Skip to main content
Richard S Sternberg
Avvo
Pro

Richard Sternberg’s Answers

142 total


  • What does hearing vacated mean

    On court docket

    Richard’s Answer

    I agree with both of my learned colleagues: "vacated" means it -- or, more precisely, the Order that set it -- is no longer effective. "Vacated nunc pro tunc" would add "as if it never was." I don't know the Idaho courts and the standards of Idaho local practice, but, if vacating the hearing was unexpected, you might want to call your opponent or call the clerk. Mistakes have happened on dockets before, and the file the judge gets might not show the correct on-line docket entry. If the judge thinks there is a hearing, and you aren't there, that could well lead to a default.

    See question 
  • What needs to be done when someone passes away in Washington DC and rented an apartment?

    My mother passed away in Washington D.C., she has no will, rented an apartment, didn't own any property and has almost no assets (no car, little to no money in the bank, etc). I lived in her apartment with her for her last few years due to her ail...

    Richard’s Answer

    Mr. Johnson's response is useful, but I just want to re-emphasize a couple points. If you've lived in the unit for the last couple years, under DC law, you probably have tenant's rights, even if it is merely as a tenant by sufferance. If you pay the rent and haven't been a pain for the landlord, I'll bet they'd be happy to write you a new lease if you want to stay. Under some circumstances, it may be unwise to report your mother's passing, because, if the unit has been rent controlled for decades, the landlord might be able to raise the rent. You'd be best off talking to someone like Mr. Johnson about your particular situation and your particular lease. You aren't getting evicted this month, and the chances are that the landlord won't interfere for months if they get an August and future rent checks. To retake possession, they need to sue and serve you as a tenant there. They aren't likely to bother if they are getting paid and you aren't causing problems.

    See question 
  • How to exit from the DC Housing Choice Voucher Program as a landlord?

    I no longer want to participate in the DC Housing Choice Voucher Program. I have gotten three different answers from DCHA when I called them. No information is in the Contract. How does a landlord exit the program if there is a HCVP participant...

    Richard’s Answer

    Your problem isn't getting out of the government program. I suspect you can stop cashing their checks anytime you wish. Your problem is that you cannot kick out a tenant who is offering to pay the agreed rent except on some very strict conditions and in no less than 90 days. There are many, many ways to mess up that notice, and it is almost certain that you'll have it defective at least once, so the delay could easily be 6 months to a year. And, it you just want to get out of the program so you can rent to someone new, you aren't eligible. Even if you take it back for your own use, you'll need to take it back for your bona fide use and not re-rent it for a very long time. You need a lawyer to step you through this, or you need to sell the property. Since you have to offer the property to the tenant before selling it in compliance with TOPA, and the sale will be difficult without getting rid of the subsidized tenancy, you really need guidance from counsel and a good real estate salesman with knowledge of dealing with TOPA rights.

    See question 
  • Beginning my own Cuban Tourism Company out of the US: How can I make it legal/is it legal?

    I was born in Cuba, been living in the US for 40 years. My family still resides in historic Havana; I visit them via Canada every few months. I was recently thinking how great it would be if I could start my own tourism group offering tours to Cub...

    Richard’s Answer

    The embargo still exists, and, as an American citizen and resident, you are at great risk if you create a travel program from the US via Canada to evade the embargo. But, as others have mentioned, there are exceptions, and a brilliant way to be out in front of other Cuban tour packages once Hillary wins might be to set up a legal, compliant tour program within the new exceptions. This might mean greater initial expenses for legal compliance and, even, to have counsel running your tour plans past Treasury or State. It might mean that your margin for the early days aren't what you'd like. But the real profit here is likely to be down the road when, instead of educational, person-to-person contacts and religious groups, you are the only Cuban tour company with a track record. I've tried to attach a link from Treasury loaded with links and written releases from the Government. If that gets edited out, try googling . These are not the only sources, and you are taking a risk to set this up without counsel -- especially with the Canadian twist.

    See question 
  • How is it legal for the Federal Government to own property within the states?

    Where does it say they can purchase property in the U.S. Constitution?

    Richard’s Answer

    Super question! I think Congress asked it of President Jefferson when he made the Louisiana Purchase around 1803. I've got a better question for you: Where does it say in the Constitution that the President can buy property anywhere. So, I guess the argument progresses that there is no DC, no White House, no Pentagon, no Capitol? After all, the present DC is a grant from the Sovereign State of Maryland! And, how could the Continental Congress go to war against the King of England? Sure, King George III owned the Colonies under the Act of State Doctrine (or is it the Act of War Doctrine... where's my textbook) and the Doctrine of Sovereignty, but the Articles of Confederation vested sovereignty in the States, so shouldn't that make the Acts of the Continental Convention retroactively void? I think King George said something like that when he told the British fleet that it could raid US shipping just before the War of 1812. Each State needed to declare sovereignty alone! Or, perhaps Franklin was right that they all needed to hang together or they would all hang separately.

