|VAR’s Capitol Connections takes you on a guided tour of the 2013 VAR legislative agenda as it moves through the 2013 Virginia General Assembly Session. We’ll be addressing landlord and tenant issues, liability as it relates to your reliance on public records in your advertising, provisions for a first time homebuyer savings account, the POA Act, and much more. Tune in!|
2013 VAR Legislative Agenda
S0me may seem minor or technical, but every one of them will have a significant and direct effect on the real estate industry. As always, our agenda is aggressive but sensible, and stands to help Realtors, the public, and the Commonwealth. Look for the thumbs up to see what pieces of our legislation were successful in making their way through the General Assembly this session.
SB 841; Senator Mamie Locke
This bill confirms the two person per bedroom limit originally established by HUD and is the appropriate standard for landlords to use in determining the maximum number of occupants for a dwelling unit. Passage of this bill brings overcrowding provisions of the Uniform Statewide Building Code into accord with federal standards, enabling landlords and their agents to limit the number of occupants of a residential unit.
HB 1480; Delegate Peter Farrell
Currently in Virginia, there are two regulatory boards with jurisdiction in fair housing cases, and which board hears a case depends on whether it involves a real estate licensee or a non-licensee property manager. This bill would give the Virginia Real Estate Board jurisdiction in any case involving a licensed real estate agent or agents, including those that might have been heard by the Fair Housing Board. It avoids a potential situation where the same fair housing case could end up being heard by two regulatory boards.
HB 1509; Delegate Greg Habeeb
More and more landlords and property managers are beginning to accept electronic payments from tenants. This legislation would give the recipient of a failed or stopped electronic payment the same right to pursue civil action as if it had been a bad check.
HB 1593; Delegate David Bulova
With more residential properties being used in the manufacture of illegal methamphetamines, it isn’t clear what a property owner or landlord must disclose to a potential buyer or tenant. This bill would amend the Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act to require disclosure if a property had been used as a meth lab, unless that property is cleaned to Department of Health standards. This legislation is modeled after existing legislation for the disclosure of Defective Drywall.
HB 1734; Delegate Manoli Loupassi
This “umbrella” legislation makes several technical amendments to the VRLTA, including clarifying the difference between an application deposit and an application fee, allowing landlords to refund a security deposit at the end of a lease with a single check for all tenants, to an address provided by the tenants (if forwarding the refund isn’t possible within a year, the money would go to the Virginia Housing Partnership Revolving Fund), and authorizes a landlord to send a seven-day notice of abandonment regardless of whether the lease contains a provision to that effect.
HB 1736; Delegate Peter Farrell
This bill addresses escrow requirements related to rental transactions. First, pre-paid rent has to be placed in the escrow account, but current rent does not. Second, the bill makes a distinction between the handling of security deposits vs. application deposits. Last, the bill would require that security deposits and pre-paid rent given to a landlord or broker be placed in an escrow account within five business days of receipt, and remain in the account.
HB 1807; Delegate Jackson Miller
Sellers and buyers of residential condo units and lots in a property owners association are often restricted from using FHA financing because of the number of rental units in the community. This bill would require POA/COA disclosure packets to include information on how many units are owner occupied vs. rented, to help prospective buyers determine whether FHA financing might be available.
HB 1868; Delegate Tag Greason
This bill would create “first-time homebuyer’s savings accounts” into which individuals could contribute funds tax-free to be used for a first property purchase. This is similar to the structure of a Virginia 529 college savings plan and is designed to promote the value of homeownership to a new generation of Virginia homebuyers. Due to some technicalities brought up by potential stakeholders, this bill was sent to the Virginia Housing Commission for additional study. We will seek to introduce a stronger revised version in the 2014 session to ensure it’s a thorough and viable piece of legislation for Virginia’s homeowners.
HB 2073; Delegate David Yancey
Realtors® frequently rely on public information, information from the client, and information from other professionals — such as a surveyor or engineer — for use in advertising property for sale, and sometimes this information is inaccurate, through no fault of the Realtor. This bill would shield Realtors and brokers from civil or regulatory action if they provide information from a reliable source that turns out to be incorrect.
HB 2222; Delegate Gordon Helsel
Legislation was passed previously to set up regulation of AMCs by the Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board, as required by laws stemming from the Dodd/Frank Act. The main goal was originally to authorize regulation of AMCs that manage residential appraisers, but did not address AMCs managing commercial appraisers. This legislation would extend that regulation to include commercial AMCs.