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!




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




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. https://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.




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.


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.



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!




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.


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!




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.



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.