VIRGINIA PENINSULA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

THE LEGISLATIVE LINE

The Legislative Update from VPAR

Number 1 – January 16, 2017

 

And, so it begins…the 2017 General Assembly Session of Virginia! We are day #7 into a 45-day “short” session, one which is highlighted by Governor McAuliffe’s last year of office, statewide candidates clambering for the limelight, all 100 House of Delegates’ seats up in November, and a new White House as of later this week…all of which will translate into a Session of election politics and posturing.

As of this writing, over 2,000 bills (2,035, to be exact) have been introduced, with more to come over the next few days. Budget amendments are swirling in the background, Senate Committee assignments have yet to be finalized, new members of the House and Senate – courtesy of many special elections — just have been sworn in, and Committee and Subcommittee meetings are in full swing.

All with 2017 being THE LAST YEAR IN THE CURRENT GENERAL ASSEMBLY BUILDING! Yes, that place is being razed! Don’t know who’s happier: legislators, lobbyists, legislative staff, or the mice.

In the meantime, the REALTOR® Legislative Agenda is moving along this week, with three bills being heard in the Housing Subcommittee of the House General Laws Committee as soon as tomorrow, Tuesday, January 17th. There will be more to report later this week over social media and an additional update coming soon, but for now, check out the latest in the REALTOR® Party Legislative Agenda! http://www.virginiarealtorschoose.com/2017-bills/

 

THE 2017 VAR LEGISLATIVE AGENDA CAN BE FOUND HERE:

http://www.virginiarealtorschoose.com/2017-bills/

 

 

VPAR’s General Assembly Delegation Contact Information

 

 

Del. Gordon Helsel, R-91st , Poquoson               (804) 698-1091   DelGHelsel@house.virginia.gov

Del. Keith Hodges, R-98th  Urbanna                    (804) 698-1098   DelKHodges@house.virginia.gov

Del. Rick Morris, R-64th, Carrollton                      (804) 698-1064   DelRMorris@house.virginia.gov

Del. Mike Mullin, D-93rd, Newport News               (804) 698-1093   delmmullin@house.virginia.gov

Del. Brenda Pogge, R-96th, Yorktown                 (804) 698-1096  DelBPogge@house.virginia.gov

Del. Marcia “Cia” Price, D-95th, Newport News     (804) 698-1095   DelMPrice@house.virginia.gov

Del. Jeoin Ward, D-92nd, Hampton                      (804) 698-1092 DelJWard@house.virginia.gov

Del. David Yancey, R-94th, Newport News           (804) 698-1094   DelDYancey@house.virginia.gov

Sen. Mamie Locke, D-2nd, Hampton                    (804) 698-7502   district02@senate.virginia.gov

Sen. Monty Mason, D-1st, Williamsburg             (804) 698-7501 district01@senate.virginia.gov

Sen. Tommy Norment, R-3rd, James City             (804) 698-7503   district03@senate.virginia.gov

 

 

 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY WEBSITES OF INTEREST

 

We would like to share with you some very valuable (and helpful) information regarding General Assembly Resources:

 

 

In order to prepare for the 2017 session, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with a few helpful websites and other relevant information. Our goal is for you to be able to follow the action here in Richmond as well as to participate in the process.

 

To watch the House of Delegates in Session live at Noon each day, click here:  http://virginia-house.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3

 

To watch the Virginia Senate in Session live at noon each day, click here:  http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3

 

Subscribe to receive daily e-mails with news articles highlighting major political and legislative happenings. http://www.vpap.org/vanews

 

Virginia Legislative Information System (list of General Assembly members, all legislation, committee action, daily meeting schedule and daily floor calendars)

http://lis.virginia.gov/

 

Who’s My Legislator?

http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/

 

Governor of Virginia

https://governor.virginia.gov/

 

Governor’s Cabinet

https://governor.virginia.gov/the-administration/the-cabinet/

 

Lt. Governor

http://www.ltgov.virginia.gov/

 

Attorney General

http://www.oag.state.va.us/

 

 

REALTOR® DAY ON THE HILL – FEBRUARY 8, 2017

Mark your calendars now for February 8th so that you can attend VPAR’s Annual REALTOR® Day on the Hill! Join REALTORS® from across the Commonwealth as they descend upon the General Assembly to tout the Association’s legislative agenda. Visit with legislators from the region, hear from “in the know” politicos on current issues and tour the Capitol and the Executive Mansion. Join us for a highly beneficial day!

