County Attorney  |  Frequently Asked Questions
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Attorney Reference
Can you refer me to an attorney who handles a specific area of law?
The County Attorney’s Office cannot refer or recommend a specific attorney. You can search online, look at a telephone directory, or contact one of the resources listed on the County Attorney’s homepage.
 
Cable Company Issues
Can the County help me with a problem I’m having with my cable company?
No. The County does not regulate or oversee cable companies in any way. Please contact your cable company directly.
 
Complaint against a Business
I purchased a vehicle that’s a lemon. Can the County make it right or take action against the business?
No. The County Attorney’s Office cannot represent citizens in personal or private legal matters and does not provide legal advice or opinions to citizens; however, the Virginia Consumer Protection Act is available online. You may also choose to contact the Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia, the Virginia Attorney General’s Office, or a private attorney.
 
County Attorney and Commonwealth’s Attorney
What is the difference between the County Attorney and the County’s Commonwealth’s Attorney?
-The County Attorney is a County employee who is appointed by the Board of Supervisors and serves at the direction and pleasure of the Board. The County Attorney provides legal services in all civil matters to the Board of Supervisors, the School Board, and all other boards, agencies and officials of the County in such areas as land use and zoning, taxation and finance, law enforcement, social services, contracts, real estate, employment, and legislation, and represents the County in civil matters in court. The office drafts ordinances and resolutions to implement policy decisions of the Board, prepares legislative proposals, and enforces compliance with the Water Protection Ordinance, the Zoning Ordinance, and other County regulations.
-The Commonwealth’s Attorney is elected by County voters and prosecutes criminal offenses. The employees of the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office are State employees. Please see the Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s website or contact their office at 434-972-4072.
 
Covenants and Restrictions
Does the County enforce private restrictive covenants?
No. The County is authorized only to administer and enforce public laws. It is not authorized to enforce private covenants and restrictions. This means that the County is required to approve a subdivision plat or a building permit that meets all County laws even though the subdivision or building may violate a private restrictive covenant. This Office cannot advise citizens or homeowners associations regarding their recourse in these situations, including interpretation of the Code; however, the Virginia Property Owner’s Association Act is available online. You may also choose to consult a private attorney.
 
Coyote Bounty
Does the County have a coyote bounty ordinance?
No. The County does not have a coyote bounty ordinance.
 
Dog Leash Law
Does the County have a leash law?
No. Information regarding dogs running at large is available on the Albemarle County Police Department website here.
 
Fallen Trees
-My neighbor’s tree fell onto and damaged my property. Can you help me?
The County Attorney’s office does not provide legal advice or opinions to citizens and cannot represent citizens in personal or private legal matters. You may choose to consult your homeowner’s insurance agent or a private attorney.
 
-A tree from County property fell onto/damaged my property. Can you help me?
Please contact the Department of Facilities and Environmental Services at (434) 296-5816 or by email here.
 
Land Donations
I want to donate land to the County; what is the process?
To learn about the Acquisition of Conservation Easements (ACE) program, visit the County webpage here or contact the Community Development Department at (434) 296-5832.
 
To inquire about donating land for park use, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at (434) 296-5844.
 
To inquire about selling land or donating land to the County for other purposes, please contact the County Executive’s Office at (434) 972-5841, or by email here.
 
Landlord-Tenant Issues
Can the County help me with my Landlord-Tenant issue?
The County Attorney’s office does not advise or represent citizens in landlord-tenant issues. The Landlord and Tenant Act, the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, and the Manufactured Home Lot Rental Act are available online. You may also choose to contact the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website, or consult a private attorney.
 
Laws
Where can I find the Albemarle County Code and the Virginia Code on the internet?
The Albemarle County Code is located here, and the Virginia Code is located here.
 
Legal Advice
Can the County Attorney’s Office give me legal advice about things like my neighbor’s tree hanging over my fence or my divorce decree?  
No. The County Attorney's Office provides legal services in all civil matters to the Board of Supervisors, the School Board, and all other boards, agencies and officials of the County. It does not provide legal advice or opinions to citizens and cannot represent citizens in private legal matters. You may choose to consult a private attorney.
 
Lighting Regulations
What are the County’s outdoor lighting regulations?
The County’s outdoor lighting regulations are located in County Code Chapter 18, Sections 4.14.3 and 4.17. For more information, contact the County’s Community Development Department at (434) 296-5832 or by email here.
 
My Property
What uses (i.e. shed, chickens) are allowed on my property?
Please contact the County’s Community Development Department at (434) 296-5832 or by email here for these parcel-specific questions.
 
Neighbor’s Property
-What can I do about the unkempt condition of my neighbor’s property?
-There’s construction/land-clearing going on and I don’t think the County Code regulations are being followed.
-Is my neighbor allowed to have chickens on his property?
Please report a potential zoning or other violation here, or contact the County’s Community Development Department at (434) 296-5834 or by email here.
 
Notary Public Services
Can a notary in the County Attorney’s Office notarize my personal document?
No. The salaries and notary public fees for the County’s notary publics are funded by County taxpayers for the provision of services to the Board of Supervisors, the School Board, and all other boards, agencies and officials of the County, and not for personal or private use.
 
Noise Regulations
Are there any laws or ordinances that apply to noise from barking dogs, construction, or loud parties in my neighborhood?
The County’s general noise regulations are found in County Code Chapter 7, Article I, and in Chapter 18, Sections 4.14.1 and  4.18. The County’s barking dog regulations are found in County Code Chapter 4, Section 4-106.
For more information, contact the Albemarle County Police Department at (434) 296-5807 or by email here. You can report an incident here, and obtain information regarding barking dogs here. Please report a potential zoning violation here, or contact the County’s Community Development Department at (434) 296-5834 or by email here.
 
Real Estate Tax Sales
When is the next real estate tax sales auction? Can you provide to me a list of real estate to be actioned?
The County contracts with the law firm of Martin Wren to handle these matters. You can contact Mr. Wren’s office at (434) 817-3100.
 
Signs
-Are people allowed to put up signs in the highway median and/or roadway?
Please report a potential zoning or other violation here, or contact the County’s Community Development Department at (434) 296-5834 or by email here.

 
Highlights
Zoning Ordinance  
 
 
Hot Topics
Water Protection Ordinance  
 
 
Contact the Department
County Attorney
401 McIntire Road
Charlottesville, VA 22902
434-972-4067
FAX: 434-972-4068
Email the Department