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Paul Dezso de Holczer

Paul de Holczer’s Answers

108 total


  • Can I sue for the cost of a new roof??

    I bought a house in 2011. When purchasing the home, in the disclosure from the homeowner, she stated that the roof was only 3 years old. When the home inspection came around, he noted in his notes that the roof appeared to be 5 years of age. Recen...

    Paul’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    It could be that the prior owner was defrauded by a roofer, or that the prior owner may have intended to defraud you.

    Generally speaking, the home inspector is not worth suing; their contracts normally limit their liability to a return of the inspection fee and also limit what they do to inspect. This is why I recommend that home buyers pay a licensed professional engineer to make inspections. With a licensed professional engineer, one will pay more for the report but it will be a solid report upon which one can rely.

    You likely do have a lawsuit but you may have a Statute of Limitations problem or a Statute of Repose problem. Do not wait to discuss this with an attorney.

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  • Can they come in and take our fences down or do they need to prove to us that we have violated their property before hand?

    My property and many of my neighbors back up to a company who is selling their property. The new property owners sent a letter from their lawyers stating that on a date 12 days from the publication of the letter they were going to come to their pr...

    Paul’s Answer

    If the new property owners believe that, based on the evidence they possess, they can remove a fence which you erected because it is on their property, then they will remove the fence.

    If you believe that the fence is on your property, then you might resist the new owners' efforts -- but you had best be certain that the fence is on your property.

    The only way to be certain that the fence is on your property is to retain a licensed surveyor to survey your property and tell you what his or her survey reveals. You may or may not need a plat made -- if your surveyor tells you your fence is not on your property, then you may not need a plat. If you want to make sure the new owners do not trespass on your property, you will want a new plat and some monuments erected so that everyone is certain of the property boundary.

    If you and your neighbors get together, you can probably retain a surveyor at a "group rate" and save yourselves some money and trouble. If you and your neighbors bought your properties from the same developer, you may be able to get some assistance from the surveyor who prepared your plats. If the surveyor who prepared your plats made a mistake, and you acted on that mistake, you might be able to seek redress from that surveyor.

    If you have the boundary checked by another surveyor, at least you will have peace of mind in knowing where the property boundary is located. If your fence can be relocated rather than destroyed, then you may also save yourselves the cost of an entirely new fence -- though, if the new owners are wrong, and they destroy your fence, you may be able to get a new fence out of suing the new owners.

    You do not have a lot of time to waste, so you should get to work on this ASAP. If you are sure of your fence, you might be able to hire an attorney to stop the demolition of the fence.

    In no case is it a good idea to threaten violence against the new owners or their contractors -- even if you are in the right, that could well end badly for you. The Sheriff will probably not want to be involved if you call him or her to report a trespass by the new owners, but you will want to notify the Sheriff if you think the new owners or their contractors are trespassing. That might buy you additional investigation time if you need that time to evaluate the situation.

    If your surveyors must get on the new owners' property, there is a statute which can assist you in this. For you to operate under this statute, hiring an attorney is the best practice.

    Best Wishes to you!

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  • What do I do with bank owned land I don't want following the death of my spouse?

    My husband and I purchased land in Beaufort, SC several years ago. We planned to build a home there after we retired. He died in October 2014. I live in Washington and no longer want the land in Beaufort.

    Paul’s Answer

    Beaufort County is a fairly hot market for real estate and has picked up since 2008, so I agree that "you might be surprised to find that property values have risen in SC." Real estate closings in SC MUST be conducted by an attorney, but a realtor can market the property for you.

    You may wish to list the property for a bit and see if you get any offers. You can ask your realtor for a market study to indicate the potential asking price.

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  • Being fined for violation of a covenant by my neighborhood HOA. Do I have legal recourse?

    I have a boat in my back yard. The neighborhood covenant addressing boats say it must be stored neatly behind the dwelling in an inconspicuous location. My boat meets that criteria. I met with the HOA board, and they are saying it is in violati...

    Paul’s Answer

    The most common definition of inconspicuous is "not easily noticed or seen; not prominent or striking" and not "invisible." That said, if you have to litigate this matter with the HOA, you will be at somewhat of a disadvantage in that you will pay your own attorneys' fees and potentially be assessed a portion of the HOA's attorneys' fees. HOAs are notoriously unreasonable and unpleasant litigants.

    Still, if you have made reasonable, good-faith efforts to make the boat inconspicuous, and you have neighbors who will testify or give affidavits that the boat is not conspicuous, you might prevail in this action given that the HOA covenants are vague and work a hardship to you.

    You will likely need an attorney to protect your rights in this matter regarding deadlines, appeals, etc. The HOA attorney will likely be very aggressive.

    Best Wishes to you!

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  • Does one need a lawyer to arbitrate with a corporation

    from what I have seen online it seems more costly than just filing a small claims form.

    Paul’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Does one need a lawyer to arbitrate with a corporation?

    It really depends on the stakes involved. If the stakes are small, it may not be necessary to retain an attorney to represent you -- if you are prepared to absorb a loss.