 

For additional information or other details, please contact Susan Gaston, VPAR’s Legislative Consultant, at 757-871-1445, or by e-mail at susan@gastongroup.com. We also encourage our members to follow the General Assembly on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GreaterPiedmont/?fref=ts.

 

The Monitor – November 2016

Susan Gaston at CapitalVirginia Peninsula Association of REALTORS®

Monthly Public Policy Report

“THE MONITOR”

November 2016

“People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote – a very different thing.”

Walter H. Judd, American Politician and Physician

 

ELECTION DAY IS TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8th!

GET OUT THE VOTE, VPAR MEMBERS!

RPAC of Virginia and the National RPAC Trustees have endorsed Delegate Scott Taylor for the 2nd Congressional District seat left open with the retirement of Congressman Scott Rigell. A current member of the Virginia House of Delegates representing the 85th District that covers a portion of Virginia Beach, Taylor, a Republican, and his opponent, Democrat Shaun Brown, both were interviewed in September by a panel of REALTORS® from the various associations that the 2nd District covers. Representing VPAR on that interview panel were President Andy Cohen and PPC Member Peggy Todd.

 

Delegate Taylor, a real estate investor and former Navy Seal, has been a REALTOR® Champion in the state House, and sits on two House Committees in Richmond that are extremely important to the housing industry: The Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns; and the Transportation Committee. We are confident that he will continue to be an advocate for us in Washington!

 

If you live in the 2nd District, RPAC of Virginia encourages you to support Delegate Taylor!

 

Local Issues

 

 

VPAR’s Legislative Consultant maintains strong relationships with local government decision makers!

 

Regular one-on-one meetings and frequent discussions with County Administrators, Planners, Zoning Administrators, Economic Development Directors and other municipal officials take place each and every day to put VPAR front and center as a trusted resource and engaged community stakeholder.

 

See details below for the latest details on current issues in the VPAR localities.

 

 

Hampton

VPAR’s Legislative Consultant met recently with Councilwoman Teresa Schmidt, at the request of the Councilwoman, to discuss flooding issues in the City. Specific discussions focused on FEMA’s requirement that property owners in the City who upgrade their property at a cost that is equal to or greater than 50% of the value of the property register the property with FEMA. The concern is that this will have a chilling effect on owners who want to make improvements. The Legislative Consultant has advised NAR staff of this issue and is waiting feedback and counsel on any NAR positions or advice.

Other Hampton issues include:

  • VPAR continues toward efforts to set a meeting with the Mayor, Council, City Manager and relevant department heads to have a “check-up” meeting on the rental inspection program.
  • The City has reached out to your Legislative Consultant requesting assistance in disaggregating and analyzing rental data in the City. VPAR will be asking Dr. Tom Hall to include this in his housing needs study and market analysis that will be conducted for VPAR.
  • CEO Wetzel and your Legislative Consultant met on October 26th with Dr. Hall to outline his scope of work for the Hampton housing study that will be funded by an NAR Housing Opportunity Program grant that was awarded to the Association.
  • VPAR’s Legislative Consultant continues to reach out to the Circuit Court Clerk to arrange for a VPAR member tour of the new Courthouse, along with a tutorial on the role of the Court and the Clerk’s office in real estate transactions.
  • The Neighborhood Office has asked that VPAR work with them to host a Hampton Neighborhood Tour in the Spring of 2017. More details to come.

 

Isle of Wight County

The County has appointed Randy Keaton as its new County Administrator. Formerly with the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, Keaton brings 26 years of experience as the County Administrator in Pasquotank County, North Carolina. VPAR’s Legislative Consultant and Mr. Keaton, joined by Deputy County Administrator Don Robertson, will be meeting on November 7th to outline how VPAR can be a resource to the Administrator and his goals for the County.

