
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 skill-intensive mess quieting title lost in generations of relying upon operation of law. The correct petition is either a Complaint to Quiet Title or a Declaratory Judgment, and the legal work usually...

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

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Answered on Jan 19, 2018
Richard Sternberg's answer
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 would be helpful in this process, but you might get a non-local Virginia lawyer to act as attorney-advisor, thereby saving $.

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

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Answered on Nov 19, 2017
Richard Sternberg's answer
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 assets and leave the landlord holding the rent. A review by whomever is handling the probate would be useful.

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

1 Answer | Asked in Gov & Administrative Law, Civil Litigation, Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Answered on Oct 31, 2017
F. Paul Maloof's answer
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.

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

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning for Virginia on
Answered on Jan 30, 2011
Paul A. Prados' answer
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 the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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