    Arbitration is merely a mechanism which is used to replace litigation. It removes the element of a jury as the decider of facts. Instead, a trained person acts as arbitrator and decides the facts (the jury's role) and applies the law (a judge's role). Corporations prefer arbitration because it removes the jury and corporations believe that a jury can be overly sympathetic to individuals as opposed to corporations.

    Arbitrators are usually part of a larger arbitration service. These arbitration services market their services to corporations. Have you ever had an arbitration service market itself to YOU? Many corporations have ongoing contracts with these arbitration services. Do YOU have an ongoing contract with any of these arbitration services? Do you think that the arbitration services care more for ther regular clients or YOU?

    The processes of arbitration can be just as complex as a court case. The corporations almost always have an attorney represent them in these arbitrations. If the stakes are high and you are not prepared to absorb the loss, then you probably need an attorney. There are no "do-overs" of arbitration and appeals are very strictly limited.

    So now, do you think that the stakes in your case justify being "penny-wise and pound-foolish"?

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  • What would be alternate (and better) verbiage of our disclaimer to protect our company from law suits

    BACKGROUND ON US: We provide marketable floor plans for realtors by going out to the homes and creating the plans from our measurements and then emailing them to our clients. We also offer for a small fee to calculate and write a total sq ft o...

    Paul’s Answer

    You should contact an attorney and get a confidential, reliable opinion on this.
    No response here will be one which is confidential and reliable.
    For that, you have to engage an attorney.

    I would be VERY surprised if any attorney were so casual and unprofessional as to give you specific, actionable advice with so little information.

    Best Wishes!

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  • If an HOA Board upholds a homeowner's appeal of a CC&R violation, does that mean that violation can never again be issued?

    After receiving a parking violation letter from our HOA, we took the Board up on their offer for a hearing to dispute their interpretation of the parking and vehicular restrictions in our CC&Rs. They scheduled the hearing. The day before we were...

    Paul’s Answer

    Doesn't this mean that specific restriction must be unenforceable?

    No, not necessarily.

    1) It could mean that the specific restriction is unenforceable.
    2) It could mean that the specific restriction is enforceable, but that your particular circumstances do not qualify as a violation of the specific restriction.
    3) It could mean that the specific restriction is enforceable, and your particular circumstances MIGHT qualify as a violation of the specific restriction, but the Board does not want to fight you over this.
    4) It could mean that the specific restriction is enforceable, and your particular circumstances DO qualify as a violation of the specific restriction, but the Board does not want to fight you over this.

    If you want to cover yourself, you might write the Board a letter and keep a copy. The letter might say, "The Board notified us that it found we were in violation of a particular parking and vehicular restriction (or restrictions) in our Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions. We filed an appeal and the Board has informed us that it upheld our appeal. We understand that the Minutes of the Board will reflect that decision. Please confirm that the Minutes of the Board reflect that decision. We respectfully request a copy of the particular Minutes reflecting that decision. We are pleased that this matter was resolved amicably. Thank you!"

    This MAY suffice to defend your practice if the Board membership changes and some other Board decides again to pursue this.

    Best Wishes!

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  • My house caught on fire last Thursday. The fire started at the box put in by Time Warner Cable. Can I sue them?

    I paid for an electrician to come in and check the house, and there was nothing on our end. I have called Time Warner Cable on several occasions and they seem to be clueless on what they need to do. They haven't even sent anyone out here to See ex...

    Paul’s Answer

    The other attorneys responding to this question have some good points. Your Time Warner Cable contract may -- and probably does -- have some language which affects the rights and liabilities of you and TWC. You should speak with an attorney about this. If your deductible is high, you may want to recover to be reimbursed for this. As was mentioned, your home insurance company is very likely entitled to collect some reimbursement under your policy. Best Wishes!

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  • What deed can be used when you are given the right to build a house on land which you do not own but are given rights to?

    Daughter owns land but we are given the right to build a house on it.

    Paul’s Answer

    I agree with Martin Lamb. You do not want to make mistakes with this transaction. You will likely have a significant investment in this propert. You may want more than a leasehold -- probably a life estate.

    See an attorney to make sure you are fully protected.

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  • Can I still sue this moving company 11 months later & is there a statute of limitations?

    we moved here a year ago from Clevelan to Bluffton, SC. Movers we hired overinflated the cost of our move, & u would not believe how much they left in Ohio. They also held our belongings hostage for a week & we had to stay in a hotel because we ha...

    Paul’s Answer

    Jeremy Summerlin gave a good response to this question. You should have a look at your contract, however, as it might require either arbitration or that you bring suit in Cleveland, Ohio (I am assuming you meant to say Cleveland, Ohio). This could complicate things somewhat. So, check your written contract and consider contacting an attorney through the South Carolina Bar Lawyer Referral Service (http://www.scbar.org/Public-Information/Find-a-Lawyer).

    The Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) is a public service of the South Carolina Bar that provides referrals to individuals needing qualified, prescreened lawyers. You may call for a referral from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The number to call, both in state and out, is 1-800-868-2284. (In Richland and Lexington counties, call 799-7100.) An online referral service is also available 24/7 and may be accessed by http://www.scbar.org/PublicInformation/FindaLawyer/LRS.aspx

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