By: Jeanne S. Lauer, Esq.
The Virginia General Assembly and the Governor have agreed on several changes to the Condominium Act and the Property Owners Association Act (POAA). As a member of the CAI Virginia Legislative Action Committee I want to let you know about these changes of which you should be aware:
1. Condo Act as follows: HB 2055 is an amendment to §§ 55–79.76 and 55–79.77 and tacitly approves the suspension of voting rights by noting that votes of suspended members do not have to be counted when trying to obtain quorum, votes or consents.
2. Condo Act and POA Act – HB 2080 amends the definitional sections found in both Acts and also creates new subsections 55–79.84:01 and 55–516.01 which give greater support to community associations with units involved in foreclosures for more information see Mike Inman’s excellent article on this bill which was posted on May 8, 2015.
3. Condo Act and POAA – HB 2100 is a monster of a bill which amends a number of sections of both the Condominium and the Property Owners Association Act as well as adding section 55–79.42:1 and 55–79.87:1 and 55–509.3:1. Of note, both Acts establish strict limits on the ability of a community association to charge fees or impose assessments other than those which are expressly provided for in the Declaration documents of that association. (This will limit the ability of a Board to act through its rulemaking authority to impose certain charges.) To lend emphasis to the restriction, the common interest community board (CICB) has the ability to issue a cease-and-desist order and to assess a monetary penalty against community associations which have exceeded their authority. Another feature of the bill expressly limits the charges that can be assessed related to leases by property owners and requires that any leasing restrictions must be in the governing documents. In the same vein, the new laws prohibit an association from requiring owners to use a specific lease form but it does allow an association to (1) obtain a copy of the lease (2) to require the name and contact information of the tenants and (3) the association may require that the new tenant acknowledge its Rules.
And as we’ve come to expect every year, there are changes to resale certificate requirements. A resale certificate fee for updates is capped at $50 and any resale certificate being provided via an online link must remain available for a period of not less than 90 days.
4. Condo Act – SB 1390 addresses only the Condominium Act and provides that if the association is been unable to hold an annual meeting as a result of quorum difficulties for 3 successive years it may petition the circuit court to lower the quorum requirement to try and have a valid meeting. Interestingly, the petition is not required to be filed by the board of directors but maybe filed by anyone entitled to vote so long as they have provided a copy of the petition to the board of the existing board of directors at least 10 days prior to the filing of the suit.
5. Condo Act and POAA – SB 1008 is the codification of a “homeowner’s bill of rights” and are found in the newly created sections 55–79.72:3 of the condominium act and 55–509.3. Just the sections are new, the language is found in other provisions of the Code. See our article posted on May 8, 2015 about this unusual bill.
6. House Bill 1632 is an amendment to 54.1–20 349 of the Code of Virginia which describes the powers and duties of the common interest community board and is easily summed up in its text to include "develop and publish best practices for the content of declarations consistent with the requirements of the Property Owners Association Act."
7. POA Act – HB 1285 clarifies that officers and directors of a community association are not employees for purposes of workers compensation law which should impact the need for Workers Compensation insurance for associations.