 

Newport News

Piggybacking on the very positive meeting that VPAR held with City Manager Bourey, Assistant City Manager Cynthia Rohlf, Planning Director Sheila McAllister and Assistant Planning Director Claudia Cotton, along with President Cohen, Chairman Burt, CEO Wetzel and the VPAR Legislative Consultant back in September, VPAR will be moving forward on the following issues as a result of a follow-up meeting with your Consultant, the Assistant City Manager and the City’s Communications Director held on October 11th:

  1. Marketing Opportunity/Grant for a video production on the City
  2. REALTOR® 101 Class (It will be designed to mirror the Hampton 101 Class!)

 

Other Newport News issues include:

 

  • WHAT A SPECIAL DAY! If you missed the September 27th visit with Newport News Pubic Schools, you missed out on a wonderful opportunity! See the photos below that show what a special connection VPAR has with our schools. Schools and housing and quality of life all are connected! We hope to repeat this in the Spring at the request of the school division!
  • In late October, the City designated the Southeast community a rental inspection district. The Legislative Consultant has reached out to the City to ask that the Association be part of a stakeholders group, if one is formed, so that we can provide significant input into the development of the guidelines and processes that will be needed to implement the program and follow state Code. Program guidelines and details have not been developed at this point.
  • The City is making a push to implement workforce housing opportunities, particularly in the Southeast community, as part of a greater investment focusing on enhanced development and redevelopment as well as improved economic development. The City would like to have an incentive-based program to attract builders; VPAR has suggested the workforce housing/affordable dwelling unit (ADU) program to the City and has provided them with the language from the Code of Virginia that outlines that program at the local level.
  • VPAR continues to work with Councilwoman Tina Vick to outline a VPAR tour of the Southeast community, aiming for the Spring.
  • VPAR had a great showing at the recent STATE OF THE CITY OF NEWPORT NEWS Event! Check out these photos!

 

Poquoson 

The City held its first public input meeting on the Comprehensive Plan on October 18th at 7:00 PM.  More information about the Plan and the process can be found here: http://www.poquoson-va.gov/346/Comprehensive-Plan-Update.

 

Regional

  • The Ft. Eustis JLUS Update stakeholders group has not yet met and is waiting on information from the City of Newport News, which is taking the lead on the study. Hampton has asked that, given the joint base status with Langley Air Force Base, the study also include a review of the current flooding issues associated with Langley. VPAR has been asked to participate via your Legislative Consultant.
  • The October 18th General Membership Meeting with the Peninsula’s local school division Superintendents was extremely informative, enjoyable and beneficial. All of the area school leaders attended and provided a wealth of knowledge regarding many ongoing issues in public education – from SOL tests to the budget to new schools and programs to student success. What a fun morning!
  • The Hampton Roads Third Crossing options recently were revised at the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission (HRTAC). Historically, VPAR has taken a position to support greater regional transportation improvements without specifically supporting a single route or funding methodology while making it clear that the funding to support such projects cannot be borne on the backs of homeowners in the form of increased recordation or grantors taxes. Your Consultant is reaching out to each locality in the VPAR footprint to assess their position and insight.

 

State

The VAR Public Policy Committee continues to put final touches on the 2017 VAR Legislative Agenda. It is expected that the various issues regarding teams, team advertising and continuing education may be postponed until 2018 so that a VAR work group can be formed that will focus on the real-time issues facing practitioners. Also, several POA/COA issues likely will go forward in 2017, many of the ongoing and perennial concerns that members and your clients express also will be remanded to a special work group next year so that a comprehensive review of the POA/COA statutes can be reviewed. Stay tuned for details in the next edition of THE MONITOR for a full report on the 2017 Legislative Agenda.

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW for the 2017 REALTOR® Day event! Scheduled for February 8th, the room is reserved, approval is in from the House Clerk’s office to allow us to have food and beverages, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore is confirmed as a guest speaker, the bus has been confirmed and more details are coming together!  Plus, the VAR Luncheon Speaker has been announced: UVA’s DR. LARRY SABATO!  Look for registration details and more to come soon.

