Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 55.1. Property and Conveyances
Chapter 3. Form and Effect of Deeds and Covenants; Liens
12/1/2022

Article 4. Effect of Certain Expressions in Deeds.

§ 55.1-353. Effect of word "covenants.".

When a deed uses the words "the said ________ covenants," such covenant shall have the same effect as if it were expressed to be by the covenantor, for himself and his heirs, personal representatives, and assigns and shall be deemed to be with the covenantee and his heirs, personal representatives, and assigns.

Code 1919, § 5170; Code 1950, § 55-67; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-354. Effect of covenant of general warranty.

A covenant by the grantor in a deed "that he will warrant generally the property hereby conveyed" shall have the same effect as if the grantor had covenanted that he and his heirs and personal representatives will forever warrant and defend such property unto the grantee and his heirs, personal representatives, and assigns against the claims and demands of all persons.

Code 1919, § 5171; Code 1950, § 55-68; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-355. Covenant of special warranty.

A covenant by any such grantor "that he will warrant specially the property hereby conveyed" shall have the same effect as if the grantor has covenanted that he and his heirs and personal representatives will forever warrant and defend such property unto the grantee and his heirs, personal representatives, and assigns against the claims and demands of the grantor and all persons claiming or to claim by, through, or under him.

Code 1919, § 5172; Code 1950, § 55-69; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-356. Words "with general warranty," "with special warranty," and "with English covenants of title" construed.

The words "with general warranty" in the granting part of any deed shall be deemed to be a covenant by the grantor "that he will warrant generally the property hereby conveyed." The words "with special warranty" in the granting part of any deed shall be deemed to be a covenant by the grantor "that he will warrant specially the property hereby conveyed."

The words "with English covenants of title" or words of similar import in the granting part of any deed shall be deemed to be an expression by the grantor of those covenants set out in §§ 55.1-359 through 55.1-362, and in addition thereto the covenant that he is seized in fee simple of the property conveyed.

Code 1919, § 5173; Code 1950, § 55-70; 1968, c. 257; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-357. Implied warranties on new homes.

A. As used in this section:

"New dwelling" means a dwelling or house that has not previously been occupied for a period of more than 60 days by anyone other than the vendor or the vendee or that has not been occupied by the original vendor or subsequent vendor for a cumulative period of more than 12 months, excluding dwellings constructed solely for lease. "New dwelling" does not include a condominium or condominium units created pursuant to the Virginia Condominium Act (§ 55.1-1900 et seq.).

"Structural defects" means a defect or defects that reduce the stability or safety of the structure below accepted standards or that restrict the normal use of the structure.

B. In every contract for the sale of a new dwelling, the vendor shall be held to warrant to the vendee that, at the time of the transfer of record title or the vendee's taking possession, whichever occurs first, the dwelling with all of its fixtures is, to the best of the actual knowledge of the vendor or his agents, sufficiently (i) free from structural defects, so as to pass without objection in the trade, and (ii) constructed in a workmanlike manner, so as to pass without objection in the trade.

C. In addition, in every contract for the sale of a new dwelling, the vendor, if he is in the business of building or selling such dwellings, shall be held to warrant to the vendee that, at the time of transfer of record title or the vendee's taking possession, whichever occurs first, the dwelling together with all of its fixtures is sufficiently (i) free from structural defects, so as to pass without objection in the trade; (ii) constructed in a workmanlike manner, so as to pass without objection in the trade; and (iii) fit for habitation.

D. The warranties described in subsections B and C implied in the contract for sale shall be held to survive the transfer of title. Such warranties are in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other express or implied warranties pertaining to the dwelling or its materials or fixtures. A contract for sale may waive, modify, or exclude any or all express and implied warranties and sell a new home "as is" only if the words used to waive, modify, or exclude such warranties are conspicuous, as defined by subdivision (b)(10) of § 8.1A-201, set forth on the face of such contract in capital letters that are at least two points larger than the other type in the contract and only if the words used to waive, modify, or exclude the warranties state with specificity the warranty or warranties that are being waived, modified, or excluded. If all warranties are waived or excluded, a contract shall specifically set forth in capital letters that are at least two points larger than the other type in the contract that the dwelling is being sold "as is."

