The Monitor – April 2015

GASTON, SUSAN COLOR 2255 (2)Virginia Peninsula Association of REALTORS®
THE MONITOR
SPRING 2015

 

 

 

Local Issues

 

City of Hampton
On April 2nd, the Planning Department unanimously approved changes to the sign provisions of the Zoning Ordinance that will allow for building owners in the Hampton Roads Center Parkway development to post the names of current tenants on their exterior in-ground signs. This change benefits VPAR directly and permits the Association’s various tenants to be listed. In doing so, greater exposure is given to these companies and incents them to stay within the development. VPAR worked with the Economic Development Authority and with the Planning Department to engage their early support. Your Legislative Consultant, Susan Gaston, spoke to the matter, stating that the Association appreciated the City’s support in allowing this change and in working with the Association to find a meaningful solution to an issue that had been raised by tenants for a couple of years. Having passed the Commission, the issue will be heard by Council on May 13th.

 

City of Newport News
The City’s work on updating its Comprehensive Plan continues! Now into its 15 month of what is expected to be a two-year process, the Comprehensive Plan Citizens Advisory Committee (CPCAC) still meets at least monthly and is moving through the Plan chapter by chapter, most recently working on the Vision and Mission statements. VPAR has a seat at the table and is very engaged in this important process that will be the guide for amending the City’s Zoning Ordinance and other important policies.

 

VPAR has been approved for a $5,000 NAR Housing Opportunity Program (HOP) grant! The Association applied in January for the grant in order to gather data on the current housing stock and housing market in the City, and also to assess both current and future housing needs. This data is being compiled, reviewed and analyzed by Dr. Tom Hall Christopher Newport University. Along with census track data and City data regarding transportation, building permits and important data from REIN, VPAR is developing the “data dump” for Dr. Hall. Upon completion, regardless of the results, the findings will be presented to the County upon completion and review. THIS IS YOUR NAR DUES AT WORK, COMING RIGHT BACK HERE TO BE USED IN YOUR BACKYARD!

 

VPAR also was the recipient of a $2,000 NAR Placemaking Micro-grant that will be used to fund two benches from VPAR as part of the renovations of the Victory Arch located in downtown Newport News. http://www.dailypress.com/news/newport-news/dp-nws-evg-victory-arch-20141126-story.html We have been working with the City’s Parks and Recreation Department on this initiative since December of last year.

 

You may be aware that the Arch and its surrounding park are going through a refurbishment, and the two VPAR Veterans Memorial Benches will add a much-needed sitting area for veterans and active military, Peninsula residents, City and Court employees, shipyard employees, etc. We had hoped that the benches would be installed in time for the City’s ONE CITY Marathon in mid-March, where the Victory Arch was the finish line, but the inclement winter weather did not cooperate. Given that situation, the City is working toward a re-dedication of the Arch later in the Spring when the space is fully upgraded with new pavers, the VPAR benches and a power-washed Arch. We will be sure to be an active part of that ceremony, and we are honored to be part of an opportunity to create a space that will be long lasting and that will enhance the REALTOR® brand. THIS IS ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF YOUR NAR DUES AT WORK, COMING RIGHT BACK HERE TO BE USED IN YOUR BACKYARD! TWO APPRPOVED GRANTS IN TWO MONTHS!

 

City of Poquoson
Make sure to join us on Friday, May 8th, from 9:00 AM until 1:30 PM at the Poquoson Yacht Club for the 3rd Annual REALTOR® DAY in POQUSON! This FREE EVENT has become a VPAR Rite of Spring, where VPAR members can be made aware of the many unique features of the City. From opening remarks by the Mayor to presentations from the City Manager, the Superintendent of Schools, the Economic Development Director and the Police Chief, come hear all that you can about Poquoson. A light breakfast and a delicious lunch are included…and so is the famous CITY MANAGER BUS TOUR! Call VPAR today to sign up for this fun- and fact-filled day! For more details, please visit: http://www.poquoson-va.gov/node/762.

