2013 New Virginia Laws
effective July 1, 2013 unless stated otherwise
R® designates Realtor®-sponsored legislation!
Licensing and Regulation
R® HB 1480 (Farrell), Fair Housing Violations: The Virginia Real Estate Board will hear Fair Housing cases involving both licensed and unlicensed respondents. In no event shall the jurisdiction for the same case be split between the Real Estate Board and the Fair Housing Board.
HB 1641 (Knight)/SB 1179 (Ruff), DPOR Investigations: DPOR boards shall provide regulants a notice advising of the right to be heard at an informal fact-finding conference prior to any disciplinary decision. If the regulant does not request a conference within 30 days of receipt of the notice, the board may issue a case decision.
R® HB 2073 (Yancey), False Advertising: Licensed real estate brokers or salespersons shall not be liable for false advertising when relying on public records or information from a third party. This includes any civil action or regulatory action brought under the real estate licensing laws.
Property Disclosure and Transfer
HB 1507 (Lewis), Recording Deeds: The circuit court clerk may reject the filing or recording of deeds conveying not more than four residential dwelling units if the deed does not state on its first page that it was prepared either by the owner of the property or by a Virginia-licensed attorney.
HB 1521 (Villanueva), Tourism Activity Zones: Localities may designate tourism activity zones on their zoning maps. Owners of residential property may disclose in writing to any prospective purchaser or lessee of the property that the subject property is located within a tourism activity zone and its potential impacts on the property.
R® HB 1615 (Gilbert), Methamphetamine Laboratory Disclosure: Beginning July 1, 2014, residential property owners and landlords who have actual knowledge that the property was previously used to manufacture methamphetamine and has not been cleaned up in accordance with the Department of Health guidelines will provide a written disclosure when selling or renting the property. Tenants may terminate the tenancy if the required disclosure is not provided.
HB 1861 (Rust), Notice of Property Sale: Both localities and common interest communities, if applicable, shall receive a notice within 60 days following the sale of a residential property under a deed of trust.
HB 2305 (Ramadan), Solar Panels Disclosure: This bill adds to VREB’s online list of seller's representations to prospective purchasers that the seller makes no representations on the right to install or use solar energy collection devices on the property.
SB 1093 (Hanger), Property Transfer on Death: The legislation authorizes the creation of a transfer on death deed, which upon death passes title directly to named beneficiaries without incurring recordation taxes.
HB 1425 (Greason), Tenant's Remedies: Provides that a tenant may obtain an order from general district court requiring the landlord to resume unlawfully interrupted utility services.
R® HB 1509 (Habeeb), Failed Electronic Payments: Provides that if an electronic rent payment is rejected because of insufficient funds or because of a stop-payment order placed in bad faith, landlords may take the same civil action as they would to recover a bad check. The bill also allows a plaintiff's attorney or agent to present affidavits in court proceedings listing outstanding rent, fees, and damages owed to the plaintiff, and receive a judgment if the defendant does not appear.
HB 1553 (Loupassi), Affordable Housing Tax Assessment: The owners of multiple affordable units with common expenses may make a pro rata apportionment of such expenses to each unit based on each unit's assessed value, whether they are in a single or multiple tax parcels.
R® HB 1734 (Loupassi), Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act: This legislation makes several changes and technical edits, including:
- Unless otherwise agreed to in writing by each of the tenants on a multi-tenant lease, disposition of the security deposit shall be made with one check being payable to all such tenants and sent to the forwarding address provided.
- If the tenants do not provide a forwarding address for security deposit refunds, the deposit balance shall be paid into the state treasury after 1 year and 45 days.
- Allows month to month tenancies for a single family residence to agree to notice of termination periods other than thirty days.
- Permits landlords to charge refundable application deposits and separate non-refundable application fees.
- Sets the 2012 and 2013 security deposit interest rates at 0%.
- Clarifies that unlawful detainer tenant redemption remedies may be used only once in a 12 month period, regardless of any lease renewals or the length of the lease agreement.
