It's not exactly Independence Day, but July 1 is a great day because it marks the day that Virginia homeowners earned a few more rights and protections. Click on any of the links for more information about these new laws, effective today, July 1, 2010.
More fairness for homeowners who appeal their property assessments
Upon your request, your real estate assessor must provide you with information about how your assessment was determined. If the assessor doesn’t provide you with this information five days before a court or board of equalization hearing, the information can’t be introduced at the hearing by the assessor. This law also increases the training and experience standards assessors must meet in order to be certified to conduct assessments in Virginia.
More protection for your home improvements
Under this law, your local government can’t force you to remove improvements made to your property as long as you followed the rules in effect at the time the improvements were constructed, even if it has adopted stricter rules in the meantime. You also now have the right to replace an existing wastewater disposal system for an existing building even if a new system wouldn’t otherwise be permitted in that location. However, if your system fails and access to the municipal sewer is available, you’ll be required to connect to it.
Temporary family health care structures permitted on properties
If you have a family member who needs assistance with daily living activities (like bathing, eating, or dressing) due to a mental or physical impairment, the local government can’t prohibit you from installing a complying temporary family health care structure on your property to help you care for them. There rules about the size and specifications of the structure, who can live in it, how to get approval from your locality to install it, and more.
Homeowners associations must adhere to complaint procedures
If you bring a complaint against a homeowners association, by law the association must:
- Provide you with a document that includes
- the address and telephone number of the association or its manager,
- the address, telephone number, and e-mail address of the Office of the Common Interest Community Ombudsman, and
- a description of your right to appeal the association’s decision to the Common Interest Community Board if you feel the decision violates Virginia laws or regulations.
- Maintain a written record of the complaint for at least one year after the association acts upon it.
New restrictions on homeowners association rules about displaying the American flag
This law specifically gives Virginians who live in homeowners associations the right to fly the American flag in accordance with federal law. It also restricts the kinds of rules homeowners associations can enforce against flag displays. The rules are limited to size, placement, and duration of the display of the flag. If the association wants to enforce its rules against a homeowner, it must prove that the flag display harms its interests.