 

York County
VPAR offers its congratulations to Neil Morgan, the just-appointed new County Administrator who will take the helm in mid-June. Mr. Morgan comes to York County from Virginia Tech, but prior to his academic career, he served as the City Manager of the City of Newport News for four years. Your Legislative Consultant and Mr. Morgan have a solid professional relationship, and VPAR and the County will benefit from his position as County Administrator. Mark Carter has been serving as the Interim Administrator since the sudden death last October of former Administrator Jim “Mac” McReynolds. VPAR extends its thanks and appreciation to Mr. Carter for stepping in to guide the County during a difficult time, and looks forward to working with Mr. Morgan!

 

Regional
On April 21st, the VPAR General Membership Meeting featured all of the Mayors, Chairs, City Managers and County Administrators from the Peninsula in a panel setting to discuss a variety of local and regional issues. Joining the VPAR leadership, Board, Public Policy Committee and many other VPAR members were Hampton Mayor George Wallace and City Manager Mary Bunting, Newport News Mayor Dr. McKinley Price and City Manager Jim Bourey, Poquoson City Manager Randy Wheeler (Mayor Gene Hunt was unable to be part of the morning as a result of a last-minute situation that required his attention) and York County Board of Supervisors Chairman Tom Shepperd and Interim County Administrator Mark Carter all gathered for what was a productive and informative morning. Topics up for grabs included coastal flooding and resiliency of each locality and the region, housing stock and housing opportunities, characteristics of their communities, quality of life and regional cooperation. A multitude of questions could not be answered due to time constraints, but VPAR is seeking responses from the panel in writing. So, check out the VPAR website often to see if the answer to your question has been posted!

 

Have you seen the bi-annual publication from NAR on smart growth, development, zoning and other housing and land-use issues? ON COMMON GROUND is published twice a year by NAR and is chock-full of information that is especially useful to local government officials as well as to REALTORS®. In efforts to continue outreach to our area governments, VPAR is hand delivering copies of the Winter 2015 issue to the municipalities in our footprint. See the link below to the current edition that focuses on urban growth, nothing that the demand for living and working in cities is higher than at any time in the past 60 years. The largest cities are becoming larger, and the central cities are seeing more growth than the suburbs. The urban reawakening is the future of our economy.  http://www.realtor.org/publications/on-common-ground/winter-2015-cities-ascendant
State
The General Assembly officially has concluded its business for 2015, having adjourned its regular Session on February 25th and its Reconvened or “Veto” Session on April 17th. All REALTOR® bills have been signed by the Governor and become effective on July 1st. The WAAR legislative delegation was very supportive and extraordinarily helpful in guiding our many bills to a successful outcome. Out of 1,638 votes on our bills, from subcommittee to full committee to the floors in both the House and Senate, not a single vote was cast against our bills. That is a 100% success rate, and that is your RPAC investment at work.

In fact, to see how your RPAC dollars will come back to you, check out RPAC by the Numbers, a helpful breakdown of how RPAC monies directly benefit you, your business and your customers. http://www.virginiarealtorschoose.com/rpac-victories/

 

But we’re not resting on our laurels. The work continues, and right now, we are looking towards the 2016 General Assembly Session and the bills that may need to come from our Association. If you know of issues that may require a legislative fix, now is the time to act. Please send any issues that could be included in the legislative agenda for next Session to Susan Gaston no later than June 1, 2016 so that the proper research, vetting and drafting may take place prior to sending the issue to VAR by July 1st.

 

Federal

NAR Testifies at Senate Banking Hearing
The U.S. Senate Banking Committee on April 17th held a hearing entitled, “Regulatory Burdens to Obtaining Mortgage Credit.” Chris Polychron, 2015 NAR President and executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, AR, testified on behalf of NAR.
CFPB Issues Mortgage Toolkit
As part of their obligations under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued an updated “Special Information Booklet” which is now known as the “Your Home Loan Toolkit.”
Fannie Mae Announces Assistance Program
Fannie Mae has announced a new program that offers 3% in closing costs assistance for first time homebuyers who purchase Fannie Mae REO properties.
3% Cap Bill Passes House
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 685, “The Mortgage Choice Act” by a vote of 286-140.
NAR Submits Comments on QM Changes
On March 30, 2015, NAR submitted comments to the CFPB on proposed changes to mortgage rules that were finalized in January of 2013.

 

For additional information and details on these or other issues, or to contact VPAR’s Legislative Consultant, Susan Gaston, directly, email susan@gastongroup.com or call 757-871-1445.

