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Virginia Real Estate Law Questions & Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Virginia on

Q: Can a VA Condo Assoc.’s BOD purge information in an individual unit owner’s file w/o that owner’s knowledge & consent?

I own one of the 200+ units in a Condominium Association in Virginia. The individual records of each unit are kept in the on-site management office. My friend & neighbor recently told me that about a month ago she examined the file for her particular unit & noticed it contained documents dating... Read more »

Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on Jun 10, 2019

FYI, the law is not designed to solve every little problem that comes your way during this lifetime; the Latin phrase for this rule is "De minimus non curat lex." In addition to that general rule, please understand that this particular question should best be answered by your "friend & neighbor;... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on

Q: My father passed away and his rental property is under water, what can I do?

He was supplementing the rent each month, we personally would like to short sale if possible. The current renter has a lease through December 2019.

Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jun 6, 2019

I am sorry for your loss. What other assets are in the estate? Short sales are time consuming, frustrating, and generally not worth it - I usually suggest to my clients that they let it go to foreclosure unless there's other issues.

What does your probate attorney advise? If you don't...
Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Virginia on

Q: When completing a irs offer in compromise, is vacant land considered real property?

Richard Sternberg answered on Jun 5, 2019

The definition of real estate is land. If something is built on the land, it is developed real estate.

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Virginia on

Q: Can the irs enforce a tax lien on a cash sale for property?

Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jun 5, 2019

The IRS has a motto: "We've got what it takes to take what you've got".

Practical response: IRS has filed a lien on property; the Owner sells it to Buyer and Buyer pays Owner cash. IRS isn't paid. The lien remains on the property and IRS can file a suit to take the property away from...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on

Q: How long does a defendant have to respond to a lawsuit in Fairfax County general district court before going to court?

This case is about the sale of a house in Fairfax County.

Richard Sternberg answered on May 31, 2019

The answer depends on place, date, and type of service. It also depends on what you mean by “respond.” Part of the Answer you seek may be printed on the Summons, but it is very easy to get the wrong and Virginia Courts are very serious about defaults. Schedule a consult with a local lawyer to... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on

Q: Can my landlord force me to bail water out of the window wells? Can I seek compensation for the physical labor?

In the summer of 2018 several rain storms caused water to fill the window wells in the finished basement of a single family home and leak water into the dry wall, insulation, and carpet. The landlord was on vacation and forced the renters to physically bail water out of the window wells each time... Read more »

Richard Sternberg answered on May 30, 2019

You need to review the lease with a licensed real estate lawyer. If the lease puts the burgent of maintenance or repair on the tenant, you might be obligated. It usually doesn’t in residential leases in Vienna, particularly illegal basement apartments. Contrary to popular belief, all leases are... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on

Q: How long does it usually take for a real estate case to settle in Virginia?

Real Estate law

This involves the sale of a house, and the seller has yet to get paid! It's located in Fairfax County.

Ross Cameron Hart answered on May 29, 2019

I presume you mean some kind of litigation, not a sale and settlement of property.

What kind of case? How many parties to it? What are the issues the court is trying to unravel?

There is NO 'average', and the answer is dependent on too many factors to go into here.

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4 Answers | Asked in Employment Law, Personal Injury and Real Estate Law for Virginia on

Q: What are the potential consequences for not answering questions during the discovery process of a lawsuit?

F. Paul Maloof answered on May 27, 2019

It depends on the lawyer asking the discovery questions. however, one consequence could be sanctions imposed by a judge.

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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Virginia on

Q: Are seller financing and lease option agreement contracts are legal in the state of Virginia?

Can a real estate investor offer these contracts to the seller and the buyer just as long as the contracts are legal and the investors has a title company or attorney to look over the contracts to approve them.

Richard Sternberg answered on May 16, 2019

Lawyers don’t “approve” contracts. They review and advise their clients on the legalities of their dealings. After the advice, the contracting parties remain responsible for their choices, though they might have a claim against the lawyer if his advice was malpractice. If what you are doing... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on

Q: My mother left her house to my sister, she has abandoned the house and it was condemned, do I have a legal right to it?

She never had it put in her name.

Ross Cameron Hart answered on May 11, 2019

If you were in my office I'd have a series of questions, beginning with "HOW did your mother 'leave' the house to your sister?" If it was willed, and the will recorded at the courthouse, then you do not have a right to it, and title to the property is in your sister whether or not she wants it.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on

Q: Why wouldn't a landlord dismiss the court case if all rent and additional fees and charges are paid in advance

Before the first court date of a unlawful detainer?

