Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 55.1. Property and Conveyances
Chapter .
11/23/2020

Chapter 6. Recordation of Documents.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 55.1-600. When and where writings recorded.

Except when it is otherwise provided, the circuit court of any county or city, or the clerk of any such court, or his duly qualified deputy, in his office, shall record any such writing as to any person whose name is signed thereto with an original signature, when it shall have been acknowledged by him, or proved by two witnesses as to him in such court, or before such clerk, or his duly qualified deputy, in his office, or the manner prescribed in Articles 2 (§ 55.1-612 et seq.), 3 (§ 55.1-616 et seq.), and 4 (§ 55.1-624 et seq.). When such writing is signed by a person acting on behalf of another, or in any representative capacity, the signature of such representative may be acknowledged or proved in the same manner.

Code 1919, § 5204; Code 1950, § 55-106; 1972, c. 130; 1994, c. 554; 2014, c. 338; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-601. Recording and indexing of certain documents showing changes of names.

A duly authenticated copy of a marriage license with the certificate of the person celebrating the marriage or a duly authenticated copy of a final order of divorce showing a change of name of a woman shall be entitled to be recorded in the clerk's office in which deeds are recorded of the county or city in which any land, or an interest in any land, that is owned by such woman lies and shall be indexed by such clerk in the grantor and grantee indices in his office.

1958, c. 220, § 55-106.1; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-602. Presumption that recorded writings are in proper form.

A writing that is not properly notarized in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth shall not invalidate the underlying document; however, any such writing shall not be in proper form for recordation. All recorded writings shall be presumed to be in proper form for recording after having been recorded, and conclusively presumed to be in proper form for recording after having been recorded for a period of three years, except in cases of fraud.

1973, c. 161, § 55-106.2; 2008, cc. 117, 814; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-603. Deed of real estate investment trust.

Every deed that is to be recorded conveying property to or from a trust qualifying as a real estate investment trust shall include the complete address of the principal office of the trust. Failure to comply with the provisions of this section shall not invalidate any such deed.

1984, c. 474, § 55-106.4; 2002, c. 621; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-604. When clerk may refuse document to be recorded.

A clerk may refuse any document for recording in which the name of the person under which the document is to be indexed does not legibly appear or is not otherwise furnished.

1986, c. 277, § 55-106.5; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-605. Power of attorney; where recorded.

A power of attorney may be recorded in any county or city.

Code 1919, § 5203; Code 1950, § 55-107; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-606. Standards for writings to be docketed or recorded.

Except as provided in Article 4.1 (§ 17.1-258.2 et seq.) of Title 17.1, all writings that are to be recorded or docketed in the clerk's office of courts of record shall be an original or first generation printed form, or legible copy thereof, pen and ink or typed ribbon copy, and shall meet the standards for instruments as adopted under §§ 17.1-227 and 42.1-82 of the Virginia Public Records Act (§ 42.1-76 et seq.).

If a writing that does not conform to the requirements of this section or the standards for instruments adopted under § 17.1-227 and under § 42.1-82 of the Virginia Public Records Act (§ 42.1-76 et seq.) is accepted for recordation, it shall be deemed validly recorded and the clerk shall have no liability for accepting such a writing that does not meet the enumerated criteria in all the particulars.

1924, p. 144; Michie Code 1942, § 5210a; Code 1950, § 55-108; 1983, c. 291; 1986, c. 346; 2005, c. 744; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-607. When original of writing once recorded is lost, how copy recorded elsewhere.

If it is proper for any writing that has been recorded in a court of any county or city to be recorded in the court of another county or city and such writing, before being so recorded in such other court, is lost or mislaid, on affidavit of this fact, such court or the clerk of such court may record a copy of such writing from the records of another court, certified by its clerk, and the copy so recorded shall have the same effect as if the original had been recorded at the time the copy was recorded.

Code 1919, § 5212; Code 1950, § 55-109; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-608. Certifications of recordation upon copies of certain instruments and subsequent recordation in other county or city.

Whenever a mortgage or deed of trust instrument upon real or personal property located in more than one county or city is recorded in one such county or city, the party by whom it is so presented may deliver to the clerk of such court any number of executed and acknowledged copies of such instrument. The clerk shall fix to each such copy his certificate of recordation, certifying thereby the payment of the recordation tax levied by the Commonwealth, and shall return to the party presenting all such instruments all such copies except one, which shall be retained by the clerk for recordation in his office. Such certificate shall be conclusive evidence of the payment of the recordation tax indicated thereby, and the clerk in any other recording office in any other county or city shall accept for recordation in his office any such copy so certified.

1962, c. 301, § 55-109.1; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-609. Correcting errors in deeds, deeds of trust, and mortgages; affidavit.

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

"Attorney" means any person licensed as an attorney in Virginia by the Virginia State Bar.

"Corrective affidavit" means an affidavit of an attorney correcting an obvious description error.

"Obvious description error" means an error in a real property parcel description contained in a recorded deed, deed of trust, or mortgage where (i) such parcel is identified and shown as a separate parcel on a recorded subdivision plat; (ii) such error is apparent by reference to other information on the face of such deed, deed of trust, or mortgage or on an attachment to such deed, deed of trust, or mortgage or by reference to other instruments in the chain of title for the property conveyed thereby; and (iii) such deed, deed of trust, or mortgage recites elsewhere the parcel's correct address or tax map identification number. An "obvious description error" includes (a) an error transcribing courses and distances, including the omission of one or more lines of courses and distances or the omission of angles and compass directions; (b) an error incorporating an incorrect recorded plat or a deed reference; (c) an error in a lot number or designation; or (d) an omitted exhibit supplying the legal description of the real property thereby conveyed. An "obvious description error" does not include (1) missing or improper signatures or acknowledgments or (2) any designation of the type of tenancy by which the property is owned or whether or not a right of survivorship exists.

"Recorded subdivision plat" means a plat that has been prepared by a land surveyor licensed pursuant to Article 1 (§ 54.1-400 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 54.1 and recorded in the clerk's office of the circuit court for the jurisdiction where the property is located.

"Title insurance company" has the same meaning as set forth in § 38.2-4601, provided that the title insurance company issued a policy of title insurance for the transaction in which the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage needing correction was recorded.

B. Obvious description errors in a recorded deed, deed of trust, or mortgage purporting to convey or transfer an interest in real property may be corrected by recording an affidavit in the land records of the circuit court for the jurisdiction where the property is located or where the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage needing correction was recorded. No correction of an obvious description error shall be inconsistent with the description of the property in any recorded subdivision plat.

C. Prior to recording a corrective affidavit, the attorney seeking to record the affidavit shall deliver a copy of the affidavit to all parties to the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage, including the current owner of the property; to the attorney who prepared the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage, if known and if possible; and to the title insurance company, if known, and give notice of the intent to record the affidavit and of each party's right to object to the affidavit. For an affidavit to correct an obvious description error in a deed as described in clause (a) of the definition of "obvious description error" in subsection A, notice and a copy of the affidavit shall also be provided to any owner of property adjoining a line to be corrected. The notice and a copy of the affidavit shall be delivered by personal service, sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, or delivered by a commercial overnight delivery service or the United States Postal Service, and a receipt obtained, to the last known address of each party to the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage to be corrected that (i) is contained in the land book maintained pursuant to § 58.1-3301 by the jurisdiction where the property is located and where the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage needing correction was recorded; (ii) is contained in the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage needing correction; (iii) has been provided to the attorney as a forwarding address; or (iv) has been established with reasonable certainty by other means, and to all other persons and entities to whom notice is required to be given. The notice and a copy of the affidavit shall be sent to the property address for the real property conveyed by the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage needing correction. If a locality is a party to the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage, the notice and a copy of the affidavit required by this subsection shall be sent to the county, city, or town attorney for the locality, if any, and if there is no such attorney, then to the chief executive for the locality. For the purposes of this section, the term "party" includes any locality that is a signatory. If the Commonwealth is a party to the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage, the notice and a copy of the affidavit required by this subsection shall be sent to the Attorney General and to the director, chief executive officer, or head of the state agency or chairman of the board of the state entity in possession or that had possession of the property.

D. If, within 30 days after personal service or receiving confirmation of delivery of the notice and a copy of the affidavit (i) to all parties to the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage, including the current owner of the property; (ii) to the attorney who prepared the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage, if known and if possible; (iii) to the title insurance company, if known; and (iv) to the adjoining property owners, if necessary, pursuant to subsection C, no written objection is received from any party disputing the facts recited in the affidavit or objecting to its recordation, the corrective affidavit may be recorded by the attorney, and all parties to the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage shall be bound by the terms of the affidavit. The corrective affidavit shall contain (a) a statement that no objection was received from any party within the period and (b) a copy of the notice sent to the parties. The notice shall contain the attorney's Virginia State Bar number. The corrective affidavit shall be notarized.

E. A corrective affidavit that is recorded pursuant to this section operates as a correction of the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage and relates back to the date of the original recordation of the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage as if the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage was correct when first recorded. A title insurance company, upon request, shall issue an endorsement to reflect the corrections made by the corrective affidavit and shall deliver a copy of the endorsement to all parties to the policy who can be found.

F. The clerk shall record the corrective affidavit in the deed book and, notwithstanding their designation in the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage needing correction, index the affidavit in the names of the parties to the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage as grantors and grantees as set forth in the affidavit. The costs associated with the recording of a corrective affidavit pursuant to this section shall be paid by the party that records the corrective affidavit. An affidavit recorded in compliance with this section shall be prima facie evidence of the facts stated in such affidavit. Any person who wrongfully or erroneously records a corrective affidavit is liable for actual damages sustained by any party due to such recordation, including reasonable attorney fees and costs.