THE LEGISLATIVE LINE Number 5 March 1, 2015

CapitalVIRGINIA PENINSULA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
THE LEGISLATIVE LINE
The Legislative Update from VPAR
Number 5 March 1, 2015
For the first time in recent memory, the General Assembly adjourned a day early, gaveling out “Sine Die,” Latin for “without another day,” on Friday night, February 27th. In a Session that wrapped up with a two-year budget completed in record time, little acrimony, and raises for state employees, state-supported local employees, college faculty, and teachers, this Session has been regarded by some senior legislators from both parties as one of the best and most efficient on record.

 

This short session also produced:
• extra money for state police, sheriff’s deputies and correctional officers;
• better protection of students from campus sexual assaults and of young children in unlicensed day care homes;
• an historic overhaul of the state ABC Board ;
• big boosts to underfunded state employee and teacher pensions;
• stricter oversight of public-private transportation deals, such as the aborted $1.8 billion plan for a new U.S. 460, and a sweeping reallocation of state transportation funds; and
• financial relief for local governments and higher education, as well as a much-needed early deposit to the state rainy-day fund after draining it to plug a projected $2.4 billion revenue shortfall that ended up being less dire than expected.

 

Nothing was more remarkable in the assembly session than the smooth adoption of a two-year, $35 billion state general fund budget on Thursday — two days before the scheduled adjournment and earlier than anyone involved could remember.

 

With bills now on the Governor’s desk for his approval by midnight on March 30th, in advance of the April 8th Veto Session, Delegates and Senators have returned home, primed to begin the election cycle for all 140 seats of the legislature in November.

 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY RETIREMENTS
Eight members of the General Assembly, five members of the Senate and three members of the House, are not seeking re-election this year. Combined, Senators Charles Colgan (D-Manassas), John Watkins (R-Powhatan), Walter Stosch (R-Henrico), Linda T. “Toddy” Puller (D-Alexandria) and Jeff McWaters (R-Virginia Beach), along with Delegates Mamye BaCote (D-Newport News), Tom Rust (R-Reston) and Ed Scott (R-Madison) represent nearly 170 years in legislative service and institutional knowledge. They will be missed for their budget acumen, their statesman/stateswoman-like qualities and their expertise across a variety of issues including agriculture, transportation, accounting and local government operations. All have been stalwart friends of the real estate and housing industries, and VPAR wishes them well on their next journey. We especially will miss our own Peninsula member of the House, Delegate BaCote. Thanks to each of them for their love of and dedication to the Commonwealth. Well done!

 
STATUS OF THE REALTOR®
2015 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
VAR’s entire legislative agenda PASSED THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY and rests on the Governor’s desk. Governor McAuliffe must take action on ALL legislation by midnight on Monday, March 30th.
IN ADDITION, as noted in last week’s update, we have prevailed on two budget issues: 1.) the language in the Governor’s budget that would have resulted in an increase from $500 to $2,500 for the deductible in mitigating underground petroleum tanks has been removed; and 2.) the $50,000 appropriation needed to enact the criminal inducement policy is in the House budget and also is in the Senate budget.

 

HB 1450 – Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act;
Representations related to special flood hazard area
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb1450
Introduced by: Jackson H. Miller
Buyers Should Be Aware of Storm Water Maintenance Agreements. Increasingly, local governments are entering into maintenance agreements with landowners that may require the landowner to ill maintain a stormwater facility on the property. For many years, we have advised that REALTORS® tell buyers to identify the existence of these facilities on the property, but not to ask whether or not there is a formal maintenance agreement with the locality in place. To ensure that your buyers and buyers agents know what to ask, we are amending the “buyer-beware” disclosure form to include the existence of stormwater maintenance agreement.
ROLLED INTO HB 1642

 

HB 1452 – Landlord and tenant law; who may recover rent and possession
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb1452
Introduced by: Jackson H. Miller
Different Judges Interpret the Law Differently. We have several judges in Virginia who say that because “family trusts” are not specifically spelled out in the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act, or the VRLTA, our property managers cannot appear in court on behalf of their clients. This leaves the owner to have to appear in person or to hire an attorney. This was an oversight in the VRLTA. To make sure our property managers can continue to represent their clients in court, we will propose amending the Virginia Landlord Tenant Act to add “family trusts.”
Passed the House 98-0 on January 28th; passed the Senate 38-0 on February 19th. Headed to the Governor’s office.

