As we approach the mid-point of the 2020 General Assembly Session, we wanted to update you on some legislation that may impact you and your agents this year. We are early in the process, and the following legislation still needs to pass the General Assembly and be approved by Governor Northam. If the legislation becomes law, most of them will start on July 1, 2020, unless there is an enactment clause that dictates otherwise.
Senate Bill 653 would codify a best practice by requiring a licensee to initially put all rent money into an escrow account. The bill doesn’t specify how long the money must remain in escrow. After the initial escrow deposit, the funds can be disbursed according to any written agreement. By having rent money initially deposited into the escrow account, rather than operating funds, it provides a layer of protection for the consumer funds.
House Bill 176 and Senate Bill 672 will allow the parties to a transaction of a property located in a property owner or condo owner association to agree to extend the three-day right of rescission for up to an additional 4 days. Currently, the statute prohibits the parties from changing the three-day review period, even if all the parties agree. This can be burdensome for parties with scheduling difficulties or where additional information is needed before the transaction can move forward. Limiting the extension to 4 days provides extra time, if needed, but still allows for certainty of contract.
House Bill 513 clarifies that upon the death or disability of a real estate broker who was a sole proprietor or the only licensed broker in any business entity, the real estate board can approve someone to close out the business. Previously, the law did not include LLCs in the list of business entities which implied that if a broker was the only licensed broker in an LLC, the VREB could not appoint someone to conclude the business.
House Bill 594 and Senate Bill 388 clarify that the 45-day time period for returning a security deposit to a tenant starts running from the date of the termination of the tenancy or the date the tenant vacates the unit, whichever occurs last. This clarification will ensure that landlords and tenants are working with the same expectations.
You can keep up with our legislative agenda on the Virginia REALTORS® website. If you have any questions or thoughts for the Government Relations team, feel to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.