F. Paul Maloof answered on May 11, 2019

The landlord would not dismiss the case because the landlord still wants the return of possession of the property from the tenant and can only get this by a judge who orders it.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on

Q: If you are issued a unlawful detainer and the court date is may 31, will the unlawful detainer be stopped

If all rent that is due , paid before the court date?

F. Paul Maloof answered on May 10, 2019

Generally, if the tenant pays all the back rent (and other costs and late fees) before the unlawful detainer's first court date and the tenant gets a written agreement with the landlord that the landlord will dismiss the case, then the unlawful detainer will stop. Otherwise, the unlawful detainer... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on

Q: Can a residence in quit claim be affected by a lien?

Mother put martial residence in quit claim before her death. Father has a lien on him. Will lien affect distribution of residence upon father's passing? Follow-up. Mother's trust states: In planning for our individual estates my husband and I have made a division of our jointly held real property.... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart answered on May 9, 2019

I have no idea what you mean by putting property 'in quit claim'. So I don't know how the property (Marital residence) was owned. If your mother owned the property at her death, and was still married to your father, he got rights to the property either under her will or intestate laws. If there... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Contracts for Virginia on

Q: Moved into an apt 7 days ago & made 2 noise complaints already. Can I break the lease w/out penalty if this persists?

Live in Fairfax county. This is a fairly modern building, run by a management company. The building charged numerous fees--move-in fee and amenity fee--so I would lose over $1,000 there. However, the noise complaints came from loud neighbors at midnight and 1am next to my master bedroom. If this... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart answered on May 8, 2019

This is actually a Landlord Tenant issue. And there are provisions in your lease that affect it.

And it's a very very tricky problem. Management can't tell you precisely what they've done on your complaint - privacy works several ways. And even if they took action, it will take them 2 or...
Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Virginia on

Q: Our condo was listed for 325k, we were offered 332k by a military couple. We took their offer.

Our agent assured us the VA appraisal would surely cover difference. VA app. 325k. Is the buyer legally obligated to pay what they offered?

Richard Sternberg answered on May 7, 2019

You need to read the contract, but I believe the VA rider is conditioned on the VA appraisal.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on

Q: Hi, if I want to evict my month to month tenant who won’t leave but pays, do I have to keep making repairs before court

My tenant is month to month. Our original lease ended 30 months ago. While the lease mentioned 60 days notice, now that it’s month to month, I assume I only need to give 30 days. He wants me to repair the broken windows and back door. I want to wait until he’s gone. Do I need to fix them before... Read more »

Richard Sternberg answered on May 6, 2019

You need to consult with a local lawyer, because county and city codes matter in landlord-tenant. Then, the lawyer needs to read the lease with particular attention to the Holding Over and Notice clauses. In Virginia, the lease will be read fairly strictly as written unless it violates local... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law, Arbitration / Mediation Law and Civil Litigation for Virginia on

Q: would i be responsible for closing cost if my ex is refinancing to get my name removed. not lived there for over a year

We bought a home together a year ago, and I moved out after splitting 4 months after we purchased. I signed a written agreement that was notarized I wasn't responsible for mortgage / bills after i parted ways. She is keeping the house and I want to clear my name from the deed/Note. Is she liable to... Read more »

F. Paul Maloof answered on May 5, 2019

Based on my experience, unless you are one of the parties who is the borrower of the refinancing, you are not obligated to pay for any closing costs.

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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 Real Estate Law for Virginia on

Q: My neighbor has a fence separating our lawns. He comes over to our side of his fence and mows 10 feet into our lawn.

Can he claim adverse possesion on my property? He says he mows it so grass doesnt get on his fence. But i dont trust him i was renting the house for 4 years and i just bought the house from my land lord in February 2019

Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 22, 2019

Adverse possession can be remembered reasonably accurately with the acronym POACH. To achieve adverse possession, the bar against landowners pleading to protect their property, the adverse possessor must POSSESS OPENLY ADVERSELY CONTINUOUSLY and HOSTILELY for the requisite number of years. I see... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for Virginia on

Q: does a Virginia annual lease revert to month to month at the end of its last renewal term if the tenant holds over?

My renewal clause: 4. Renewal: Tenant may renew this Lease for one (1) successive period herein referred to as the “Renewal Term" of one (1) year, if at all, by giving written notice of such renewal at least sixty (60) days prior to the expiration of the initial term. Said renewal to be upon... Read more »

F. Paul Maloof answered on Apr 22, 2019

Based on your lease contract, tenant has a right to renew for another 1 year term if tenant gives landlord written notice at least 60 days before the end of the lease term. If no such notice is given by the tenant, the lease converts into a month-to-month lease by operation of law.

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