 

HB 1965 – Dept. of Professional and Occupational Regulation; Real Estate Transaction Recovery Fund
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb1965
Introduced by: Thomas Davis Rust
Helping our Consumers Recover Funds They Are Owed. Currently, when a licensee is found guilty of a Real Estate Board regulation and the consumer is owed money, the consumer has to petition the general district court for a judgment. The judgment specifically must state the offense that occurred with the real estate licensee or the Real Estate Board cannot award the funds. To fix that, we are amending the Code of Virginia to allow judges to award a general judgment, similar to what already is allowed under the Board of Contractors.
Passed the House 90-0 on February 4th; passed the Senate 38-0 on February 19th. Headed to the Governor’s Office.

 

HB 2100 – Condominium and Property Owners’ Association Acts; allowable charges; rental of units
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb2100
Introduced by: Christopher K. Peace
Further Clarification to the POA and COA. Each year, issues arise in the relationships between REALTORS®, homeowners, Property Owners’ Associations (POA’s) and Condominium Owners’ Associations (COA’s). VAR will work with the state legislature to make sure there is clarity in the law regarding what fees can be charged and what actions ownership associations can take. It is important to find the proper balance in the agreements between homeowners and POA’s and COA’s to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship.
Passed the House 100-0 on February 10th; passed the Senate 38-0 on February 19th with amendments. Reconsidered with Senate amendments by the House on February 23rd and passed 98-0. The bill is headed to the Governor for his approval.
SB 775 – Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act; related to special flood hazard zones https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=sb775
Introduced by: Mamie E. Locke
Passed the House 99-0 on January 22nd; passed the Senate 38-0 on February 16th. Headed to the Governor’s Office.

 

HB 1642 – Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act; related to special flood hazard zones
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb1642
Introduced by: Christopher P. Stolle
Buyers Need to Determine If a Property Will Need Flood Insurance: Buyers, particularly in coastal regions of Virginia, should be able to identify whether properties will need additional flood insurance because they are located in a FEMA-determined special flood hazard zone. Currently, a flood certification is performed on every property, regardless of where it is in Virginia, by the mortgage lender. This is used as part of the underwriting of the loan and to ensure appropriate insurance coverage is applied as required by federal law. Flood certifications are performed by third-party providers with expertise in evaluating the FEMA flood zone maps. A list of these providers is readily available on the FEMA website. As with home inspections, storm water facilities, and the sexual offender registry, buyers should be educated on what issues to investigate in the transaction. To accomplish this, we propose amending the Code to add language to the Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Statement’s list of disclosures that advises the purchaser to exercise due diligence in investigating whether the property resides within a special flood hazard zone, including obtaining a flood certification.
Passed the House 98-0 on January 28th; passed the Senate 38-0 on February 19th. Headed to the Governor’s Office.

 

1424 – Virginia Water and Waste Authorities Act; delinquent payment
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb1424
Introduced by: Daniel W. Marshall, III
Landlords and Property Owners Should Not Bear the Burden. VAR helped pass a requiring a landlord or property owner to pay delinquent water bills from their tenants before the services could be turned back on. Unfortunately, the General Assembly missed one Code section. To fix this oversight, we propose amending all of the sections in the Code to prohibit water authorities from requiring landlords or property owners to pay delinquent water fees from tenants.
Passed the House 98-0 on February 10th; passed the Senate 38-0 on February 20th. Headed to the Governor’s Office.

 

HB 1493 – Enticing, etc., real estate licensee with intent to commit certain felonies; penalty
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb1493
Introduced by: Jackson H. Miller
SB 1100 Enticing, etc., real estate licensee with intent to commit certain felonies;
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=sb1100
Introduced by: Mark D. Obenshain
Making Sure Predators Get What They Deserve. There have been several high-profile cases in the past several months where REALTORS® have been lured into vacant houses and assaulted, raped, abducted….or worse. In each of these instances, the victim was lured into the property through contact from a potential “client” who wanted to see the property. We are pursuing legislation to ensure authorities have adequate tools in place to prosecute individuals who knowingly lure or trap Realtors® into these circumstances with intent to do harm.  SB 1100 was reported from the Senate Courts of Justice Committee; with its fiscal impact, the bill was re-referred to the Senate Finance Committee, where it was left on the table as a result of budget constraints. HOWEVER, HB 1493 reported from the House Courts of Justice Committee AND from the House Appropriations Committee. The House appropriated the needed $50,000 in its budget to enact the policy, and the Senate likewise has appropriated the funds, based on contingency language.

