New Disclosure Form and No Texting

Both new laws are consequential, both for vastly different reasons, and both affect Realtors (and consumers) in Virginia.

First, The Residential Property Disclosure Act:

Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act; disclosure of stormwater detention facilities. Provides that an owner of real property makes no representations with respect to the presence of any stormwater detention facilities located on the property and that purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary to determine the presence of any stormwater detention facilities on the property, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event, prior to settlement pursuant to that contract.  

The bill in its entirety. Frankly, I do not see this as being particularly relevant (yet) to the Charlottesville area market, but it is something that I will discuss with my clients.

Second, and infinitely more likely to irritate some people:

Wireless telecommunications devices; prohibits use of text messaging while driving certain vehicle. (HB1876):

Text messaging and emailing while driving. Prohibits operation of a motor vehicle, bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, or moped on the highways in the Commonwealth while using any wireless telecommunications device for the purpose of composing or sending any text message or email. This bill provides exemptions for the use of global positioning systems (GPS) and using a wireless telecommunications device to report an emergency. The provisions of this bill do not apply to operators of emergency vehicles.  

The full text of the bill that is applicable to everyone but "emergency vehicle" operators:

1. That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 46.2-1078.1 as follows:

§ 46.2-1078.1. Use of handheld personal communications devices in certain motor vehicles; exceptions; penalty.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a moving motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth while using any handheld personal communications device to:

1. Manually enter multiple letters or text in the device as a means of communicating with another person; or

2. Read any email or text message transmitted to the device or stored within the device, provided that this prohibition shall not apply to any name or number stored in the device nor to any caller identification information.

C. No citation for a violation of this section shall be issued unless the officer issuing such citation has cause to stop or arrest the driver of such motor vehicle for the violation of some other provision of this Code or local ordinance relating to the operation, ownership, or maintenance of a motor vehicle or any criminal statute.

D. A violation of any provision of this section shall constitute a traffic infraction punishable, for a first offense, by a fine of $20 and, for a second or subsequent offense, by a fine of $50.

1 – Is typing a phone number "texting"?

2 – Will this decrease Twitter traffic?

3 – Managing expectations … my response time will be slower once this law comes into effect today, and I foresee that I will be talking to people more. Whereas before I might bang out a quick email while at a stop light, now I will be more inclined to call someone.

4 – Per Section C – So …. they can’t pull us over solely for texting, right?


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  1. Lonnie July 1, 2009 at 10:09

    If I’m reading the stormwater ordinance correctly, I foresee some pretty negative implications. An essential part of many green developments is in how they manage stormwater. If the agent isn’t allowed to discuss those features then it removes the incentive to put them there in the first place. That could apply to things from green roofs to rain gardens. Or maybe the agent can discuss the features, just not in terms of their positive role in stormwater?

  2. Danilo Bogdanovic July 1, 2009 at 13:27

    As far as the no texting law, my question is this… Why can’t you text while your vehicle is stationary such as at a red light or railroad crossing? I often times write one text over the course of one or two red lights which isn’t going to hurt anyone.

    In reality, this law is a joke anyway because the officer must have probable cause to pull you over for another violation in order to cite you for this one. Just don’t break any other traffic laws and you can continue to text and drive just like before.

    This law is a classic example of good intentions, but bad execution.

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  4. mike July 30, 2009 at 07:08

    What a joke law. So if I was texting and get pulled over for a taillight out all I have to tell the cop is I was dialing a phone number. And no you can’t look at my phone officer because I said so. Dumb and worthless.


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