Federal

FEDERAL CONDO OWNER-OCCUPANCY UPDATE

On October 26th, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a mortgagee letter making changes to the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) owner-occupancy requirement for condominiums in accordance with the requirements of H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA). Under the new provisions, FHA approved condominium projects require at least 50% of the units to be owner-occupied, but will allow for the owner-occupancy requirement to be lowered down to 35% if:

  • The project has replacement reserves of at least 20% of the budget,
  • No more than 10% of the units are in arrears (more than 60 days past due), and
  • The condo has three years of acceptable financial documents.

 

 

Should you have questions on these or other issues, or for additional details, please contact Susan Gaston, VPAR’s Legislative Consultant, at 757-871-1445 or at susan@gastongroup.com.

 

The Monitor – September 2016

Susan Gaston at CapitalVirginia Peninsula Association of REALTORS®

Monthly Public Policy Report

“The best way to appreciate our political process is to volunteer for a campaign and support a candidate you believe in.”

Rob McKenna, former Attorney General of the State of Washington

ELECTIONS

Voter Registration Information

The next election will be held on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Please be advised that the deadline to register to vote or update an existing voter registration is MONDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2016. The deadline to request an ABSENTEE BALLOT be mailed to you is 5:00 PM on TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 21016.  (Notice to voters using US mail service: The USPS delivery standards changed early last year so that First Class delivery went from 1-3 days to 2-5 days and Standard delivery is now 2-9 days.   Please take this into consideration as you start thinking towards absentee voting for the Presidential election.)

The deadline to request an absentee ballot by appearing in person is 5:00 PM on Saturday, November 5, 2016.

Local Issues

 VPAR’s Legislative Consultant maintains strong relationships with local government decision makers!

 Regular one-on-one meetings and frequent discussions with County Administrators, Planners, Zoning Administrators, Economic Development Directors and other municipal officials take place each and every day to put VPAR front and center as a trusted resource and engaged community stakeholder.

See details below for the latest details on current issues in the VPAR localities.

Hampton

Last month, VPAR was awarded a $5,000 Housing Opportunity Program (HOP) grant from NAR. The purpose of our grant application is to work with the City and an economist to identify and assess the City’s current housing stock, and to project, using demographic trends and buyer preferences, what the City’s housing needs may be in the future. This in-depth process has just begun, but our hope is that the City can use the information in its various neighborhood Master Plans and in its review of the Comprehensive Plan.

Also in Hampton:

  • VPAR’s Legislative Consultant recently met with Councilwoman Teresa Schmidt to discuss various flooding issues in the City and its impact on housing.
  • VPAR continues to work with the City to schedule a review of the City’s rental inspection program to assess that it is meeting its intent.
  • VPAR’s Legislative Consultant will be meeting with the new Mayor, Hon. Donnie Tuck, in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!
  • VPAR sends a big THANK YOU to VPAR member and Neighborhood Commission Chairwoman Peggy Todd, who rotates out of the Chair’s seat. She has done a fabulous job in this leadership position!

Isle of Wight County

The County has appointed Randy Keaton as its new County Administrator. Formerly with the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, Keaton brings 26 years of experience as the County Administrator in Pasquotank County, North Carolina. VPAR’s Legislative Consultant and Mr. Keaton, joined by Deputy County Administrator Don Robertson, will be meeting soon to outline how VPAR can be a resource to the Administrator and his goals for the County.

Newport News

On September 6, President Andy Cohen, PPC Chairman Carl Burt, CEO Jim Wetzel and Legislative Consultant Susan Gaston met with City Manager Jim Bourey and his staff to outline ongoing opportunities for the City and VPAR to work together on mutual housing goals. The productive discussions lead to potential grant opportunities to market the City, to explore opportunities to create a REALTOR® College program and to work with the City on a variety of issues in the 2017 General Assembly Session.

  • VPAR is working with Newport News Public School on a tour and information session scheduled for September 27th! To register, contact Jo McNamara Daly at jo@vpvar.org.
  • The Comprehensive Plan Citizens Advisory Committee (CPCAC) is ramping up for more fall work and discussions to begin earnest work on chapter rewrites and revisions. VPAR’s Legislative Consultant is an appointed member of the CPCAC.
  • The City is taking the lead on the Joint Land Use Study for Ft. Eustis. As with the CPCAC, VPAR’s Legislative Consultant has been appointed to the JLUS.

