Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 36. Housing
Chapter 8. Department of Housing and Community Development
7/2/2022

Chapter 8. Department of Housing and Community Development.

§ 36-131. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following words and terms have the following meanings, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:

"Board" means the Board of Housing and Community Development.

"Consolidated Plan" means a document setting forth various housing and community development goals, objectives, and strategies to be followed by the Commonwealth in addressing housing and community development conditions in the Commonwealth and serving as the strategic plan for the programs established by the Department and, to the extent and in the manner determined in accordance with § 36-55.27:1, for the programs established by the Virginia Housing Development Authority. The Consolidated Plan will identify housing and community development needs in the Commonwealth; the level of investment and charges to state housing programs and community development necessary to address the need; the availability of state, local, federal, and nongovernmental sources of funds; and the appropriate mix of loans, grants, and other alternative funding methods for implementing the strategy.

"Department" means the Department of Housing and Community Development.

"Director" means the Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development.

1977, c. 613; 1992, c. 754; 2002, c. 461.

§ 36-132. Creation of Department; appointment of Director.

There is hereby created in the executive department the Department of Housing and Community Development. The Department shall be headed by a Director who shall be appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly, to serve at the pleasure of the Governor for a term coincident with his own.

1977, c. 613; 1984, c. 720.

§ 36-132.1. Commission on Local Government.

The Department shall include the Commission on Local Government, which shall exercise the powers and duties described in §§ 15.2-1301 and 15.2-2303.2 and Chapters 29 (§ 15.2-2900 et seq.), 32 (§ 15.2-3200 et seq.), 33 (§ 15.2-3300 et seq.), 34 (§ 15.2-3400 et seq.), 35 (§ 15.2-3500 et seq.), 36 (§ 15.2-3600 et seq.), 38 (§ 15.2-3800 et seq.), 39 (§ 15.2-3900 et seq.), 40 (§ 15.2-4000 et seq.), and 41 (§ 15.2-4100 et seq.) of Title 15.2 and § 30-19.03.

2003, c. 197; 2010, c. 410.

§ 36-133. Director to supervise Department.

The Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development shall, under the direction and control of the Governor be responsible for the supervision of the Department and shall exercise such other powers and perform such other duties as may be required of him by the Governor.

1977, c. 613; 1984, c. 720.

§ 36-134. General powers of Director.

The Director shall have the following general powers:

A. To employ such personnel as may be required to carry out the purposes of this chapter.

B. To make and enter into all contracts and agreements necessary or incidental to the performance of the Department's duties and the execution of its powers under this chapter, including, but not limited to, contracts with the United States, other states, agencies and governmental subdivisions of this Commonwealth.

C. To accept grants from the United States government and agencies and instrumentalities thereof and any other source. To these ends, the Department shall have the power to comply with such conditions and execute such agreements as may be necessary, convenient or desirable.

D. To do all acts necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes of this chapter.

1977, c. 613.

§ 36-135. Board of Housing and Community Development; members; terms; chairman; appointment of ad hoc committee.

A. The Board of Housing and Community Development within the Department of Housing and Community Development shall consist of 14 members as follows: 11 members, one representing each congressional district in the Commonwealth, who are appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly, the Executive Director of the Virginia Housing Development Authority as an ex officio voting member; a member of the Virginia Fire Services Board, to be appointed by the chairman of that Board; and the Director of Regulatory Compliance of the Virginia Building and Code Officials Association, who shall be a member of the Board's Codes and Standards Committee, but shall not serve as either the chairman of such committee or of the Board. Members shall serve for four-year terms and no member shall serve for more than two full successive terms. A chairman of the Board shall be elected annually by the Board.

B. Whenever the Board of Housing and Community Development proposes a change to statewide building and fire regulations, the Board may convene an ad hoc committee, including but not limited to representatives of those industry groups directly affected by such change, to advise the Board on such matters.

1977, c. 613; 1989, c. 258; 1992, c. 754; 1993, c. 139; 1997, c. 860; 2003, c. 434; 2004, c. 944; 2012, c. 747.