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

THE LEGISLATIVE LINE Number 4 February 21, 2015

CapitalVIRGINIA PENINSULA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
THE LEGISLATIVE LINE
The Legislative Update from VPAR
Number 4 February 21, 2015

Forty-five days. Two thousand, two hundred sixty-one bills, five of which already have been signed into law by the Governor. Nearly 300 bills tracked by your lobbying team. One hundred forty legislators. Nine degrees. Eight inches of snow.
AND LESS THAN ONE WEEK LEFT!

 
The 2015 General Assembly Session certainly can be defined by the numbers, and by the stark difference as well between this and last year’s legislative session. A year ago at this time, the General Assembly was in serious disagreement over Medicaid expansion, which then evolved into a budget issue that resulted in a regular Session lasting for over 100 days and dissolving into a near government shutdown. Tempers were running high and little agreement could be reached. Watch today’s House and Senate, and you will see a near-calm by contrast, with far less consternation.
As we head into the final days of Session, several high stakes issues await final language that will be resolved in conference committees. Campus sexual assault. Day care center regulations. Dominion power rate freeze and solar energy. And ethics reform. Not to mention the state budget. All are in negotiations and all have high stakes.
Speaking of the state budget, the following members have been appointed to the high-powered budget conference committee: Senate President Pro Tempore and Senate Finance Committee Co-Chairman Walter Stosch, R-Henrico; Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City; Sen. Janet Howell, D-Fairfax; Senate Finance Committee Co-Chairman Chuck Colgan, D-Manassas; Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan; and Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Mount Solon. The House negotiators are Appropriations Committee Chair Chris Jones, R-Suffolk; Appropriations Committee Vice Chair Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave; House Majority Leader Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights; Del. John O’Bannon, R-Henrico; Del. Tag Greason, R-Loudoun; and Del. Johnny Joannou, D-Portsmouth.

STATUS OF THE REALTOR®
2015 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
VAR’s legislative agenda is in strong form and is moving out of the General Assembly toward the Governor’s Office. With the exception of HB 2100 — the bill to amend the POA/COA sections of the Code of Virginia, and which was slightly amended in the Senate so must return to the House on Monday for approval of those Senate amendments – ALL REALTOR® bills have passed the House and the Senate, and are being transmitted to the Executive Branch.
PLUS, it appears that, for the moment, we have prevailed in two budget issues: 1.) the language in the Governor’s budget that would have resulted in an increase from $500 to $2,500 for the deductible in mitigating underground petroleum tanks has been removed; and 2.) the $50,000 appropriation needed to enact the criminal inducement policy is in the House budget and also is in the Senate budget.
Budget negotiators completed their work tonight, Sunday evening….so we will be poring through those details in the coming days to assure that we made it through the budget gauntlet.

HB 1450 – Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act;
Representations related to special flood hazard area
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb1450
Introduced by: Jackson H. Miller
Buyers Should Be Aware of Storm Water Maintenance Agreements. Increasingly, local governments are entering into maintenance agreements with landowners that may require the landowner to ill maintain a stormwater facility on the property. For many years, we have advised that REALTORS® tell buyers to identify the existence of these facilities on the property, but not to ask whether or not there is a formal maintenance agreement with the locality in place. To ensure that your buyers and buyers agents know what to ask, we are amending the “buyer-beware” disclosure form to include the existence of stormwater maintenance agreement.
ROLLED INTO HB 1642

HB 1452 – Landlord and tenant law; who may recover rent and possession
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb1452
Introduced by: Jackson H. Miller
Different Judges Interpret the Law Differently. We have several judges in Virginia who say that because “family trusts” are not specifically spelled out in the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act, or the VRLTA, our property managers cannot appear in court on behalf of their clients. This leaves the owner to have to appear in person or to hire an attorney. This was an oversight in the VRLTA. To make sure our property managers can continue to represent their clients in court, we will propose amending the Virginia Landlord Tenant Act to add “family trusts.”
Passed the House 98-0 on January 28th; passed the Senate 38-0 on February 19th. Headed to the Governor’s office.

