Code of Virginia

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Code of Virginia
Title 54.1. Professions and Occupations
Chapter 21. Real Estate Brokers, Sales Persons and Rental Location Agents
9/18/2021

Article 2. Virginia Real Estate Transaction Recovery Act.

§ 54.1-2112. Definitions.

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

"Act" means the Virginia Real Estate Transaction Recovery Act.

"Balance of the fund" means cash, securities that are legal investments for fiduciaries under the provisions of subdivisions A 1, 2, and 4 of § 2.2-4519, and repurchase agreements secured by obligations of the United States government or any agency thereof, and shall not mean accounts receivable, judgments, notes, accrued interest, or other obligations payable to the fund.

"Board" means the Real Estate Board.

"Claimant" means any person with an unsatisfied judgment against a regulant, who has filed a verified claim under this act.

"Director" means the Director of the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

"Fund" means the Virginia Real Estate Transaction Recovery Fund.

"Improper or dishonest conduct" includes only the wrongful and fraudulent taking or conversion of money, property or other things of value or material misrepresentation or deceit.

"Judgment" includes an order of a United States Bankruptcy Court (i) declaring a claim against a regulant who is in bankruptcy to be a "Debt Nondischargeable in Bankruptcy," (ii) extinguishing a claim against a regulant who is in bankruptcy and for which claim no distribution was made from the regulant's bankruptcy estate but excluding any such claim disallowed by order of the bankruptcy court, or (iii) extinguishing a claim against a regulant who is in bankruptcy and for which claim only partial distribution was made from the regulant's bankruptcy estate. An order of dismissal shall not be considered a judgment.

"Regulant" means a person, partnership, association, corporation, agency, firm or any other entity licensed by the Real Estate Board as a real estate broker or real estate salesperson.

"Verified claim" means a completed application, on a form designed by the Board, the truthfulness of which has been attested to by the claimant before a notary public, along with all required supporting documentation, that has been properly received by the Department in accordance with this chapter.

1977, c. 69, § 54-765.2; 1984, cc. 266, 283; 1985, c. 448; 1987, c. 555; 1988, c. 765; 1992, c. 348; 1993, c. 499; 2015, c. 409.

§ 54.1-2113. Establishment and maintenance of fund, duty of Director, assessments of regulants.

A. Each initial regulant at the time of licensure shall be assessed $20, which shall be specifically assigned to the fund. Initial payments may be incorporated in any application fee payment and transferred to the fund by the Director within 30 days.

B. All assessments, except initial assessments, for the fund shall be deposited, within three work days after their receipt by the Director, in one or more federally insured banks, savings and loan associations or savings banks located in the Commonwealth. Funds deposited in banks, savings and loan associations or savings banks, to the extent in excess of insurance afforded by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or other federal insurance agency, shall be secured under the Virginia Security for Public Deposits Act (§ 2.2-4400 et seq.). The deposit of these funds in federally insured banks, savings institutions or savings banks located in the Commonwealth shall not be considered investment of such funds for purposes of this section. Funds maintained by the Director may be invested in securities that are legal investments for fiduciaries under the provisions of § 64.2-1502. The Director shall maintain in his office an accurate record of all transactions involving the fund, which records shall be open for inspection and copying by the public during the normal business hours of the Director.

C. The minimum balance of the fund shall be $400,000. Whenever the Director determines that the balance of the fund is or will be less than such minimum balance, the Director shall immediately inform the Board. At the same time, the Director may recommend that the Board transfer a fixed amount of interest earnings to the fund to bring the balance of the fund to the amount required by this subsection. Such transfer of interest shall be considered by the Board within 30 days of the notification of the Director.

D. If available interest earnings are insufficient to bring the balance of the fund to the minimum amount required by this section, or if a transfer of available interest earnings to the fund has not occurred, the Board shall assess each regulant within 30 days of notification by the Director, a sum sufficient to bring the balance of the fund to the required minimum amount. The Board may order an assessment of regulants at any time in addition to any required assessment. No regulant shall be assessed a total amount of more than $20 during any biennial license period or part thereof, the biennial period expiring on June 30 of each even-numbered year. Assessments of regulants made pursuant to this subsection may be issued by the Board (i) after a determination made by it or (ii) at the time of license renewal.

E. At the close of each fiscal year, whenever the balance of the fund exceeds $2 million, the amount in excess of $2 million shall be transferred to the Virginia Housing Trust Fund established pursuant to Chapter 9 (§ 36-141 et seq.) of Title 36. Except for transfers pursuant to this subsection, there shall be no transfers out of the fund, including transfers to the general fund, regardless of the balance of the fund.

F. If the Board determines that all regulants will be assessed concurrently, notice to the regulants of such assessments shall be by first-class mail, and payment of such assessments shall be made by first-class mail to the Director within 45 days after the mailing to regulants of such notice.

If the Board determines that all regulants will be assessed in conjunction with license renewal, notice to the regulants may be included with the license renewal notice issued by the Board. The assessment shall be due with the payment of the license renewal fees. No license shall be renewed or reinstated until any outstanding assessments are paid.

G. If any regulant fails to remit the required payment mailed in accordance with subsection F within 45 days of the mailing, the Director shall notify the regulant by first-class mail at the latest address of record filed with the Board. If no payment has been received by the Director within 30 days after mailing the second notice, the license shall be automatically suspended. The license shall be restored only upon the actual receipt by the Director of the delinquent assessment.

