Virginia Property Owners Association Act; reformation of declarations. (SB6016)

Introduced By

Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-Winchester)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Virginia Property Owners Association Act; reformation of declarations. Includes in the definition of development real property located within the Commonwealth developed in phases and subject to individual declarations corresponding to each such phase when the phases are part of a uniform and overall scheme of development. The bill also (i) clarifies the definition of "declaration" and (ii) establishes a judicial procedure for reformation of a declaration under certain circumstances. The bill has an emergency clause and contains technical amendments. Read the Bill »


06/23/2008: Awaiting a Vote in the General Laws and Technology Committee


06/23/2008Unanimous consent to introduce
06/23/2008Presented and ordered printed with emergency clause 084352338
06/23/2008Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology


Gary writes:

Hey jill, why don't you stick to issues you know something about. You don't have a dog in this race, you haven't been subjected to the nonsense and wasteful spending of our ridiculous hoa at Lake Holiday. Oh thats right, your buddy Saslaw's physician owns property here and he asked for you all to help him. And, Miller & Smith is a contributor to Saslaw, it all makes sense now. Where were you when we homeowners were looking for some help with our out of control board of directors?
Thanks Jill for trying to screw the hardworking people of VA who may be already getting reemed by an out of control board of directors like ours.
And QUIT LYING TO THE WINCHESTER STAR, none of the plaintiffs or the plaintiff attorneys are pleased with what you're doing!

Phil File Churner writes:

Virginia does not need bill SB 6016, and it does not need an Attorney General like Ken Cuccinelli in 2009. It’s good that you voted against Jill Vogel’s special interest bill on the first vote in the Senate. Unfortunately, you slipped out of the room to avoid the second vote after strong bullying from Senator Dick Saslaw. Did it slip your mind that the big developer defendant in the lawsuit pushing this bill contributed to Saslaw’s campaign. You want to be Attorney General but don’t vote against legislation designed to tip the outcome of active litigation. Virginians don’t want an Attorney General that picks when to protect people’s rights and do the right thing. It's a 24/7 position. Stick to the Senate and where it’s easy to pick and choose the right moments to step up and play leader. It’s funny that you stuck your neck out for Vogel and she talked to the Winchester Star following the vote and it comes up that you left the room for the second vote to pass it. She’s from your own party and didn’t even look out for you. Pretty stupid move and you lost my support, Ken.

sm writes:

Jill’s idea of bipartisan support.

She enlisted the big developer’s law firm to draft special interest legislation to tip the outcome of an active court case. She didn’t talk with the plaintiffs but attended the defendants scripted event, and promises passage of her special interest legislation to the Defendant only audience. She struggled to introduce her bill in the Senate, and Democrat Dick Saslaw rushes to her aid. The same Dick Saslaw that received a campaign contribution from the big developer. She arranged for the big developer’s lawyer to be there at the Housing board and help champion her special interest legislation but Jill failed to save her developer friend. Thank GOD this Big Developer enlisted such a fool to be their savior.

steve writes:

Miller & Smith wants their special interest legislation to save their bacon in a lawsuit. They run the Lake Holiday. They donate money to Saslaw. Saslaw tells Vogel to do it. She's a nobody and follows orders. He even helps her introduce the bill after she fumbles with it. WHat's the deal with the Senate?

Barry writes:

My wife and I have a home in a small subdivision.

We have been unfairly treated by our Property Owners Association. Our POA is now trying to amend deeded covenants (promises) and restrictions that "run with the land".

Our property rights are presently protected thanks to the past wisdom of the General Assembly and the Supreme Court of Virginia.

The passage of SB6016 will change that.

The Property Owners Association Act was originally intended to protect the rights of individual landowners.

SB6016 gives too much power to Associations.

Don't pass this bill. Keep Virginia a bastion for individual property rights.

Carol writes:

I hadn't previously been aware of this bill, but anyone who lives or may live in a home governed by a POA should be interested in the bill.

Can someone tell me, in simple terms, what would be the effect of SB6016 on homeowners and their property rights?

Tom writes:

Passing a bill to change the outcome of a court case??

I Pledge Allegiance to the HomeOwners Association of the United States of America,

And to the Corporation for Which It Stands, One Nation Under Fraud, Indivisible,

With Servitudes and Assessments for All.