G. The remedies under this section are not exclusive and do not abrogate any right or remedy under the laws of the Commonwealth other than this section.

H. An affidavit under this section may be made in the following form, or to the same effect:

Corrective Affidavit

This Affidavit, prepared pursuant to Virginia Code § 55.1-609, shall be indexed in the names of ________(grantor) and ________ (grantee), whose addresses are ________. The undersigned affiant, being first duly sworn, deposes and states as follows:

1. That the affiant is a Virginia attorney.

2. That the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage needing correction was made in connection with a real estate transaction in which ________ purchased real estate from ________, as shown in a deed recorded in the Clerk's Office of the Circuit Court of ________, in Deed Book ____, Page ____, or as Instrument Number ____; or in which real estate was encumbered, as shown in a deed recorded in the Clerk's Office of the Circuit Court of ________, in Deed Book ____, Page ____, or as Instrument Number ____.

3. That the property description in the aforementioned deed, deed of trust, or mortgage contains an obvious description error.

4. That the property description containing the obvious description error reads:

________________

________________.

5. That the correct property description should read:

________________

________________.

6. That this affidavit is given pursuant to § 55.1-609 of the Code of Virginia to correct the property description in the aforementioned deed, deed of trust, or mortgage and such description shall be as stated in paragraph 5 above upon recordation of this affidavit in the Circuit Court of ________.

7. That notice of the intent to record this corrective affidavit and a copy of this affidavit was delivered to all parties to the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage being corrected pursuant to § 55.1-609 of the Code of Virginia and that no objection to the recordation of this affidavit was received within the applicable period of time as set forth in § 55.1-609 of the Code of Virginia.

________________

(Name of attorney)

________________

(Signature of attorney)

________________

(Address of attorney)

________________

(Telephone number of attorney)

________________

(Bar number of attorney)

The foregoing affidavit was acknowledged before me

This ______ day of ______, 20__, by

________________

Notary Public

My Commission expires ________.

Notary Registration Number: ________.

I. Notice under this section may be made in the following form, or to the same effect:

Notice of Intent to Correct an Obvious Description Error

Notice is hereby given to you concerning the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage described in the corrective affidavit, a copy of which is attached to this notice, as follows:

1. The attorney identified below has discovered or has been advised of an obvious description error in the deed, deed of trust, or mortgage recorded as part of your real estate settlement. The error is described in the attached affidavit.

2. The undersigned will record an affidavit to correct such error unless the undersigned receives a written objection disputing the facts recited in the affidavit or objecting to the recordation of the affidavit. Your objections must be sent within 30 days of receipt of this notice to the following address:

________________

(Address)

________________

(Name of attorney)

________________

(Signature of attorney)

________________

(Address of attorney)

________________

(Telephone number of attorney)

________________

(Bar number of attorney)

2014, c. 523, § 55-109.2; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-610. Recordation of copy of lost deed previously recorded in what is now West Virginia.

In any case when any deed was duly recorded before the formation of the state of West Virginia in any county or city now within the limits of West Virginia and such deed, after diligent search, cannot be found, upon affidavit of that fact by any party in interest, his agent, or his attorney, any court of the Commonwealth in which, or the clerk's office of which, the original might be recorded, or the clerk of any such court, may record a copy of such deed from the records of the court of West Virginia, or the clerk's office of such court in which such deed is recorded, duly certified by the clerk of such court, under the seal of the court, and the recordation of such copy shall have the same effect as the recordation of the original.

Code 1919, § 5212; Code 1950, § 55-110; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-611. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2019, c. 326, cl. 1 and c. 786, cl. 2.

Article 2. Acknowledgments Generally.

§ 55.1-612. Acknowledgment within the United States or its dependencies.

A circuit court of any county or city, or the clerk of any such court, shall record any writing as is described in § 55.1-600 as to any person whose name is signed to such writing, except that acknowledgment of contracts for the sale of real property shall require the seller or grantor of such real property to acknowledge his signature as provided in this section, except for contracts recorded after the death of the seller pursuant to § 64.2-523.

1. Upon the certificate of such clerk or his deputy, a notary public, a commissioner in chancery, or a clerk of any court of record within the United States or in Puerto Rico or any territory or other dependency or possession of the United States that such writing had been acknowledged before him by such person. Such certificate shall be written upon or attached to such writing and shall be substantially to the following effect:

I, ________, clerk (or deputy clerk or a commissioner in chancery) of the ________ court, (or a notary public) for the county (or city) aforesaid, in the state (or territory or district) of ________, do certify that E.F., or E.F. and G.H., and so forth, whose name (or names) is (or are) signed to the writing above (or hereto attached) bearing date on the ______ day of ____, has (or have) acknowledged the same before me in my county (or city) aforesaid.

Given under my hand this ______ day of ____.

2. Upon the certificate of acknowledgment of such person before any commissioner appointed by the Governor, within the United States, so written or attached, substantially to the following effect:

State (or territory or district) of ________:

I, __________, a commissioner appointed by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, for such state (or territory or district) of ________, do certify that E.F. (or E.F. and G.H., and so forth) whose name (or names) is (or are) signed to the writing above (or hereto attached) bearing date on the ______ day of ____ has (or have) acknowledged the same before me in my state (or territory or district) aforesaid.

Given under my hand this ______ day of ____.

3. Or upon the certificate of such clerk or his deputy, a notary public, a commissioner in chancery, or a clerk of any court of record within the United States or in Puerto Rico or any territory or other possession or dependency of the United States, or of a commissioner appointed by the Governor, within the United States, that such writing was proved as to such person, before him, by two subscribing witnesses thereto. Such certificate shall be written upon or attached to such writing and shall be substantially to the following effect:

State (or territory or district) of ________; county (or city) of ________: I, ________, clerk (or deputy clerk or a commissioner in chancery) of the ________ court, (or a notary public) for the county (or city) aforesaid, in the state (or territory or district) of ________ (or a commissioner appointed by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia for such state (or territory or district) of ________), do certify that the execution of the writing above (or hereto attached) bearing date on the ______ day of ____, by A.B. (or A.B. and C.D., and so forth), whose name (or names) is (or are) signed thereto, was proved before me in my county (or city or state, territory, or district) aforesaid, by the evidence on oath of E.F. and G.H., subscribing witnesses to such writing.

Given under my hand this ______ day of ____.

When authority is given in § 55.1-600 or in this section to the clerk of a court in or outside of the Commonwealth, but within the United States, such authority may be exercised by his duly qualified deputy.

Code 1919, §§ 5205, 5207; 1922, p. 868; 1924, p. 474; Code 1950, § 55-113; 1968, c. 639; 1972, c. 130; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-613. Acknowledgments outside of the United States and its dependencies.

A circuit court of any county or city, or the clerk of such court, shall also record any writing as is described in § 55.1-600 as to any person whose name is signed thereto upon the certificate under the official seal of any ambassador, minister plenipotentiary, minister resident, charge d'affaires, consul-general, consul, vice-consul, or commercial agent appointed by the government of the United States to any foreign country, or of the proper officer of any court of record of such country or of the mayor or other chief magistrate of any city, town, or corporation therein, that such writing was acknowledged by such person or proved as to him by two witnesses before any person having such appointment or before such court, mayor, or chief magistrate.

Code 1919, § 5206; Code 1950, § 55-114; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-614. Acknowledgments by persons subject to Uniform Code of Military Justice; validation of certain acknowledgments.

A circuit court of any county or city, or the clerk of such court, shall also record any writing as is described in § 55.1-600 as to any person whose name is signed thereto and who at the time of such acknowledgment:

1. Was a member of any of the Armed Forces of the United States, wherever they may have been;

2. Was employed by, or accompanying such armed forces outside the United States and outside the Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands; or

3. Was subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice of the United States outside of the United States, upon the certificate of any person authorized to take acknowledgments under 10 U.S.C. § 936(a), as amended.

Such certification shall be in substantially the same form as required by § 55.1-615.

Any acknowledgment taken before July 1, 1995, that is in substantial conformity with this section is hereby ratified, validated, and confirmed.

1964, c. 570, § 55-114.1; 1995, c. 48; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-615. Acknowledgments taken before commissioned officers in military service.

A circuit court of any county or city, or clerk of such court, shall also record any writing as is described in § 55.1-600 as to any person whose name is signed thereto who at the time of such acknowledgment was in active service in the Armed Forces of the United States, or as to the consort of such person, upon the certificate of any commissioned officer of the army, navy, marine corps, air force, coast guard, any state national guard that is federally recognized, or other branch of the service of which such person is a member, that such writing had been acknowledged before him by such person. Such certificate shall be written upon or attached to such writing and shall be substantially to the following effect:

In the army (or navy, etc.) of the United States.

I, ________, a commissioned officer of the army (or navy, marine corps, air force, coast guard, or other branch of service) of the United States with the rank of lieutenant (or ensign or other appropriate rank) whose home address is ________, do certify that E.F. (or E.F. and G.H., and so forth), whose name (or names) is (or are) signed to the writing above (or hereto attached), bearing date on the ______ day of ____, and who, or whose consort, is a private (corporal, seaman, captain, or other grade or rank) in the army (or navy, etc.) of the United States, and whose home address is ________, has (or have) acknowledged the same before me.

Given under my hand this ______ day of ______.

Such acknowledgment may be taken at any place where the officer taking the acknowledgment and the person whose name is signed to the writing may be. Such commissioned officer may take the acknowledgment of any person in any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States or the consort of such person.