    I'm sorry, my friend. It's a fine argument for a political history class, but it isn't a legal question. It's been resolved since, at very latest, 1803. (BTW, there is a super-funny fake letter around the Internet in which a fake lawyer justifies the title to property in New Orleans back to Adam and Eve, and one of his points touches on this. The letter is a fake, but it is hilarious and apropos.)

    I believe holding of property within the sovereign territory is justified as an Act of Sovereignty at International Law, and it is within the plenary power of, at least, Congress under Article I, and, even the Executive under Article II, to guard that sovereignty and faithfully execute the Laws.

    See question 
  • Can I get an eviction off of my credit score?

    I recently applied for an apartment, but was denied because of a Writ of Possession I got in March. At that time, I had paid off all charges and that eviction was cancelled. I'm still living there now, but this writ is still on my credit report. S...

    Richard’s Answer

    You are entitled to supplement your credit record with information favorable to you about a negative credit report, but it often takes a bit of effort, and it's likely going to take more of an excuse than that you eventually paid prior to eviction. Most landlords don't want that kind of tenant. But, if there is anything false about the report or -- sometimes -- if there is an ameliorating fact, such as a death, divorce, or something not likely to be repeated, it could be worthwhile to fight to have the comment included. In these modern days of highly efficient credit reports, public landlord-tenant court records, and FICO scores, this is a tough fight to win. The best bet is either to get the present landlord to help you, or, more likely, tell the new prospective landlord up front, before he orders the report, what he's going to see and why it won't happen to him.

    See question 
  • what recourse do I have for not getting evicted in Baltimore County Maryland if a partial payment has been paid?

    I am twelve hundred and 1275.75 behind in rent.There was a court date scheduled for June 21st where judgment was given against me. in the interim I have paid $800 to board the delinquent rent. the Constable for this region has not received the wa...

    Richard’s Answer

    No, you need to pay the entire amount in question to the penny in an easily provable manner prior to the eviction in order to restart the process.

    See question 
  • Will Interpol bring her back to Iran? (criminal)

    If some Iranian travels to other countries, for example US, EU, etc. and does some "Iranian crime" there, I mean, doing something which is just recognized a "crime" by Iran government only (for example speaking against Iranian government, changing...

    Richard’s Answer

    Interpol is not a country and is not sovereign in this country. Anyone who wants to extradite anyone from the US to Iran to face trial for criticizing the Iranian Government is going to need to bring that claim to a US District Court. I'm not going to bother researching whether we have an extradition treaty with Iran, but I'll take a wild guess that we don't. Even if we did, no Federal judge is going to grant that extradition. Now, if we're talking about a felony kidnapping as more likely found in a nice, fictional, action-adventure movie, maybe we could construct a scenario in which some US resident answers for a political crime in Iran.... but, that's a fictional universe. Interpol has no jurisdiction, and even if it had jurisdiction, a court would find it a violation of an extradition treaty that doesn't exist. I'm willing to bet that the answer is the same in the EU, but I'm not licensed there. Nevertheless, if this is a real case and a real worry rather than an intellectually interesting question, the potential victim should seek out an immigration attorney and apply for political refugee status.

    See question 
  • Does our mother closed estate have to be reopened on property sold that my sister and I paid inheritance tax on from grandmother

    Mother preceded grandmother in death. So courts had my sister and I pay inheritance tax on land and houses under grandmother's name. Here 20 years later land has now been sold. Attorney says he has to reopen my mothers estate which would includ...

    Richard’s Answer

    Like my colleague, I'm having trouble understanding your situation. To the best I can read your question, your mother predeceased your grandmother. The property is titled to your grandmother, and, even though proper taxes were paid 20 years ago, nobody prepared and recorded a deed to you and your sister, so the property remains in the name of your grandmother. From these facts, I can't understand why you'd be opening or reopening your mother's estate. Unless she was also on title or title was in a trust or some similar device, she does not inherit from the grave. So, I'm guessing your mother was on title or there was a trust or your mother didn't predecease your grandmother. In any event, I'm guessing the inheritance tax issue is collateral to the title issue, and, 20 years later, is probably water under the bridge. The good news here is that you seem to have a lawyer, and, really, none of us should be second-guessing him. The Code of Professional Responsibility gives you the right to interview and change lawyers, but it does not give us the right to talk to clients who already have representation. Sit down with your attorney. Ask him to explain your situation in language you can understand. That's his job. Give him a chance to do it.

    See question 
  • I need help understanding my foreign document that I recorded.

    I came across a foreign document that I found useful,I recorded and got it notarized, its stating international law. I need help understanding the rights this documents gives me in court.

    Richard’s Answer

    Like my colleagues, I have difficulty understanding how I can interpret a document that you neither describe nor provide. You can sign and notarize any document. The notarial seal merely indicates that the signature is recognized by an independent junior state officer. Unless verified in accordance with treaty standards, it probably has no value at all in other countries. I don't know what you mean by "its stating international law." My international law text book states international law, as do many journal articles, but those documents give you no rights whatsoever in any court of any country. What if you describe the document or, better yet, scan and show it to competent counsel.

    See question