Real Estate Litigation
Northern VA Business Attorney

Even though you own some land, you may not be able to do whatever you want with it. There are zoning laws, health and safety regulations, and other limitations on your property rights.

The 5th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects property rights, but there are limitations. After all, the Amendment states that the government may not take private property “for public use” without “just compensation.” But what is “public use?” There have been many U.S. Supreme Court decisions on this issue, which shows how complicated and touchy the issue can be. The same is true for “just compensation.” What exactly is it? How is it calculated?

In addition to the U.S. Constitution, each state has its own version of this limitation on the state’s ability to take private property. And these limitations vary depending on the state and the case. The law provides various ways to protect your interests in your property. But if you don’t know what they are, or if you don’t do exactly what is required, you could lose your rights. And even if you are aware of the laws, and followed them, you may have to fight to enforce your rights.

Zoning and Land Use

Life would be a lot simpler if you could buy or sell real estate as easily as buying or selling a used car.  Each state, county, and city has special rules, regulations, taxes, forms, and procedures that must be followed.  These not only regulate the sale of real estate, but protect the parties involved.

So, check the zoning on the property you are about to buy. If the existing zoning is inconsistent with your intended use of the property, there could be a problem. This is not merely caveat emptor. If the buyer specifically tells the seller what they intend and the seller indicates that the zoning is appropriate, the deal will be fouled up. Both parties should check to be sure.  If not, without a doubt, a business brawl will start.

Home Improvement Issues

Whether you are a homeowner or contractor, whether you are starting a home improvement project or are in the middle of one which is going (or has gone) wrong, Kaufman Law can help.

If you are starting out, remember that this is a business and everything must be done in a business-like manner.  In the Public Resources section of this web site are some key tip sheets:

  • “How to Maximize the Chances That Your Home Improvement Project Will Succeed
  • “10 Tips to Help Construction [sub]Contractors Get Paid”
  • “Common Contract Errors and Omissions” (under Contracts)
  • “Why You Need a Contract (under Contacts)

Read them — even if you’ve already started a project and it’s gone wrong.  And if, after reading these 4 articles you have questions, contact us at 703-764-9080 to see if we can help.