Articles on HOA and Condominium Law in Ashburn, VA

Have questions? Contact Ceresa Law for more answers and information.

Choosing the Right Attorneys in Ashburn, VA, to Meet Your Real Estate Needs

Real Estate AttorneyReal estate issues can be complex with a myriad of details to be covered and procedures to follow. It’s not a simple journey for a layperson. It’s one that’s best taken with an experienced attorney by your side so you don’t take a misstep that can prove disastrous or end up making a simple matter into a very challenging one.


At the firm of Raymond A. Ceresa Attorney at Law, we know about attorneys in Ashburn, VA, and we’re going to tell you what to look for when you’re seeking a lawyer to handle your real estate transactions.


Experience should be at the top of your checklist for a real estate lawyer. Education is essential, but when it’s backed with practical knowledge gained in the field, it’s much more applicable. Make sure the experience has been achieved in the area you’re considering; it doesn’t make much sense to hire a criminal defense attorney when you’re looking to settle a dispute with your homeowners’ association, for example.


We suggest you choose an attorney once you’ve had the opportunity to consult with him or her in person or by phone. It will help to assure you that you are making the right decision.

Effect of Dismissal Without Prejudice in Mortgage Foreclosure Suits

Real Estate LawCases that are dismissed “with prejudice” are permanently dismissed.  A case that is dismissed “without prejudice” is merely temporarily dismissed. A temporary dismissal means that the plaintiff is allowed to re-file charges, alter the claim, or bring the case to another court. There is sometimes confusion about whether there is a limitation on refiling an action after more than one involuntary dismissal without prejudice, particularly in the mortgage foreclosure context. This is where advice from a real estate lawyer in Ashburn, VA, is essential.


Virginia Rule of Civil Procedure 1.420(b) requires that the order of dismissal expressly state that the dismissal is without prejudice in order to ensure that an involuntary dismissal does not then operate as an adjudication on the merits. There are rare occasions where a trial court involuntarily dismisses without prejudice a second or third time after a motion. Later, the question can arise as to whether a plaintiff can continue to take “kicks at the can” after dismissal or whether the number of “kicks” is limited.


A real estate lawyer would advise you that the only question is whether the refiled mortgage foreclosure is based on the same underlying defaults as the one dismissed was. If that’s the case, and the five-year limitations period has run out, then it makes no difference if the dismissal was with or without prejudice as the complainant is at the end of its road.  If not, even if the limitations period has gone by, the new action will not be precluded regardless of the number or type of prior dismissals.

Do Short-Term Vacation Rentals Violate HOA Regulations?

Short-Term Vacation Rental

Some property owners put their homes on the market for short-term summer rentals. This may be acceptable, or it may be a direct contravention of Homeowners Association (HOA) policies. If your association is looking to clarify whether “short-term rentals violate the regulations?” we’ll provide the advice you need at Ceresa Law.


As an HOA lawyer in Loudoun County, VA, we have a vast amount of experience dealing with HOA issues of all types and are prepared to handle this matter for you.


Some HOAs allow short-term rentals so that homeowners can use their dormant properties for extra income. Others are vehemently against this practice over concerns of noise and damage caused by transient visitors.


As your HOA lawyer, our firm can examine the current agreement to see if it allows such practices and act accordingly on behalf of your community. If the document prohibits short-term summer rentals, we can take steps to have them prevented. Our team can create a policy that clearly states they are not allowed and outlines punitive actions for violation.


If short-term rentals are not allowed, but your HOA wishes to permit them, we can draft an amendment to the policy that sets boundaries and requirements for compliance. This lets all parties know what is expected and helps homeowners stay in good standing and on good terms with neighbors.


Regardless if summer rentals are allowed or not, it’s wise to have an HOA lawyer in Loudoun County, VA, go over your association agreement to make sure that it’s well-defined and updated for modern considerations such as Airbnb. A little preparation can go a long way to preventing miscommunication and disagreements.

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.

All About Condominium Law in Ashburn, VA

Condominium AssociationThere’s nothing like condominium living. You are the owner of your luxurious condo, and as such, can add value to your real estate investment.


With condo ownership also comes condominium association membership. Take a few minutes now to learn about condo associations and condominium law in Ashburn, VA, from Raymond A. Ceresa Attorney at Law. We focus on condo law and provide comprehensive legal services that will benefit every condominium owner.


Condo Associations

But first, what is a condominium association? Well, as you know, there’s no more lawn care or extra work for you when you buy a condo. And major expenses are shared by everyone. Your condominium association handles these tasks and other administrative duties. Your personal safety and building security are looked after, and this, too, is the job or your condo association.


Condo Association Law

At Raymond A. Ceresa Attorney at Law, we’ll help you as a new homeowner and condominium association member with our condominium law services. You should examine the condo association’s finances, budget, and what each member owes annually. You should read over the minutes of the recent board of directors meetings. As a new or prospective condo owner, you need to know something about the day to day operations of your governing association.


How much insurance does the condo association carry? It’s not unusual for such associations to be sued. If the condo association comes up short and can’t cover a court-ordered payment, the homeowners may have to cough up the rest of the required amount. Raymond A. Ceresa Attorney at Law will advise you on any or all of these topics and what the best course of action would be. We look forward to hearing from you.

The Differences Between HOAs and CAs

HOAs and CAsPride in ownership is something we all have. Whether it’s a new car, that new set of golf clubs, or your dream home, we truly appreciate something that’s a cut above the rest.


Pride in owning a home means that you may belong to a homeowner association (HOA) or community association. But how do these organizations differ? Is it essential that you belong to one, more than the other? Let a real estate attorney in Ashburn, VA, shed some light on the issue. Here’s a brief explanation from Raymond A. Ceresa Attorney at Law.


Community Association

A community association is formed by like-minded folks that live in a neighborhood and who want to support the social needs of the community while at the same time, planning, developing, and maintaining community amenities or facilities.


Membership in a community association is voluntary, and these groups exist to promote the wellbeing of the community and its people. Community associations are worth joining.


Homeowner Association

Membership in a homeowner association is usually mandatory and required by a land developer who owns the property on which a community is built. Fees are often needed, and each homeowner must maintain specific standards concerning lawn maintenance, snow removal, outdoor lighting, and possibly other things. 


Raymond A. Ceresa Attorney at Law is an experienced real estate lawyer, that provides homeowner association and community association legal services. He’s ready to stand by your side when you need him most and we urge you to find out more by contacting our office today.

The Rights and Options of a Community Association

Community AssociationA community association, such as a condominium complex’s homeowners association, also called an HOA, has many powers and responsibilities under the bylaws of the group. These services are carried out by the HOA’s board of directors, which is charged with maintaining and overseeing the complex in light of the regulations.


It’s not easy for a loosely-collected group of individuals, the members of the board that is, to completely carry out their responsibilities effectively and within the scope of the associations’ regulations without professional assistance and guidance. The solution is to choose a real estate attorney in Ashburn, VA, to offer legal services and advice to the board.


A law firm, such as Raymond A. Ceresa Attorney at Law, has the combination of skills, experience, and know-how to work closely and successfully with your association to meet all its obligations. Your HOA will have rights under the governing documents that can specify what it can do, and also have many options when it comes to fulfilling its duties. Keeping on top of these rights and options is the key to the smooth operation of the board and running of the condo complex itself.


As state laws and regulations that directly impact an HOA are often changing, by having ready access to a real estate attorney, you can ensure that your association is on top of things and doesn’t get tripped up by alterations or addenda in real estate regulations.