Every acknowledgment executed prior to July 1, 1995, in substantial compliance with the provisions of this section is hereby validated, ratified, and confirmed, notwithstanding any error or omission with respect to any address, grade, or rank.

1942, p. 426; Michie Code 1942, § 5205a; 1944, p. 25; 1948, p. 393; Code 1950, § 55-115; 1964, c. 129; 1972, c. 458; 1995, c. 48; 2019, c. 712.

Article 3. Uniform Recognition of Acknowledgments Act.

§ 55.1-616. "Notarial acts" defined; who may perform notarial acts outside the Commonwealth for use in the Commonwealth.

A. For the purposes of this article, "notarial acts" means acts that the laws and regulations of the Commonwealth authorize notaries public of the Commonwealth to perform, including the administering of oaths and affirmations, taking proof of execution and acknowledgments of instruments, and attesting documents.

B. Notarial acts may be performed outside the Commonwealth for use in the Commonwealth with the same effect as if performed by a notary public of the Commonwealth by the following persons authorized pursuant to the laws and regulations of other governments in addition to any other person authorized by the laws and regulations of the Commonwealth:

1. A notary public authorized to perform notarial acts in the place in which the notarial act is performed;

2. A judge, clerk, or deputy clerk of any court of record in the place in which the notarial act is performed;

3. An officer of the foreign service of the United States, a consular agent, or any other person authorized by regulation of the U.S. Department of State to perform notarial acts in the place in which the notarial act is performed;

4. A commissioned officer in active service with the Armed Forces of the United States and any other person authorized by regulation of the armed forces to perform notarial acts if the notarial act is performed for one of the following or his dependents: a merchant seaman of the United States, a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, or any other person serving with or accompanying a member of the Armed Forces of the United States; or

5. Any other person authorized to perform notarial acts in the place in which the notarial act is performed.

1970, c. 719, § 55-118.1; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-617. Proof of authority of person performing notarial act.

A. If the notarial act is performed by any of the persons described in subdivisions B 1 through 4 of § 55.1-616 other than a person authorized to perform notarial acts by the laws or regulations of a foreign country, the signature, rank, or title and serial number, if any, of the person are sufficient proof of the authority of a holder of that rank or title to perform the notarial act. Further proof of his authority is not required.

B. If the notarial act is performed by a person authorized by the laws or regulations of a foreign country to perform the notarial act, there is sufficient proof of the authority of that person to act if:

1. Either a foreign service officer of the United States resident in the country in which the notarial act is performed or a diplomatic or consular officer of the foreign country resident in the United States certifies that a person holding that office is authorized to perform the notarial act;

2. The official seal of the person performing the notarial act is affixed to the document; or

3. The title and indication of authority to perform notarial acts of the person appears either in a digest of foreign law or in a list customarily used as a source of such information.

C. If the notarial act is performed by a person other than one described in subsections A and B, there is sufficient proof of the authority of that person to act if the clerk of a court of record in the place in which the notarial act is performed certifies to the official character of that person and to his authority to perform the notarial act.

D. The signature and title of the person performing the notarial act are prima facie evidence that he is a person with the designated title and that the signature is genuine.

1970, c. 719, § 55-118.2; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-618. What person taking acknowledgment shall certify.

The person taking an acknowledgment shall certify that:

1. The person acknowledging appeared before him and acknowledged he executed the instrument; and

2. The person acknowledging was known to the person taking the acknowledgment or that the person taking the acknowledgment had satisfactory evidence that the person acknowledging was the person described in and who executed the instrument.

1970, c. 719, § 55-118.3; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-619. When form of certificate of acknowledgment accepted.

The form of a certificate of acknowledgment used by a person whose authority is recognized under § 55.1-616 shall be accepted in the Commonwealth if:

1. The certificate is in a form prescribed by the laws or regulations of the Commonwealth;

2. The certificate is in a form prescribed by the laws or regulations applicable in the place in which the acknowledgment is taken; or

3. The certificate contains the words "acknowledged before me" or their substantial equivalent.

1970, c. 719, § 55-118.4; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-620. Meaning of "acknowledged before me.".

For the purposes of this article, "acknowledged before me" means:

1. That the person acknowledging appeared before the person taking the acknowledgment;

2. That the person acknowledging acknowledged he executed the instrument;

3. That, in the case of:

a. A natural person acknowledging, he executed the instrument for the purposes stated in the instrument;

b. A corporation, the officer or agent acknowledged he held the position or title set forth in the instrument and certificate, he signed the instrument on behalf of the corporation by proper authority, and the instrument was the act of the corporation for the purpose stated in the instrument;

c. A partnership, the partner or agent acknowledged he signed the instrument on behalf of the partnership by proper authority and he executed the instrument as the act of the partnership for the purposes stated in the instrument;

d. A person acknowledging as principal by an attorney-in-fact, he executed the instrument by proper authority as the act of the principal for the purposes stated in the instrument; or

e. A person acknowledging as a public officer, trustee, administrator, guardian, conservator, or other representative, he signed the instrument by proper authority and he executed the instrument in the capacity and for the purposes stated in the instrument; and

4. That the person taking the acknowledgment either knew or had satisfactory evidence that the person acknowledging was the person named in the instrument or certificate.

1970, c. 719, § 55-118.5; 1997, c. 801; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-621. Statutory short forms of acknowledgment.

The forms of acknowledgment set forth in this section may be used and are sufficient for their respective purposes under any law of the Commonwealth. The following forms shall be known as "Statutory Short Forms of Acknowledgment" and may be referred to by that name. The authorization of the forms in this section does not preclude the use of other forms.

1. For an individual acting in his own right:

State of ________

County or city of ________

The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this (date) by (name of person acknowledged).

(Signature of Person Taking Acknowledgment)

(Title or Rank)

(Serial Number, if any)

2. For a corporation:

State of ________

County or city of ________

The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this (date) by (name of officer or agent, title of officer or agent) of (name of corporation acknowledging) a (state or place of incorporation) corporation, on behalf of the corporation.

(Signature of Person Taking Acknowledgment)

(Title or Rank)

(Serial Number, if any)

3. For a partnership:

State of ________

County or city of ________

The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this (date) by (name of acknowledging partner or agent), partner (or agent) on behalf of (name of partnership), a partnership.

(Signature of Person Taking Acknowledgment)

(Title or Rank)

(Serial Number, if any)

4. For an individual acting as principal by an attorney-in-fact:

State of ________

County or city of ________

The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this (date) by (name of attorney-in-fact) as attorney-in-fact on behalf of (name of principal).

(Signature of Person Taking Acknowledgment)

(Title or Rank)

(Serial Number, if any)

5. By any public officer, trustee, or personal representative:

State of ________

County or city of ________

The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this (date) by (name and title of position).

(Signature of Person Taking Acknowledgment)

(Title or Rank)

(Serial Number, if any)

1970, c. 719, § 55-118.6; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-622. Application of article; article cumulative.

A notarial act performed prior to June 26, 1970, is not affected by this article. This article provides an additional method of proving notarial acts. Nothing in this article diminishes or invalidates the recognition accorded to notarial acts by other laws or regulations of the Commonwealth.

1970, c. 719, § 55-118.7; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-623. Uniform interpretation.

This article shall be so interpreted as to make uniform the laws of those states that enact it.

1970, c. 719, § 55-118.8; 2019, c. 712.

Article 4. Deeds and Acknowledgments of Corporations.

§ 55.1-624. Deeds of corporations; how to be executed and acknowledged.

All deeds made by corporations shall be signed in the name of the corporation by the president or acting president, or any vice-president, or by such other person as may be authorized to do so by the board of directors of such corporation, and, if such deed is to be recorded, the person signing the name of the corporation shall acknowledge such authority in the manner provided by § 55.1-625.

Code 1919, § 5208; 1920, p. 586; Code 1950, § 55-119; 1959, Ex. Sess., c. 41; 1975, c. 500; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-625. Acknowledgments on behalf of corporations and others.

When any writing purports to have been signed on behalf or by authority of any person or corporation, or in any representative capacity whatsoever, the certificate of the acknowledgment by the person so signing the writing shall be sufficient for the purposes of this and §§ 55.1-600, 55.1-612, 55.1-613, and 55.1-615, and for the recordation of such writing as to the person or corporation on whose behalf it is signed, or as to the representative character of the person so signing the writing, as the case may be, without expressing that such acknowledgment was on behalf or by authority of such other person or corporation or was in a representative capacity. In the case of a writing signed on behalf or by authority of any person or corporation or in any representative capacity, a certificate to the following effect shall be sufficient:

State (or territory or district) of ________, county (or city) of ________,: I, ________, a ________ (here insert the official title of the person certifying the acknowledgment) in and for the state (or territory or district) and county (or city) aforesaid, do certify that ________ (here insert the name or names of the persons signing the writing on behalf of the person or corporation, or the name of the person signing the writing in a representative capacity), whose name (or names) is (or are) signed to the writing above, bearing date on the ____ day of ____, has (or have) acknowledged the same before me in my county (or city) aforesaid. Given under my hand this ____ day of ____.

Code 1919, § 5207; Code 1950, § 55-120; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-626. Corporate acknowledgment taken before officer or stockholder.

Any notary or other officer duly authorized to take acknowledgments may take the acknowledgment to any deed or other writing executed by a company or to a company or for the benefit of a company, although he may be a stockholder, an officer, or both, in such company, provided that he is not otherwise interested in the property conveyed or disposed of by such deed or other writing, and nothing herein shall be construed to authorize any officer to take an acknowledgment to any deed or other writing executed by such company by and through him as an officer or stockholder of such company, or to him for the benefit of such company.

