RD14 - Virginia Housing Commission 2014 Annual Report

Executive Summary:
The Virginia Housing Commission, a legislative commission, met throughout 2014 to work to solve a variety of housing-based issues ranging from building code interpretation, affordable housing, mortgage concerns and landlord -tenant law. Other issues included; manufactured home concerns, clean energy financing for commercial structures, and common interest community association size. Additionally, expert speakers educated the Commission on the topics of judicial foreclosure and on proffers offered to localities to determine zoning as well as housing sales, housing starts, and mortgage foreclosure rates throughout the Commonwealth.

Legislation recommended by the Commission for the 2015 General Assembly session includes allowing a voluntary special assessment lien against property where clean energy systems are installed; disallowing retaliatory eviction by landlords when a tenant has lawfully complained, and changes in foreclosure advertising for time-share projects.

Many housing issues were fully vetted by the Commission and non-legislative solutions were recommended; letters expressing the will of the Commission were sent to state agencies encouraging change in policy. Tools, such as a survey to determine if the Commission was the proper venue for discussion of the size of property owner associations, were used to make sure the Commission's work produced the best outcomes for housing in the Commonwealth.

The Commission formed three workgroups and a sub workgroup to thoroughly study each housing-related concern. In addition to leadership provided by the eight legislators and three gubernatorial appointees, stakeholders from each housing interest group applied to be workgroup members and then offered the opinion of their associations to the workgroup. All interested parties were given opportunity for input assuring that proposed legislation heard by the Commission was fully studied and all parties from consumers, developers, homebuilders, realtors, mortgage bankers, localities and many others had their opinions considered. Each housing- related issue ultimately had a solution developed by the Commission.

The Commission was created 45 years ago by the 1970 session of the General Assembly "to study the ways and means best designed to utilize existing resources and develop facilities that will provide the Commonwealth's growing population with adequate housing." The Commission continues to fulfill its initial mandate while also expanding its scope of topics to incorporate the ever- changing housing and housing-related needs of the Commonwealth. With assistance from housing partners, Virginia Housing and Development Authority and the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Virginia Housing Commission continues to provide innovative solutions to complex community development, environmental and other pressing housing needs facing the Commonwealth.

The Commission has endorsed legislation and the members will promote and support the legislation during the session. Commission meetings will resume after the legislature has adjourned for the 2015 regular session. Agendas and summaries of each meeting are attached to this report and can be accessed through the Virginia Housing Commission website: ( http://dls.virginia.gov/commissions/vhc.htm).