FAQs

Bryan wrote on Sep 16, 2010 10:19 AM:

” Our homeowners association is still controlled by the developer. When will we be in control? ”

John Tarley wrote on Sep 16, 2010 10:19 AM:

” Typically, the declaration of covenants and restrictions, which is recorded in the land records, sets forth the formula to determine when transition to homeowner control will occur. For example, a declaration may set forth that transition shall occur when 75% of the total number of lots in the community are deeded to owners other than the “Declarant” or developer. Generally, homeowners should get involved early to assure that a transition plan is put in place and the homeowner-controlled board can hit the ground running. This transition process can be very challenging for the incoming board.

This communication does not constitute or create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Please do not send any confidential or privileged information. ”

Angela wrote on Sep 16, 2010 10:20 AM:

” I was sued in the general district court. Do I need to get a lawyer? ”

John Tarley wrote on Sep 16, 2010 10:20 AM:

” Maybe not. It depends upon a number of factors, such as the amount of the lawsuit.

If you were sued for only a couple hundred dollars, it may not make sense to obtain the services of an attorney to represent you in court because the cost of an attorney may exceed that amount of the lawsuit.

If you believe you owe the money, it may be best to negotiate with the other person and resolve the matter without going to court.

If you dispute that you owe the person any money, at the first court appearance, the judge will give you an opportunity to use the services of a mediator to resolve the dispute. The mediator’s services are provided free of charge.

On the other hand, if you were sued for a larger amount, or if you are uneasy about representing yourself, contact an attorney whose law practice emphasizes civil litigation to discuss with you your specific options.

This information is provided as a courtesy and is not intended to be used as legal advice. This communication does not constitute or create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. ”

frank wrote on Sep 16, 2010 10:21 AM:

” I have a company I formed in North Carolina and I want to use that company to run my business in Williamsburg. Can I do that or do I have to start a whole new company? ”

John Tarley wrote on Sep 16, 2010 10:21 AM:

” Thanks for the question.

Every foreign corporation must register with the State Corporation Commission before transacting business in Virginia. A foreign corporation is a company that has been formed under the laws of another state.

So the short answer is that ‘yes, you probably can use that company to run your business in Williamsburg,’ but the longer answer is ‘you first must register that company with the State Corporation Commission.’ You can review the necessary forms here: www.scc.virginia.gov/clk/formfee.aspx ”

fromwilliamsburg wrote on Sep 16, 2010 10:21 AM:

” my case isn’t worth enough to hire a lawyer but is there any place online where i can find out where to file or what forms i file? ”

John Tarley wrote on Sep 16, 2010 10:22 AM:

” You can find court forms online here: http://www.courts.state.va.us/forms/home.html. If your case is a civil matter of less than $15,000, you would click the General District Court link to access those forms. Assuming your case is worth less than $5,000, you can access the form to file it in Small Claims. The procedures for small claims can be found at this link: http://www.courts.state.va.us/resources/small_claims_court_procedures.pdf.

Good luck!

John Tarley

http://blog.tarleyrobinson.com/ ”

Andy wrote on Sep 27, 2010 2:30 PM:

” I have several questions about EEOC claims and the pursuit of other criminal / civil litigations related to the claim.

1) Should a person wait for the conclusion of a claim that is being actively investigated by EEOC before pursuing criminal prosecution arising from employment discrimination? To my understanding, the EEOC does not have jurisdiction over criminal matters.

2) If a local goverment employee who commits an act that can result in criminal prosecution be held liable for civil damages as an individual or does the liability fall on the county goverment since he was acting as a agent when this incident occured? ”

Victoria wrote on Oct 8, 2010 7:30 AM:

” I recently applied for a job and was informed by the HR staff that a reference from a previous employer came back negative. Isn’t it against the Law for an employer to negatively make comments as to cause you to not get hired? ”

Sue wrote on Oct 20, 2010 12:55 PM:

” I have questions about my LLC that is actually a rental property. I renew the

license with the state every year. Is this something you could help me with?

Thanks!

