Legislative Updates

January 27, 2020

Friday, January 24th marked the end of the second full week of session. This session has been unique in many ways. For the first time since 1997, the Democrats have control of both chambers of the General Assembly. Whenever there is a change in party control and leadership of a body there is a period of adjustment. The Senate, having been recently controlled by democrats, started smoothly. The start in the House of Delegates was a little rocky but has evened out. Friday the 17th was the last day to file bills. All bills should now be on the system and publicly available. Additionally, amendments to the introduced biennial budget have also been released. Budget work will begin shortly and the House and Senate will work toward producing their own versions of the Governor's introduced budget.

We are following and working on a number of bills of import to the industry. Some of the most relevant ones are below. We will keep you updated as Session progresses. Please reach out with any questions and concerns you may have.

SB 359: Gifts of real estate; title search required for recordation. Provides that no deed of gift conveying real estate shall be recorded unless accompanied by a document certifying that a title search has been completed for the real estate subject to the deed and stating any matters affecting the title of property that were found by the title search.

HB 96: Power of attorney; witness or notary public. Requires that a power of attorney signed on or after July 1, 2020, be signed before at least one witness or a notary public.

HB 819: Real estate settlements; kickbacks and other payments; remedies; penalties. Relocates within Title 55.1 the existing provision that prohibits persons from paying or receiving a kickback, rebate, commission, thing of value, or other payment pursuant to an agreement to refer business incident to a settlement from Chapter 9 (Real Estate Settlements) to Chapter 10 (Real Estate Settlement Agents). This relocation authorizes the State Corporation Commission to impose penalties, issue injunctions, and require restitution in cases where a person who does not hold a license from the appropriate licensing authority has violated the provision. The measure also adds to Chapter 10 of Title 55.1 provisions that (i) authorize a court to assess civil penalties of not more than $2,500 per violation of the chapter and (ii) authorize the recovery of costs and reasonable expenses and attorney fees.

To track these bills and others from the Virginia General Assembly's 2020 Session, VLTA members should use the following link.