VA’s General Assembly Spring 2015 Nearly Back in Session

It’s that time of the year again, when the Virginia General Assembly convenes to kill bills in committees, pass commendations of citizens, and I try to track the bills that are interesting (to me) and relevant to my little segment of the real estate world.

These are all the bills that I’m tracking on Richmond Sunlight, if you’re interested, ranging from foreclosure procedures to milk production to photo red enforcement to the decriminalization of marijuana. There’s a lot the government tries to mess with.

1 – I wish each bill had a rationale attached to it. Why? Why does NASA need commending?

2 – I wish each bill had a “this bill sponsored by X special interest group or PAC

3 – Re: #2 – I also wish bacon grew on a tree in my kitchen.

4 – Richmond Sunlight – an outstanding way to see, track, and learn about the bills – and legislators.

Three bills to give a taste of what’s interesting in the Virginia General Assembly this year are –

HB 1450 adds two more items that sellers of residential real estate are are not disclosing to prospective Purchasers: (background – Virginia is a Caveat Emptor state; we used to have a choice of either a Disclaimer or a Disclosure, but now essentially there is a disclosure that the seller is disclosing nothing.) More background.

Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act; representations related to special flood hazard areas and stormwater facility maintenance agreements.

Requires the residential property disclosure statement provided by a property owner to a prospective purchaser under the Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act to include explanation that the owner makes no representation with respect to the presence of any maintenance agreement for any stormwater detention facility on the property or with respect to whether the property resides in any special flood hazard area. The bill requires the statement to advise prospective purchasers to exercise whatever diligence they deem necessary to determine the presence of any such agreement or location of any such special flood hazard areas prior to settlement.

HB 1493 makes real estate agents a protected class … as I said on the Facebook, “I’m good with “don’t plan to kill” anyone – regardless of intent or occupation.”

Enticing, etc., real estate licensee with intent to commit certain felonies; penalty. Criminalizes the conduct of enticing, soliciting, or requesting a real estate licensee to enter a dwelling house in the licensee’s professional capacity with the intent to commit murder, rape, forcible sodomy, inanimate or animate object sexual penetration, robbery, carjacking, aggravated malicious wounding, or abduction. A first offense is punishable by a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence and a second offense is punishable by a 40-year mandatory minimum sentence.

HB 1454 adds sexual orientation to the Virginia Fair Housing Law.

Fair Housing Law; unlawful discrimination; sexual orientation; gender identity. Adds discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity as an unlawful discriminatory housing practice. The bill defines “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”


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