Code 1919, § 5209; 1926, p. 340; Code 1950, § 55-121; 2019, c. 712.

Article 5. Validating Certain Acts, Deeds, and Acknowledgments.

§ 55.1-627. Acts of notaries public, etc., who have held certain other offices.

All certificates of acknowledgment to deeds and other writings, taken and certified by notaries public and commissioners in chancery, and all depositions taken, accounts and reports made, and decrees executed by any notary public, commissioner in chancery, or commissioner of accounts, who, since January 1, 1989, may have held the office of county treasurer, sheriff, attorney for the Commonwealth, county clerk, commissioner of the revenue, superintendent of the poor, county surveyor, or supervisor shall be held and are hereby declared valid and effective in all respects if otherwise valid and effective according to the law then in force.

1920, p. 340; Michie Code 1942, § 5209c; Code 1950, § 55-122; 1976, c. 685; 1984, c. 35; 1989, c. 602; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-628. Validation of acknowledgments when seal not affixed.

When a certificate of acknowledgment was made prior to July 1, 1995, to any instrument in writing required by this chapter to be acknowledged and the notary or other official whether of this or some other state taking such acknowledgment failed to affix his official seal to such certificate of acknowledgment when a seal was necessary, the certificate of acknowledgment shall be as valid for all purposes as if such seal had been affixed, and the deed shall be, and shall since such date have been, notice to all persons as effectually as if such seal had been affixed, provided that such acknowledgment was in other respects sufficient.

1924, p. 359; Michie Code 1942, § 5207a; Code 1950, § 55-123; 1964, c. 57; 1976, c. 685; 1984, c. 35; 1989, c. 602; 1995, c. 48; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-629. Acknowledgment taken by trustee in deed of trust.

All certificates of acknowledgment to deeds of trust made and certified prior to March 23, 1936, by persons being trustees in such deeds shall be held and are hereby declared valid and effective in all respects if otherwise valid according to the law then in force, and each such deed of trust that has been recorded in any clerk's office in the Commonwealth upon such a certificate shall be held to be duly and regularly recorded if such recordation is otherwise valid according to the law then in force.

Nothing in this section shall affect or diminish the rights or remedies of any person who intervened after the recordation of any such deed of trust but prior to March 23, 1936.

1936, p. 371; 1940, p. 129; Michie Code 1942, § 5207b; Code 1950, § 55-124; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-630. Acknowledgment taken by trustee in deed of trust; later date.

Any certificate of acknowledgment of any deed of trust, taken and certified prior to July 1, 1995, by a person named as trustee therein who was, at the time of taking the acknowledgment, an officer authorized by law to take acknowledgments of deeds, is declared to be as valid and of the same force and effect as if such person had not been a trustee in the deed of trust. Subject to the provisions of § 55.1-602, however, this section shall not affect any right or remedy of any third party that accrued after the recordation of the deed of trust and before July 1, 1995.

1948, p. 392; Michie Suppl. 1948, § 5207b1; Code 1950, § 55-125; 1952, c. 109; 1956, c. 706; 1958, c. 218; 1962, c. 367; 1966, cc. 137, 492; 1968, c. 4; 1972, c. 631; 1976, c. 685; 1980, c. 143; 1984, c. 35; 1989, c. 602; 1995, c. 48; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-631. Certain acknowledgments taken and certified before July 1, 1995.

All certificates of acknowledgments to deeds and other writings taken and certified prior to July 1, 1995, by commissioners of deeds of states other than the Commonwealth, appointed or commissioned by the governor of such state, and by notaries public appointed or commissioned by the Governor of the Commonwealth, or appointed or commissioned under the laws of any state other than the Commonwealth, or any other officer authorized under this chapter to take and certify acknowledgments of deeds and other writings, that omit the citation of the date of the deed or certificate where it is clear from the content of the entire certificate and the instrument that has been acknowledged that the identity of the instrument or the certificate is the same, or if it can reasonably be inferred from the certificate of the person recording the instrument or other writing that the certificate refers to the same instrument, shall be held and are hereby declared valid and effective in all respects if otherwise valid according to the law then in force, or otherwise appear valid upon their face, and all such deeds and other writings that have been recorded in any clerk's office in the Commonwealth upon such certificates shall be held to be duly and regularly recorded if such recordation is otherwise valid according to the law then in force.

1968, c. 297, § 55-125.1; 1972, c. 631; 1976, c. 685; 1984, c. 35; 1989, c. 602; 1995, c. 48; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-632. Acknowledgments taken by certain justices of the peace, mayors, etc.

All certificates of acknowledgment to deeds and other writings taken and certified prior to July 1, 1995, by justices of the peace, mayors of cities or towns, police justices, and civil and police justices who by virtue of their offices had the powers and authority of justices of the peace, when such justices of the peace, mayors, police justices, or civil and police justices are designated in the certificates of acknowledgments as mayors, police justices, or civil and police justices shall be held and are hereby declared valid and effective in all respects if otherwise valid according to the law then in force.

1920, p. 405; 1936, p. 466; Michie Code 1942, §§ 5207c, 5209b; Code 1950, § 55-126; 1976, c. 685; 1984, c. 35; 1989, c. 602; 1995, c. 48; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-633. Acknowledgments taken by officers after expiration of terms.

All certificates of acknowledgment to deeds and other writings taken and certified prior to July 1, 1995, by commissioners of deeds of states other than the Commonwealth, appointed or commissioned by the governor of such state, and by notaries public appointed or commissioned by the Governor of the Commonwealth, or appointed or commissioned under the laws of any state other than the Commonwealth, or any other officer authorized under this chapter to take and certify acknowledgments to deeds and other writings who took and certified such acknowledgments after their term of office had expired, shall be held and are hereby declared valid and effective in all respects if otherwise valid according to the law then in force or appear to be valid upon their face, and all such deeds and other writings that have been recorded in any clerk's office in the Commonwealth upon such certificates shall be held to be duly and regularly recorded if such recordation is otherwise valid according to the law then in force.

1924, p. 57; 1926, p. 102; 1928, p. 996; Michie Code 1942, § 5209d; Code 1950, § 55-127; 1964, c. 384; 1966, c. 492; 1968, c. 4; 1972, c. 631; 1976, c. 685; 1984, c. 35; 1989, c. 602; 1995, c. 48; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-634. Acknowledgments taken by notaries in service during World War I.

All certificates of acknowledgment to deeds and other writings taken and certified in the Commonwealth prior to June 18, 1920, by notaries public who served in the army, navy, or marine corps of the United States during World War I shall be held and are hereby declared valid and effective in all respects if otherwise valid according to the law then in force.

1920, p. 69; Michie Code 1942, § 5209a; Code 1950, § 55-128; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-635. Acknowledgments before foreign officials who failed to affix seals.

All certificates of acknowledgment to deeds and other writings made and certified prior to July 1, 1995, before officials in any foreign country authorized by law to take and certify such acknowledgments, to which such officials failed to affix their official seals, shall be held and are hereby declared valid and effective in all respects if otherwise valid according to the law then in force.

1918, p. 108; Michie Code 1942, § 5209f; Code 1950, § 55-129; 1976, c. 685; 1984, c. 35; 1989, c. 602; 1995, c. 48; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-636. Acknowledgments taken by notaries in foreign countries.

All certificates of acknowledgment to deeds and other writings taken and certified prior to July 1, 1995, by notaries public residing in foreign countries shall be held and are hereby declared valid and effective in all respects if otherwise valid according to the law then in force.

1918, p. 506; 1936, p. 101; Michie Code 1942, §§ 5209e, 5209k; Code 1950, § 55-130; 1960, c. 285; 1972, c. 631; 1976, c. 685; 1984, c. 35; 1989, c. 602; 1995, c. 48; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-637. Acknowledgments taken by officer who was spouse of grantee.

Any certificate of acknowledgment to a deed or other writings taken prior to July 1, 1995, by a notary public or other officer duly authorized to take acknowledgments who at the time of taking such acknowledgment was the spouse of the grantee in the deed or other instrument shall be held and is hereby declared valid and effective in all respects if otherwise valid according to the law then in force. All acknowledgments of conveyances to a fiduciary taken before an officer who is the husband or wife of such officer and who has no beneficial or monetary interest other than possible commissions or legal fees shall be conclusively presumed valid.

1926, p. 747; Michie Code 1942, § 5209g; Code 1950, § 55-131; 1952, c. 244; 1966, c. 137; 1972, c. 631; 1976, c. 685; 1984, c. 35; 1989, c. 602; 1995, c. 48; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-638. Acknowledgment when notary certifies erroneously as to expiration of commission.

All certificates of acknowledgment to deeds and other writings taken and certified prior to July 1, 1995, by a notary public appointed or commissioned by the Governor, or appointed or commissioned under the laws of any state other than the Commonwealth, who mistakenly or by error certified that his commission had expired at the time he made such certificate, when in fact his commission had not at that time expired, shall be held and are hereby declared valid and effective in all respects if otherwise valid according to the law of the Commonwealth then in force, and the date and life of the notary's commission may be proved aliunde his certificate in any proceeding in which the capacity or authority of such notary is or shall be questioned, and all such deeds and other writings that have been recorded in any clerk's office in the Commonwealth upon such certificates shall be held to be duly and regularly recorded if such recordation is otherwise valid according to the law then in force.

1928, p. 996; Michie Code 1942, § 5209h; Code 1950, § 55-132; 1976, c. 685; 1984, c. 35; 1989, c. 602; 1995, c. 48; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-639. Acknowledgments before officer of city or county consolidating, etc., prior to expiration date of commission.

