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2014 Legislative Update for Virginia HOAs

The 2014 session on the  Virginia Legislative Action Committee (“LAC”) created new experiences for our committee. Each year on the LAC brings new challenges, and in my second year as Chair of the LAC, we experienced our most active General Assembly session.

The LAC’s mission is to monitor and advocate for legislation affecting HOAs and condominium associations. All of the bills cited below are effective July 1, 2014 unless otherwise noted.

Williamsburg HOA and Business Law Firm

LATE FEES

House Bill 566 amends Va. Code  § 55-79.83 and  § 55-513.3. This bill clarifies legislation that passed in 2013 that permitted both property owners’ associations and condominium associations to impose a maximum late fee of 5% on assessments that are 60 days or more past due, unless the declaration, condominium instruments or rules and regulations provide otherwise. The new bill permits an association to charge a late fee not to exceed 5% if the association’s governing documents do not provide for late fees.

COMPLIANCE WITH DECLARATION

House Bill 530 amends Va. Code  § 55-79.53A. This bill added language stating as follows:

This section shall not preclude an action against the unit owners’ association and authorizes the recovery, by the prevailing party in any such action, of reasonable attorney fees, costs expended in the matter, and interest on the judgment as provided on § 8.01-382 in such actions.

MERGER AND JUDICIAL REFORMATION

House Bill 690 amends the Condo Act and the Property Owners’ Association Act. With respect to the Condo Act, Va. Code § 55-79.71:2 is amended to permit condominium associations the ability to merge condominiums.

With respect to the Property Owners’ Association Act, Va. Code § 55-515.2:1 permits an HOA to file a suit with the court and request that changes be made to the declaration. However, this power is limited to addressing legal disputes involving ambiguities and inconsistencies in the documents, drafting errors, inadvertent omissions, or mathematical mistake.

NOTICE FOR REQUESTS TO EXAMINE RECORDS

House Bill 550 amends the Condo Act (Va. Code § 55-79.74:1) and the Property Owners’ Association Act (Va. Code § 55-510). Self-managed associations have 10 days (rather than 5) to respond to requests from owners to examine HOA records.

RESCISSION OF CONDO PURCHASE AGREEMENT

House Bill 899 amends the Condominium Act, Va. Code §§ 55-79.88 and 55.79-90. Specifically, this amendment reduces the purchaser’s right to cancel a condo contract to 5 calendar days. Further, the statute requires that this notice must be in bold face, 12 point type on the first page of of the contract.

DISCLOSURE PACKETS AND RESALE CERTIFICATES

Disclosure packets requirements received another tweak. House Bill 900 amends the Condo Act (§§ 55-79.97 and 55-79.97:1) and the Property Owners’ Association Act (Va. Code §§ 55-509.3, 55-509.4 and 55-509.6). The new bill clarifies permissible fees related to disclosure packets and resale certificates.

  • Only permitted inspection fee provided in statute.
  • Cannot charge fee to access manager’s website.
  • Clarifies that purchaser’s right to cancel is within 3 days of the hand delivery, electronic delivery or overnight delivery of the packet or certificate.

SOLAR PANELS

Senate Bill 222 amends Va. Code § 67-701 and applies to both condominiums and property owners’ associations. Associations may not prohibit solar panels unless the prohibition is found in the declaration. However, associations may regulate the size, place and manner of placement of the solar panels.

ENFORCEMENT

House Bill 791 amends the Condo Act (Va. Code § 55-79:80:2) and the Property Owners’ Association Act (Va. Code § 55-513). This bill adds a step to the rule enforcement process for associations. Now, owners must be given notice and an opportunity to cure before the association imposes charges or suspensions for a violation of the governing documents.

CONCLUSION

Make sure that your HOA attorney is aware of these statutory changes to the Condominium Act and the Property Owners’ Association Act.  If you have any questions on the impact of these changes for your community, please let us know.

Tarley Robinson, PLC, Attorneys and Counsellors at Law

Williamsburg, Virginia

 

 

Susan Tarley

Susan chairs the firm's common interest community (HOAs and Condos) practice area. She was admitted into the College of Community Association Attorneys (“CCAL”). Susan is one of fewer than 150 attorneys nationwide to be admitted to CCAL, for distinguishing herself through contributions to the evolution or practice of community association law.

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Filed under: Common Interest Community, General Interest, HOA, HOA litigation, Susan B. Tarley, Unit Owners Association, Weekly Tweets by Susan Tarley

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