Virginia Real Estate Law Questions & Answers

Q: I signed a lease March 1 and paid rent and security deposit and was given keys and go ahead to move into the apt.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Answered on Mar 17, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
A lease can be enforced against anyone who has signed it. Sometimes, a separate document "signed" by the party against whom enforcement is sought can act as a signature on the unsigned lease, such as an email conveying the lease saying something like, "This is the lease I'm offering you." That could become a factual issue, which, if not handled correctly, could mean expensive litigation. If you already have a lease, the revised lease needs to be supported by consideration. All in all, if there...

Q: My intended owns property in Virginia with her son.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Answered on Mar 16, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
The petition is called a Sale in Lieu of Partition. In Virginia, there is a Code provision that reimburses the legal fees out of the proceeds if the sale. Don’t let the son’s default destroy his mother’s credit. If they are tenants in common, the petition is routine, but a bit much for a DIY project, and, once he talks to a lawyer, the son should consent rather than run up legal fees on a hopeless defense. If Mom feels bad for the kid, give him enough more than his share for a down...

Q: ex-Husband died without a will but im co-owner on the home mortgage, can i sell this home

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Answered on Mar 12, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
You need a lawyer to review title to the house, the divorce decree, and the mortgage note. You aren’t providing sufficient information in your question, but if you don’t own the house, you can’t sell it. If you own part of the house, you can usually file a Petition for Sale in Lieu of Partition, and, in Virginia, the legal fees will be reimbursed from the proceeds. And, if it doesn’t place you in contempt of court or breach of a settlement contract, you can stop paying the mortgage and...

Q: Newly renting, Carpets smell like urine, 2 small babies in house. Owner refuses to replace them. What rights do we have?

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Answered on Mar 3, 2019
Daniel P Leavitt's answer
Check your rental agreement first and also see if the Virginia Landlord Tenant Agreement covers this situation. It may be something you want to retain a lawyer to investigate further as they can tell you what rights you may or may not have and also your liability if you choose to breach your agreement (assuming that it would be a breach and it may not). It's possible the landlord is breaching but you really should pay a lawyer to investigate or do the work yourself on it.

Q: My mother and I purchased a property in 2005. She put down $40000 for 25% and I as the “working partner” for 75%

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Answered on Feb 18, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
It would be useful to have a lawyer read the agreement you signed. One of the benefits of the LLC form of business entity is its flexibility in capitalization and control. Absent provisions to the contrary, she is either a lender or an owner, not both with the same money. If she is a lender, she is paid first the amount she lent plus the agreed interest, and then nothing else. If she is an owner, she is paid the percentage of her ownership. Absent contractual language to the contrary, gains...

Q: I signed contract purchase agreement, if I default as buyer, what are my risk beside loss of earnest funds?

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Answered on Feb 14, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
There seems to be a widespread belief that the paper you signed, often called the purchase agreement or the sales agreement or the contract, is irrelevant because they are all the same. They are not. Further, there is appears to be a widespread belief that an interview to determine all of the facts isn’t needed, because the only relevant facts are the ones clients are focused on when they think they are in trouble. That is also false. Finally, there seems to be a widespread belief that...

Q: Real estate law

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Answered on Feb 9, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
You need a lawyer to review the purchase agreement and all subsequent correspondence. There is a decent chance that the damages are limited to the deposit, but, either way, you might just compute the actual damages and pay them.

Q: va-can poa demand "road impact fee" from owner's builder when not in documents.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Construction Law for Virginia on
Answered on Feb 8, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
Your question is barely comprehensible. You need help constructing it. But, I think the answer will turn on the contents of the documents. You need a legal review of all relevant contracts, whether we are talking about the construction agreements, the home purchase contract, or any relevant HOA documents. It might be best to start with buying an hour-long consultation to better understand the question.

Q: who Owns the property of my mothers home

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Answered on Feb 4, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
You desperately need a lawyer to assist you through probate, and the legal fees will easily be paid out of the sale proceeds from the house. This is a rather easy matter, and you are confused enough to lose the house in the confusion. If you have been appointed administrator of the estate, you need to list the house. A quick call to the probate commissioner of accounts will determine whether it is customary to file an easy petition to sell. That is probably not required, though you will be...

Q: Failure to protect client's interests; failure to exercise reasonable degree of care; failure to exercise ordinary care

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Answered on Feb 2, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
Those seem to be your legal conclusions as might some day be reached by a court after trial. Perhaps you should review the facts with a lawyer privately and ask questions about whether your facts meet those legal standards.

Q: In Virginia, what's the document (instrument) that'd let me take back a house sold on owner financing the quickest???

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Answered on Jan 29, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
Well, it’s customary for lawyers not to solicit clients on a forum like this when answering questions, but the form you are looking for is a Deed in Lieu of Foreclisure, assuming you closed the take-back note correctly and the borrower will consent. There are many issues to consider in a Deed in Lieu. If the borrower doesn’t agree, you need to initiate foreclosure. If the Deed of Trust is problematic, it will be more complex.

You can ask lawyers licensed in Virginia if they are...

Q: VA home purchase. Owners covered up defects, so that inspectors would not see them. What is my recourse?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Answered on Jan 25, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
You should speak to a lawyer. Virginia law prohibits concealing latent defects, misrepresentation of real estate, and other consumer frauds. Damages can include three times the cost of repairs, attorneys fees, and other damages.

Q: Signed contract on house. Days later, court approved pending ordered sale to someone else. What is my standing/options?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Answered on Jan 20, 2019
Vincent Gallo's answer
If the contract that you signed was contingent upon court approval, then you were probably out of luck.

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: When putting in an offer on a home as the buyer is it my responsibility to give a dollar amount for closing costs in Va

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Answered on Jan 14, 2019
Richard Sternberg's answer
No, your offer should simply describe your offer in sufficient detail to be unambiguous. The allocation of closing costs is adequately described in every standard local or state contract form I have seen, though there are often other provisions that should be changed, such as extraordinary protections of the realtors providing the form.

Q: How long is the unlawful detainer process against a family member, in Virgia Beach?

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Answered on Jan 9, 2019
F. Paul Maloof's answer
My office is in Alexandria City. I have no experience with Virginia Beach. Sorry.

Q: Can I kick my adult son , his girlfriend and her kids out of my house. They were supposed to leave before Jan 1

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Answered on Jan 9, 2019
F. Paul Maloof's answer
Generally, family members are not considered tenants, however, if you want to make them vacate the premises, you will have to proceed with the requirements for an unlawful detainer in court since self-help, such as refusing the use of the washer and the kitchen, is prohibited in residential lease matters in Virginia.

Q: Can a former landlord sue for damages if he didn't notify as per required under the contract, hence then there are none?

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law, Civil Litigation and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Answered on Jan 9, 2019
Andrew Strickland's answer
Question: "If I win as per the terms of our contract (no proper notification,, no communication until way way later, no nothing) do the damages still exist then to sue me later?"

There's a few things going on with your question and some assumptions that I need to make in order to tailor it. Let me start with the assumptions: (1) You have a claim against Landlord; (2) Landlord shows up to small claims and disputes the claim; (3) you win final judgment in your favor in small claims...

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