- States that during an eviction, landlords may remove tenants’ personal property from the dwelling, the premises and any on-site storage areas.
R® HB 1736 (Farrell), Escrow of Rents: Prepaid rent paid more than one month prior to the due date and all security deposits shall be placed in an escrow account by the end of the fifth business banking day following receipt, unless otherwise agreed to in the lease transaction. Application deposits shall be placed in escrow by the end of the fifth business banking day following approval of the rental application. Funds must remain in the escrow account until disbursed in accordance with the lease, property management agreement or by law.
HB 1749 (Dance)/SB 1013 (Locke), Lodging Occupants: If a person resides in hotel, motel, boardinghouse or extended stay lodging as a primary residence for more than 90 consecutive days or is subject to a written lease for more than 90 days, then landlord and tenant laws or the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act apply to the occupancy.
HB 2059 (McClellan)/SB 932 (Vogel), Housing Choice Vouchers: Income tax credits issued each fiscal year under the housing choice voucher program are reduced from $450,000 to $250,000.
HB 2236 (Pogge), Tax Exemption for Labor or Services: Amounts separately charged for installation, remodeling or renovation of a rental property are exempt from sales and use taxes.
R® SB 841 (Lucas), Residential Occupancy Standards: An owner or managing agent may restrict unit occupancy to two persons per bedroom, according to applicable state and federal laws and regulations.
SB 894 (Petersen), Tenant Violations: Local enforcement officers may cite a residential tenant for building code violations and send a copy of the notice to the property owner.
SB 1004 (Howell), Early Lease Termination: Victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault may terminate a rental agreement with at least 30 days’ notice. The landlord shall be provided a copy of the court-issued conviction or protective order, and no more than two terminations shall be granted under a single conviction. Other co-tenants shall be responsible for their lease obligations. Landlords may terminate the lease and recover damages should the sole remaining tenant be the perpetrator of the crime.
Condos and POAs
HB 1595 (Watts), Late Fees: Unless the association’s governing documents or rules and regulations provide otherwise, a condo or POA may impose a late fee for any assessment that is not paid within 60 days of the due date at a rate not to exceed five percent.
HB 1711 (Plum), Notice of Special Election Meeting: In the event that the annual meeting for electing the board of directors is cancelled, residents shall be given a seven day notice of the rescheduled meeting.
R® HB 1807 (Miller), Resale Disclosure of Federal Financing: Association resale disclosure packets shall include a statement indicating any current project approvals issued by federal financing agencies.
HB 2200 (Webert), Home-Based Businesses: Unless the declaration or rules and regulations provide otherwise, no POA shall prohibit any lot owner from operating a home-based business in compliance with local laws. Associations may establish reasonable restrictions as to the time, place, and manner of operation and signage for a home-based business.
HB 2275 (Peace), Declarant Control Period: Declarants are allowed to extend the control period of a condominium for a period not to exceed 15 years or the conveyance of 75% of the development units. The declarant may extend the period by holding a special meeting prior to expiration of the current control period, obtaining the approval of two-thirds of the other unit owners and electing a warranty review committee. The Common Interest Community Board will develop a disclosure statement to be given to association members outlining the powers of the declarant under the extension.
HB 2305 (Ramadan), Solar panels: Community associations may establish reasonable restrictions concerning the size, place, and manner of placement of solar energy collection devices on individual properties, and shall disclose such restrictions in the resale disclosure packet.
Land Use and Development
HB 1448 (Hodges), Financing for Septic Repairs: Localities may create a loan program for the repair of property owners' failed septic systems and allow for loan repayment through water or sewer billings, real property tax assessments, or other billings.
HB 1583 (Dance), Vacant Building Registration: This bill increases the maximum annual registration fee for derelict vacant buildings from $25 to $100, and increases the civil penalties for failing to register such buildings with the locality.
HB 1589 (Minchew)/SB 744 (Black), Demolition of Derelict Structures: After obtaining the consent of the property owner, localities may demolish or remove derelict nonresidential structures and file a property lien for the costs incurred.