All certificates of acknowledgment to deeds and other writings taken and certified by a notary public or other officer originally duly authorized to take acknowledgments in any city or county that consolidated with other political subdivisions or became a city, as the case may be, prior to the normal expiration date of the commission of such notary public or other officer are hereby declared to be valid to the same extent they would have been valid as if such notary public or other officer had been commissioned for such consolidated political subdivision or city to which any such county was transformed.

1952, Ex. Sess., c. 14, § 55-132.1; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-640. Acknowledgments taken before notary whose commission has expired.

All certificates of acknowledgment to deeds and other writings taken and certified prior to March 22, 1930, by notaries public appointed or commissioned by the Governor who took and certified such acknowledgments after their term of office had expired shall be held and are hereby declared valid and effective in all respects if otherwise valid according to the law then in force, and all such deeds and other writings that have been recorded in any clerk's office in the Commonwealth upon such certificates shall be held to be duly and regularly recorded if such recordation is otherwise valid according to the law then in force.

1930, p. 572; Michie Code 1942, § 5209i; Code 1950, § 55-133; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-641. Acknowledgments taken before notary whose commission has expired; later date; intervening vested rights saved.

All certificates of acknowledgment to deeds and other writings taken and certified prior to July 1, 1995, by notaries public appointed or commissioned by the Governor who took and certified such acknowledgments after their term of office had expired shall be held and are hereby declared valid and effective in all respects if otherwise valid according to the law then in force, and all such deeds and other writings that have been recorded in any clerk's office in the Commonwealth upon such certificates shall be held to be duly and regularly recorded if such recordation is otherwise valid according to the law then in force; however, nothing in this section shall be so construed as to affect any intervening vested rights.

1934, p. 258; Michie Code 1942, § 5209j; Code 1950, § 55-134; 1952, c. 244; 1972, c. 631; 1976, c. 685; 1984, c. 35; 1989, c. 602; 1995, c. 48; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-642. Acknowledgments taken before notary who was appointed but failed to qualify; vested rights saved.

All certificates of acknowledgment to deeds and other writings taken and certified prior to July 1, 1995, by a person who was appointed as a notary public by the Governor but who failed to qualify as provided by law shall be held and are hereby declared valid and effective in all respects if otherwise valid, and all such deeds and other writings that have been recorded in any clerk's office in the Commonwealth upon such certificates shall be held to be duly and regularly recorded if such recordation is otherwise valid according to law; however, nothing in this section shall be so construed as to affect any intervening vested rights.

1956, c. 713, § 55-134.1; 1959, Ex. Sess., c. 92; 1972, c. 631; 1976, c. 685; 1984, c. 35; 1989, c. 602; 1995, c. 48; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-643. Acknowledgments taken before a notary at large who failed to cite the jurisdiction in which the acknowledgment was taken; vested rights saved.

All certificates of acknowledgment to deeds and other writings taken and certified prior to July 1, 1995, by a person who was appointed a notary public for the Commonwealth at large by the Governor but who failed to include in such certificates of acknowledgment the county or city in which the notarial act was performed shall be held and are hereby declared valid and effective in all respects if otherwise valid, and all such deeds and other writings that have been recorded in any clerk's office in the Commonwealth upon such certificates shall be held to be duly and regularly recorded if such recordation is otherwise valid according to law; however, nothing in this section shall be so construed as to affect any intervening vested rights.

1984, c. 35, § 55-134.2; 1989, c. 602; 1995, c. 48; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-644. Deeds defectively executed by corporation.

Any deed of conveyance of real estate executed in the Commonwealth prior to July 1, 1995, by a corporation of the Commonwealth, when the certificate of acknowledgment of such deed fails to state the representative capacity of the party signing such deed for the corporation, shall be held and is hereby declared a valid and effective conveyance in every respect if otherwise valid according to the law in force at the time the deed was executed if such corporation, since making such conveyance, has been dissolved or otherwise gone out of existence.

1936, p. 328; Michie Code 1942, § 5208a; Code 1950, § 55-135; 1976, c. 685; 1984, c. 35; 1989, c. 602; 1995, c. 48; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-645. Deeds to which corporate seal not affixed or not attested.

Any deed of conveyance of real estate executed within or outside of the Commonwealth by a corporation of the Commonwealth or any other state to which deed the seal of the corporation was not affixed, or to which the seal was affixed but was not attested to by the secretary or by some other authorized officer of the corporation, shall be held to be valid and is hereby declared a valid and effective conveyance in every respect if otherwise valid according to the law then in force.

1942, c. 698; Michie Code 1942, § 5208b; Code 1950, § 55-136; 1956, c. 18; 1962, c. 238; 1964, Ex. Sess., c. 20; 1966, c. 492; 1968, c. 4; 1972, c. 631; 1974, c. 130; 1975, c. 500; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-646. Acknowledgments of corporations taken by officers or stockholders.

No acknowledgment heretofore taken to any deed or any writing executed by a company, or for the benefit of a company, shall be held to be invalid by reason of the acknowledgment having been taken by a notary or other officer duly authorized to take acknowledgments who, at the time of taking the acknowledgment, was a stockholder, an officer, or both, in the company that executed the deed or writing, or for the benefit of which the deed or writing was executed, but who was not otherwise interested in the property conveyed or disposed of by such deed or writing, and such deed or other writing, and the recordation of such deed or other writing, shall be valid in all respects as if this section had been in force when it was executed.

Code 1919, § 5209; 1926, p. 340; Code 1950, § 55-137; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-647. Recordation certificate not signed by clerk.

A. All deeds, orders of probate, fiduciary accounts, and all other papers and writings received prior to July 1, 1995, by any clerk of any court of the Commonwealth and transcribed, or purported to be transcribed, in the proper book in such clerk's office provided by law for the transcribing and recordation of such deeds, orders of probate, fiduciary accounts, or other papers and writings, the certificate of receipt and of recordation of which had not received the attesting signature of such clerk on the date aforesaid, and which had not on such date been verified as required by law, shall prima facie be, and be deemed to be, as truly received, recorded, and verified as if the same had been so attested by the signature of such clerk.

B. Every clerk of any court of the Commonwealth in whose office any such deed, order of probate, fiduciary account, or other paper or writing as is mentioned in subsection A has been transcribed upon the proper book in such office, provided by law therefor, and which transcription has not received the attesting signature of the clerk who recorded the same, upon production before such clerk of the original of such deed, order of probate, fiduciary account, or paper or writing shall verify the accuracy of such transcription by a careful examination and comparison of such transcription with the original paper so recorded, and thereupon the clerk shall attest such transcription by signing thereto the name of the clerk who received the original paper for record and his own name as follows:

"Teste ________, former clerk per

________, his successor."

C. For such service the clerk shall receive a fee of 25 cents ($0.25), to be paid by the person for whose benefit the service was performed, and the record, so certified and verified, shall have the same effect as if it had been properly certified and verified by the clerk who received the same and who should have so certified and verified the same.

D. This section shall have a retroactive effect.

1920, p. 566; Michie Code 1942, § 3407a; Code 1950, § 55-137.1; 1976, c. 685; 1984, c. 35; 1989, c. 602; 1995, c. 48; 2013, c. 263; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-648. Recordation certificate not signed by clerk; when clerk has died.

Any deed or other instrument or writing recorded before July 1, 1995, upon the proper deed book in the clerk's office of the circuit court of any county or any court of record of any city, when the clerk of such court failed to sign the certificate of recordation thereof and afterwards died, and any will or other instrument or writing recorded before July 1, 1995, upon the proper will book in any such clerk's office, when such clerk failed to sign the certificate of probate and recordation thereof and afterwards died, shall be as valid and of the same force and effect as if such certificate of recordation or certificate of probate and recordation had been signed by such clerk at the time such deed, will, or other instrument or writing was so recorded.

1942, p. 391; Michie Code 1942, § 3407a1; Code 1950, § 55-137.2; 1976, c. 685; 1984, c. 35; 1989, c. 602; 1995, c. 48; 2019, c. 712.

Article 6. United States Judgments; Bankruptcy.

§ 55.1-649. Recordation of judgments affecting title to land.

The clerk of the court of any county or city in which there is any partition of land under any order, or any recovery of land under judgment, shall transmit to the clerk of the court of each county or city in whose office deeds to such land or any part thereof are recorded a copy of such order or judgment, and of such partition or assignment, and of the order confirming the same, along with such description of the land as may appear in the papers of the cause. The clerk of the court of such county or city shall record the same in his deed book and index it in the name of the person who had the land before and also in the name of the person who became entitled under such partition, assignment, or recovery.

Code 1919, § 5216; 1924, p. 454; 1946, p. 190; Code 1950, § 55-138; 1990, c. 831; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-650. Judgments of United States courts affecting realty.

A copy of any judgment or order of any United States court affecting the title to, boundary or possession of, or any interest in and to any real estate lying wholly or partly within the Commonwealth, when duly certified by the proper officer of any such court, may be filed with the clerk of the court in whose office deeds are recorded of the county or city in which the real estate so affected, or any part of such real estate, is situated, and when so filed shall be recorded by such clerk in the current deed book in his office and indexed in the names of the persons whose interests appear to be affected thereby, upon the payment of the same fee prescribed by law to be paid for the recordation of similar judgments or orders of state courts.

1934, p. 839; Michie Code 1942, § 5216b; Code 1950, § 55-140; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-651. Orders in bankruptcy.