E. If there is a breach of warranty under this section, the vendee, or his heirs or personal representatives in case of his death, shall have a cause of action against his vendor for damages, provided, however, for any defect discovered after July 1, 2002, such vendee shall first provide the vendor, by certified mail at his last known address, or by commercial overnight delivery service or the United States Postal Service, and a receipt obtained, a written notice stating the nature of the warranty claim. Such notice also may be hand delivered to the vendor with the vendee retaining a receipt of such hand-delivered notice to the vendor or its authorized agent. After such notice, the vendor shall have a reasonable period of time, not to exceed six months, to cure the defect that is the subject of the warranty claim.

F. The warranty shall extend for a period of one year from the date of transfer of record title or the vendee's taking possession, whichever occurs first, except that the warranty pursuant to clause (i) of subsection C for the foundation of new dwellings shall extend for a period of five years from the date of transfer of record title or the vendee's taking possession, whichever occurs first. Any action for its breach shall be brought within two years after the breach thereof. For all warranty claims arising on or after January 1, 2009, sending the notice required by subsection E shall toll the limitations period for six months.

G. In the case of new dwellings where fire-retardant treated plywood sheathing or other roof sheathing materials are used in lieu of fire-retardant treated plywood, the vendor shall be deemed to have assigned the manufacturer's warranty, at settlement, to the vendee. The vendee shall have a direct cause of action against the manufacturer of such roof sheathing for any breach of such warranty. To the extent any such manufacturer's warranty purports to limit the right of third parties or prohibit assignment, such provision shall be unenforceable and of no effect.

1979, c. 282, § 55-70.1; 1988, c. 394; 1992, c. 431; 1994, cc. 483, 766; 2002, c. 795; 2003, c. 353; 2008, c. 392; 2011, c. 803; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-358. Effect of certain transfer fee covenants.

A. As used in this section, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Transfer" means assignment, conveyance, gift, inheritance, sale, or other transfer of ownership interest in real property located in the Commonwealth.

"Transfer fee" means a fee or charge payable to a nongovernmental person or entity upon transfer or payable for the right to make or accept such transfer, regardless of whether the fee or charge is a fixed amount or is determined as a percentage of the value of the property, the purchase price of the property, or other consideration given for the transfer. "Transfer fee" does not include:

1. Any consideration that is payable by a grantee to a grantor for the interest in real property being transferred;

2. Any commission that is payable to a licensed real estate broker for a transfer under an agreement between the broker and the grantor or grantee;

3. Any amount, charge, fee, or interest that is payable by a borrower to a lender under a loan secured by a deed of trust or mortgage on real property, including (i) any fee that is payable to the lender for consenting to an assumption of the loan or a transfer of the real property subject to the deed of trust or mortgage and (ii) any consideration allowed by law that is payable to the lender in connection with the loan;

4. Any amount, charge, fee, reimbursement, or rent that is payable by a lessee to a lessor under a lease, including any fee that is payable to the lessor for consenting to an assignment, sublease, encumbrance, or transfer of the lease;

5. Any consideration that is payable to the holder of an option to purchase an interest in real property, the holder of a right of first refusal, or the holder of a right of first offer to purchase an interest in real property for releasing, waiving, or not exercising the option or right upon the transfer of the property to a person other than the holder;

6. Any assessment, charge, or fee authorized by statute, the recorded condominium instrument, or the recorded declaration to be charged by, or payable to, a common interest community as defined in § 54.1-2345 or a cooperative as defined in § 55.1-2100; or

7. Any amount, assessment, charge, fee, fine, or tax that is payable to or imposed by a governmental authority.

"Transfer fee covenant" means a covenant or declaration that purports to affect real property and that requires or purports to require, upon a subsequent transfer of such property, the payment of a transfer fee to the declarant or other nongovernmental person or entity specified in the covenant or declaration or to the assigns or successors of such declarant or nongovernmental person or entity.

