Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 25.1. Eminent Domain
Chapter 4. Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies
10/25/2021

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 25.1-400. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Business" means any lawful activity, except a farm operation, conducted primarily:

1. For the purchase, sale, lease and rental of personal and of real property, and for the manufacture, processing, or marketing of products, commodities, or any other personal property;

2. For the sale of services to the public;

3. By a nonprofit organization; or

4. Solely for the purposes of § 25.1-406, for assisting in the purchase, sale, resale, manufacture, processing, or marketing of products, commodities, personal property, or services by the erection and maintenance of an outdoor advertising display or displays, whether or not such display or displays are located on the premises on which any of the above activities are conducted.

"Comparable replacement dwelling" means any dwelling that is (i) decent, safe and sanitary; (ii) adequate in size to accommodate the occupants; (iii) within the financial means of the displaced person; (iv) functionally equivalent; (v) in an area not subject to unreasonable adverse environmental conditions; and (vi) in a location generally not less desirable than the location of the displaced person's dwelling with respect to public utilities, facilities, services and the displaced person's place of employment.

"Decent, safe, and sanitary dwelling" means a dwelling that:

1. Is structurally sound, weather tight and in good repair;

2. Has a safe electrical wiring system adequate for lighting and appliances;

3. Contains a heating system capable of maintaining a healthful temperature;

4. Is adequate in size with respect to the number of rooms and area of living space needed to accommodate the displaced household;

5. Has a separate, well-lighted and ventilated bathroom that provides privacy to the user and contains sink, toilet, and bathing facilities (shower or bath, or both), all operational and connected to a functional water and sewer disposal system;

6. Provides unobstructed egress to safe open space at ground level. If the unit is above the first floor and served by a common corridor, there must be two means of egress; and

7. Is free of barriers to egress, ingress and use by a displaced person who is handicapped.

"Displaced person" means:

1. Any person who moves from real property, or moves his personal property from real property (i) as a direct result of a written notice of intent to acquire or the acquisition of such real property, in whole or in part, for any program or project undertaken by a state agency or (ii) on which such person is a residential tenant or conducts a small business, a farm operation or a business described in clause 4 of the definition of "business" in this section as a direct result of rehabilitation, demolition, or other displacing activity as the state agency may prescribe, under a program or project undertaken by the state agency in any case in which the state agency determines that such displacement is permanent;

2. Solely for the purposes of §§ 25.1-406, 25.1-407, and 25.1-411, any person who moves from real property, or moves his personal property from real property: (i) as a direct result of a written notice of intent to acquire or the acquisition of other real property, in whole or in part, on which such person conducts a business or farm operation, for a program or project undertaken by a state agency or (ii) as a direct result of rehabilitation, demolition, or other displacing activity as the state agency may prescribe, of other real property on which such person conducts a business or farm operation, under a program or project undertaken by the state agency in any case in which the state agency determines that such displacement is permanent; and

3. Any person who moves or discontinues his business or moves other personal property, or moves from his dwelling, as the direct result of (i) federally assisted activities for the enforcement of a building code or other similar code or (ii) a program of rehabilitation or demolition of buildings conducted pursuant to a federally assisted governmental program.

The term "displaced person" does not include (i) a person who has been determined, according to criteria established by the state agency, to be either in unlawful occupancy of the displacement dwelling or to have occupied such dwelling for the purpose of obtaining assistance under this chapter or (ii) in any case where the state agency acquires property for a program or project, any person, other than a person who was an occupant of the property at the time it was acquired, who occupies such property on a rental basis for a short term or a period subject to termination when the property is needed for the program or project.

"Dwelling" means the place of permanent or customary and usual residence of a person, according to local custom or law, including a single-family house, a single family unit in a two-family, multi-family, or multi-purpose property; a unit of a condominium or cooperative housing project; a nonhousekeeping unit; a mobile home; or any other residential unit.

"Farm operation" means any activity conducted solely or primarily for the production of one or more agricultural products or commodities, including timber, for sale or home use, and customarily producing such products or commodities in sufficient quantity to be capable of contributing materially to the operator's support.

"Mortgage" means such classes of liens as are commonly given to secure advances on, or the unpaid purchase price of, real property, together with the credit instruments, if any, secured thereby.

"Nonprofit organization" means an organization that is exempt from paying federal income taxes under § 501 of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 501).

"Person" means any (i) individual or (ii) partnership, corporation, limited liability company, association, or other business entity.

"Uneconomic remnant" means a parcel of real property in which the owner is left with an interest after the partial acquisition of the owner's property and which the state agency has determined has little or no value or utility to the owner.

Code 1950, §§ 33-75.02, 33.1-132.2; 1970, c. 40, § 25-238; 1972, c. 738; 1989, c. 714; 2000, c. 851; 2002, c. 878; 2003, c. 940; 2011, cc. 117, 190.

§ 25.1-401. Scope of chapter.

A. The provisions of this chapter shall be applicable to the acquisition of real property by any locality defined as a state agency for purposes of this chapter, notwithstanding the provisions of the locality's charter.

B. Subject to the provisions of subsection C, unless compliance with the provisions of this chapter is a prerequisite to the receipt and expenditure of federal funds on the projects for which property is acquired, this chapter shall not apply to acquisitions by a state agency (i) that are voluntarily initiated or negotiated by the seller under no threat of condemnation, (ii) where property is dedicated pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 22 (§ 15.2-2200 et seq.) of Title 15.2, or (iii) where property is voluntarily dedicated or donated for no consideration.

C. In the case of transportation projects funded in whole or in part with state or federal funds, unless compliance with the provisions of this chapter would jeopardize the receipt and expenditure of all or a portion of federal funds that would otherwise be available for transportation projects for which property is acquired or for reimbursement of the benefits provided for in this chapter, this chapter shall apply to acquisitions for such transportation projects by the Department of Transportation and any other state agency that are voluntarily initiated or negotiated by the seller under no threat of condemnation.

1972, c. 738, § 25-236; 1979, c. 235; 2000, c. 851; 2003, c. 940; 2014, c. 218.

§ 25.1-402. Rules and regulations.

All state agencies are hereby authorized to promulgate such rules and regulations as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter.

1972, c. 738, § 25-253; 2003, c. 940.

§ 25.1-403. Payments not considered income or resources.

No payment received by a displaced person under this chapter shall be considered as income or resources for the purposes of determining the eligibility or extent of eligibility of any person for assistance under any state law, or for the purposes of this Commonwealth's personal income tax law, corporation tax law, or other tax laws. Such payments shall not be considered as income or resources of any recipient of public assistance and such payments shall not be deducted from the amount of aid to which the recipient would otherwise be entitled.

Code 1950, §§ 33-75.07, 33.1-132.7; 1970, c. 40, § 25-246; 1972, c. 738; 2003, c. 940.

§ 25.1-404. Administrative payments; construction.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as creating in any condemnation proceedings brought under the power of eminent domain, any element of value or damage not in existence immediately prior to April 10, 1972.

1972, c. 738, § 25-235.1; 2003, c. 940.

§ 25.1-405. Funds for implementing provisions of chapter.

Funds appropriated or otherwise available to any state agency for the acquisition of real property or any interest therein for a particular program or project shall be available also to fund any payment required to implement the provisions of this chapter as applied to that program or project.

1972, c. 738, § 25-244; 2003, c. 940.