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Real Estate

May 9, 2023

Parking space dispute correctly resolved

Where appellant condominium association reallocated parking spaces, the trial court correctly concluded that appellant breached its contract with appellee and violated Virginia’s Condominium Act and a county zoning law. Statement of the case “Following a bench trial in the Fairfax County Circuit Court (trial court), Telegraph Square II Condominium Owners Association (‘appellant’ or the ‘[...]

Apr 24, 2023

Lenders defeat claim over foreclosed house

Where the former owner of a house that was sold at foreclosure alleged that the property had an assessed value of $482,800, but was sold for only $87,114, but the record showed there was an unpaid federal tax lien and the homeowner presented no evidence showing the sales price was inadequate, the defendants were granted […]

Mar 9, 2023

Public welfare includes character of neighborhood

Where county supervisors denied appellant’s special exemption request to rent bedrooms in his house after determining the proposed use would harm the public welfare, the determination correctly included consideration of the neighborhood’s character. Background Appellant Harris bought a house on a two-acre parcel, improved it and sought to rent individual bedrooms. The zoning code allowed [&hel[...]

Feb 26, 2023

Alternate holding not appealed in mortgage case

Where the trial court issued two different rationales when dismissing appellant’s mortgage and foreclosure dispute with a bank, “appellant’s ‘failure to address one of the holdings results in a waiver of any claim of error with respect to the court’s decision on that issue.’” Overview Appellant Mueller alleges that in 2007, when she refinanced her […]

Feb 17, 2023

Prescriptive easement to dock boat recognized

Where appellants docked a boat along appellees’ retaining wall for more than 20 years, they have established a prescriptive easement to dock the boat. The circuit court erred by concluding that after a former owner sold the land, his permission to dock the boat survived the sale. The court correctly concluded that appellants did not […]

Feb 16, 2023

Condo association’s lot inspection fee invalid

Where a statute provides fees and charges must be authorized expressly by statute or a condo association’s “declaration,” appellee condo association’s annual lot inspection fee is invalid because the fee is not authorized by the declaration and does not relate to common area use. Overview “Karey Burkholder and Douglas Thompson Jr., the appellants in this […]

Feb 16, 2023

Plaintiff not entitled to portion of termination fee

Where plaintiff claims entitlement to a portion of a $3.7 million termination fee that defendant lessor received from the lessee for the lessee’s early termination of a lease, defendant is granted summary judgment because the lease does not provide for such distribution. Overview Defendant is the successor lessor of a building. Ace American Insurance is […]

Feb 13, 2023

Homeowners have standing to pursue rezoning claims

The circuit court incorrectly ruled that appellant homeowners lacked standing to pursue claims arising from a rezoning granted by a county board of supervisors to a supermarket chain so that it could build a warehouse and distribution center near appellant’s homes. This ruling is reversed, as is a ruling that several of the claims were […]

Feb 4, 2023

Mold in rental house claim goes forward

Where plaintiff claims defendant landlord did not remediate mold in her rental house from a leaky air conditioner that caused health problems for her and her children, recent Virginia Supreme Court precedent requires that defendant’s demurrers to the claims are overruled. On point precedent “It is not often that a case brought before this court […]

Jan 12, 2023

Foreclosure buyer had notice of bank’s right to payment

Where plaintiff bought a commercial property at a foreclosure sale and the prior owner had assigned all income and rights to secure a loan from defendant bank, plaintiff is not entitled to a $450,000 payment a tenant made to the prior owner’s agent to restore leased space to its original condition. Leases and assignments U.S. […]

Dec 8, 2022

Cemetery traditional access route statute interpreted

A statute prohibiting landowners from blocking access to cemeteries located on their property does not apply to other landowners whose property only has a “traditional access route” to the cemetery. Background A 59-acre parcel of land contains a 47-acre parcel that is the Wintergreen Family Cemetery, which the Harris and Coleman families have used for […]

Oct 31, 2022

Property properly withdrawn from auction with reserve

Where the trial court ruled that appellee was entitled to specific performance, requiring appellant real estate owners to convey 31 acres of property that was offered at auction, this was error because the auction is best understood as being an auction with reserve rather than an absolute auction. Background Appellants, Williams and Kendrick, owned a […]

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