B. A transfer fee covenant recorded in the Commonwealth on or after July 1, 2011, shall not run with the title to real property and is not binding on, or enforceable at law or in equity against, any subsequent owner, purchaser, or mortgagee of any interest in real property as an equitable servitude or otherwise. Any lien purporting to secure the payment of a transfer fee under a transfer fee covenant recorded in the Commonwealth on or after July 1, 2011, is void and unenforceable.

2011, c. 706, § 55-70.2; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-359. Covenant of "right to convey.".

A covenant by the grantor in a deed for land "that he has the right to convey the said land to the grantee" shall have the same effect as if the grantor had covenanted that he has good right, full power, and absolute authority to convey the land, with all the buildings thereon and the privileges and appurtenances thereto belonging, unto the grantee, in the manner in which the same is conveyed or intended so to be by the deed, and according to its true intent.

Code 1919, § 5174; Code 1950, § 55-71; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-360. Covenant for "quiet possession" and "free from all encumbrances.".

A covenant by any such grantor "that the grantee shall have quiet possession of the said land" shall have as much effect as if he covenanted that the grantee and his heirs and assigns might, at any and all times thereafter, peaceably and quietly enter upon and have, hold, and enjoy the land conveyed by the deed, or intended so to be, with all the buildings thereon and the privileges and appurtenances thereto belonging, and receive and take the rents and profits thereof, to and for his and their use and benefit, without any eviction, interruption, suit, claim, or demand whatever. If to such covenant there be added "free from all encumbrances," these words shall have as much effect as the words "and that freely and absolutely acquitted, exonerated, and forever discharged, or otherwise by the said grantor or his heirs saved harmless and indemnified of, from, and against any and every charge and encumbrance whatever."

Code 1919, § 5175; Code 1950, § 55-72; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-361. Covenant for "further assurances.".

A covenant by any such grantor "that he will execute such further assurances of the said lands as may be requisite" shall have the same effect as if he covenanted that he, the grantor, and his heirs or personal representative will at any time, upon any reasonable request, at the charge of the grantee and his heirs or assigns, do, execute, or cause to be done or executed all such further acts, deeds, and things for the better, more perfectly and absolutely conveying and assuring the said lands and premises thereby conveyed or intended so to be unto the grantee and his heirs and assigns in manner aforesaid, as by the grantee and his heirs or assigns and his or their attorney, shall be reasonably devised, advised, or required.

Code 1919, § 5176; Code 1950, § 55-73; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-362. Covenant of "no act to encumber.".

A covenant by any such grantor "that he has done no act to encumber the said lands" shall have the same effect as if he covenanted that he had not done or executed, or knowingly suffered, any act, deed, or thing whereby the lands and premises conveyed, or intended so to be, or any part thereof, are or will be charged, affected, or encumbered in title, estate, or otherwise.

Code 1919, § 5177; Code 1950, § 55-74; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-363. Effect of certain words of release in a deed.

Whenever any deed uses the words: "The said grantor (or the said ______) releases to the said grantee (or the said ______) all his claims upon the said lands," such deed shall be construed as if it set forth that the grantor (or releasor) has remised, released, and forever quitted claim and by these presents does remise, release, and forever quitclaim to the grantee (or releasee) and his heirs and assigns all right, title, and interest whatsoever, both at law and in equity, in or to the lands and premises granted (or released) or intended to be granted (or released), so that neither he nor his personal representative, heirs, or assigns shall at any time thereafter have any type of claim, challenge, or demand on the lands and premises or any part thereof.

Code 1919, § 5164; Code 1950, § 55-75; 2019, c. 712.