Sue ”

Emily wrote on Nov 3, 2010 2:40 PM:

” My husband is going on a business trip with several employees. They are staying at a rented house in the OBX and he has been assigned to share a room with a same sex co-worker with only one bed. He is not the only one put in this uncomfortable situation. Are there any laws protecting my husband from having to share a bed with a same sex co-worker? Of course, he would be happy to just pay for a private room out of his own pocket, but feels that he will be seen as not being a “team player” I would appreciate your insight on this topic. ”

John Tarley wrote on Nov 18, 2010 5:33 AM:

” Andy, sorry for the late response, I did not see your question until now.

1) With respect to your EEOC question, the EEOC pursues civil claims. It has no jurisdiction over criminal complaints.

2) With respect to the local government employee question, cvil liability against government officials and government entities is complicated because of sovereign immunity. Because each situation can be different, it’s difficult to generalize, but sometimes employees can be held personally liable for civil actions.

This answer is provided for informational purposes only. This answer does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on. Legal advice can only be provided after consultation with an attorney with experience in the area in which your concern lies. This is so because each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and/or documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. ”

John Tarley wrote on Nov 18, 2010 5:38 AM:

” Victoria, sorry for the late response, I did not see your question until now.

A former employer can say whatever they want to say, there is no law forbidding that. However, if the former employer makes false statements about you, they could be liable for defamation (slander). An attorney would need to review that information to make a determination as to whether the statements could lead to a lawsuit.

This answer is provided for informational purposes only. This answer does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on. Legal advice can only be provided after consultation with an attorney with experience in the area in which your concern lies. This is so because each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and/or documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. ”

John Tarley wrote on Nov 18, 2010 5:39 AM:

” Sue, sorry for the late response, I did not see your question until now.

Yes, we can help you with your LLC renewal. Please call my office to arrange an appointment. ”

John Tarley wrote on Nov 18, 2010 5:44 AM:

” Emily, sorry for the late response, I did not see your question until now.

Well, the easy out for me on this question is that because they will be in OBX, North Carolina, this set of facts may be determined by North Carolina law, where I am not licensed.

Regardless, you have identified the problem, you recognize that there’s something wrong, your husband should take reasonable action to avoid the situation, or bigger issues could arise.

This answer is provided for informational purposes only. This answer does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on. Legal advice can only be provided after consultation with an attorney with experience in the area in which your concern lies. This is so because each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and/or documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. ”

Andrew wrote on Nov 18, 2010 9:22 AM:

” I lent a friend $50k to purchase a home and he has since stopped making repayments. The current balance of the loan is $30k. I did have a lien on the home, but the home went into foreclosure, and therefore, I am trying to recover in a different way.

I would like to file my claim pro se, but need to be pointed in the right direction. What court? What type of claim? What forms are required? ”

John Tarley wrote on Nov 18, 2010 9:23 AM:

” The short answer is that it’s not going to be easy for you to do this pro se. If the amount you sought was $15,000 or less, then you could file your action in General District Court. http://www.courts.state.va.us/courts/gd/home.html. Because the amount is greater, you must file your action in the Circuit Court. http://www.courts.state.va.us/courts/circuit/ho….

You would file your lawsuit in the Circuit Court where the property was located, or where the payments were to be made (your home, I presume).

The claim is Breach of Contract, assuming that you had a signed Promissory Note. If an attorney drafted the note, it may have an attorneys’ fee provision to permit you to recover the amount you pay an attorney to help you.

There are no forms for filing a lawsuit in Circuit Court. The lawsuit is titled “Complaint” and I would advise you to seek an attorney experienced in civil litigation to help you as you draft your complaint, arrange for service of process, and set motion/trial dates. If the defendant does not answer the lawsuit, you are entitled to a default judgment. If that’s what happens, I would estimate that your attorneys’ fees would be less than $3,000 total. It may be worth it for you to seek assistance.

