Download a detailed overview of the 2023 Virginia real estate law changes here!
The creation of a Residential Sites and Structures Locator database, changes in the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, and a ban on foreign farmers are just some of the substantive changes to Virginia real estate taking effect on July 1, 2023.
If you or your business operate in or are impacted by the Virginia real estate sector, here is a summary of recent developments worth noting.
Centralized Virginia Residential Sites and Structures Locator
SB 1114 is a new law which directs the Department of Housing and Community Development to develop and implement the Virginia Residential Sites and Structures Locator. The database is designed to help localities throughout Virginia market potential sites for development—whether they’re vacant land or have existing structures—to builders and developers.
Think of it as Tinder for real estate, without the awkward first date!
The Wetland and Stream Replacement Fund
Another change aimed to help make real estate development in the Commonwealth more efficient is HB 1628, which permits the Department of Environmental Quality to use the Wetland and Stream Replacement Fund to allow developers to mitigate wetland impacts by paying funds to the DEQ.
The Wetland and Stream Replacement Fund was established in 2013 but had not been implemented and funded. It’s designed to allow developers to move forward with their projects while helping to preserve Virginia’s natural resources.
Extension of Local Land Use Approvals
HB 1665 is notable for land developers, as it extends the validity of plans, permits and other local land-use approvals. If these approvals were valid as of July 1, 2020, they will remain valid through at least July 1, 2025.
Changes to the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act also underwent some significant changes in 2023.
HB 1542 (Security Deposits) increases the length of time that landlords have to provide tenants with an itemization of damages to the premises and the cost of repair when damages exceed the amount of the security deposit. This time period is increased from 15 to 30 days under Virginia Code §55.1-1126.
Additionally, HB 1635 (Uninhabitable Dwelling Unit) grants tenants a statutory right to terminate a lease if the premises are uninhabitable at the commencement of their tenancy, and HB 1702 (Notice of Rent Increase) requires landlords that own more than four rental units to provide written notice of rent increases at least 60 days prior to the end of the current rental agreement term.
The Resale Disclosure Act
Governor Youngkin also signed into law the Resale Disclosure Act (HB 2235) which consolidates the provisions of the Property Owners’ Association Act, the Condominium Act, and the Real Estate Cooperative Act into the new Resale Disclosure Act, codified in § 55.1-2307 et seq. of the Virginia Code.
Read Danielle Wang’s blog post for a comprehensive overview of what community associations and community association managers should know about the Resale Disclosure Act.
Other new laws include authorizing a settlement agent to release property from a judgment lien when the judgment creditor cannot be located or will not provide a payoff (HB 2184) and codifying the factors a court must consider when ordering an in-kind partition (HB 1755). This means evidence in a “land divorce” will more closely mirror the equitable distribution evidence that in a “real divorce.”
Finally, foreign adversaries (both states and individuals) are prohibited from acquiring agricultural land in the Commonwealth (HB 2325), and any transfer to a foreign adversary will be void and title immediately forfeited to the Commonwealth.
2023 has brought significant changes to Virginia’s real estate landscape. From the creation of the Residential Sites and Structures Locator database to the extension of local land use approvals, these developments aim to streamline processes and promote efficient development.
For a more detailed summary on new legal updates, download my overview of the Virginia real estate law changes in 2023 here.