Virginia – Senate Bill 389 signed by Governor McAulliffe

SB 389 Local permitting or licensure; consent of common interest community association prohibited

Virginia Senate Bill 389 was approved by Governor McAuliffe on Monday, becoming effective July 1, 2016.

Senate Bill 389 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 of Senate Bill 389 (found here) 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.

Senate Bill 389 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).

But, does the bill create 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?

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.

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