RD21 - Virginia Housing Commission 2016 Annual Report

Executive Summary:
The Virginia Housing Commission, established by the Virginia General Assembly, is in its fifth decade and continues to be a relevant, productive Commission, studying and making recommendations, legislative and practical, on issues that involve all aspects of the housing industry.

Legislators met as a full Commission three times during the interim, in April, September and for the final meeting in December, to review and vote on a course of action based on workgroup reports. They also heard speakers on topics of relevance in housing, such as the economic impact of housing (see April 19, September 21), the uses of the Housing Trust Fund, homelessness, and the annual report on the use of proffers.

Workgroups, composed of legislators and stakeholders, were formed to develop solutions to housing-related issues across the Commonwealth. During the 2016 interim the Commission had workgroups address the issues of emotional support animals and fair housing and landlord tenant concerns, historic district requirements, home-based daycare in Property Owner Associations, and recordation of deeds when real estate taxes have not been paid, among many other topics.

In 2016, particular focus was given to short-term rentals, and an entire workgroup was formed to address this issue. The workgroup had members from all pertinent entities to offer input on the issue. Four lengthy meetings addressed best practices in localities, insurance questions, safety concerns, taxation, and the efforts of the Airbnb company to expand the industry.

Three pieces of legislation were endorsed by the Commission, and members of the Commission in the House and Senate will carry the bi-partisan legislation. The three bills address the following topics: Historic districts and disclosures; a pilot project for Danville involving payment of past taxes before filings real estate deeds (a section 1 bill); and procedures for determination of what constitutes an emotional support animal for the purposes of real estate rental.

The Virginia Housing Commission’s director actively follows all housing legislation during the legislative session and represents the Commission during legislative meetings. Bills that are referred to the Commission determine the work plan for the following interim. Meetings of the Commission for 2017 will resume after the conclusion of the legislative session.

A number of resources are available on the Housing Commission website ( http://dls.virginia.gov/commissions/vhc.htm). Summaries of all meetings are posted to the website, as are transcripts of the 2016 meetings that involve the controversial issue of short-term rental. In addition, the Housing Commission Twitter feed (@HousingVHC) provides links to current media coverage of housing-related issues.