Virginia House Bill 1146 was approved by Governor McAuliffe on Monday, becoming effective July 1, 2016.
House Bill 1146 prohibits a locality from requiring consent of a condominium unit owners association or property owners’ association prior to the issuance of a permit, certificate, or license, including a building permit or a business license.
During the session, revisions were made to the original version to permit localities to require notice to associations and to clarify that the provisions of the new Code section will:
not be applied to limit or otherwise impinge upon the provisions of a condominium instrument as defined in § 55-79.41, the declaration of a common interest community as defined in § 55-528, or the declaration of a real estate cooperative as defined in § 55-426.
House Bill 1146 rightfully recognizes the distinction between localities and associations and, for some jurisdictions (Fairfax) codifies existing practice (association approval is not considered by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for certain permits).
Delegate Hope describes the bill to InsideNOVA:
“I don’t want the government to act as the enforcer of [association] rules,” Hope said. The request for a permit, he said, “should just be approved on its own merits.”
But, the bill creates inefficiencies in the local approval process. If, for example, a locality is asked to consider whether to issue a building permit or certificate of occupancy for a structure that is otherwise not approved by the association, wouldn’t the association position (and approval) be helpful to avoid amendments to applications for permits and licenses?
Hope’s bill prohibits Virginia’s local governments from requiring that condo or homeowners’ associations or co-op boards provide a letter in support of permits prior to their issuance. Hope (D-47th) said he patroned the legislation after hearing about the requirement from a constituent in Arlington.
Because every set of recorded governing documents are different, the application of this law to each community association differs. As always, contact an experienced attorney for advice and counsel.