Poquoson 

As it continues to review its Comprehensive Plan, the City will hold its first public input meeting on October 18th at 7:00 PM in the cafeteria of Poquoson High School, located at 51 Odd Road in Poquoson.  More information about the Plan and the process can be found here: http://www.poquoson-va.gov/346/Comprehensive-Plan-Update.

 York County

Tim Cross, Principal Planner for the County, and VPAR’s Legislative Consultant met in early September to discuss a variety of issues in the County, covering topics ranging from vacant commercial properties to future development potential to the next iteration of the County’s Comprehensive Plan in a few years.

Regional

HRT TOUR!

VPAR members “GOT ON THE BUS” with Hampton Roads Transit in late August! REALTORS® and Affiliate Members learned about the work that HRT is conducting to improve its ridership and services – including rapid bus transit that VPAR supported in the General Assembly — rode on several routes and heard from riders and businesses who rely on bus service. This very informative morning is the first of what we hope will be additional opportunities to connect with this important public partner!

HAZARD MITIGATION PLAN INPUT

Now through September 27, tell the region what you think should be done to decrease the risks of natural disasters and man-made hazards such as flooding or storm damage. Peninsula localities have been working on a planning process and your participation in the final stages of plan review is very important. The purpose of these plans is to identify and assess hazard risks (such as floods, hurricanes, and winter storms), and determine how to best minimize or manage the hazard effects.

There are two ways in which you can provide feedback to the Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee:
1. Review The Draft Plan –  The September 2016 working draft of the Hampton Roads Hazard Mitigation Plan Update is now posted for your review. Please provide comments or questions to John Sadler who may be reached by email at jsadler@hrpdcva.gov or by phone at 757-420-8300. Please be as specific as possible in your comments and provide page numbers or section numbers pertinent to your remarks.

2. Attend The Feedback Forum – On Tuesday, September 27, from 4:00 to 6:00 PM, at the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center, 20130 University Boulevard, Suffolk, the Committee will host a Feedback Forum. Committee members will be present to provide information on the planning process, and collect feedback from citizens on the plan components.

Please add your voice to the planning and decision-making process.

State

At the time of this writing, the VAR Board of Directors was taking action on the recommendations of the VAR Public Policy Committee regarding the 2017 VAR Legislative Agenda. It is expected that the various issues regarding teams, team advertising and continuing education may be postponed for a period of time so that a VAR work group can be created that will focus on the real-time issues facing practitioners. Also, while a number of POA/COA issues likely will go forward in 2017, many of the ongoing and perennial concerns that members and your clients express also will be remanded to a special work group next year so that a comprehensive review of the POA/COA statutes can be reviewed. Stay tuned for details in the next edition of THE MONITOR for a full report on the 2017 Legislative Agenda.

lynn-grimsleyCONGRATULATIONS are extended to VPAR Member Lynn Grimsley on being reappointed by Governor McAuliffe to a second term on the Virginia Real Estate Board (VREB)! We are proud to call her one of our members and appreciate the dedication and commitment she gives to the real estate industry.

chandra-patterson-1-09MANY THANKS to VPAR Member Chandra Patterson for her SIX YEARS of service on the RPAC of VIRGINIA TRUSTEES! Chandra just completed two three-year terms on this very important board that implements one of the most critical tasks of your Association membership: endorsing candidates and appropriating campaign contributions to REALTOR®-friendly candidates. She will be missed and her deliberate, thoughtful approach to sound decision making regarding elections and RPAC funding are greatly appreciated!

Federal

THE CALL-TO-ACTION WORKED! H.R. 3700 SIGNED BY THE PRESIDENT!