Certified copies of orders of adjudication of bankruptcy made pursuant to the acts of Congress relating to bankruptcy, certified copies of orders of sale, orders confirming sales, and such other orders entered in bankruptcy proceedings as any party in interest may wish to have recorded in the appropriate clerk's office, or such orders as the referee or the judge having jurisdiction directs to be recorded, may be filed with the clerk of the court authorized to record deeds for the county or city in which any real estate owned by the bankrupt is situated. Such orders shall be recorded in the deed books and indexed in the name of the bankrupt. For each such recordation, the clerk shall be paid a fee as prescribed in subdivision A 2 of § 17.1-275.

1934, p. 839; Michie Code 1942, § 5216c; Code 1950, § 55-141; 1964, c. 337; 1994, c. 432; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-652. Certificates of commencement of case in bankruptcy.

Certificates of commencement of case signed by clerks of bankruptcy courts or clerks of United States district courts, issued pursuant to the acts of Congress relating to bankruptcy, may be filed with the clerk of the court authorized to record deeds for the county or city in which the property of the debtor, for which such certificate has been issued, is located. Such certificate shall be recorded in the deed books and properly indexed in the name of the trustee in bankruptcy in the grantee index and the debtor in the grantor index. For such recordation, the clerk shall receive a fee as prescribed in subdivision A 2 of § 17.1-275.

1988, c. 100, § 55-142.01; 1994, c. 432; 1996, c. 344; 2019, c. 712.

Article 7. Uniform Federal Lien Registration Act.

§ 55.1-653. Where notices and certificates affecting liens to be filed.

A. Notices of liens, certificates, and other notices affecting federal tax liens or other federal liens shall be filed in accordance with this article.

B. Notices of liens upon real property for obligations payable to the United States and certificates and notices affecting the liens, including certificates of redemption, shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the circuit court of the county or city in which the real property subject to the lien is situated.

C. Notices of liens upon personal property, whether tangible or intangible, for obligations payable to the United States and certificates and notices affecting the liens shall be filed as follows:

1. If the person against whose interest the lien applies is a corporation or a partnership whose principal executive office is in the Commonwealth, as these entities are defined in the internal revenue laws of the United States, in the office of the clerk of the State Corporation Commission.

2. In all other cases, in the office of the clerk of the circuit court of the county or city (i) where the person against whose interest the lien applies resides or (ii) in the case of a trust or a decedent's estate, having jurisdiction over the qualification of the trustee or probate of the will, at the time of filing of the notice of lien.

1970, c. 76, § 55-142.1; 1986, c. 299; 1988, cc. 113, 388; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-654. Certification of notices and certificates.

Certification of notices of tax liens, certificates, or other notices affecting federal liens by the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States or his delegate or by any official or entity of the United States responsible for filing or certifying notice of any lien other than a tax lien entitles them to be filed, and no other attestation, certification, or acknowledgment is necessary.

1970, c. 76, § 55-142.2; 1988, cc. 113, 388; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-655. Duties of filing officers.

A. If a notice of federal lien, a refiling of a notice of federal lien, or a notice of revocation of any certificate described in subsection B is presented to the filing officer and:

1. He is the clerk of the State Corporation Commission, he shall cause the notice to be marked, held, and indexed in accordance with the provisions of § 8.9A-519 as if the notice were a financing statement as defined in § 8.9A-102; or

2. He is any other officer described in § 55.1-653, he shall endorse thereon his identification and the date and time of receipt and file it alphabetically or enter it in an alphabetical index showing the name and address of the person named in the notice, the date and time of receipt, the serial number of the district director in the case of tax liens, and the total amount appearing on the notice of lien, and he shall index and record the same where judgments are indexed and recorded.

B. If a certificate of release, nonattachment, discharge, or subordination of any lien is presented to the clerk of the State Corporation Commission for filing, he shall:

1. Cause a certificate of release or nonattachment to be marked, held, and indexed as if the certificate were a termination statement within the meaning of § 8.9A-513, except that the notice of lien to which the certificate relates shall not be removed from the files; and

2. Cause a certificate of discharge or subordination to be held, marked, and indexed as if the certificate were a release of collateral within the meaning of § 8.9A-512.

C. If a refiled notice of federal lien referred to in subsection A or any of the certificates or notices referred to in subsection B is presented for filing to any other filing officer specified in § 55.1-653, he shall permanently attach the refiled notice or the certificate to the original notice of lien and shall enter the refiled notice or the certificate with the date of filing in any alphabetical lien index on the line where the original notice of lien is entered.

D. Upon request of any person, the filing officer shall issue his certificate showing whether there is on file, on the date and hour stated therein, any notice of lien or certificate or notice affecting any lien filed under this article, naming a particular person, and if a notice or certificate is on file, giving the date and hour of filing of each notice or certificate. The fee for a certificate is $1. Upon request, the filing officer shall furnish a copy of any notice of federal tax lien or notice or certificate affecting a federal lien for a fee of 50 cents ($0.50) per page.

1970, c. 76, § 55-142.3; 1988, cc. 113, 388; 2014, c. 291; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-656. Fees of filing officers other than clerk of State Corporation Commission.

The fee to be paid to any officer other than the clerk of the State Corporation Commission for filing and indexing each notice of lien or certificate or notice affecting the lien or providing a copy of such notice or certificate of such notice is $5.

The officer shall bill the district directors of internal revenue or other appropriate federal officials on a monthly basis for fees for documents filed by them.

1970, c. 76, § 55-142.4; 1988, cc. 113, 388; 1993, c. 43; 1994, c. 432; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-657. Fees of clerk of State Corporation Commission.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article, the fees for filing, indexing, searching, or amending or for certificates of discharge or subordination or any other fee that may be chargeable by the clerk of the State Corporation Commission shall be the same as those permitted to be charged according to the schedule of fees maintained by the clerk of the State Corporation Commission.

1970, c. 76, § 55-142.5; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-658. Construction of article.

This article shall be so interpreted and construed as to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law of those states that enact it.

1970, c. 76, § 55-142.6; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-659. Certificates and notices affecting liens filed on or before July 1, 1970.

If a notice of lien was filed on or before July 1, 1970, any certificate or notice affecting the lien shall be filed in the same office.

1970, c. 76, § 55-142.8; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-660. No action to be brought against the State Corporation Commission or its staff.

No action shall be brought against the State Corporation Commission or any member of the staff of the State Corporation Commission claiming damage for alleged errors or omissions in the performance of the duties imposed by this article on the State Corporation Commission.

1970, c. 76, § 55-142.9; 2019, c. 712.

Article 8. Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act.

§ 55.1-661. Definitions.

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

"Clerk" means a clerk of the circuit court.

"Document" means information that is:

1. Inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form; and

2. Eligible to be recorded in the land records maintained by the clerk.

"Electronic," as defined in Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (§ 59.1-479 et seq.), means relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities.

"Electronic document" means a document received by the clerk in electronic form.

"Electronic notarization" means an official act by a notary public in accordance with the Virginia Notary Act (§ 47.1-1 et seq.) and § 55.1-618 with respect to an electronic document.

"Electronic signature," as defined in the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (§ 59.1-479 et seq.), means an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.

"eRecording System" is the automated electronic recording system implemented by the clerk for the recordation of electronic documents among the land records maintained by the clerk.

"Filer" means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, public body, public corporation, government, or governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality, or any other legal or commercial entity that files an electronic document among the land records maintained by the clerk.

"Land records document" means any writing authorized by law to be recorded, whether made on paper or in electronic format, that the clerk records affecting title to real property.

2006, c. 745, § 55-142.10; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-662. Validity of electronically filed and recorded land records.

A. If a law requires, as a condition for recording, that a land records document be an original, be on paper or another tangible medium, or be in writing, an electronic land records document satisfying this article satisfies the law.

B. If a law requires, as a condition for recording, that a land records document be signed, an electronic signature satisfies the law.

C. A requirement that a land records document or a signature associated with a land records document be notarized, acknowledged, verified, witnessed, or made under oath is satisfied if the electronic notarization of the person authorized to perform that act, and all other information required to be included, is attached to or logically associated with the land records document or signature. A physical or electronic image of a stamp, impression, or seal of the notary is not required to accompany an electronic signature.

2006, c. 745, § 55-142.11; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-663. Recording of electronic documents among the land records.

A. A clerk of a circuit court who implements an eRecording System shall do so in compliance with standards established by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency.

B. A clerk of a circuit court may receive, index, store, archive, and transmit electronic land records.

C. A clerk of a circuit court may provide for access to, and for search and retrieval of, land records by electronic means.

D. A clerk of a circuit court who accepts electronic documents for recording among the land records shall continue to accept paper land records and shall place entries for both types of land records in the same indices.

E. A clerk of a circuit court may convert paper records accepted for recording into electronic form. The clerk of circuit court may convert into electronic form land records documents recorded before the clerk of circuit court began to record electronic records.

F. Any fee or tax that a clerk of circuit court is authorized to collect may be collected electronically.

2006, c. 745, § 55-142.12; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-664. Uniform standards.

In consultation with the circuit court clerks, the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court, and interested citizens and businesses, the Virginia Information Technologies Agency shall develop standards to implement electronic recording of real property documents. The Virginia Information Technologies Agency shall consider standards and practices of other jurisdictions, the most recent standards promulgated by national standard-setting bodies, such as the Real Property Records Industry Association, the views of interested persons and other governmental entities, and the needs of localities of varying sizes, population, and resources.

2005, c. 744, § 55-142.13; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-665. Uniformity of application and construction.

In applying and construing this article, consideration shall be given to the need to promote uniformity of the law with respect to its subject matter among states that enact it.

2006, c. 745, § 55-142.14; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-666. Relation to Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act.

