Posts made in June 2020

What is the Landlords’ Liability

Landlords' LiabilityWhen you own rental properties and have tenants, you may wish to consult with a law firm in Loudoun County, VA, regarding landlord liability and exposure. In the meantime, here are a few things to consider.


Injury Responsibility – A landlord may be held responsible for an injury on the rental property if it can be shown that the landlord (or his or her agent) was somehow negligent in maintaining the property and that this negligence was the cause of the injury.


Dangerous Conditions – In many cases, actual negligence need not be specifically proven. It is sufficient for the plaintiff tenant to show that the landlord knew, or should have known, of a dangerous condition and, either failed to repair it or failed to give adequate warning of it to the tenant.


Inspecting the Premises –To avoid lawsuits for negligence, landlords should inspect the premises regularly, and not only at the beginning and the end of a lease.


Other PerilsMost insurance policies cover damages and losses from fire, weather, burglary, and acts of vandalism. “Other perils,” depending on the region, usually are not covered. The two most common of these are losses from earthquakes and floods.


Liability Claims – Typically, liability claims are covered by a comprehensive general liability policy, which includes payment of awards for damages, as well as legal fees and costs incurred in defending against lawsuits.


Can a Tenant Use the Exclusionary Rule When Fighting an Eviction?

Eviction NoticeThe Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons or property. The “exclusionary rule,” as it is commonly known, prohibits the use of any evidence which is obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment.


In practice, the exclusionary rule has typically been applied only to cases where the state seeks to use illegally seized evidence to prosecute an individual who experienced an unlawful search criminally. Experts in condominium law in Ashburn, VA, advise that although the exclusionary rule is occasionally applied outside of a pure criminal proceeding, Nationwide Housing Corp. v. Skoglund (Minn. App. 2018) established “that the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule does not extend to a civil eviction proceeding brought by a private landlord.”


The tenant, in that case, argued that eviction is similar to the quasi-criminal civil forfeiture proceeding; however, the appellate court clarified that an eviction proceeding is clearly civil in nature and solely determines whether “an occupant may be removed from possession of real property by the process of law.” Thus, within condominium law, although the exclusionary rule can sometimes be applied outside of criminal court proceedings, it has not been applied to a typical landlord-tenant relationship.

When is a Loan not a Loan? Mortgage and Loan Basics

Mortgage and Loan BasicsMany homeowners think that a mortgage and a loan are interchangeable terms. However, they are both much more complicated than that. If you’re considering purchasing a home, it is important to familiarize yourself with the basics surrounding these terms. Before you approach a lender or a real estate attorney in Ashburn, VA, you’ll want to ensure you understand everything they might speak to you about.


Similarities & Differences Between Mortgages & Loans

A mortgage is similar to a long-term loan in that a lender assists with the financial side of home buying. However, unlike a loan, it transfers an interest in a property as a guarantee of repayment. This safeguard is a legally binding agreement so that the lender has access to some form of compensation if the borrower does not pay off the loan.


There are many types of lenders to consider as well, such as brokers, direct and secondary market lenders, and mortgage bankers. Learning more about these lenders and how they differ allows you to make a more informed decision. Working with a real estate attorney gives you access to the resources you need to understand the complexities and basics of mortgages and loans.

Notice to Vacate: Can Condominium Boards Evict an Owner/Tenant?

Notice to VacateDealing with a troublesome tenant can be difficult for landlords and homeowners associations alike. While landlords who are renting space out to tenants have the option to evict, specific communities, where the tenants own their home, do not always have that choice. Depending on the state, HOAs may have the option to forcibly remove tenants if necessary. Meeting with attorneys in Ashburn, VA, can give you a better idea of what authority you hold.


Homeowners Association Authority

In some states, there are bylaws that allow HOAs to foreclose and evict owners who fail to obey the community rules or who have missed too many payments. The HOA has the authority to write up and enforce its own guidelines, which allows them to remove homeowners if they refuse to comply. However, HOAs must still follow the same legal processes that landlords and other property managers undergo.


Whether you’re a part of a homeowners association or you’re a homeowner being wrongfully evicted, you’ll want advice from a qualified team of attorneys who specialize in real estate law, like the ones at the office of Raymond A. Ceresa, Attorney at Law. With the right legal counsel, understanding local bylaws is infinitely easier.