Ross Cameron Hart

Ross Cameron Hart

Hart & Hart Attorneys Ltd
  • Elder Law, Estate Planning, Probate...
  • Virginia
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Summary

I was born and grew up in the area - my family has served the legal needs of the area since 1892, over 120 years. My goal is to explain the legal process in plain English and to avoid the 'technical lawyer words' which only confuse many people. The primary focus of my firm is now "Elder Law" which broadly includes estate planning, Nursing Home admissions and Medicaid applications and adult guardianship. After a family member dies, we advise and assist in the estate administration process. In short, we help families plan and deal with aging and death and navigating the legal system.

Practice Areas
  • Elder Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate
  • Business Law
  • Real Estate Law
  • Landlord Tenant
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Virginia
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4th Circuit
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Languages
  • English: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Owner/President
Hart & Hart Attorneys Ltd
- Current
Family firm begun by my grandfather and his brother (Hon. John L. Hart) in 1892
Education
University of Virginia School of Law
J.D. (1976)
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Monmouth College
B.A. (1973) | Business Adm
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Professional Associations
NAELA
MEMBER
- Current
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Virginia Academy Elder Law Attorneys
Director
- Current
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Salem/Roanoke County Bar Ass'n
Member
- Current
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Virginia State Bar
Member
- Current
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Websites & Blogs
Website
Hart & Hart Attorneys Ltd.
Legal Answers
41 Questions Answered

Q. I signed my new lease 5 months ago and now the landlord is stating it was never signed and cannot be found.
A: You have been paying the 'new' rent since the effective date of the 'new' lease. Virginia Code 55.1-1207 (which is identical to its predecessor statute) https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title55.1/chapter12/section55.1-1207/ supports your thought that that lease is still in force even though there isn't a 'signed' copy.
Q. My realtor & broker refuses to take our property off the market after we told them to. Is this legal?
A: First you need to read the listing agreement you signed. Or consult a lawyer to review it and advise you of your obligations. If you remove the property from the market, you may owe commissions and fees for early termination. And if they produce an offer that EXACTLY matches the terms you listed it for you will owe commissions and fees. Real Estate agents and brokers can agree to terminate a listing, and I know many that are happy to do it if they and the seller can't get along. But they probably don't have to.
Q. Can I break my lease if my apartment complex is being sold to a new company?
A: No. Your lease or rental is 'assigned' to the new owner and you are answerable to that owner. And that owner has to refund your security deposit when your lease ends unless there were damages to the unit you caused.
Q. If my brother and sister didn't mention me in the probate process and listed that they are the only heirs,is it fraud
A: Yes, absolutely. And there is a time clock ticking. You absolutely need a probate lawyer - preferably one who can litigate (sue). This forum is designed and good for simple, general questions that will get you to the 'next step' for legal situations. Sometimes all people need is a simple answer. From the facts you’ve given, it seems that you need a lot more than an internet answer. Find and sit down with an experienced attorney in your area – there is a ‘search’ feature that can help you.
Q. Can my neighbor invite a friend to live on his property in an RV?
A: Maybe, maybe not. Two considerations: a) subdivision restrictions and b) zoning ordinances. a) If you are in a subdivision with restrictions and covenants, there may be a prohibition in them. They will sometimes refer to it as 'temporary housing' or refer to campers, tents and trailers. If the neighbor is violating the covenant then you (and other owners in the same subdivision) may have to hire a lawyer to enforce the rules. And some subdivision restrictions allow the winning side to recover attorneys fees. b) zoning ordinances - depending on where you live, the local government may prohibit this in its zoning ordinance. You can call the local zoning administrator and ask them if it's prohibited and if so, ask them to inspect the property. If it is not a zoning violation but there are subdivision restrictions you'll need to consult a lawyer who is familiar with land use regulation.
Q. Can a tenant leave before 30 days after the tenant has given a verbal 30-day notice to their landlord? (Month-to-Month)
A: From your facts the landlord acknowledged your verbal notice but said it extends to the end of October (the next full rental period after you gave notice). The landlord is correct on the termination date of the lease. You can leave whenever you want - simply you owe rent until the end of October OR until another tenant moves in, whichever comes first.
Q. In a Life Estate Will can siblings NOT design. to live in the house, move in w/o approval of those who were designated?
A: Your question - including abbreviations - is too cryptic and lacks enough information for a complete answer. Restate with enough information (use "A", "B", "C" to designate individuals, such as "A" died and in her will . . . "
Q. Do I have to allow an ESA as an owner of one SFH?
A: This will confirm your call to my office where you provided some additional information. I advised you to see a landlord tenant lawyer in your area and suggested you call rental firms and large apartment complexes to see who they use. There are very few guidelines on 'emotional support animals' and it is abused widely. You say the tenant has a letter from a health person saying she needs one; that letter, by itself, is not admissible in court as it is hearsay - the tenant will have to subpoena the author of the letter so they can testify as to the background and why the ESA is needed. And you need a lawyer to help you on that. I also reminded you that (1) you need to write the tenant a letter that she is in breach of the lease and the dog must go within 21 days, or her lease will end at least 30 days from the date of the letter. (hint: write it this week and have the move out the last day of September). Also when the tenant pays rent immediately send a letter that you are receiving the rent WITH RESERVATION OF YOUR RIGHTS to evict her for having a dog in violation of the lease. If you don't reserve your rights, you will lose them. I also told you that because I no longer appear in landlord-tenant cases and am too far away, I cannot represent you. Good luck.
Q. If your residence has a shared yard (such as a duplex) who is responsible for yard maintance?
A: The lease, if it was properly written, should say who is responsible for what items as to lawn care and maintenance. If the duplex is side-by-side it should be easy to do one half; if it's an up/down then it becomes more interesting. There is no legal requirement at all for a landlord to replace carpet at any time. When you move in you need to make sure the move-in inspection accurately states the condition of the carpet; bonus points for a move-in video or pictures of the apartment.
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Contact & Map
HART & HART ATTORNEYS, LTD.
40 W Main St
PO Box 567
Salem, VA 24153
USA
Telephone: (540) 375-3281
Fax: (540) 375-7677