“Crossover,” in the Virginia General Assembly session happens when each chamber (House of Delegates and Senate) finishes their review, debate and approval of their own bills and budget items. Those items then pass over to the other house for a similar process. This year the crossover deadline was February 6th. With crossover behind us and just two-weeks remaining in the legislative session, it’s a good time to report on legislation and update you on several key bills considered this session.
The Public Policy Committee of the Virginia Realtors® recommended either supporting, opposing, or working to amend 136 bills. The Realtors® supported 92 bills this session and 77 of those are still alive in the legislative process. 20 bills have been opposed and 17 of them have already been defeated.
Realtor® Legislative Agenda Bills:
Incomplete POA/COA Packets
This legislation clarifies that the delivery of an “incomplete” packet begins the three-day right of rescission for the buyer. This standard will provide more certainty to both buyers and sellers by giving both parties a firm deadline.
HB 2385 (Del. David Bulova) – Passed the House unanimously (99-0) and will now be considered by the Senate.
SB 1580 (Sen. David Suetterlein) – Passed the Senate unanimously (40-0) and will now be considered by the House.
Mineral Rights Disclosure
This legislation adds “mineral rights” to the Residential Property Disclosure Statement buyer beware form that each potential buyer receives in a real estate transaction. This notice will encourage buyers to perform due diligence regarding mineral rights associated with a property.
SB 1292 (Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel) – Passed the Senate unanimously (40-0) and will now be considered by the House.
Unlicensed Real Estate in Consumer Protection Act
Currently only local Commonwealth Attorneys have the authority to prosecute unlicensed real estate activity. This legislation adds unlicensed real estate activity to the Virginia Consumer Protect Act to allow for greater consumer protection against this illegal activity. Under the Consumer Protection Act, entities such as local government attorneys or individual citizens could bring civil action against people participating in unlicensed activity.
HB 2218 (Del. Jeffrey Bourne) – Passed the House unanimously (99-0) and will now be considered by the Senate.
Independent Contractor Clarification for Real Estate Firms
This legislation clarifies that a real estate licensee can hire an unlicensed assistant as an employee or as an independent contractor. This legislation also allows the Virginia Real Estate Board to define what duties an unlicensed assistant can legally undertake, regardless of whether they are an independent contractor or an employee.
HB 2352 (Del. Jason Miyares) – Passed the House unanimously (99-0) and will now be considered by the Senate.
SB 1061 (Sen. Monty Mason) – Passed the Senate unanimously (40-0) and will now be considered by the House.
Other Realtor® Supported Legislation:
Expand Health Insurance Options for Realtors® and Small Businesses
This legislation expands the definition of “small employer” for the purposes of accessing health insurance plans in the small group market to include multi-member LLCs, thereby affording multi-member LLCs the ability to participate in the small group health insurance pool.
HB 2719 (Del. Todd Pillion) – Passed the House unanimously (99-0) and will now be considered by the Senate.
SB 1475 (Sen. Creigh Deeds) – Passed the Senate unanimously (40-0) and will now be considered by the House.
Stormwater Facilities Disclosures
Special thanks go to Delegate Kathleen Murphy who worked closed with Realtor® lobbyists to amend this bill which initially sought to add a mandatory disclosure for stormwater facilities. The amended bill now clarifies the Residential Property Disclosure Statement to encourage buyers to contact their settlement provider, consult the locality in which the property is located, or review any survey of the property that may have been conducted regarding the existence or recordation of any stormwater detention facility maintenance agreement associated with a property. The bill also adds “assessments for the construction or maintenance of stormwater management facilities” to the Common Interest Community summary form which accompanies resale certificates and disclosure packets.
HB 2019 (Del. Kathleen Murphy) – Passed the House unanimously (99-0) and will now be considered by the Senate.
Landlord and Tenant; Renters’ Insurance
A thank-you also goes to Delegate Karrie Delaney for working with the Realtors® to amend proposed legislation for which we initially had concerns. Current law requires a landlord to provide a summary of the policy to the tenant if the landlord provides renter’s insurance. This legislation makes clear that any failure of the landlord to provide the summary or copy of the insurance policy, shall not affect the validity of the rental agreement. In addition, if the rental agreement does not require the tenant to obtain renter’s insurance, the landlord shall provide a written notice to the tenant, prior to execution of the rental agreement, stating that the landlord is not responsible for the tenant’s personal property, the landlord’s insurance does not cover the tenant’s personal property, and that the tenant may want to obtain renter’s insurance. The notice must inform the tenant that any insurance they may get does not cover flood damage and advise the tenant to look at the FEMA or Va. Dept. of Conservation’s websites regarding whether the property is located in a special flood hazard area. And, finally, if the tenant requests translation of the notice, the landlord may assist, without charging a fee, in obtaining a translator or refer the tenant to an electronic translation service. The landlord is not liable for any inaccuracies in the translation.
HB 1660 (Del. Karrie Delaney) - Passed the House unanimously (99-0) and will now be considered by the Senate.
Please look for additional legislative updates from NVAR in this space after the General Assembly adjourns February 23. A full review of new laws impacting the real estate industry will be published on the NVAR website and in the RE+View magazine in the coming months.
Should you have any questions concerning pending legislation, please feel free to contact NVAR Government Affairs at email@example.com.