Finally, even if you prevail, you will still need to collect the money. That would be the topic for another question. ”

Jensen wrote on Nov 18, 2010 9:23 AM:

” I was served with a lawsuit in general district court. Do I have any other alternatives other than a trial? ”

John Tarley wrote on Nov 18, 2010 9:24 AM:

” Negotiation is an alternative at all times in the litigation process, even after a lawsuit has been filed. However, if a lawsuit has been filed against you, you must appear at the return date that appears on the warrant in debt. If you decide to appear without an attorney, the judge will give you another free alternative, mediation. In mediation, an independent third party mediator helps the parties negotiate a resolution. Just like in negotiations, you control the outcome: neither a mediator nor your attorney can negotiate a resolution without your authorization. A mediator helps facilitate the negotiation, but cannot make decisions or rulings on your case. Mediation is a cost-effective way to resolve disputes when initial attempts at negotiation have not been successful. ”

unknown wrote on Nov 18, 2010 9:24 AM:

” Can my S- corp business be garnished for a personal debt(ie car loan) in the state of VA?: This pertains to a car loan that is now with an atty’s office. ”

John Tarley wrote on Nov 18, 2010 9:25 AM:

” Your question does not provide enough details, so I will give you a general answer. A person can only have wages or bank accounts garnished if the creditor has obtained a judgment against that person. That means that the creditor filed a lawsuit against the person and won a judgment. If the person does not pay the creditor, the creditor can then use other means to collect on the judgment, including garnishing the person’s bank account or wages. Therefore, if the creditor obtained a judgment against the person only, the creditor cannot garnish the bank account of a corporation. However, if that corporation owed money to the person/debtor, the creditor could file a garnishment with the corporation. In other words, if the corporation owed wages to the person/debtor, rather than paying the wages, the corporation would be required to pay a certain amount to comply with the garnishment. You should contact an attorney to review all the documents pertaining to this issue. If the corporation does not comply with a garnishment summons, the corporation could become liable to the creditor for the amount it should have paid on the garnishment. ”

Gordon wrote on Nov 18, 2010 9:26 AM:

” My elderly relatives hired a general contractor to make repairs to their home following a flood last year. They had flood insurance and gave the contractor $12K to get started. Little to no work has been done to the home. The contractor (who lives across the street) has been parking work vehicles and equipment from other jobs on the property. He has also parked a dumpster from other jobs and now refuses to answer calls or return keys to the home. We have notified him via certified mail that we will be switching contractors. What are our options as far as recovering the money? ”

John Tarley wrote on Nov 18, 2010 9:26 AM:

” They have a powerful option. By statute in Virginia, if a contractor takes an advance for a construction project upon a promise to perform construction, removal, or repair and then fails or refuses to perform such promise, that contractor can be prosecuted for larceny. Here’s a link to that statute: http://bit.ly/d1Uckh. To begin the process, you would need to send a request for a return of the advance by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the contractor’s address as listed in the contract. If after 15 days the contractor fails to either complete the work or return the money, you have a potential criminal case. You would then contact your local Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office to discuss prosecution. You could always institute a civil suit for a return of the money, but that would require you to hire a construction litigation attorney. Using the readily available criminal process, the Commonwealth’s Attorney will provide the legal work, if his office takes the case. ”

unknown wrote on Nov 18, 2010 9:26 AM:

” I am the developer of some nearby land that one of the buyers in the subdivision is putting all barbed wire fence ALL at the road and sides… The restrictions on his deed clearly state that all fences must be approved in writing by the developer .. me.. if everyone did this due to the narrow road frontages, on some lots, it would look like enemy lines.. I have called both co-owners and personally meet with one of them and handed him an extra copy of the covenants. They just want to fight about it .. physically I think.. ”

John Tarley wrote on Nov 18, 2010 9:27 AM:

” You need an attorney experienced in real estate litigation, especially the enforcement of restrictive covenants. Assuming that you are correct, that covenants exist restricting fences, then you could file a lawsuit requesting an injunction to order the removal of those fences. You did the right thing by meeting with the owners, but if they will not agree, then it’s time to turn it over to an a real estate litigation attorney. ”

Jon wrote on Nov 18, 2010 9:27 AM:

” Can a general partner of a partnership represent the partnership in civil litigation in Virginia? Judgment for collection of past due rent. ”

