Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 55.1. Property and Conveyances [Effective October 1, 2019]
Chapter 19. Virginia Condominium Act
10/23/2019

§ 55.1-1955. (Effective October 1, 2019) Upkeep of condominiums; warranty against structural defects; statute of limitations for warranty; warranty review committee.

A. Except to the extent otherwise provided by the condominium instruments, all powers and responsibilities, including financial responsibility, with regard to maintenance, repair, renovation, restoration, and replacement of the condominium shall belong (i) to the unit owners' association in the case of the common elements and (ii) to the individual unit owner in the case of any unit or any part of such unit, except to the extent that the need for repairs, renovation, restoration, or replacement arises from a condition originating in or through the common elements or any apparatus located within the common elements, in which case the unit owners' association shall have such powers and responsibilities. Each unit owner shall afford to the other unit owners and to the unit owners' association and to any agents or employees of either such access through his unit as may be reasonably necessary to enable them to exercise and discharge their respective powers and responsibilities. To the extent that damage is inflicted on the common elements or any unit through which access is taken, the unit owner causing the same, or the unit owners' association if it caused the damage, shall be liable for the prompt repair of such damage.

B. Notwithstanding anything in this section to the contrary, the declarant shall warrant or guarantee against structural defects each of the units for two years from the date each is conveyed and all of the common elements for two years. For each unit, the declarant shall also warrant that the unit is fit for habitation in the case of a residential unit and constructed in a workmanlike manner so as to pass without objection in the trade. The two-year warranty as to each of the common elements begins whenever that common element has been completed or, if later, (i) as to any common element within any additional land or portion of the additional land, at the time the first unit in that additional land is conveyed; (ii) as to any common element within any convertible land or portion of the convertible land, at the time the first unit in the convertible land is conveyed; and (iii) as to any common element within any other portion of the condominium, at the time the first unit in that portion is conveyed. For the purposes of this subsection, no unit shall be deemed conveyed unless conveyed to a bona fide purchaser. Any conveyance of a condominium unit transfers to the purchaser all of the declarant's warranties against structural defects imposed by this subsection. For the purposes of this subsection, structural defects shall be those defects in components constituting any unit or common element that reduce the stability or safety of the structure below accepted standards or restrict the normal intended use of all or part of the structure and that require repair, renovation, restoration, or replacement. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to make the declarant responsible for any items of maintenance relating to the units or common elements.

C. An action for breach of any warranty prescribed by this section shall begin within (i) five years after the date such warranty period began or (ii) one year after the formation of any warranty review committee pursuant to subsection B of § 55.1-1943, whichever occurs last. However, no such action shall be maintained against the declarant unless a written statement by the claimant, or his agent, attorney, or representative, of the nature of the alleged defect has been sent to the declarant by registered or certified mail at his last known address, as reflected in the records of the Common Interest Community Board, more than six months prior to the beginning of the action giving the declarant an opportunity to cure the alleged defect within a reasonable time, not to exceed five months. Sending the notice required by this subsection shall toll the statute of limitations for beginning a breach of warranty action for a period not to exceed six months.

D. If the initial period of declarant control has been extended in accordance with subsection B of § 55.1-1943, the warranty review committee, referred to in this section as "the committee," shall have (i) subject to the provisions of subdivision 3, the irrevocable power as attorney-in-fact on behalf of the unit owners' association to assert or settle in the name of the unit owners' association any claims involving the declarant's warranty against structural defects with respect to all of the common elements and (ii) the authority to levy an additional assessment against all of the units in proportion to their respective undivided interests in the common elements pursuant to § 55.1-1964 if the committee determines that the assessments levied by the unit owners' association are insufficient to enable the committee reasonably to perform its functions pursuant to this subsection. The committee or the declarant shall notify the governing body of the locality in which the condominium is located of the formation of the committee within 30 days of its formation. Within 30 days after such notice, the local governing body or an agency designated by the local governing body shall advise the chair of the committee of any outstanding violations of applicable building codes, local ordinances, or other deficiencies of record. Members of the committee shall be insured, indemnified, and subject to liability to the same extent as officers or directors under the condominium instruments or applicable law. The unit owners' association shall provide sufficient funds reasonably necessary for the committee to perform the functions set out in this subsection and to:

1. Engage an independent architect, engineer, legal counsel, and such other experts as the committee may reasonably determine;

2. Investigate whether there exists any breach of the warranty as to any of the common elements. The committee shall document its findings and the evidence that supports such findings. Such findings and evidence shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed to the declarant without the consent of the committee; and

3. Assert or settle in the name of the unit owners' association any claims involving the declarant's warranty on the common elements, provided that (i) the committee sends the declarant at least six months prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations a written statement pursuant to subsection C of the alleged nature of any defect in the common elements giving the declarant an opportunity to cure the alleged defect; (ii) the declarant fails to cure the alleged defect within a reasonable time; and (iii) the declarant control period or the statute of limitations has not expired.

E. Within 45 days after the formation of the committee, the declarant shall deliver to the chair of the committee (i) a copy of the latest available approved plans and specifications for all improvements in the project or as-built plans if available; (ii) all association insurance policies that are currently in force; (iii) any written unexpired warranties of the contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and manufacturers applicable to the condominium; and (iv) a list of manufacturers of paints, roofing materials, and other similar materials if specified for use on the condominium property.

1974, c. 416, § 55-79.79; 1975, c. 415; 1980, c. 386; 1982, c. 545; 1984, c. 347; 1987, c. 395; 2006, c. 646; 2008, cc. 851, 871; 2013, c. 599; 2019, c. 712.

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.