§ 36-136. Meetings of Board.

The Board shall meet at least once every three months, and on the call of the chairman, when, in his opinion, additional meetings are necessary.

1977, c. 613.

§ 36-137. Powers and duties of Board; appointment of Building Code Academy Advisory Committee.

The Board shall exercise the following powers and duties, and such others as may be provided by law:

1. Provide a means of citizen access to the Department.

2. Provide a means of publicizing the policies and programs of the Department in order to educate the public and elicit public support for Department activities.

3. Monitor the policies and activities of the Department and have the right of access to departmental information.

4. Advise the Governor and the Director on matters relating to housing and community development.

5. Make such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out its responsibilities and repeal or amend such rules when necessary.

6. Issue a certificate of competence concerning the content, application, and intent of specified subject areas of the building and fire prevention regulations promulgated by the Board to present or prospective personnel of local governments and to any other persons seeking to become qualified to perform inspections pursuant to Chapter 6 (§ 36-97 et seq.), Chapter 9 (§ 27-94 et seq.) of Title 27, and any regulations adopted thereunder, who have completed training programs or in other ways demonstrated adequate knowledge.

7. Levy by regulation up to two percent of permit fees authorized pursuant to §§ 36-98.3 and 36-105 to support training programs of the Building Code Academy established pursuant to § 36-139. Local building departments shall collect such levy and transmit it quarterly to the Department of Housing and Community Development. Localities that maintain, individual or regional, training academies accredited by the Department of Housing and Community Development shall retain such levy. However, such localities may send employees to training programs of the Building Code Academy upon payment of a fee calculated to cover the cost of such training. Any unspent balance shall be reappropriated each year for the continued operation of the Building Code Academy.

The Board shall appoint a Building Code Academy Advisory Committee (the Committee) comprised of representatives of code enforcement personnel and construction industry professions affected by the provisions of the building and fire prevention regulations promulgated by the Board. Members of the Committee shall receive no compensation but shall be entitled to be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties in accordance with § 2.2-2813. The Committee shall advise the Board and the Director on policies, procedures, operations, and other matters pertinent to enhancing the delivery of training services provided by the Building Code Academy.

8. Establish general policies, procedures, and programs for the Virginia Housing Trust Fund established in Chapter 9 (§ 36-141 et seq.).

9. Determine the categories of housing programs, housing sponsors and persons and families of low and moderate income eligible to participate in grant or loan programs of the Virginia Housing Trust Fund and designate the proportion of such grants or loans to be made available in each category.

10. Advise the Director of the Department on the program guidelines required to accomplish the policies and procedures of the Virginia Housing Trust Fund.

11. Advise the Virginia Housing Development Authority and the Director of the Department on matters relating to the administration and management of loans and grants from the Virginia Housing Trust Fund.

12. Establish the amount of the low-income housing credit, the terms and conditions for qualifying for such credit, and the terms and conditions for computing any credit recapture amount for the Virginia income tax return.

13. Serve in an advisory capacity to the Center for Housing Research established by § 23.1-2633.

14. Advise the Department in the development of the Consolidated Plan Strategy to guide and coordinate the housing programs of the Department, the Virginia Housing Development Authority, and other state agencies and instrumentalities.

15. Advise the Governor and the Department on the expansion of affordable, accessible housing for older Virginians and Virginians with disabilities, including supportive services.

16. Establish guidelines for the allocation of private activity bonds to local housing authorities in accordance with the provisions of the Private Activity Bonds program in Chapter 50 (§ 15.2-5000 et seq.) of Title 15.2.

1977, c. 613; 1978, c. 751; 1980, c. 107; 1981, c. 309; 1984, c. 720; 1986, c. 427; 1988, c. 687; 1989, c. 279; 1992, c. 754; 1993, c. 814; 2002, cc. 245, 461, 555; 2008, c. 445; 2010, c. 66; 2013, c. 754.

§ 36-138. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1980, c. 728.

§ 36-139. Powers and duties of Director.

The Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development shall have the following responsibilities:

1. Collecting from the governmental subdivisions of the Commonwealth information relevant to their planning and development activities, boundary changes, changes of forms and status of government, intergovernmental agreements and arrangements, and such other information as he may deem necessary.

2. Making information available to communities, planning district commissions, service districts and governmental subdivisions of the Commonwealth.

3. Providing professional and technical assistance to, and cooperating with, any planning agency, planning district commission, service district, and governmental subdivision engaged in the preparation of development plans and programs, service district plans, or consolidation agreements.

4. Assisting the Governor in the providing of such state financial aid as may be appropriated by the General Assembly in accordance with § 15.2-4216.

5. Administering federal grant assistance programs, including funds from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Economic Development Administration and other such federal agencies, directed at promoting the development of the Commonwealth's communities and regions.

6. Developing state community development policies, goals, plans and programs for the consideration and adoption of the Board with the ultimate authority for adoption to rest with the Governor and the General Assembly.

7. Developing a Consolidated Plan to guide the development and implementation of housing programs and community development in the Commonwealth for the purpose of meeting the housing and community development needs of the Commonwealth and, in particular, those of low-income and moderate-income persons, families and communities.

8. Determining present and future housing requirements of the Commonwealth on an annual basis and revising the Consolidated Plan, as necessary to coordinate the elements of housing production to ensure the availability of housing where and when needed.

9. Assuming administrative coordination of the various state housing programs and cooperating with the various state agencies in their programs as they relate to housing.

10. Establishing public information and educational programs relating to housing; devising and administering programs to inform all citizens about housing and housing-related programs that are available on all levels of government; designing and administering educational programs to prepare families for home ownership and counseling them during their first years as homeowners; and promoting educational programs to assist sponsors in the development of low and moderate income housing as well as programs to lessen the problems of rental housing management.

11. Administering the provisions of the Industrialized Building Safety Law (§ 36-70 et seq.).

12. Administering the provisions of the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§ 36-97 et seq.).

13. Establishing and operating a Building Code Academy for the training of persons in the content, application, and intent of specified subject areas of the building and fire prevention regulations promulgated by the Board of Housing and Community Development.

14. Administering, in conjunction with the federal government, and promulgating any necessary regulations regarding energy standards for existing buildings as may be required pursuant to federal law.

15. Identifying and disseminating information to local governments about the availability and utilization of federal and state resources.

16. Administering, with the cooperation of the Department of Health, state assistance programs for public water supply systems.

17. Advising the Board on matters relating to policies and programs of the Virginia Housing Trust Fund.

18. Designing and establishing program guidelines to meet the purposes of the Virginia Housing Trust Fund and to carry out the policies and procedures established by the Board.

19. Preparing agreements and documents for loans and grants to be made from the Virginia Housing Trust Fund; soliciting, receiving, reviewing and selecting the applications for which loans and grants are to be made from such fund; directing the Virginia Housing Development Authority and the Department as to the closing and disbursing of such loans and grants and as to the servicing and collection of such loans; directing the Department as to the regulation and monitoring of the ownership, occupancy and operation of the housing developments and residential housing financed or assisted by such loans and grants; and providing direction and guidance to the Virginia Housing Development Authority as to the investment of moneys in such fund.

20. Establishing and administering program guidelines for a statewide homeless intervention program.

21. Administering 15 percent of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Block Grant and any contingency funds awarded and carry over funds, furnishing home weatherization and associated services to low-income households within the Commonwealth in accordance with applicable federal law and regulations.

22. Developing a strategy concerning the expansion of affordable, accessible housing for older Virginians and Virginians with disabilities, including supportive services.

23. Serving as the Executive Director of the Commission on Local Government as prescribed in § 15.2-2901 and perform all other duties of that position as prescribed by law.

24. Developing a strategy, in consultation with the Virginia Housing Development Authority, for the creation and implementation of housing programs and community development for the purpose of meeting the housing needs of persons who have been released from federal, state, and local correctional facilities into communities.

25. Administering the Private Activity Bonds program in Chapter 50 (§ 15.2-5000 et seq.) of Title 15.2 jointly with the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority and the Virginia Housing Development Authority.

