Below are a host of new laws that will become effective on July 1, 2014. There are some significant new items and we urge you to read closely. Mike Inman serves on the Virginia Legislative Action Committee and can answer any questions you might have about the bills.
Late Fees- HB 566
HB 566 amends the Virginia Condominium Act (§55-79.83) and the Property Owners’ Association Act (§55-513.3) (the “POAA”) by clarifying that associations can charge a late fee as provided in the governing documents, and if not provided for in the governing documents, the association can charge a late fee not to exceed 5%.
Compliance with Declaration- HB 530
HB 530 amends the Virginia Condominium Act (§55-79.53A) by adding the following language: 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 in § 8.01-382 in such actions.
Merger; Judicial Reformation of Declaration- HB 690
HB 690 amends the Virginia Condominium Act (§55-79.71:2) by providing condominiums with the ability to merge two or more condominiums. It also amends both the Condominium Act (§55-79.73:2) and the POAA (§55-515.2:1) by permitting associations to petition the circuit court to make changes to a declaration.
A process is set forth in the statute and it can only be used in the following limited circumstances: (i) ambiguities or inconsistencies in the declaration that are the source of legal and other disputes pertaining to the legal rights and responsibilities of the association or individual lot owners or (ii) scrivener’s errors; including incorrectly identifying the association, incorrectly identifying an entity other than the association, or errors arising from oversight or from an inadvertent omission or mathematical mistake.
Notice for Requests to Examine Records- HB 550
HB 550 amends the Condominium Act (§55-79.74:1) and the POAA (§55-510) by increasing the time for self-managed associations to respond to documents requests from owners. Self-managed associations have 10 days to respond to document requests.
Rescission of Condominium Purchase Agreement- HB 899
HB 899 amends the Condominium Act (§§ 55-79.88, 55-79.90). It reduces a purchaser’s right of cancellation on a condominium contract from 10 calendar days to 5 calendar days from the date of the contract or the delivery of the public offering statement, whichever is later. It also adds a requirement that the purchaser’s right of cancellation be in bold, 12-point type on the first page of the contract.
Allowable Fees- HB 900
HB 900 added clarifications to the permitted charges for disclosure packets and resale certificates and amends the Condominium Act (§§ 55-79.97, 55-79.97:1) and the POAA (§§ 55-509.3, 55-509.4, 55-509.6). The only inspection fees that can be charged are those listed in the statute. Mangers can no longer charge a fee for access to their website. It also clarifies that a purchaser’s right to cancel is within 3 days of hand delivery, electronic delivery or overnight delivery of the packet or certificate.
Solar Panels- SB 222
SB 222 amends § 67-701 and applies to both condominium and property owners’ associations. Associations are not permitted to prohibit solar panels unless the declaration includes such a prohibition. The language concerning an association’s right to regulate size, place and manner of placement remains.
Rule Enforcement- HB 791
HB 791 amends the Condominium Act (§ 55-79.80:2) and the POAA (§ 55-513) and the statutes concerning the jurisdiction of courts (§ 16.1-106). It clarifies the right of appeal on an association case. A general district court case involving an association may be appealed to the circuit court within 10 days of the judgment. HB 791 adds a step to the process used by associations to suspend an owner’s right to services or facilities, or to impose a charge for violations of the documents. Before proceeding to a hearing to consider such suspension or charges, the association must provide the owner with notice and a reasonable opportunity to cure the violation. HB 791 also provides associations with the ability to file suit in general district court or circuit court if the governing documents to not provide them with the ability to do so.