HB 1726 (E. Scott), Onsite Sewage Systems: The Board of Health shall promulgate regulations for the use of chamber and bundled expanded polystyrene effluent distribution systems for onsite sewage systems.
HB 1853 (Knight)/ SB 1029 (Reeves), Development near Military Installations: Local planning commissions shall consider the effects of development on military installations and consult with the commander of any installation that will be affected by development.
HB 2238 (D. Marshall), Final Site Plans: Site plans shall be deemed final once reviewed and approved by the locality if the only remaining requirements for a building permit are the submission of administrative documents, agreements, deposits, or fees required by the locality. The bill also clarifies the validity of previous extensions of valid plats and site plans.
HB 2239 (D. Marshall), Cash proffers: Proffers shall not be used for any improvement or maintenance of an existing facility if it does not expand facility capacity.
HB 2265 (Knight), Cash proffers: Localities may waive certain written notice requirements to reduce, suspend, or eliminate outstanding cash proffer payments for residential construction.
SB 1226 (Stuart), Cash Proffers: Localities must begin utilization of cash proffers within 12 years, instead of 7 years, of payment.
HB 2326 (Bulova), Regional Strategic Plans: Planning district commissions may prepare regional strategic plans with multi-state government councils.
SB 1065 (Herring), Arts and Cultural Districts: Localities may reduce or rebate real estate property taxes in established arts and cultural districts.
HB 2190 (Cosgrove), Stormwater Management: Localities shall give notice to the Department of Conservation justifying the adoption of a more stringent stormwater management ordinance than required by the state.Landowners can then request a ruling on whether these restrictions comply with state law.
Courts and Records
HB 1652 (Kilgore), Electronic Filing: Circuit court clerks may charge a $2 fee for paper filings if the court has established an electronic filing system.
HB 1715 (Iaquinto), Remote Access: Circuit court clerks are allowed to provide remote access to certain records and to charge a fee for such access, which is used to cover the clerk's operational expenses. Those wishing to access records may be required to show proof of identity.
SB 811 (Garrett), Fraudulent Liens: Any person who knowingly and maliciously files a fraudulent lien or encumbrance in a public record is guilty of a Class 5 felony.
HB 1401 (Cole) Property Sale for Delinquent Taxes: Prior to initiating judicial proceedings to sell real property because of delinquent taxes, the locality must notify the taxpayer of right to enter into a payment schedule with the treasurer to pay the taxes within 36 months. Parties may also request dispute resolution proceedings at any time during the court action.
HB 1598 (Anderson), Boards of Equalization: Modifies several provisions governing boards of equalization, including the qualifications for board membership, allowing the use of electronically-filed complaints and prohibiting denials based on a lack of certain information from the taxpayer.
HB 1697 (Minchew), Roll-Back Taxes: Gives localities the option to waive roll-back taxes when a property that qualifies for special land use valuation is rezoned for a more intensive use.
HB 1982 (May), Local Tax Bills: With taxpayer consent, treasurers may convey any tax bill electronically by accessing the treasurer's website.
HB 2039 (Webert)/SB 1054 (Black), Taxpayer Refunds: Adds the Chesapeake Bay Watershed EPA Implementation Plan to the list of organizations that may receive contributions of taxpayer refunds.
HB 2301 (Cline)/SB 881 (Deeds), Volunteer Fire Service Billing: Allows localities to directly bill homeowners on behalf of local volunteer fire departments.
HB 2306 (Ramadan), Eminent Domain Compensation: Provides that just compensation paid for real property taken by eminent domain shall not be less than the appraisal of the fair market value of such property or the current assessed value of such property, whichever is greater. The assessed value must reflect the current condition and fair value of the property.
SB 1356 (Vogel), Loudoun Board of Equalization: Authorizes the Loudoun County Board to appoint the members of its board of equalization rather than the circuit court.
HB 2313 (Howell, W.), Revenues for Transportation: The bill eliminates the per gallon tax on motor fuel and replaces it with a percentage-based tax of 3.5% for gasoline and 6% for diesel fuel. Taxes paid on diesel fuel for vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less may receive a refund of 2.5%.