To the extent allowed by law, this article modifies, limits, and supersedes the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (15 U.S.C. § 7001, et seq.) but does not modify, limit, or supersede § 101(c) of that Act (15 U.S.C. § 7001(c)) or § 104 of that Act (15 U.S.C. § 7004), or authorize electronic delivery of any of the notices described in § 103(b) of that Act (15 U.S.C. § 7003(b)).

2006, c. 745, § 55-142.15; 2019, c. 712.

Chapter 7. Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act.

§ 55.1-700. Definitions.

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

"Electronic delivery," for purposes of delivery of the disclosures required by this chapter, means sending the required disclosures via the Internet, provided that the sender retains sufficient proof of the electronic delivery, which may be an electronic receipt of delivery, a confirmation that the notice was sent by facsimile, or a certificate of service prepared by the sender confirming the electronic delivery.

"Notification" means a statement acknowledging that the purchaser has been advised of any disclosures required by this chapter on the Real Estate Board's website or delivery of any such disclosures to the purchaser.

"Ratification" means the full execution of a real estate purchase contract by all parties.

"Real estate contract" means a contract for the sale, exchange, or lease with the option to buy of residential real estate subject to this chapter.

2017, c. 386, § 55-517.1; 2019, c. 712; 2020, c. 749.

§ 55.1-701. Applicability.

The provisions of this chapter apply only with respect to transfers by sale, exchange, installment land sales contract, or lease with option to buy of residential real property consisting of not less than one nor more than four dwelling units, whether or not the transaction is with the assistance of a licensed real estate broker or salesperson.

1992, c. 717, § 55-517; 2007, c. 265; 2017, c. 386; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-702. Exemptions.

A. The following are specifically excluded from the provisions of this chapter:

1. Transfers pursuant to court order including transfers ordered by a court in administration of an estate, transfers pursuant to a writ of execution, transfers by foreclosure sale or by a deed in lieu of a foreclosure, transfers by a trustee in bankruptcy, transfers by eminent domain, and transfers resulting from a judgment for specific performance. Also, transfers by an assignment for the benefit of creditors pursuant to Chapter 18.1 (§ 8.01-525.1 et seq.) of Title 8.01 and transfers pursuant to escheats pursuant to Chapter 24 (§ 55.1-2400 et seq.).

2. Transfers to a beneficiary of a deed of trust pursuant to a foreclosure sale or by a deed in lieu of foreclosure, or transfers by a beneficiary under a deed of trust who has acquired the real property at a sale conducted pursuant to a foreclosure sale under a deed of trust or has acquired the real property by a deed in lieu of foreclosure.

3. Transfers by a fiduciary in the course of the administration of a decedent's estate, guardianship, conservatorship, or trust.

4. Transfers from one or more co-owners solely to one or more other co-owners.

5. Transfers made solely to any combination of a spouse or one or more persons in the lineal line of consanguinity of one or more of the transferors.

6. Transfers between spouses resulting from a decree of divorce or a property settlement stipulation pursuant to the provisions of Title 20.

7. Transfers made by virtue of the record owner's failure to pay any federal, state, or local taxes.

8. Transfers to or from any governmental entity or public or quasi-public housing authority or agency.

9. Transfers involving the first sale of a dwelling, provided that this exemption shall not apply to the disclosures required by § 55.1-704.

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision A 9, the builder of a new dwelling shall disclose in writing to the purchaser all known material defects that would constitute a violation of any applicable building code. In addition, for property that is located wholly or partially in any locality comprising Planning District 15, the builder or owner, if the builder is not the owner of the property, shall disclose in writing whether the builder or owner has any knowledge of (i) whether mining operations have previously been conducted on the property or (ii) the presence of abandoned mines, shafts, or pits, if any. The disclosures required by this subsection shall be made by a builder or owner (a) when selling a completed dwelling, before ratification of the real estate purchase contract or (b) when selling a dwelling before or during its construction, after issuance of a certificate of occupancy. Such disclosure shall not abrogate any warranty or any other contractual obligations the builder or owner may have to the purchaser. The disclosure required by this subsection may be made on the disclosure form described in § 55.1-703. If no defects are known by the builder to exist, no written disclosure is required by this subsection.

1992, c. 717, § 55-518; 1993, c. 824; 1994, cc. 80, 242; 2005, c. 510; 2006, c. 706; 2007, c. 265; 2017, c. 386; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-703. Required disclosures for buyer to beware; buyer to exercise necessary due diligence.

A. The owner of the residential real property shall furnish to a purchaser a residential property disclosure statement for the buyer to beware of certain matters that may affect the buyer's decision to purchase such real property. Such statement shall be provided by the Real Estate Board on its website.

B. The residential property disclosure statement provided by the Real Estate Board on its website shall include the following:

1. The owner makes no representations or warranties as to the condition of the real property or any improvements thereon, or with regard to any covenants and restrictions, or any conveyances of mineral rights, as may be recorded among the land records affecting the real property or any improvements thereon, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary, including obtaining a home inspection, as defined in § 54.1-500, and a residential building energy analysis, as defined in § 54.1-1144, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

2. The owner makes no representations with respect to any matters that may pertain to parcels adjacent to the subject parcel, including zoning classification or permitted uses of adjacent parcels, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary with respect to adjacent parcels in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

3. The owner makes no representations to any matters that pertain to whether the provisions of any historic district ordinance affect the property, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary with respect to any historic district designated by the locality pursuant to § 15.2-2306, including review of (i) any local ordinance creating such district, (ii) any official map adopted by the locality depicting historic districts, and (iii) any materials available from the locality that explain (a) any requirements to alter, reconstruct, renovate, restore, or demolish buildings or signs in the local historic district and (b) the necessity of any local review board or governing body approvals prior to doing any work on a property located in a local historic district, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

4. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property contains any resource protection areas established in an ordinance implementing the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (§ 62.1-44.15:67 et seq.) adopted by the locality where the property is located pursuant to § 62.1-44.15:74, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary to determine whether the provisions of any such ordinance affect the property, including review of any official map adopted by the locality depicting resource protection areas, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

5. The owner makes no representations with respect to information on any sexual offenders registered under Chapter 23 (§ 19.2-387 et seq.) of Title 19.2, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary with respect to such information, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

6. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property is within a dam break inundation zone. Such disclosure statement shall advise purchasers to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary with respect to whether the property resides within a dam break inundation zone, including a review of any map adopted by the locality depicting dam break inundation zones;

7. The owner makes no representations with respect to the presence of any wastewater system, including the type or size of the wastewater system or associated maintenance responsibilities related to the wastewater system, located on the property, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary to determine the presence of any wastewater system on the property and the costs associated with maintaining, repairing, or inspecting any wastewater system, including any costs or requirements related to the pump-out of septic tanks, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

8. The owner makes no representations with respect to any right to install or use solar energy collection devices on the property;

9. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property is located in one or more special flood hazard areas, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary, including (i) obtaining a flood certification or mortgage lender determination of whether the property is located in one or more special flood hazard areas, (ii) reviewing any map depicting special flood hazard areas, (iii) contacting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or visiting the website for FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program or for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation's Flood Risk Information System, and (iv) determining whether flood insurance is required, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

10. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property is subject to one or more conservation or other easements, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

11. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property is subject to a community development authority approved by a local governing body pursuant to Article 6 (§ 15.2-5152 et seq.) of Chapter 51 of Title 15.2, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, including determining whether a copy of the resolution or ordinance has been recorded in the land records of the circuit court for the locality in which the community development authority district is located for each tax parcel included in the district pursuant to § 15.2-5157, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

12. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property is located on or near deposits of marine clays (marumsco soils), and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, including consulting public resources regarding local soil conditions and having the soil and structural conditions of the property analyzed by a qualified professional;

13. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property is located in a locality classified as Zone 1 or Zone 2 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Map of Radon Zones, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary to determine whether the property is located in such a zone, including (i) reviewing the EPA's Map of Radon Zones or visiting the EPA's radon information website; (ii) visiting the Virginia Department of Health's Indoor Radon Program website; (iii) visiting the National Radon Proficiency Program's website; (iv) visiting the National Radon Safety Board's website that lists the Board's certified contractors; and (v) ordering a radon inspection, in accordance with the terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

14. The owner makes no representations with respect to whether the property contains any pipe, pipe or plumbing fitting, fixture, solder, or flux that does not meet the federal Safe Drinking Water Act definition of "lead free" pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 300g-6, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary to determine whether the property contains any pipe, pipe or plumbing fitting, fixture, solder, or flux that does not meet the federal Safe Drinking Water Act definition of "lead free," in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract;

15. The owner makes no representations with respect to the existence of defective drywall on the property, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary to determine whether there is defective drywall on the property, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement pursuant to such contract. For purposes of this subdivision, "defective drywall" means the same as that term is defined in § 36-156.1; and

16. The owner makes no representation with respect to the condition or regulatory status of any impounding structure or dam on the property or under the ownership of the common interest community that the owner of the property is required to join, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary to determine the condition, regulatory status, cost of required maintenance and operation, or other relevant information pertaining to the impounding structure or dam, including contacting the Department of Conservation and Recreation or a licensed professional engineer.

C. The residential property disclosure statement shall be delivered in accordance with § 55.1-709.

1992, c. 717, § 55-519; 1996, c. 379; 1998, cc. 384, 795; 2005, c. 510; 2006, cc. 247, 514, 533, 705, 767; 2007, cc. 265, 784; 2008, c. 491; 2009, c. 641; 2010, c. 518; 2011, c. 461; 2013, c. 357; 2015, cc. 79, 269; 2016, cc. 161, 323, 436, 505; 2017, cc. 386, 569; 2018, cc. 60, 86; 2019, cc. 390, 504, 712; 2020, cc. 23, 24, 26, 186, 200, 313, 520, 655, 656.