John Tarley wrote on Nov 18, 2010 9:27 AM:

” You probably need an attorney, although I would suggest a litigation attorney well versed in landlord/tenant law. In Virginia, a corporation or partnership cannot represent itself in court, except in limited circumstances, unless the person representing the entity is a licensed attorney. As in your example, unless you are an attorney licensed in Virginia, you cannot represent your partnership in court. In General District Court, a general partner can file the initial papers, such as a warrant in debt, garnishment summons, unlawful detainer, etc. Take a look at this statute: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+16.1-88.03. If the defendant does not appear, you can take judgment. However, if the defendant appears and contests the case, you will need to hire an attorney to try the case and to file any subsequent pleadings. ”

Dennis wrote on Nov 18, 2010 9:28 AM:

” A year ago I bought a 15 year old house. Yesterday I was replacing a piece of broken vinyl siding and found out that when the vinyl was originally installed on the house they used plywood staples instead of roofing nails to fasten it to the house. This was wrong no manufacture uses suggest this as a proper method. Do I have any legal recourse? Also this would not just be a problem of mine but of hundreds of other home owners from this major builder IE traded on the exchange.

Thank you for your time! ”

John Tarley wrote on Nov 18, 2010 9:28 AM:

” I would need more facts to give you a conclusive answer, but if the vinyl siding was originally installed 15 years ago, then it probably is too late to file a lawsuit. Talk with an attorney experienced in construction litigation. ”

anonymous wrote on Nov 18, 2010 9:29 AM:

” I have a foreclosure question. I have fallen behind in my house payments. How long will it be before the bank forecloses? ”

John Tarley wrote on Nov 18, 2010 9:29 AM:

” The foreclosure procedure in Virginia is governed by statutes and the documents you signed when you borrowed the money to buy your house. Typically, the entire process can take a few months, although if a lender is aggressive, that time period can be much shorter.

You may receive a notice of default giving you an opportunity to cure the missed payments. Some lenders are working with borrowers in an attempt to avoid foreclosure, but you cannot rely upon that possibility.

Lenders will generally order a title search to confirm whether there are any other lienholders who should receive notice of the foreclosure. Lenders must send notices of foreclosure to any other lienholders. Lenders will set a sale date for the foreclosure and run a ad in the local newspaper. If no agreements are made to postpone the foreclosure, the sale will occur on the steps of the local courthouse.

After the sale, the substitute trustee who performed the sale must prepare an accounting of the sale proceeds (amount paid at foreclosure) minus all the expenses and fees related to the foreclosure. If there is money left over, you would be due that surplus. If there is a deficiency, the lender can obtain a judgment against you.

As you can see, the process is quite involved, but can be streamlined. Virginia has not had the foreclosure problems that many other states have seen. Therefore, your best course of conduct would be to work with your bank, or contact an attorney experienced in real estate matters to help you negotiate a resolution. ”

Jackson wrote on Nov 25, 2010 6:39 AM:

” I have started the short sale process with the both banks since I have two liens on the property. Primary bank agreed to release the lien with the short sale proceeds but holds me responsible for the deficiancy amount. Does not accept promisory note with x amount in y months. Wants me to come up with cash contribution offer. I made an offer of $5K but did not hear anything from primary bank. Second bank is taking forever to make a decision. In this situation, if I foreclose the property, what are my liabilities with the bank. Do they come after my monthly paycheck? OR what other options do I have, before the contract on my property expires. ”

John Tarley wrote on Nov 25, 2010 6:39 AM:

” Unfortunately, your options are limited. You need to meet with a real estate attorney and a bankruptcy attorney. You cannot “make” the banks accept a short sale offer. If both lenders do not agree to release their liens, the buyer will not be able to close on your sale, because the buyer’s bank will not approve the loan. Anyway, to answer your question, if the first deed of trust holder forecloses, and the foreclosure sale price (minus all the costs of the foreclosure) is less than the balance of your loan, you can be liable for that deficiency. Furthermore, you will owe all the balance of the second loan. As an example, if the foreclosure sale price is $200,000 and the bank’s costs related to the foreclosure total $10,000, and your loan balance is $225,000, you would have a deficiency of $225,000 minus $190,000, plus the entire outstanding balance of your second loan. Consequently, I urge you to meet with a real estate attorney and a bankruptcy attorney, not necessarily in that order, to discuss your other options. ”

randall wrote on Nov 26, 2010 11:26 AM:

” i am fileing for bankruptcy useing my personal name and not under my buisness,

can someone still come after some equipment i have in the buisness name and note that i have a s-corporaton buisness and paid these items off a couple of years ago under the buisness name. ”

John Tarley wrote on Nov 27, 2010 4:43 AM:

” This is definitely a question for you to ask your bankruptcy attorney. Generally speaking, your ownership interest in your S-Corp is an asset of the bankruptcy estate, but the equipment owned by that S-Corp is NOT an asset of the bankruptcy estate. However, depending upon many circumstances, a creditor may decide it’s worth its while to pursue these assets. That doesn’t mean the creditor will win, but much of that will depend upon several factors, including how you operated your corporation. Go over this situation in detail with your bankruptcy attorney. You may need an experienced business attorney to review your corporation’s records to ensure you comply with the relevant Virginia corporate statutes.

This answer is provided for informational purposes only. This answer does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on. Legal advice can only be provided after consultation with an attorney with experience in the area in which your concern lies. This is so because each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and/or documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. ”

George wrote on Dec 9, 2010 6:27 AM:

” i have a business that has been inactive for four year. can i restart it ”

John Tarley wrote on Dec 9, 2010 6:27 AM:

” Yes you can. You will be charged a reinstatement fee and perhaps some penalties for letting the company lapse. You need to seek an attorney in your area experienced in setting up businesses. Without knowing what type of entity you had, it’s impossible to provide you specific advice, but as an example, § 13.1-754 of the Virginia Code provides for reinstatement of a corporation that has ceased to exist.

As for your second question, changing the type of business, assuming you are the sole member or shareholder of the company, you should be able to make that transition, too. Have the attorney review your corporate documents to help advise you. ”

Sam wrote on Dec 15, 2010 5:13 PM:

” Can my condo association ban me from smoking in my own unit? I own it! ”

John Tarley wrote on Dec 15, 2010 5:16 PM:

” The short answer is “yes, maybe” (is that really an answer?).

Smoking bans have been implemented to deal with the issue of second-hand smoke seeping into neighboring units. A 2006 Colorado court upheld a smoking ban by determining that the second-hand smoke was a nuisance. In a lawsuit, the court ruled against the unit owner, specifically finding, that there was a constant smell of smoke that constituted a nuisance.

In lawsuits by tenants against landlords and neighbor versus neighbor, courts in New York, Massachusetts, California, Ohio, Oregon and Florida have ruled that second-hand smoke is a nuisance; that it may effect the habitability of a dwelling; that it interferes with one’s right to quiet enjoyment of their residence; and that it may constitute a trespass.

So if these conditions exist, it may constitute a nuisance, and perhaps your unit owners association could ban smoking in the common area AND your own unit. ”

Anonymous wrote on Jan 7, 2011 10:27 AM:

” I’m hoping to get clarification on something. Normally, if someone is involved in a traffic accident and the other driver is at fault, the injured party can seek damages. But what happens if the other vehicle is a federal postal vehicle? What happens then? ”

John Tarley wrote on Jan 7, 2011 5:19 PM:

” Thanks for the question, but I cannot fully answer it.

Suits against the state and against the federal government (and its agencies) have different rules. For example, Virginia’s Tort Claims Act limits the circumstances and recovery against the Commonwealth in negligence actions (such as an auto accident).