H.R. 3700, sponsored by Reps. Luetkemeyer (R-MO) and Cleaver (R-MO) and through companion legislation, Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and Scott (R-SC), passed the Senate under unanimous consent. On July 29th, the President signed the bill. This legislation previously passed the House by a vote of 427-0.  This legislation:

  • Solves a number of concerns regarding FHA’s condo rules:
    • Reduces the FHA condo owner occupancy ratio to 35%, unless FHA takes alternative action within 90 days.
    • Directs FHA to streamline the condo re-certification process.
    • Provides more flexibility for mixed use buildings.
    • Mirrors the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) rules regarding private transfer fees for FHA condo lending.
  • Provides permanent authority for direct endorsement for approved lenders to approve Rural Housing Service (RHS) loans.
  • Makes reforms to federally assisted housing programs to streamline the programs.

Nearly 140,000 REALTORS® participated in the Call-to-Action with a response rate over 15%. This clearly made a difference on Capitol Hill. We expect the President to sign the legislation shortly.

Thank you to all VPAR members who responded to the Call-to-Action!

EXISTING FHA CONDO RULES EXTENDED

On August 24th, HUD extended its existing temporary guidance on condos, without the changes brought about in HR 3700. HUD continues to work on the regulatory guidance to implement the new law, but their existing guidance was set to expire. In notice 2016-13, they simply extend the existing guidance until they can publish the new rules. NAR continues to work with HUD to hasten the publication of the provisions included in the new law.  Those will:

  • Reduce the FHA condo owner occupancy ratio to 35%, unless FHA takes alternative action within 90 days.
  • Direct FHA to streamline the condo re-certification process.
  • Provide more flexibility for mixed use buildings.

Mirror the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) rules regarding private transfer fees for FHA condo lending.

Stay tuned for updates, as HUD releases the new guidance.

FHA AUGUST FAQs

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) recently published the August 2016 – HUD Handbook 4000.1 Frequently Asked Questions Update (FAQs).  The FAQs cover a variety of topics including how to treat income earned by borrowers from state legalized marijuana, unreimbursed business expenses, repossessions and eligibility for borrowers with limited credit histories, among others.

http://hudgov.prod.parature.com/FileManagement/Download/f7a47b01eab0455f8e3089000dc9a1f8?token=fJvc7RzpcT@j1B0bN9qH1DQDsx02dxVW8SmdRQxGf6FQA@SQh5wtyWZe33zMm2swv9uJTLvkTsQvK9t6Yh6MiJCOMay37@R3D1n/@laou5KKFIfRslt0PcR5VUoAAS1G

Should you have questions on these or other issues, or for additional details, please contact Susan Gaston, VPAR’s Legislative Consultant, at 757-871-1445 or at susan@gastongroup.com.

 

“THE MONITOR” August 2016

Susan Gaston at CapitalVirginia Peninsula Association of REALTORS®
Monthly Public Policy Report
“THE MONITOR”
 August 2016

“Upon you, fellow citizens, as the representatives of the States and the people, is wisely devolved the legislative power.” – Millard Fillmore, 13th President of the United States of America

No matter how high the temperatures, VPAR maintain it’s cool for you in the legislative and political arenas throughout the Peninsula, and at all levels of government.

 ELECTIONS

2nd Congressional District

VPAR President Andy Cohen and VPAR Public Policy Committee member Peggy Todd participated in candidate interviews for the 2nd Congressional District on July 18th. Along with interview panel members from the Hampton Roads REALTORS® Association, the Williamsburg Association of REALTORS® and the Eastern Shore Association of REALTORS® — the Associations within the 2nd Congressional District – VPAR interviewed Del. Scott Taylor, the Republican candidate, and Shaun Brown, the Democratic candidate. An announcement regarding the endorsed candidate will be forthcoming, following action by the Trustees of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Read the Full Report Here !

“THE MONITOR” JULY 2016

GASTON, SUSAN COLOR 2255 (2)Virginia Peninsula Association of REALTORS®

Monthly Public Policy Report

 

“In the heat of our campaigns, we have all become accustomed to a little anger and exaggeration. Yet on the whole, our political process has served us well.” – Edmund S. Muskie

 

Summer is upon us, and VPAR’s Public Policy Program is in “the heat” of several issues at all levels of government! From elections to preparing for the 2017 General Assembly Session, we are working hard for you to make sure that your voice and the voice of housing is heard!

