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Questions about Townhouse Laws

What is a townhouse?

A townhouse is defined as a type of medium-density housing that is located in a city type setting. In most cases the townhouses are terraced, but not in all cases, and are semi-detached. Townhouses are sometimes, but not all the time, found in rows of several different homes, that are somewhat attached. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about Townhouses and the laws that govern them.

How can a disabled person get the fees back for the towing of his/her car when the HOA knew the car belonged to a resident that is disabled?

Sometimes the person can hire an attorney and have them send a letter to the HOA ( Home Owners Association) demanding that the car be returned and that all the fees for the towing be paid by the HOA. If the letter does not work then the person would have two other options. The first option is to take the HOA to court and demand that they knew the car was the disabled resident and that they should pay for the car towing fees and return the car to the person or two they could pay the fees and then take the HOA to court and demand repayment of all money due to them knowing that the car was the disabled persons.

If a townhouse renter suspects black mold in the townhouse, can the renter withhold rent until the maintenance fixes the black mold problem or move to a new residence that is black mold free without being in breach of the contract?

The person would need to write the landlord and list the issues that are going on and that need to be fixed. Include in the letter a demand on when the issues will be resolved and try to get the landlord to set a time frame as to when the repairs will be made and finished. If the tenant decides to withhold the rent, then he/she would need to place that money into a separate account and save it so that when the landlord takes the tenant to court and sues for non-payment the tenant can prove to the judge that he/she indeed had the rent the whole time, they were just withholding it to get the repairs done that needed to be done. The tenant would also need to get the advice of a professional on black mold so that he/she has the evidence that he/she needs to prove their case if it goes to court.

What should a renter of a townhouse do if they paid their rent late and the office staff accepted it, then turned around and said that eviction proceedings were started and that the landlord had a agreement and had accepted late rent in the past?

If a landlord sets a date that the rent should be paid by a certain date or eviction proceedings would start, then the landlord has the right to refuse payment after that date. If the case is taken to court, then the tenant could argue that the landlord waived the right to refuse payment due to the fact that the employee accepted the rent when the tenant went into the office and paid it. The tenant also can use the established pattern of the landlord accepting late rent as a defense, which would prove that the landlord continually accepted the late rent and knew the situation and agreed to work with the tenant.

If a owner of a townhouse has two dogs that go into a fight, the owner separated them, can the association make the owner give up the dogs if the dog did not attack an outside dog or person?

The law is not really on the side of the townhouse owner in this case due to the fact that if the dog was disturbing the peace, then the HOA can force the dog owner to get rid of the dog. Now the dog owner can try to argue that the dog did not bay or howl, which is what the statute says, then he/she may be able to keep the dog due to it not being a normal action on behalf of the dog. There are several HOA that have a strict ban on pit-bulls, so it may be hard for the dog owner to keep the dog.

When buying or renting a townhouse, there may be several legal questions that can arise. When you are unsure of your legal standing, ask an Expert.

Ask a Real Estate Lawyer

Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 5379
Experience:  17 years of legal experience including real estate law.
4460311
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Real Estate Lawyers are online & ready to help you now

Tina
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 4813
16 years of legal experience including real estate law.
Law Pro
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Satisfied Customers: 6227
20 years extensive experience in real estate law, foreclosure, finance, and landlord tenant law.
Barrister
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Satisfied Customers: 4966
13 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 24+ years

Recent Townhouse Questions

  • I have a prospective renter whose student loan was noted as

    I have a prospective renter whose student loan was noted as 3 mos. delinquent, thus his credit is low. He said that happened awhile ago and takes time to correct. He said he was deployed to Kuwait at the time and could not take care of it. His boss in the military is willing to co-sign for him. I had him checked as well and it turned out okay. Should I rent the townhouse to this military man? The townhouse will be occupied by the military man and his girl friend. Since the girl friend is going to live in the unit, should I have her co-sign the lease as well? How should I write the lease contract?
    Thanks,
    Cleotilde
  • My question involves an easement in the state of: Maryland. I

    My question involves an easement in the state of: Maryland.
    I live in a townhouse. According to land plat (initial one -1979- from the court record), my parking spaces (my lot property) is not designated as easement area. And on the plat noted “and any changes from it should be recorded to the county.” HOA handbook noted “In general, parking spaces is easement area”
    I moved in to home in 2000, and I have no idea if the HOA handbook is legal or not – bad reputation of HOA and suspicions of fake HOA rule.
    The reasons I need this clarification is below:
    New neighbor (renter) moved in a month ago and they have handicap tag. They started park anywhere in the town home premises by acting the handicap has right to park anywhere (no neighbors agree and no handicap parking area). He is not taking advices - neighborly accommodation (unseen rules that has been followed by all neighbors for years) - from any neighbors and acting defiant causing high level discomforts (even causing police interferences which never happened before)
    The questions I (neighbors here on) need to know:
    1. I need to know if the HOA rule book is legally true. Because I do not know what has changed between the beginning of construction year 1979 and year 2000 when I moved in.
    The parking spaces were once assigned/painted a couple year ago (one reserved for a unit/ one alternated for anybody to park) but it all faded away and now current HOA handbook noted that anyone can park anywhere – I do not know how it can be changed without approvals of neighbors (over 75% agreement by rules as I know). I am not sure HOA board of directors can change without approvals.
    2. Currently, HOA is trying to obtain signatures for over 75% of neighbors in order to assign 2 parking spaces to each unit “closer as possible to each unit” – closer does not guarantee the current neighborly accommodation rule. This is the reason why I have suspicions of HOA rules noted in No.1 question statement.
    3. According to my brief researches, I need to have agreement with neighbors in order to revoke the easement rule. And the document needed to be filed in the court. I am not sure what it means by “neighbors” here at tome house complex – sound like whole neighbors not next door neighbor who is causing problems but not sure.
    4. How can I get the latest official document recorded from court that I can compare with current HOA handbook.
    - What if the official record does not match HOA rule?
    - Can HOA create new rules and rerecord to court?
    - Can they fake rules to be rerecorded to court?
    - Do HOA require to have/keep all signed papers from neighbors to prove the rules are set by agreements?
    - What if HOA does not have the agreement papers?
    Sincere thanks to all feedbacks for long questions.
    Best.
  • I live in a Homeowner's Association in San Diego, CA. I teach

    I live in a Homeowner's Association in San Diego, CA. I teach privately in my townhouse and recently I've had two complaints from neighbors about the noise levels. Today I received a letter from HOA requesting that I attend a hearing before the BOD at the next BOD meeting to discuss my violation. "Loud opera singing coming from your unit that is disturbing to residents."
    The letter states that my alleged violations, monetary fines and a course of action will be discussed at that time.
    What are my legal rights?
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