26. Developing a statement of tenant rights and responsibilities explaining in plain language the rights and responsibilities of tenants under the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (§ 55.1-1200 et seq.) and maintaining such statement on the Department's website. The Director shall also develop and maintain on the Department's website a printable form to be signed by the parties to a written rental agreement acknowledging that the tenant has received from the landlord the statement of tenant rights and responsibilities as required by § 55.1-1204. The Director may at any time amend the statement of tenant rights and responsibilities and such printable form as the Director deems necessary and appropriate. The statement of tenant rights and responsibilities shall contain a plain language explanation of the rights and responsibilities of tenants in at least 14-point type. The statement shall provide the telephone number and website address for the statewide legal aid organization and direct tenants with questions about their rights and responsibilities to contact such organization.

27. Developing a statement of tenant rights and responsibilities explaining in plain language the rights and responsibilities of tenants under the Virginia Manufactured Home Lot Rental Act (§ 55.1-1300 et seq.) and maintaining such statement on the Department's website. The Director shall also develop and maintain on the Department's website a printable form to be signed by the parties to a written rental agreement acknowledging that the tenant has received from the landlord the statement of tenant rights and responsibilities as required by § 55.1-1303. The Director may at any time amend the statement of tenant rights and responsibilities and such printable form as the Director deems necessary and appropriate. The statement of tenant rights and responsibilities shall contain a plain language explanation of the rights and responsibilities in at least 14-point type. The statement shall provide the telephone number and website address for the statewide legal aid organization and direct tenants with questions about their rights and responsibilities to contact such organization.

28. Developing a sample termination notice that includes language referencing acceptance of rent with reservation by a landlord following a breach of a lease by a tenant in accordance with § 55.1-1250. The sample termination notice shall be in at least 14-point type and shall be maintained on the Department's website.

29. Carrying out such other duties as may be necessary and convenient to the exercise of powers granted to the Department.

1977, c. 613; 1978, cc. 737, 751; 1981, cc. 309, 315; 1982, c. 36; 1986, c. 427; 1988, c. 687; 1989, cc. 258, 279; 1992, c. 754; 1994, cc. 44, 140; 1998, c. 693; 2002, cc. 245, 461, 555; 2003, c. 197; 2006, c. 721; 2007, cc. 647, 741; 2008, c. 445; 2013, c. 754; 2016, c. 305; 2020, cc. 985, 986; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 91, 92, 410.

§ 36-139.01. Department to develop form; smoke alarms in rental units.

On or before January 1, 2019, the Department, in consultation with the Department of Fire Programs, shall develop a form (i) providing a landlord's certification that the smoke alarms in a rental unit have been inspected and are in good working order; (ii) summarizing the obligations of a landlord relative to the maintenance of smoke alarms; and (iii) summarizing the obligations of a tenant relative to the maintenance of smoke alarms. Such form may be updated by the Department as needed. The Department and the Department of Fire Programs shall post the form required by this section on each agency's website.

2018, cc. 41, 81.

§ 36-139.1. Sale of real property for housing demonstration projects.

The Director is authorized to sell surplus real property belonging to the Commonwealth that is placed under the control of the Department for the purpose of establishing owner-occupied residential housing demonstration projects, with the prior written approval of the Governor or his designee, who shall first consider the written recommendation of the Director of the Department of General Services. The methods, terms and conditions of sale shall be developed in cooperation with the Department of General Services. Any contract of sale or deed of conveyance shall be approved as to form by the Attorney General or one of his deputies or assistant attorneys general. The proceeds from all such sales shall be handled in the manner prescribed in subsection J of § 2.2-1156.

1988, c. 195; 2009, c. 612; 2019, cc. 659, 660.

§ 36-139.2. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2007, cc. 647 and 741, cl. 2, effective July 1, 2008.

§ 36-139.5. Power to enter into agreements with owners of housing developments eligible for federal low-income housing credits.

