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New Legislation will change the operations of your Virginia Condominium Associations and Homeowner Associations

My first year on the Community Associations Institute Virginia Legislative Action Committee (“VALAC”) was a great learning experience. The education on how our legislature works was, well, interesting. The greater educational moment came in watching the members of the VALAC volunteer for innumerable hours towards the betterment of the community association industry. Here are some of the changes in Virginia law for HOAs:

Transfer Fees:

In an earlier blog, we discussed the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) exempted transfer fees paid to community associations. Virginia state legislation has followed the same pattern. Senate Bill 931 states that transfer fee covenants recorded on or after July 1, 2011 are not binding on the real property and are not enforceable at law or in equity. The definition of “transfer fee” does not include any assessment, charge, or fee authorized by statute, the recorded condominium instrument, or the recorded declaration to be charged by, or payable to, a common interest community.

Resale Certificates and Disclosure Packets:

Senate Bill 1323 amends the statutes dealing with resale certificates and disclosure packets. Presently, §§ 55-79.97:1 and 55-509.6 provide that if settlement does not occur within 90 days of delivery of the disclosure packet or resale certificate, or if the fee for the packet or certificate is not collected at closing, the association can assess the fees against the owner or unit owner. Effective July 1, the 90-day period is reduced to 45 days.

Jurisdiction of General District Court:

House Bill 1590 increases the jurisdiction of General District Court from $15,000 to $25,000.

House Bill 2289 amends §§ 16.1-77, 55-79.80:2, and 55-513 giving the General District Courts the power to hear cases under the Condominium Act and the Property Owners Association Act regarding the assessment of charges for violations of the covenants or rules and regulations. The community association or condominium association can file suit in General District Court to collect the charges and may also request injunctive relief to correct the violation. The amendments also permit the association to obtain a default judgment against the violating owner on the sworn affidavit of the association. These changes may decrease the amount of attorneys’ fees incurred by associations and the amount of time it takes to obtain a trial date.

Association books and records:

House Bill 1741 amends §§ 55-79.74:1 and 55-510 and permits association to only impose charges for copies of books and records in accordance with a cost schedule adopted by the board of directors or executive organ of the association. The cost schedule shall (i) specify the charges for materials and labor, (ii) apply equally to all unit owners or owners in good standing, and (iii) be provided to such requesting unit owner or owner at the time the request is made. Associations should plan on implementing a policy no later than July 1, 2011. Contact your community association attorney for assistance on this issue.

ABC license:

House Bill 1975 adds community associations to the exceptions for requiring banquet license when serving alcoholic beverages. The amendments states that no banquet license shall be required for private meetings or private parties limited in attendance to the members of a common interest community as defined in § 54.1-2345 and their guests, provided (i) the alcoholic beverages shall not be sold or charged for in any way, (ii) the premises where the alcoholic beverages are consumed is limited to the common area regularly occupied and utilized for such private meetings or private parties, and (iii) such meetings or parties are not open to the public.

Pesticide Application:

House Bill 2290 adds a provision to the Property Owners’ Association Act requiring community associations to post notice of all pesticide applications in or upon the common areas. The required notice consists of conspicuous signs placed on the common areas where the pesticide will be applied at least 48 hours prior to the application. This notice requirement already exists in the Condominium Act.

Many of these changes require your HOA or Condominium Board to review with your experienced homeowners association law firm.  Make an appointment soon so that your association can ensure its compliance with Virginia law.

Tarley Robinson, PLC, Attorneys and Counsellors at Law

Williamsburg, Virginia

Susan Tarley

Susan Tarley

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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