Here's an HOA that is not winning in Court with the existing law so they delay the case to allow their pol friends to tweak things in their favor. Translation: If you live in an HOA, then please hand over your wallet to the BOD. Dont fight or challenge anything because the BOARD is always right. If you are right and decide to fight, then the BOARD will run off to Richmond, change things, and you will be wrong. So you were right, but now really wrong. HOAs are a one big stain on this country.

W writes:

To Carol & others who ask about the impact of this bill in simple terms, here it is:

Based on current Virginia Supreme Court precedents (3 cases...Arrowhead, Winkelman, and Shifflett), for the POA Act to apply to your property your deed must contain 2 things: 1) an obligation for you to pay dues and 2) an obligation for the association to maintain the common area. These obligations have to be imposed, they can't be inferred or implied. Because the POA Act gives an Association extraordinary powers (non-judicial foreclosure, levying special assessments are just 2 examples), your protection is that your property deed obligates the association to uphold its part of the bargain by maintaining the common area. SB6016 completely does away with that protection. The Association could do nothing, but you'd still have to pay, and if you didn't, the Association could sell your property on the courthouse steps in a relative blink of the eye.

But's that's petty thievery compared to the real problem in the bill. SB6016 enables an Association to re-write the deed to your property. It can change "any provision of a declaration" (all quotes are from Vogel's bill) and a "petition" from the Association "shall be deemed sufficient basis" to re-write your deed. Let's say your deed says you have to pay $200 per year in assessments, and the Association wants to raise that to $1000. The Association tries to put that increase to an owner vote, and it fails 3 times. The reality of the bill is that the Association doesn't even have to actually hold a vote, because the bill only requires "good faith attempts". After these 3 tries, the Association can just petition a court, and the court must take the petition as "sufficient basis" to re-write your deed so that now you owe $1000 instead of the $200 in your deed. In my example I've used changing the level of assessments in a deed, but this applies to any provision. If your deed allows pets, your right to have a pet could be taken away. If your deed contains a prohibition on pets, that prohibition could be taken away. All of this could be done after owners rejected these changes.

As we all know, developers typically control association boards until they have sold all or a majority of their developer properties. Using this technique, a developer could lure buyers with very low dues, and then bypass the desires of these owners and re-write their deeds with higher dues used to pay for things the developer originally agreed to provide. For example, a developer could agree to pay for and install a pool and cabana and later change the deed so owners would pay for the pool & cabana with a hefty special assessment. Whatever deal you think you struck could be undone in a heartbeat.

Your property deed is your deal. The deal should not be changed without following the amendment provisions of your deeed, and Vogel's SB6016 proposed to completely take those property rights from you.

Barry writes:

Your deeded covenants are promises that are made when you purchase your land. If you can't keep those promises you don't buy the land, you don't agree to the deal.

The tradition in Virginia is that these promises "run with the land", are unchangeable and pass from owner to owner.

Some landowners in our Property Owners Association are trying to break these promises and SB6016 will give them the tools to do so. They will cherry pick restrictions adding some here, omitting some there.

SB6016 will make HOA's and POA's into quasi-governments with no Bill of Rights.

There are many small rural Associations that were intended only for road maintenance. Ours is one.

This bill allows our POA to expand it's authority beyond it's intended purpose and give it the power to change "any provision of a declaration." That would include changing deeded restrictions on private property.

How can individuals expect to buy homes and property and make plans for their future when the rules can be changed, when the deal can be broken?

If you want to meddle with your neighbors property rights this bill is for you.

If you want to protect your property rights, and your neighbors' then oppose this bill.


W writes:

Just so everyone here knows, this bill did pass the Senate by a single vote, but it was referred to a House committee, which in turn referred it to the Housing Commission, where that commission unanimously decided to table the bill. It did, however, appoint an ad hoc commission to study changes to the POA Act, and Vogel herself has committed to try to re-introduce this legislation in 2009. Therefore, this fight is not over. If we're going to defeat this, it is going to take a coordinated and strong attack, so get ready for a big battle if you want to protect your property.

Here's a link to the bill's status that shows it was left in a committee.