2013 Virginia Legislation Affecting Real Estate Industry

May 2, 2013

During the 2013 session of the Virginia General Assembly, several bills of interest to the real estate industry were passed and subsequently signed by Governor McDonnell. The laws become effective on July 1, 2013. Among those bills are the following:

HB 2313: Regional Congestion Relief Fee in Northern Virginia

As part of the transportation package, the legislature imposed a “regional congestion relief fee” applicable in the planning district that includes Prince William, Fairfax, Arlington and Loudoun Counties and the City of Alexandria. The fee is essentially a supplemental “grantor’s tax” paid by the grantor upon recordation of any deed. The rate of the fee, when the consideration or value of the interest, whichever is greater, equals or exceeds $100, is $0.15 for each $100 or fraction thereof, exclusive of the value of any lien or encumbrance remaining at the time of sale. The existing grantor’s tax of $0.50 per $500 remains in place in those localities as well as other localities in Virginia, resulting in an aggregate “grantor’s tax” of $.25 per $100 in the specified Northern Virginia localities.

HB 1507: Deeds required to have name of owner or attorney who prepared them

This bill amends Va. Code §17.1-223 to require that the attorney or party who prepares a deed conveying not more than four residential dwelling units include a statement on the first page that the document was prepared by the owner of the real property or by an attorney licensed in Virginia, with the name and state bar number of the attorney, subject to certain exceptions. Previously, a clerk was authorized to reject any deed for filing or recordation that did not contain such a statement, but this bill limits the requirement to deeds conveying residential property and also states that the requirement does not apply to deeds of trust.

HB 1697: Roll-back taxes

This bill allows localities to choose not to impose roll-back taxes when the owner of real property that qualifies for special land use valuation has the property rezoned for a more intensive use. Under current law, imposition of such taxes is mandatory upon such a rezoning.

HB 2239: Cash proffers

This bill provides that cash proffers may not be used for any capital improvement to an existing facility that does not expand facility capacity or for any operating expense of an existing facility such as ordinary maintenance or repair.

A summary of other real estate-related bills adopted by the 2013 General Assembly is available online.