Volume 1 Number 1



Title Tips by Tute

Volume 1, Number 1
Spring 1995


Dear Tute:


            John Doe is in the Florida State Penitentiary, serving 15 years for a third offense of grand theft auto (a felony).  He and his wife want to sell their home in Virginia, so that she can move to Florida to be closer to him.  Can he sign the deed or a power of attorney authorizing her to convey?


                                                            M.F. in Fairfax


Dear M.F.:


            Nope.  According to Virginia Code Section 8.01-2, John is a person "under a disability" and cannot sign the deed.  A committee (or guardian) must be appointed for John.  The committee can ask a judge for authority to sell the property using the procedures in Section 8.01-67, et seq. (erroneously cited as 8.01-2 in the original publication, corrected in Vol. 1, No. 2)  If John left a durable power of attorney (one that survives disability) with his wife prior to sentencing and his delivery to the "big house," your underwriter may insure a transaction using the power.




Dear Tute:


            Joe Scuzz owns land in Virginia Beach, and never cuts the grass.  Everybody on the block complained to the city in 1993; so, it sent out a work crew to cut the grass, and then filed a "weed cutting lien" in their miscellaneous lien book.  Scuzz defaulted on his 1987 purchase money loan, and the lender foreclosed.  Is the weed cutting lien wiped out?


                                                            K.C. in Virginia Beach


Dear K.C.:


            Sorry to be so negative, but this is another big NO.  Sections 15.1-11 and 15.1-867 allow a municipality to charge the landowner for the removal of all sorts of nuisances, including weeds.  The charge has the same priority as the lien for real estate taxes, and must be paid and released before you show a clear title.  Counties have similar rights.  The northern Virginia counties, with the county executive, or urban county executive, forms of government can even pass ordinances setting the maximum height that the grass is allowed to grow.





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