The Department may enter into agreements with the owners of housing developments which are or will be eligible for low-income housing credits under the United States Internal Revenue Code. Any such agreement shall contain covenants and restrictions as shall be required by the United States Internal Revenue Code and such other provisions as the Department shall deem necessary or appropriate. Any such agreement shall be enforceable in accordance with its terms in any court of competent jurisdiction in the Commonwealth by the Department or by such other persons as shall be specified in the United States Internal Revenue Code. Any such agreement, when duly recorded as a restrictive covenant among the land records of the jurisdiction or jurisdictions in which the development is located, shall run with the land and be binding on the successors and assigns of the owner. All references in this section to the United States Internal Revenue Code shall include any amendments thereto and any regulations promulgated thereunder, as the foregoing may be or become effective at any time.

1992, c. 455.

§ 36-139.5:1. Eligibility for Industrial Site Development Program.

The Department, in determining eligibility for the Industrial Site Development Program, shall allow exceptions to the Department's minimum requirement of 200 net developable acres because of geographic topographic or land availability limitations.

2001, c. 65.

§ 36-139.6. Additional powers and duties of Director; oversight of planning district commissions.

The Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development shall have the following powers and duties relating to oversight of planning district commissions:

1. To recommend to the Governor the level of state general appropriation funding for each planning district commission, taking into consideration the minimum funding level necessary for operation, the population of each district, and other factors considered appropriate;

2. To distribute state general appropriation funding to planning district commissions consistent with the provisions of this chapter and Chapter 42 (§ 15.2-4200 et seq.) of Title 15.2;

3. To administer the Regional Cooperation Incentive Fund in accordance with § 15.2-4217;

4. To provide technical assistance to planning district commissions regarding regional approaches to area-wide problems. Assistance may be initiated by the Department, individual local governments, or planning district commissions;

5. To require the submission of annual programmatic and financial information by each planning district commission in a format prescribed by the Director;

6. To prepare a biennial report to the Governor and the General Assembly which identifies the activities and other information deemed appropriate by the Director concerning planning district commissions, including findings as to planning district commissions which are not complying with Chapter 42 (§ 15.2-4200 et seq.) of Title 15.2. Copies of the biennial report shall also be sent to the Commission on Local Government, Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, Department of Conservation and Recreation, Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Planning and Budget, Department of Transportation, Virginia Economic Development Partnership, and others upon request; and

7. To establish the Virginia Planning District Commission Council made up of the chairman or designated representative from each planning district commission to advise Department staff on programs, rules and regulations for the planning district commissions. Technical committees of planning district commission staff, state and local agency staff, and private sector individuals as needed, may be created.

1995, cc. 732, 796; 1996, cc. 589, 590, 598, 599; 2013, c. 482.

§ 36-139.7. Boundaries of planning districts.

A. The Department shall review the boundaries of planning districts following every United States decennial census of population. The Department shall also review the boundaries upon the request of a member jurisdiction of a planning district. An initial review shall be conducted prior to July 1, 1996. Upon concluding such review, the Department shall, subject to the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.), make adjustments to the boundaries of planning districts as it deems advisable.

B. The Department shall consider the following criteria in making determinations as to the governmental subdivisions to be included in a planning district: recognition of communities of interest among the governmental subdivisions, recognition of common economic and market interests, the ease of communications and commissioner travel time, metropolitan statistical area boundaries designated by the federal government, a population base adequate to ensure financial viability, and geographic factors and natural boundaries. In making such determination, the Department shall also consider the wishes of a governmental subdivision within or surrounding a proposed planning district, as expressed by resolution of its governing body.

C. In conducting the boundaries review, the Department shall consult with the governing bodies of the governmental subdivisions within and adjoining a planning district which is proposed to be changed and shall hold such public and other hearing as it may deem advisable, provided at least one public hearing shall be held in each planning district which is proposed to be changed.

D. To the extent practical, upon completion of a statutory review of planning district boundaries, state agencies may provide for sorting local statistical data according to planning district geography for external use of information for state, regional and local strategic and economic development planning.

1995, cc. 732, 796.

§ 36-139.8. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2004, c. 872.

§ 36-140. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1995, cc. 732 and 796.