I suggest that you contact an attorney who works exclusively in personal injury to discuss the facts of your case to determine whether you have a valid claim. Copy and paste this link as a good place to start: http://bit.ly/dNviOi ”

Anonymous wrote on Jan 7, 2011 8:16 PM:

” My family had a small family business. The last two years have been very difficult and with the downturn in the economy and unable to keep the business afloat, I dissolved the business. There were no assets and no money.  I could not pay the creditors totaling $30K in debt.  I now have a collection agency coming after me for payment.  I explained to the collection agency that the company was dissolved and the company had no assets or money.  They informed me that they are coming after me for payment.  The collection agency said they have a credit application I signed with one of the glass distributors so now it is ‘personal.’ Can they do that?  I left the company in 2004 in good standing and I didn’t incur this debt? ”

John Tarley wrote on Jan 7, 2011 8:18 PM:

” Generally speaking, you are only liable for debts YOU incur, not for the debts incurred by somebody else or by some other entity. If your company incurred the debt, it’s the company’s debt, not yours. If you personally guaranteed the debt, then it’s your debt.

I suggest that you advise the person that

a) you are recording the telephone call;

b) you do not owe any debt to the company;

c) if they have written agreements signed by you, they should mail them to you along with written itemization of the alleged debt; and

d) if they do not have any such signed agreements, they should cease and desist from calling you.

That should stop them, unless they actually do have a signed agreement where you agreed to guarantee debt. If that’s the case, you would need an attorney to review the documentation to advise you of your rights. If they do not stop, and they do not have a signed agreement where you agreed to guarantee debt, then you need an attorney to review your options, including a lawsuit against the collection agency.

Please note this disclaimer: This communication does not constitute or create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. By this communication, we have not agreed to represent you, which we can only do by a written agreement.  ”

Colleague wrote on Jan 14, 2011 10:29 AM:

” I have a friend who’s a successful attorney looking to relocate here. Is Williamsburg saturated with lawyers or could he sustain a general practice?Alternatively, is there a specialty we’re lacking? Thanks. Bill O’D ”

John Tarley wrote on Jan 14, 2011 7:10 PM:

” I guess that’s somewhat of a law-related question. . . .

Williamsburg has gained a lot more attorneys in the past 20 years. Whether it’s “saturated” to the point where a good attorney cannot sustain a practice is a difficult question to answer.

Any attorney with a general practice will have some difficulty, similar to general practice physicians. Clients expect more specialization.

With respect to specialization, certainly there are areas not covered in Williamsburg–intellectual property litigation, for example–but then the question is whether there is sufficient business to sustain such a practice. An attorney would have to do a market survey, similar to any other business looking to locate here.

I always make myself available to any attorney looking to relocate to talk about the legal practice in Williamsburg. I certainly would be willing to extend that invitation to your friend. ”

Lynne Mitchell wrote on Jan 16, 2011 1:42 AM:

” Please help me to understand how Colonial Crossings of Williamsburg can still keep telling Timeshare buyers that they are building an indoor waterpark?

I bought in 2005 and paid off my Timeshare. I have five kids that were eager to swim in the indoor waterpark that they told us would be finished very soon.It is 2011 and no waterpark and never will be. I am still paying maintenance fees for nothing. I can’t even give this timeshare away. How can I get out of the contract? ”

John Tarley wrote on Jan 16, 2011 10:28 AM:

” Ms. Mitchell, thanks for the question.

Unfortunately, this question cannot be answered without full research of the contracts and deeds, and an analysis of the law. I did a quick google search and found many upset timeshare owners at Colonial Crossings expressing the same complaints. Copy and paste these website addresses:

http://bit.ly/eX3Uxj

http://bit.ly/f1c319

Perhaps somebody has already done the work and you can contact them.

The Virginia Timeshare Administration of the Real Estate Board investigates complaints against timeshares. Copy and paste this website address to find out how to file a complaint:

http://bit.ly/eYhSIL

I hope this information helps you. ”

None wrote on Feb 8, 2011 6:26 AM:

” Do I have civil trial options as the victim of a misdemeanor assault and battery? ”

John Tarley wrote on Feb 8, 2011 6:27 AM:

” Yes, you can sue the defendant. The concern in a situation like this is whether the defendant has any resources to satisfy a judgment should you prevail. You may win a judgment, but if the defendant does not have any money or property or job or other assets, you would not be able to recover any money. I suggest you locate an experienced personal injury attorney and discuss the case with them. ”

HOA Board wrote on Feb 8, 2011 6:28 AM:

” Our HOA has a lien in effect on three properties (1 lien, three properties, same builder). The builder is selling one of the properties. Do we (the HOA) have to release the lein if he only wants to pay the portion of the lein for one of the properties. Or can we require payment in full for all three properties prior to releasing the lein. ”

John Tarley wrote on Feb 8, 2011 6:29 AM:

” We would need to review all of the information before giving specific legal advice or representation to your HOA.