The bill imposes a $64 annual registration fee on hybrid vehicles, alternative fuel vehicles, and electric motor vehicles.
The bill raises the sales and use tax across the Commonwealth to 5.3%.
The bill establishes procedures for the collection of the state sales and use tax from online retailers, contingent upon federal approval. If the federal government does not pass authorizing legislation by January 1, 2015, the gasoline tax will be raised from 3.5% to 5.1%. The diesel fuel tax will remain at 6%, but the eligible refund is reduced to 0.9% for vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds.
The bill increases the sales tax motor vehicles to a total of 4.15% over four years.
The bill increases the share of existing general fund revenues used for transportation from 0.50% to 0.675%, phased in over four years.
The bill generates additional revenues in Northern Virginia. It increases the sales tax an additional 0.7% to a total of 6%, increases the hotel occupancy tax by 2%, and increases the real estate Grantor’s Tax to a total of $0.25 per $100 of value ($2.50 per $1000). Northern Virginia localities must impose the authorized Commercial and Industrial Tax at $0.125 per $100 or dedicate equal revenues from other tax sources into a local transportation fund; if the locality does not, funding from the Authority will be reduced by the amount not dedicated to the local fund.
HB 1885 (LeMunyon), Pavement Rating: VDOT is required to rate the pavement quality of every primary and secondary highway every 5 years and post the ratings on its website.
HB 1718 (Anderson)/SB 1075 (Barker), Transportation Projects: When local governments cancel transportation projects, they are required to repay any funds received if the Department of Transportation does not agree with the cancellation.
HB 1907 (Anderson)/SB 1222 (Norment), Texting while Driving: Texting while driving is reclassified as a primary offense, with fines of $125 for the first violation and $250 for a second or subsequent violation.
HB 2040 (Comstock), Noise Abatement: VDOT's evaluation of noise abatement projects is extended to June 2015, with an interim report by June 2013.
SB 1140 (Petersen), Mass Transit: Beginning in 2014, this bill directs $160 million in funding for mass transit capital improvements, operating costs and special projects. For revenues raised above $160 million, a Transit Service Delivery Advisory Committee will recommend spending based on performance criteria.
HB 1686 (Miller)/SB 769 (Wagner) Credit Unions: Credit unions may invest up to 5% of the value of its members’ share accounts and retained earnings in real estate, office buildings, equipment, and furnishings, without the prior written authorization of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions.
HB 1802 (D. Marshall), Contractor Licensing: The Board for Contractors may establish separate licenses for residential and commercial contractors for each of the current Class A, B, and C licensing categories.
HB 1803 (D. Marshall)/SB 994 (Watkins), Mortgage Loan Originators: This bill conforms Virginia law to the federal Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act. It expands the definition of a mortgage loan originator and clarifies exemptions to the licensing requirement for attorneys and seller-financing.
R® HB 2222 (Helsel), Appraisal Management Companies: Both residential and commercial appraisal management companies are bound by state requirements to use licensed appraisers, to disclose fees charged and to refrain from influencing the appraisal process.
HB 2005 (Lopez), Virginia Housing Fund: This bill codifies the deposit of $7 million in federal mortgage settlement funds to the Virginia Housing Trust Fund and directs the use of those funds to provide repayable loans (80%) and grants (20%). Loans may be provided for affordable rental housing, down payment and closing cost assistance for homebuyers, and reducing the cost of homeownership and rental housing. Grants will be given to eligible organizations to reduce homelessness and provide mortgage foreclosure counseling.
HB 1527 (Rust), Fire Insurance: Clarifies that excess fire insurance may be written on an endorsement or on a separate policy.
HB 1528 (Rust), Commercial Insurance Notices: Permits insurers to send termination notices on commercial liability policies to the first named insured listed in the policy's declarations page.
HB 1607 (Hugo), Electronic Notices: Allows property and casualty insurers deliver notices of cancellation of certain property and casualty insurance policies electronically. Policy holders are responsible for notifying the insurer of any changes to their electronic address.