 

ELECTIONS

 

VPAR extends its congratulations to the members of the Hampton and Newport News City Councils who will be sworn in on Friday, July 1st. In Hampton, Mayor-elect Donnie Tuck will take the oath of office, having defeated Mayor George Wallace. Council members returning to the dais are Linda Curtis, Billy Hobbs and Chris Snead. In Newport News, Pat Woodbury and Tina Vick will be joined by newcomer Marcellus Harris, who defeated incumbent Councilman Rob Coleman. VPAR Public Policy Committee (PPC) conducted candidate interviews in late March with nearly all of the candidates, and looks forward to working with the returning and new members of Council!

Delegate Scott Taylor (R-Virginia Beach) defeated Rep. Randy Forbes in the June 14th Republican Primary for the 2nd Congressional seat which includes portions of the VPAR footprint. In November, the general election will be held for this seat with Republican nominee Taylor being opposed by Newport News activist and former City Council candidate Shaun Brown, the Democratic nominee. VPAR will be working with the Hampton Roads REALTORS® Association, the Williamsburg Association of REALTORS® and the Eastern Shore Association of REALTORS® — the Associations within the 2nd Congressional District – to interview and recommend endorsement decisions to the RPAC of Virginia Trustees and the National Association of REALTORS®. The interviews will be held on July 18th and VPAR will be represented by two PPC members who live in the District. Stay tuned for more details.

Also in November, the Poquoson City Council will have elections in each of the three precincts – Central, Eastern and Western – as well as Mayoral elections. Your Public Policy Committee will conduct candidate interviews for these seats, which are especially important given that the City is reviewing it Comprehensive Plan.

And speaking of elections: RPAC of Virginia supports candidates who support our issues. At the state level, the importance of the position of RPAC of Virginia Trustee cannot be overlooked! VPAR expresses its sincere thanks to Chandra Patterson for her six years of service as a Trustee. She has worked tirelessly on our behalf, as well as on behalf of the profession and of homeownership. We also want to congratulate Eugenia Jackson upon being nominated by VPAR for an appointment to the RPAC of Virginia Trustees! Good luck, Eugenia, and know that we have your back!

 

Local Issues

 

Hampton

 

If you missed The UPDATE last month, be sure to check out the article on veterans housing and homelessness, and what more the Association can do to support this important demographic of our housing market. http://vpar.realtor/a-call-to-action-for-veterans-housing-on-the-peninsula

Since running the article last month, VPAR has reached out to the City of Hampton to gauge interest in collaborating with the Association on a veterans housing project. The article is circulating around the Planning Department and the Federal/Militaries Facility Office, with interest. Stay tuned…..

Rain, rain go away. Water, water everywhere. Got flooding? While these are offered somewhat in jest, the issues are serious. And Hampton decision makers have reached out to VPAR asking if our members are having issues moving properties in Hampton as a result of the perception of flooding issues. If you have experienced buyers shying away from Hampton out of concerns with rising tides and flooding, please contact Susan Gaston at susan@gastongroup.com so that we can provide details to City leaders.

More on flooding:

New flood maps may require homeowners to get flood insurance

New maps that should more accurately assess the risk of flooding went into effect in Hampton last month. Homeowners whose property is now in a potential flood zone may be hearing from their insurance or mortgage company that they need to purchase flood insurance for the first time.

 

You can learn more about why and how this occurred by watching this video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEvft3PVNC4. You can find out if your property is in a flood zone; see links and directions at www.hampton.gov/floodmaps.

Hampton participates in a federal program to offer flood education and information to residents and to adopt regulates on building in flood zones. That participation reduces the cost of mandated flood insurance by 10 percent for the city’s property owners.

 

 

Poquoson

The City has just begun the process of reviewing its Comprehensive Plan and held its first Community Participation Team (CPT) meeting last month. The discussions largely were organizational in nature, so stay tuned as VPAR monitors the activity of this important process.

Regional

In various parts of the region, property owners are being held responsible for delinquent bills of their tenants. Virginia Code states that the owner is responsible ONLY  if: 1.) the tenant puts up a security deposit; and 2.) the security deposit is not adequate to over the delinquency, and in either case, only after the water authority or local government exercises due diligence to collect the delinquency from the tenant and is unable to collect.  If you have received a letter indicating that a lien will be placed on your property or a property that you are managing, and the above-outlined conditions are not outlined in the letter, please advise VPAR so that we can begin to track the situation, and consider options to prevent the situation.