However, generally speaking, if the HOA has filed its lien pursuant to the Property Owners Association Act (“POAA”), it is required by the POAA to release the liens in accordance with § 55-66.3. This section provides that if full or partial payment is made to the HOA representing at least 25% of the total amount secured by each lien, but less than the total number of obligations secured by such lien, the lien creditor (the HOA) shall file a certificate of satisfaction or a certificate of partial satisfaction.

I realize that response raises even more questions, but it is impossible to give a full answer without a review of all information. Therefore, please read the following disclaimer:

This answer is provided for informational purposes only. This answer does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on. Legal advice can only be provided after consultation with an attorney with experience in the area in which your concern lies. This is so because each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and/or documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. ”

Anonymous wrote on Feb 22, 2011 3:17 PM:

” Neighbor’s tree has a big branch and has fallen into my yard. It is still attached to the tree. Who’s responsible? We’re not on friendly terms with this neighbor, so simply asking is not likely to get a result.

what can i do to force him to remove this tree? it has not caused physical damage to my property, but will prevent me from mowing and will kill the grass if left there. ”

John Tarley wrote on Feb 22, 2011 3:17 PM:

” Tree law can get complicated, so you should take photos and consult with an attorney. You do not want to take a chance of incurring additional expenses by taking the wrong action.

I wrote a legal guide you might find informative on Virginia’s law on tree damage to a neighbor’s property. Copy and paste this link. http://bit.ly/e8mveE ”

Question wrote on Mar 10, 2011 2:00 PM:

” I just bought a house and found a major plumbing problem, can we hold the seller liable for any of the problem? ”

John Tarley wrote on Mar 10, 2011 2:01 PM:

” No attorney can fully answer this question without reviewing all of your documents regarding your purchase. Generally speaking, you probably bought the property “as is.” You probably had an opportunity to hire a home inspector or engineer to assess the house’s condition. Unless the seller actively hid the problem or actively misled you about the existence of the problem, you probably do not have a case against the seller. You also need to weigh the cost of the repairs against the cost of hiring an attorney to prosecute your case.

Having said that, if the costs are going to be extensive, it may make sense for you to have an experienced real estate or construction litigation attorney to review your documents and provide you advice. You should be able to get such an attorney review for less than $1,000. ”

Alison wrote on Apr 7, 2011 10:58 AM:

” The company I work for recently secured a judgement against one of our customers for about $4700.00, the customer has since appealed the judgement and we are to go before the circuit court soon. By VA state law are agents of the corporation (president and employees) able to handle this case alone, or is the corp. required to hire an attorney? ”

John Tarley wrote on Apr 13, 2011 5:07 AM:

” Under these facts, a corporation must hire an attorney. In certain limited situations in General District Court, a corporate officer may represent the corporation in court. However, under your facts, a corporate representative could not undertake representation because it would be the unauthorized practice of law. If you proceed, the judge could let the corporate representatives testify, but they could not cross examine witnesses or make legal argument. ”

Business Owner wrote on May 9, 2011 7:54 AM:

” I won a civil judgment in general district court. The defendant refuses to pay. How can I collect what he owes me? ”

John Tarley wrote on May 9, 2011 7:58 AM:

” When you win a judgment in court, the defendant does not typically write you a check for what is owed. Generally you need to pursue the debtor for payment. Some tactics you can use are to garnish wages (if you know where he works) or garnish a bank account (if you have all the bank account information). If you don’t have that information, then you can have the person summoned into court to answer your questions about his finances, under oath. There are many other tactics you can employ if those do not work. See out an attorney experienced in civil litigation to help guide you. “

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