HB 1965 – Dept. of Professional and Occupational Regulation; Real Estate Transaction Recovery Fund
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb1965
Introduced by: Thomas Davis Rust
Helping our Consumers Recover Funds They Are Owed. Currently, when a licensee is found guilty of a Real Estate Board regulation and the consumer is owed money, the consumer has to petition the general district court for a judgment. The judgment specifically must state the offense that occurred with the real estate licensee or the Real Estate Board cannot award the funds. To fix that, we are amending the Code of Virginia to allow judges to award a general judgment, similar to what already is allowed under the Board of Contractors.
Passed the House 90-0 on February 4th; passed the Senate 38-0 on February 19th. Headed to the Governor’s Office.

HB 2100 – Condominium and Property Owners’ Association Acts; allowable charges; rental of units
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb2100
Introduced by: Christopher K. Peace
Further Clarification to the POA and COA. Each year, issues arise in the relationships between REALTORS®, homeowners, Property Owners’ Associations (POA’s) and Condominium Owners’ Associations (COA’s). VAR will work with the state legislature to make sure there is clarity in the law regarding what fees can be charged and what actions ownership associations can take. It is important to find the proper balance in the agreements between homeowners and POA’s and COA’s to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship.
Passed the House 100-0 on February 10th; passed the Senate 38-0 on February 19th with amendments. The House will reconsider the bill as amended by the Senate on Monday, February 23rd.

SB 775 – Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act; related to special flood hazard zones https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=sb775
Introduced by: Mamie E. Locke
Passed the House 99-0 on January 22nd; passed the Senate 38-0 on February 16th. Headed to the Governor’s Office.

HB 1642 – Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act; related to special flood hazard zones
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb1642
Introduced by: Christopher P. Stolle
Buyers Need to Determine If a Property Will Need Flood Insurance: Buyers, particularly in coastal regions of Virginia, should be able to identify whether properties will need additional flood insurance because they are located in a FEMA-determined special flood hazard zone. Currently, a flood certification is performed on every property, regardless of where it is in Virginia, by the mortgage lender. This is used as part of the underwriting of the loan and to ensure appropriate insurance coverage is applied as required by federal law. Flood certifications are performed by third-party providers with expertise in evaluating the FEMA flood zone maps. A list of these providers is readily available on the FEMA website. As with home inspections, storm water facilities, and the sexual offender registry, buyers should be educated on what issues to investigate in the transaction. To accomplish this, we propose amending the Code to add language to the Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Statement’s list of disclosures that advises the purchaser to exercise due diligence in investigating whether the property resides within a special flood hazard zone, including obtaining a flood certification.
Passed the House 98-0 on January 28th; passed the Senate 38-0 on February 19th. Headed to the Governor’s Office.

1424 – Virginia Water and Waste Authorities Act; delinquent payment
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb1424
Introduced by: Daniel W. Marshall, III
Landlords and Property Owners Should Not Bear the Burden. VAR helped pass a requiring a landlord or property owner to pay delinquent water bills from their tenants before the services could be turned back on. Unfortunately, the General Assembly missed one Code section. To fix this oversight, we propose amending all of the sections in the Code to prohibit water authorities from requiring landlords or property owners to pay delinquent water fees from tenants.
Passed the House 98-0 on February 10th; passed the Senate 38-0 on February 20th. Headed to the Governor’s Office.

HB 1493 – Enticing, etc., real estate licensee with intent to commit certain felonies; penalty
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=hb1493
Introduced by: Jackson H. Miller

SB 1100 Enticing, etc., real estate licensee with intent to commit certain felonies;
https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=151&typ=bil&val=sb1100
Introduced by: Mark D. Obenshain
Making Sure Predators Get What They Deserve. There have been several high-profile cases in the past several months where REALTORS® have been lured into vacant houses and assaulted, raped, abducted….or worse. In each of these instances, the victim was lured into the property through contact from a potential “client” who wanted to see the property. We are pursuing legislation to ensure authorities have adequate tools in place to prosecute individuals who knowingly lure or trap Realtors® into these circumstances with intent to do harm.

