Friday, March 19, 2010

News from the Virginia Homeowner Alliance

I wanted to circulate to you the Virginia Homeowner Alliance Newsletter I received today.  It contains some good news and many things that may affect you, as a homeowner, here in Virginia!

March 18, 2010

The Virginia Homeowners Alliance is a free service for homeowners from Virginia's Realtors, who want to stand with you to ensure that your property values aren't negatively affected by government decisions at the General Assembly, Board of Supervisors, or City Hall. We inform Virginia homeowners about government action that affects the value of real estate in the Commonwealth.

Virginia General Assembly approves 3 homeowner-friendly bills and a budget that may squeeze local governments.  Virginia's legislature sent three bills that benefit homeowners to Gov. McDonnell and approved a $70 billion budget that may reduce local government programs or force them to raise property taxes.
Besides the budget, there were hundreds of bills debated, but we focused on three bills dealing with two issues critical to homeowners: 1) tax assessments and 2) property rights. Assessments determine your taxes; and the less restrictive Virginia's property laws are, the more attractive Virginia's real estate markets become.
In This Issue: 
  • Yes, Virginia, we have a budget
  • House Bill 552: Preventing local governments from changing their minds about zoning  
  • House Bill 430: Increasing fairness in the real estate assessment process
  • House Bill 191: Making sure HOA complaints are handled fairly (go)
Yes, Virginia, we have a budget : 
Legislators have passed one of the most difficult state budgets that anyone can remember. Now they're breathing a sigh of relief, as the budget cuts aren’t as bad as many had feared. The General Assembly added no new taxes, which may force localities to either cut back on programs or expenditures, or increase taxes at the local level.
The value of a home is often closely tied to the quality of its nearby schools. Some homeowners may be concerned because class sizes are expected to rise by one pupil as $1.25 billion in education funding was cut. But it could have been worse for many districts: lawmakers held funding steady for school systems that would have received even less state money under a formula known as the composite index.
The budget also preserves car tax relief for Virginians. After making many spending cuts, legislators balanced the budget by raising fees on some government services, not by raising taxes, which affects virtually everyone.
House Bill 552: Preventing local governments from changing their minds about zoning: 
HB552 PASSED THE HOUSE AND SENATE Imagine having your local government approve a zoning change so you can improve your property. But after you begin work, the locality reverses its decision, and you're forced to tear down what you've done.
It can happen and it does happen. This law will prevent that by strengthening "vested rights" laws to prevent localities from changing their decisions on zoning rulings.
House Bill 430: Increasing fairness in the real estate assessment process
Some more education for the people in charge of real estate appraisals can only make our system better. This new law will require additional education for real estate assessors, and ensure that members of the board that hears your appeal have expertise in appraisal and home valuation. It will also make the appeals process friendlier for homeowners: Upon request, the assessor must disclose information about your assessment, and the homeowner's standard of proof will be lowered.
House Bill 191: Making sure HOA complaints are handled fairly
Today, if you have a complaint about your homeowners association, an ombudsman at a Virginia government agency called the Common Interest Community Board can help resolve it. But different HOAs have different complaint procedures. This new law allows the ombudsman to set a single procedure for all home- and property-owners associations.
The General Assembly has adjourned for the year, but your local government meets year round. Your membership in the Virginia Homeowners Alliance keeps you informed about local real estate taxes, property assessments, new residential and commercial developments, transportation, school construction and a host of other issues affecting your home, neighborhood, and way of life.
Read YOUR VIRGINIA newsletter six times per year and visit every day to stay informed about state and local issues that affect your property values and homeowner rights. The next edition will feature more specific information about how you’ll benefit from the three homeowner friendly bills passed by the General Assembly.
Make sure you continue receiving the YOUR VIRGINIA newsletter: Click here to join the Virginia Homeowners Alliance now!


Stay Tuned to the Real Estate Whisperer for continuing news and information about home/property ownership issues and real estate information!
Clicky Web Analytics