Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 54.1. Professions and Occupations
Chapter 21. Real Estate Brokers, Sales Persons and Rental Location Agents

§ 54.1-2114. Recovery from fund generally.

A. The claimant shall not himself be (i) a regulant, (ii) the personal representative of a regulant, (iii) the spouse or child of the regulant against whom the judgment was awarded or the personal representative of such spouse or child, or (iv) a lending or financial institution or any person whose business involves the construction or development of real property.

B. Whenever any person is awarded a final judgment in any court of competent jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Virginia against any individual or entity for improper or dishonest conduct as defined in the act, and the improper or dishonest conduct occurred during a period when the individual or entity was a regulant and occurred in connection with a transaction involving the sale, lease, or management of real property by the regulant acting in the capacity of a real estate broker or real estate salesperson and not in the capacity of a principal, or on his own account, the person to whom such judgment was awarded may file a verified claim with the Director for a directive ordering payment from the fund of the amount unpaid upon the judgment, subject to the following conditions:

1. If any action is instituted against a regulant by any person, such person shall serve a copy of the complaint upon the Board by certified mail or the equivalent.

2. A copy of any pleading or document filed subsequent to the initial service of process in the action against a regulant shall be provided to the Board. The claimant shall submit such copies to the Board by certified mail, or the equivalent, upon his receipt of the pleading or document.

3. A verified claim shall be filed with the Director no later than 12 months after the date of entry of the final judgment from which no further right of appeal exists.

4. Prior to submitting a verified claim, the claimant shall:

a. Conduct or make a reasonable attempt to conduct debtor's interrogatories to determine whether the judgment debtor has any assets, including any listings held by the regulant and any commissions due thereby; and

b. Take all legally available actions for the sale or application of any assets disclosed in the debtor's interrogatories.

5. If the judgment debtor has filed bankruptcy, the claimant shall file a claim with the proper bankruptcy court. If no distribution is made, or the distribution ordered fails to satisfy the claim, the claimant may then file a claim with the Board. The verified claim shall be received by the Board within 12 months of the date of bankruptcy discharge or dismissal. In the event the judgment is silent as to the conduct of the regulant, the Board shall determine (i) whether the conduct of the regulant that gave rise to the claim was improper or dishonest as defined in § 54.1-2112 and (ii) what amount, if any, such claimant is entitled to recover from the Fund.

C. The Department shall promptly consider the verified claim. If it appears that a prima facie case has been made for payment of the claim, the Department shall provide the regulant with a notice offering the opportunity to be heard at an informal fact-finding conference pursuant to § 2.2-4019 of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.). Such notice shall state that if the regulant does not request an informal fact-finding conference within 30 days, with three days added in instances where the notice is sent by mail, the Department shall present the claim to the Board with a recommendation to pay the verified claim.

D. A claimant shall not be denied recovery from the Fund due to the fact that the order for judgment filed with the verified claim does not contain a specific finding of improper or dishonest conduct. Any language in the order that supports the conclusion that the court found that the conduct of the regulant meets the definition of improper or dishonest conduct in § 54.1-2112 shall be used by the Board to determine eligibility for recovery from the Fund. To the extent the judgment order is silent as to the court's findings on the conduct of the regulant, the Board may determine whether the conduct of the regulant meets the definition of improper or dishonest conduct by substantial evidence in the verified claim.

E. If the Board finds that there has been compliance with the statutory conditions to which reference is made in this section, the Board shall issue a directive ordering payment to the claimant from the fund the amount unpaid on the judgment, subject to the limitations set forth in § 54.1-2116. The claimant shall be notified in writing of the findings of the Board. The Board's findings shall be considered a "case decision" and judicial review of these findings shall be in accordance with § 2.2-4025 of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.). Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Board shall have the right to appeal a decision of any court which is contrary to any distribution recommended or authorized by it.

1977, c. 69, § 54-765.4; 1984, c. 266; 1987, c. 555; 1988, c. 765; 1996, c. 115; 2006, c. 723; 2015, c. 409.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.