The 2023 General Assembly session kicked off Wednesday, January 11 for an odd-year short (46 days) session. The General Assembly is likely to stick to this limited session schedule as they seek to get back on the campaign trail after the session adjourns in February for what is expected to be a wild and contentious campaign season. All 100 seats in the House of Delegates and all 40 Senators are up for election in 2023 in newly redrawn districts thanks to a non-partisan redistricting process.
This first week of session also included special elections to fill vacant House and Senate seats which left the Democratic Party in a slightly better position in the Senate to block some strictly Republican initiatives coming from the Governor and the Republican controlled House.
All of this means that we expect to see a lot of speeches about partisan priorities, and a number of “brochure bills” that legislators can champion on the campaign trail, but probably not a ton of monumental changes or controversial bills hitting the governor’s desk. This is a great year for non-partisan issues like those pushed in our statewide Realtor® agenda.
Over the next six weeks, follow us on social media, and watch this space for continuing updates from our advocacy efforts in Richmond and beyond.
What Are We Doing This Week?
Your Government Affairs Team has been reading bills…a lot of bills. Over 1,500 bills have been introduced so far and we are actively tracking over 125 of these measures which have some type of impact on the real estate industry in Northern Virginia and beyond.
We have also been making early contact with all of the members of our General Assembly delegation to speak about our issue priorities and the Realtors® Statewide Agenda.
Each year our local and state Public Policy Committees review legislative proposals and approve a slate of legislation to proactively push in the General Assembly. This is the Realtors® Statewide Agenda. These bills have been introduced on our behalf and are what we consider our Realtor® bills.
Resale Disclosure Act
Del. William Wampler (HB 2235) / Sen. Monty Mason (SB 1222)
- Creates one place within Common Interest Community (CIC) law for all information on resale disclosures required when a property located within a CIC is sold.
- Takes current disclosure language out of the POA, Condo, and Cooperative Acts and consolidates within a new chapter entitled the Resale Disclosure Act and uses one term, “Resale Certificate,” for the disclosure information required to go from a seller to a buyer when a property is sold.
- Sets forth requirements for contract disclosures, formatting and contents of the resale certificate, applicable fees, termination rights, and liability.
- The purpose of this change is to consolidate information that was spread over three different chapters in the code and often included different requirements, terms, and definitions. This change also seeks to clarify code language and update obligations to current practices. Substantive changes include the contents and format of the resale certificate, the process of calculating fees, and when the fees are paid.
Realtor® Managed Short-Term Rentals
Del. Danny Marshall (HB 2271) / Sen. Lynwood Lewis (SB 1391)
- Makes certain categories of local Short-Term Rental (STR) ordinances unenforceable against properties managed by a Virginia Realtor®.
- Includes eight ordinance provisions from which REALTORS® would be exempt, including full prohibitions on STRs; limitations on the number of days in a year which a property may be rented; occupancy limits more restrictive than local zoning ordinance; owner-occupancy requirements; parking and building requirements in excess of zoning laws and building codes; video and audio monitoring requirements; and excessive property inspections.
- The bill defines a Virginia REALTOR® as a real estate salesperson licensed by the VREB who is a member of the National Association of Realtors®.
- Requires the name and phone number of the Realtor® contracted to manage the property to be reported to the locality and recorded on any local STR registry.
- The bill contains an enactment clause requiring any locality with an STR ordinance in place as of July 1, 2023 to amend that ordinance in accordance with the bill on or before June 30, 2024.
CIC Ombudsman Violation Reporting
Del. Carrie Coyner (HB 1627) / Sen. Jeremy McPike (SB 1042)
- Changes the procedure followed by the Common Interest Community (CIC) Ombudsman for processing notices of final adverse decisions.
- Clarifies that the Ombudsman must contact a community association’s governing board and community manager, if applicable, when there is a notice of final adverse decision.
- Requires the Ombudsman to refer all notices of final adverse action that have not been remedied within 30 days, or are deemed to be a repeat violation, to the CIC Board for further action.
- Gives the Director or Ombudsman the power to refer any violation of law to the CIC Board for further action.
- Requires the Ombudsman to track: (1) how long it takes an association to come into compliance after receiving communication from the Ombudsman; and (2) the number of violations that are referred to the CIC Board.
Return of Security Deposits
Del. Jeffrey Campbell (HB 1542) / Sen. John Bell (SB 891)
- Under the VRLTA, a landlord has 45 days after the termination of a lease to return the security deposit, minus any damages, to the tenant. If damages to the premises exceed security deposit and require a contractor, the landlord notifies the tenant and has an additional 15 days to provide an itemization of the damages and cost of repair. Landlords are having significant difficulty meeting this deadline due to labor shortages and supply chain delays.
- This bill extends that additional 15 days to 30 days with a sunset period of one year. The additional 15 days will enable landlords to provide accurate costs of repair to the tenant over the next year as labor and product shortages persist.
What Other Legislation Are We Tracking
Throughout session we will highlight a number of bills that we are supporting, opposing or working to amend. Your colleagues on the NVAR and VAR Public Policy Committees review this legislation and give us insight into how it will impact Realtors® as you do business.
Housing has been a major focus of the Governor and the General Assembly leading up to this year’s session and we expect a number of bills to be considered which examine strategies to encourage residential housing supply development. There will also be a lot of legislation seeking tenant protections in rental housing. As always, the Realtors® will seek to ensure this legislation balances those protections while not overburdening our housing providers and property managers.
Transportation Issues, Common Interest Communities, Taxes, and Economic Development are also on our radar.
Be a Part of the Action
Please follow along with us as we advocate for you this session through our news and social media platforms. You can also join us in Richmond for our Realtor® Lobby Day on Wednesday, January 25. This exciting event is a key piece of our advocacy effort and a chance for you to get a hands-on experience of what we do as your Government Affairs Team.
Be on the lookout for Calls for Action to support or defeat key legislation, and feel free to let us know what policies we can advocate for that will make a difference for your business as a Realtor®. The success of our Government Affairs efforts relies on your Realtor® participation. Email your policy questions, ideas and concerns to Josh Veverka, Sr. Director of Government Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.