New laws for 2013 are now in effect

It’s the First of July, and that means most of Virginia’s new laws take effect today. Are you ready?

There are several technical bills we passed this year, but let’s stick with the ones that are more likely to affect you in your day-to-day business. (You can read the details about all the bills VAR worked on at

Oh, and a quick caveat: This is my off-the-cuff description of these. You really should read the details on our new laws site.

You’re shielded if you rely on an inaccurate public record. Let’s say you go to the town courthouse to look up the features of a home you’re listing, and it says the building is 2,450 square feet. You put that in the MLS listing, but a buyer discovers that it’s really 2,250 sq. ft. Until yesterday you could have been sued. Starting today, because you relied on public records, you’re shielded.

POA & condo disclosure packets must disclosed owner-occupied vs. rental units. That ratio is critical to knowing whether a unit is eligible for FHA financing. It’s not the only important piece of information, but if there are a lot of rental units, you’ll know that an FHA loan is off the table.

All fair housing cases involving Realtors will be heard by the Real Estate Board. Such cases used to be split — or duplicated — with the Fair Housing Board. Now, if a Realtor real estate licensee is involved, only the REB will hear the case.

This isn’t a VAR bill, but it might affect some of you: You can get a ticket for typing on your mobile phone. Texting while driving used to be a secondary offense; you could only get a ticket for it if you were pulled over for something else. Now a cop can cite you if he sees you texting (or otherwise typing) on a phone. Oh, and — depending on what you’re doing — it could also be classified as "reckless driving," which in Virginia is a Big Deal. (Like, time to lawyer up.)

So… let’s be careful out there.

About Andrew Kantor

Andrew is VAR's editor and information manager, and -- lessee now -- a former reporter for the Roanoke Times, former technology columnist for USA Today, and a former magazine editor for a bunch of places. He hails from New York with stops in Connecticut, New Jersey, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Roanoke.
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