 

GET ON THE BUS! THE HRT BUS, THAT IS!

Mark your calendars! The buses of Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) are rolling up to VPAR on August 24th! To demonstrate the importance of transit in our region, and to help you as REALTORS® better understand the HRT system, its routes and its service, VPAR has partnered with Hampton Roads Transit for a REALTOR® Bus Tour! More details with a precise agenda are forthcoming, but SAVE THE DATE for August 24th so that you can be part of this first-ever ride-along! It is sure to be fun and informative!

 

State

 

The 2016 General Assembly session saw over 2,000 bills introduced in the House and Senate. Of those, about one-third of those bills ultimately passed both houses and were signed into law by the Governor Terry McAuliffe. These are the new laws impacting housing and real estate that will take effect on July 1, 2016 unless otherwise stated in the legislation.

How is the housing and real estate community impacted? Check out details at http://www.virginiarealtorschoose.com/2016-new-laws/ for a complete rundown of the changes and what you need to do to comply!

If you know of a situation in your practice that would be remedied by a legislative fix, now is the time to contact VPAR’s Legislative Consultant, Susan Gaston. A draft proposal will be prepared and considered by the Association’s PPC and submitted to VAR for inclusion into the 2017 Legislative Package.

Federal

Take a minute today to make a bid difference for homeowners tomorrow! Respond to the NAR CALL FOR ACTION regarding S. 3083, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act.” This is a newly introduced companion bill to H.R. 3700. This bipartisan legislation passed the House by a unanimous vote of 427-0 and is now before the Senate. Go to the REALTOR® Action Center to respond with just a few clicks!

https://realtorparty.realtoractioncenter.com/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=8C8530DD45CF39AA163768EE8FCD2835.app311b?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=4355&autologin=true

 

NAR LEADS GSE FEE REDUCTION COALITION

On June 22, 2016, NAR led a letter along with 24 other organizations to FHFA Director Mel Watt urging him to reduce loan level price adjustments (LLPAs) by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This was an outstanding joint effort by consumer and industry groups, many of whom continue to collaborate on broader housing finance reform. In it, the coalition raises concerns with the GSEs double-charging consumers for assumed credit losses and capital levels that are already being assumed by existing g-fees and private mortgage insurance coverage.

 

Some additional points:

  • G-fees have increased sharply since 2009. When combined with LLPAs, GSE income has increased substantially but without achieving broad access to credit.
  • No borrower should face arbitrarily high prices for mortgage credit, especially when the burden is felt particularly by low- and moderate-income and first-time homebuyers.
  • Policymakers will continue to debate larger issues related to the future of the GSEs, but there is no scenario where LLPAs are needed to cover risk that is already covered by g-fees and other forms of risk sharing.

 

NEW SMALL DRONE RULE FROM THE FAA

On June 21, 2016, the FAA released the Small UAS Rule, which now permits widespread commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The rule addresses permitted activities for commercial operations of UAS that are 55 lbs or less, inclusive of payload. The rule will go into effect in August 2016.

 

The rule defines permissible operations for UAS in this size category. The rule also defines the education and testing requirement for UAS operators. A new certificate class and testing regime unique to UAS operators will result in more predictability in the market for UAS services and service providers, making it easier for real estate professionals to access this service.

 

The operational limitations defined in the rule do not differ much from what the FAA proposed in February 2015. Flights are limited to daylight operations within the operator’s line of sight, at a maximum speed of 100 MPH and 400′ above ground level (AGL). The FAA has indicated its willingness to work with innovators who want to experiment with new applications of UAS that would not fit within the permissible operations of the rule.

 

See the “TOP 5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DRONES” here! http://www.realtor.org/articles/top-5-things-faa-regulations-on-unmanned-aerial-systems-uas

Should you have questions on these or other issues, or for additional details, please contact Susan Gaston, VPAR’s Legislative Consultant, at 757-871-1445 or at susan@gastongroup.com.