H. The costs of administering the act shall be paid out of interest earned on deposits constituting the fund. The remainder of the interest, at the discretion of the Board, may (i) be used for providing research and education on subjects of benefit to real estate regulants or members of the public, (ii) be transferred to the Virginia Housing Trust Fund, or (iii) accrue to the fund in accordance with subsection C.

1977, c. 69, § 54-765.3; 1982, c. 6; 1984, c. 266; 1987, c. 555; 1988, c. 765; 1990, c. 3; 1992, cc. 348, 810; 1997, c. 82; 2007, c. 791; 2013, c. 754.

§ 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.

§ 54.1-2115. Investigations.

Upon receipt of the notice of proceedings against the regulant, the Department may cause its own investigation to be conducted pursuant to § 54.1-306.

1987, c. 555, § 54-765.4:1; 1988, c. 765; 2015, c. 409.

§ 54.1-2116. Limitations upon recovery from fund; certain actions not a bar to recovery.

A. The aggregate of claims by claimants against the fund based upon unpaid judgments arising out of the improper or dishonest conduct of one regulant in connection with a single transaction involving the sale, lease, or management of real property, is limited to $50,000. If a claim has been made against the fund, and the Board has reason to believe that there may be additional claims against the fund arising out of the same transaction, the Board may withhold any payment(s) from the fund for a period of not more than one year. After such one-year period, if the aggregate of claims arising out of the same transaction exceeds $50,000, such $50,000 shall be prorated by the Board among the claimants and paid from the fund in proportion to the amounts of their judgments against the regulant remaining unpaid.

B. The maximum claim of one claimant against the fund based upon an unpaid judgment arising out of the improper or dishonest conduct of one regulant in connection with a single transaction involving the sale, lease, or management of real property, shall be limited to $20,000, regardless of the number of claimants and regardless of the amount of the unpaid judgment of the claimant.

C. The aggregate of claims against the fund based upon unpaid judgments arising out of the improper or dishonest conduct of one regulant in connection with more than a single transaction involving the sale, lease, or management of real property is limited to $100,000 during any biennial license period, the biennial periods expiring on June 30 of each even-numbered year. If a claim has been made against the fund, and the Board has reason to believe that there may be additional claims against the fund from other transactions involving the same regulant, the Board may withhold any payment(s) from the fund involving such regulant for a period of not more than one year. After the one-year period, if the aggregate of claims against the regulant exceeds $100,000, such $100,000 shall be prorated by the Board among the claimants and paid from the fund in proportion to the amounts of their judgments against the regulant remaining unpaid.

D. Excluded from the amount of any unpaid judgment upon which a claim against the fund is based shall be any sums included in the judgment which represent interest, or punitive damages. The claim against the fund may include court costs and attorney fees.

E. If, at any time, the amount of the fund is insufficient to satisfy any claims, claim, or portion thereof filed with the Board and authorized by the act, the Board shall, when the amount of the fund is sufficient to satisfy some or all of such claims, claim, or portion thereof, pay the claimants in the order that such claims were filed with the Board.

F. Failure of a claimant to comply with the provisions of subdivisions B 1 and 2 of § 54.1-2114 and the provisions of § 54.1-2117 shall not be a bar to recovery under this act if the claimant is otherwise entitled to such recovery.

1977, c. 69, § 54-765.5; 1987, c. 555; 1988, c. 765; 2015, cc. 409, 710.

§ 54.1-2117. Participation by Board in proceedings.

Upon service of the complaint as provided in subdivision B 1 of § 54.1-2114, the Board, the Director, or duly authorized representatives of the Board shall then have the right to request leave of court to intervene.

1977, c. 69, § 54-765.6; 1987, c. 555; 1988, c. 765; 2015, c. 409.

§ 54.1-2118. Payment of claim; assignment of claimant's rights to Board.

The Director shall, subject to the provisions of § 54.1-2116, pay to the claimant from the fund such amount as shall be directed by the Board upon the execution and delivery to the Director by such claimant of an assignment to the Board of the claimant's rights against the regulant to the extent that such rights were satisfied from the fund.

1977, c. 69, § 54-765.7; 1987, c. 555; 1988, c. 765.

§ 54.1-2119. Revocation of license of regulant upon payment from fund.

Upon payment by the Director to a claimant from the fund as provided in § 54.1-2118, the Board shall immediately revoke the license of the regulant whose improper or dishonest conduct, as defined in the act, resulted in payment from the fund. The regulant whose license was so revoked shall not be eligible to apply for a license as a real estate broker or real estate salesperson until he has repaid in full the amount paid from the fund on his account, plus interest at the judgment rate of interest from the date of payment from the fund.

1977, c. 69, § 54-765.8; 1984, c. 266; 1987, c. 555; 1988, c. 765.

§ 54.1-2120. No waiver by Board of disciplinary action against regulant.

Nothing contained in this article shall limit the authority of the Board to take disciplinary action against any regulant for any violation of this chapter or Board regulations, nor shall the repayment in full by a regulant of the amount paid from the fund on such regulant's account nullify or modify the effect of any disciplinary proceeding against such regulant for any such violation.

1977, c. 69, § 54-765.9; 1978, c. 129; 1987, c. 555; 1988, c. 765.