SB 1100 was reported from the Senate Courts of Justice Committee; with its fiscal impact, the bill was re-referred to the Senate Finance Committee, where it was left on the table as a result of budget constraints. HOWEVER, HB 1493 reported from the House Courts of Justice Committee AND from the House Appropriations Committee. The House appropriated the needed $50,000 in its budget to enact the policy, and the Senate likewise has appropriated the funds, based on contingency language. We will be looking through the budget in the coming days to confirm that the bill has been fully appropriated.

REALTOR® DAY RE-CAP
Many thanks to the VPAR REALTOR® and Affiliate Members for coming to Richmond to spend time advocating for our bills! Over 40 VPAR members participated in this annual trek to the state Capitol to meet with members of the House and Senate, hear high-level speakers and learn more about the legislative process and our Virginia government, and tour the beautiful buildings in Capitol Square. YOUR EFFORTS, YOUR ENERGY and YOUR ENTHUSIASM ARE APPRECIATED BY YOUR LOBBYING TEAM and BY YOUR LEGISLATORS! Check out some fun photos that we posted on the VPAR Facebook Page!
https://www.facebook.com/VPAREALTORS/photos/pcb.840067346032244/840065939365718/?type=1&theater
MANY THANKS to the following sponsors for the VPAR REALTOR® Day on the Hill event! We could not have achieved the success of the day without your generous support!
Presidential Sponsor
Atlantic Bay Mortgage

VIP Sponsors
REIN

Patron Sponsors
Commonwealth Exterminating
Lytle Title & Escrow
Monarch Mortgage
National Exterminating

Supporter Sponsor
PRIMELENDING

Friend of VPAR
Union Mortgage
The Real Estate Book
Fulton Mortgage
FUN AT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY!!!!
The Session always is arduous and extremely intense, so there are days when all of us stuck in those buildings for hours on end look for reasons to laugh, chill out and have fun! One of the best days of any Session is Valentine’s Day! Celebrating a bit early this year, here’s a sample of just how we honor Cupid at the Capitol. The 6th floor, home to our auspicious legislative leadership, outdid themselves this year in the decorating department….and a certain Senate intern, who shall remain nameless, helped! Thanks to Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn for the filming! VIRGINIA IS FOR LOVERS!
https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10155184865320029&set=vb.449133900028&type=2&theater

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

CALL TO ACTION: OPPOSE the Petroleum Tank Deductible Increase

Call to Action

OPPOSE the Petroleum Tank Deductible Increase

REALTORS® Please Take Action Today and Ask Your State Representatives to OPPOSE the Petroleum Tank Deductible Increase

Take ActionThe General Assembly is considering a measure that would increase the deductible homeowners pay to have underground petroleum tanks repaired or removed, if they are found to be leaking.

Currently the deductible is $500.  The General Assembly is considering a measure to increase it to $2500… that’s a 500% INCREASE.

How many real estate deals have you done, where a tank is found to be leaking and needs to be repaired or removed?

Under this proposal, your clients will see the deductible sky-rocket to $2500.  We believe this will have a negative impact on many of these real estate transactions.

There have been two budget amendments that have been introduced that will reverse the course, keep the $500 deductible in place and ask a stakeholder taskforce to look at the issue.

Please send a message to your member of the House of Delegates and Senate to let them know Realtors® stand united throughout Virginia in their concern over this dramatic increase.

Email your legislators and ask them to OPPOSE the Petroleum Tank Deductible Increase!

Take Action

 

 

 

Take Action Today and Ask Your State Representatives to Support the VAR Legislative Agenda!

Call to Action

Virginia REALTORS® Please Take Action Today and
Ask Your State Representatives to Support the
VAR Legislative Agenda!

On Wednesday, January 13th, all 140 members of the General Assembly convened in Richmond to begin the annual legislative session. As the business advocate for real estate professionals, the Virginia Association of REALTORS® has introduced a cohesive legislative package to promote homeownership and protect REALTORS® just like you!
ACT NOW to help homeownership thrive in Virginia, take action by clicking the link below and emailing your legislator to support the VAR Legislative Agenda!
Click here to email your legislators and ask them to SUPPORT the VAR LEGISLATIVE AGENDA!

To view the VAR Legislative Agenda, and track the bills as they make their way through the committee process, visit: VARRealtorsChoose.com