Big Wins from the 2019 Virginia General Assembly Session

The Virginia General Assembly has wrapped up the 2019 Session. The 47-day legislative gathering was tumultuous to say the least, but one that concluded successfully for the Virginia REALTORS®.

Your Virginia REALTORS® staff and Public Policy Committee (PPC) sifted through the 3128 bills and resolutions introduced this year to assess each’s potential impact on the real estate industry and private property rights. The PPC performed a more in-depth review of 234 pieces of legislations and took a position to monitor, support, amend, or oppose each one.

Of the 92 bills the PPC actively supported, 71 of them passed the General Assembly. More importantly, the Virginia REALTORS® defeated 20 of the 21 bills the PPC opposed.  We amended 25 bills to remove our concerns and monitored the other 96 to make sure none were changed to affect you or your business.

Virginia REALTORS® Legislative Agenda
In the fall of 2018, the Virginia REALTORS® PPC and Board of Directors set a legislative package of four initiatives to pursue in the 2019 Session. Each of the following bills passed both the House and the Senate unanimously and have been communicated to the Governor for his approval by March 26.

  • HB 2385 (Del. David Bulova) and SB 1580 (Sen. David Suetterlein) clarify that the delivery of an “incomplete” packet in a Property Owners Association (POA) or resale certificate in a Condo Owners Association (COA) begins the three-day right of rescission for the buyer to withdraw from the contract. The question was raised in a 2018 court case and this legislation codifies the judge’s ruling. This standard will provide more certainty to both buyers and sellers by given both parties a firm deadline.
  • SB 1292 (Sen. Jill Vogel) adds “mineral rights” to the Residential Property Disclosure Statement buyer beware form that each potential buyer receives in a real estate transaction. This notice will encourage buyers to perform due diligence regarding mineral rights associated with the property. The bill also solidifies language regarding where buyers should search for information on flood hazard areas.
  • HB 2218 (Del. Jeff Bourne) adds unlicensed real estate activity to Virginia Consumer Protect Act to allow for greater consumer protection against this illegal activity. Under the Consumer Protection Act, entities such as local government attorneys or individual citizens could bring civil action against people participating in unlicensed activity.
  • HB 2352 (Del. Jason Miyares) and SB 1061 (Sen. Monty Mason) clarifies that a real estate licensee can hire an unlicensed assistant as either an employee or as an independent contractor. This legislation also allows the Virginia Real Estate Board to define what duties an unlicensed assistant can legally undertake, regardless of whether they are an independent contractor or an employee.

Health Insurance Legislation
One of the most pressing concerns we hear from members is the ever-increasing cost of health insurance coverage. This year the Virginia REALTORS® pursued a couple initiatives that could have a significant positive impact on how much you pay for insurance and the quality of coverage you receive.

  • HB 2719 (Del. Todd Pillion) and SB 1475 (Sen. Creigh Deeds) change the definition of “small employer” to allow multi-member LLCs to access the small group health insurance market to obtain better and less expensive health insurance coverage. Both bills passed the House and Senate without opposition and are now being reviewed by the Governor.
  • HB 2443 (Del. Tony Wilt) and SB 1689 (Sen. Siohban Dunnavant) are more substantial bills that would allow the Virginia REALTORS® or similar groups to potentially form Association Health Plans to offer health insurance options to our members in the large group health insurance market. This option could possibly save you substantial amounts of money on coverage. HB 2443 passed the House 61-38 and the Senate 28-12, while SB 1689 passed the House 67-30 and the Senate 29-11. We are working with the Governor’s office to support these measures as he determines whether to sign, amend, or veto the bills.

Courtesy of the Virginia REALTORS®, Anthony Reedy, Vice President of Political Operations