§ 55.1-704. Required disclosures pertaining to a military air installation.

The owner of residential real property located in any locality in which a military air installation is located shall disclose to the purchaser whether the subject parcel is located in a noise zone or accident potential zone, or both, if so designated on the official zoning map by the locality in which the property is located. Such disclosure shall be provided to the purchaser on a form provided by the Real Estate Board on its website. Such disclosure shall state the specific noise zone or accident potential zone, or both, in which the property is located according to the official zoning map.

2005, c. 510, § 55-519.1; 2007, c. 265; 2017, c. 386; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-705. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2020, c. 200, cl. 2.

§ 55.1-706. Required disclosures; pending building or zoning violations.

Notwithstanding the exemptions in § 55.1-702, if the owner of a residential dwelling unit has actual knowledge of any pending enforcement actions pursuant to the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§ 36-97 et seq.) that affect the safe, decent, sanitary living conditions of the property of which the owner has been notified in writing by the locality, or any pending violation of the local zoning ordinance that the violator has not abated or remedied under the zoning ordinance, within a time period set out in the written notice of violation from the locality or established by a court of competent jurisdiction, the owner shall provide to a prospective purchaser a written disclosure that so states. Such disclosure shall be provided to the purchaser on a form provided by the Real Estate Board on its website and otherwise in accordance with this chapter.

2017, c. 386, § 55-519.2:1; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-707. Permissive disclosure; tourism activity zone.

An owner of residential property located partially or wholly within a designated tourism activity zone established pursuant to § 15.2-982 may disclose in writing to any prospective purchaser or lessee of the property that the subject property is located within a tourism activity zone, with a description of potential impacts associated with the parcel's location in a tourism activity zone, including impacts caused by special events, parades, temporary street closures, and indoor and outdoor entertainment activities.

2013, c. 246, § 55-519.3; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-708. Required disclosures; property previously used to manufacture methamphetamine.

Notwithstanding the exemptions in § 55.1-702, if the owner of a residential dwelling unit has actual knowledge that such residential property was previously used to manufacture methamphetamine and has not been cleaned up in accordance with the guidelines established pursuant to § 32.1-11.7 and the applicable licensing provisions of Chapter 11 (§ 54.1-1100 et seq.) of Title 54.1, the owner shall provide to a prospective purchaser a written disclosure that so states. Such disclosure shall be provided to the purchaser on a form provided by the Real Estate Board on its website and otherwise in accordance with this chapter.

2013, c. 557, § 55-519.4; 2016, c. 527; 2017, c. 386; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-708.1. Required disclosures; stormwater management facilities.

An owner of residential real property who has actual knowledge of a privately owned stormwater management facility located on such property shall disclose to the purchaser the long-term maintenance and inspection requirements for the facility. Such disclosure shall be provided to the purchaser in accordance with this chapter and on a form provided by the Real Estate Board on its website.

2020, c. 313.

§ 55.1-709. Time for disclosure; termination of contract.

A. The owner of residential real property subject to this chapter shall provide notification to the purchaser of any disclosures required by this chapter prior to the ratification of a real estate purchase contract or otherwise be subject to the provisions of subsection B. The disclosures required by this chapter shall be provided by the Real Estate Board on its website. The disclosures shall be current as of the date of delivery. Nothing herein shall be construed to require the seller to provide subsequent delivery of additional disclosures if a transaction pursuant to a ratified real estate contract proceeds to settlement after the effective date of legislation amending any of the disclosures under this chapter, provided that the correct disclosures were delivered under the law in effect at the time of delivery.

B. If the disclosures required by this chapter are delivered to the purchaser after ratification of the real estate purchase contract, the purchaser's sole remedy shall be to terminate the real estate purchase contract upon or prior to the earliest of (i) three days after delivery of the disclosure statement in person or by electronic delivery; (ii) five days after the postmark if the disclosure statement is deposited in the United States mail, postage prepaid, and properly addressed to the purchaser; (iii) settlement upon purchase of the property; (iv) occupancy of the property by the purchaser; (v) the purchaser's making written application to a lender for a mortgage loan where such application contains a disclosure that the right of termination shall end upon the application for the mortgage loan; or (vi) the execution by the purchaser after receiving the disclosure statement required by this chapter of a written waiver of the purchaser's right of termination under this chapter contained in a writing separate from the real estate purchase contract. In order to terminate a real estate purchase contract when permitted by this chapter, the purchaser must, within the times required by this chapter, give written notice to the owner by one of the following methods:

1. Hand delivery;

2. United States mail, postage prepaid, provided that the sender retains sufficient proof of mailing, which may be a certificate of service prepared by the sender confirming such mailing;

3. Electronic delivery; or

4. Overnight delivery using a commercial service or the United States Postal Service.

If the purchaser terminates a real estate purchase contract in compliance with this chapter, the termination shall be without penalty to the purchaser, and any deposit shall be promptly returned to the purchaser.

C. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection B of § 55.1-713, no purchaser of residential real property located in a noise zone designated on the official zoning map of the locality as having a day-night average sound level of less than 65 decibels shall have the right to terminate a real estate purchase contract pursuant to this section for failure of the property owner to timely provide any disclosure required by this chapter.

1992, c. 717, § 55-520; 1993, c. 818; 2005, c. 510; 2007, c. 265; 2011, c. 82; 2017, c. 386; 2018, cc. 60, 86; 2019, c. 712; 2020, c. 749.

§ 55.1-710. Owner liability.

A. Except with respect to the disclosures required by § 55.1-704, the owner shall not be liable for any error, inaccuracy, or omission of any information delivered pursuant to this chapter if (i) the error, inaccuracy, or omission was not within the actual knowledge of the owner or was based on information provided by public agencies or by other persons providing information that is required to be disclosed pursuant to this chapter, or the owner reasonably believed the information to be correct, and (ii) the owner was not grossly negligent in obtaining the information from a third party and transmitting it. The owner shall not be liable for any error, inaccuracy, or omission of any information required to be disclosed by § 55.1-704 if the error, inaccuracy, or omission was the result of information provided by an officer or employee of the locality in which the property is located.

B. The delivery by a public agency or other person, as described in subsection C, of any information required to be disclosed by this chapter to a prospective purchaser shall be deemed to comply with the requirements of this chapter and shall relieve the owner of any further duty under this chapter with respect to that item of information.

C. The delivery by the owner of a report or opinion prepared by a licensed engineer, land surveyor, geologist, wood-destroying insect control expert, contractor, or home inspection expert, dealing with matters within the scope of the professional's license or expertise, shall satisfy the requirements of this chapter if the information is provided to the prospective purchaser pursuant to a request for such information, whether written or oral. In responding to such a request, an expert may indicate, in writing, an understanding that the information provided will be used in fulfilling the requirements of this chapter and, if so, shall indicate the required disclosures, or portions of such required disclosures, to which the information being furnished is applicable. Where such a statement is furnished, the expert shall not be responsible for any items of information, or portions of items of information, other than those expressly set forth in the statement.

1992, c. 717, § 55-521; 2005, c. 510; 2007, c. 265; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-711. Change in circumstances.

If information disclosed in accordance with this chapter is subsequently rendered or discovered to be inaccurate as a result of any act, occurrence, information received, circumstance, or agreement subsequent to the delivery of the required disclosures, the inaccuracy resulting therefrom does not constitute a violation of this chapter. However, at or before settlement, the owner shall be required to disclose any material change in the disclosures made relative to the property. If, at the time the disclosures are required to be made, an item of information required to be disclosed is unknown or not available to the owner, the owner may state that the information is unknown or may use an approximation of the information, provided that the approximation is clearly identified as such, is reasonable, is based on the actual knowledge of the owner, and is not used for the purpose of circumventing or evading this chapter.

1992, c. 717, § 55-522; 2007, c. 265; 2014, c. 386; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-712. Duties of real estate licensees.

A real estate licensee representing an owner of residential real property as the listing broker has a duty to inform each such owner represented by that licensee of the owner's rights and obligations under this chapter. A real estate licensee representing a purchaser of residential real property or, if the purchaser is not represented by a licensee, the real estate licensee representing an owner of residential real estate and dealing with the purchaser has a duty to inform each such purchaser of the purchaser's rights and obligations under this chapter. Provided that a real estate licensee performs those duties, the licensee shall have no further duties to the parties to a residential real estate transaction under this chapter and shall not be liable to any party to a residential real estate transaction for a violation of this chapter or for any failure to disclose any information regarding any real property subject to this chapter.

1992, c. 717, § 55-523; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-713. Actions under this chapter.

A. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter or any other statute or regulation, no cause of action shall arise against an owner or a real estate licensee for failure to disclose that the real property was the site of:

1. An act or occurrence that had no effect on the physical structure of the real property, its physical environment, or the improvements located thereon; or

2. A homicide, felony, or suicide.

B. The purchaser's remedies for failure of an owner to comply with the provisions of this chapter are as follows:

1. If the owner fails to provide any of the applicable disclosures required by this chapter, the contract may be terminated subject to the provisions of subsection B of § 55.1-709.

2. In the event that the owner fails to provide any of the applicable disclosures required by this chapter, or the owner misrepresents, willfully or otherwise, the information required in such disclosure, except as result of information provided by an officer or employee of the locality in which the property is located, the purchaser may maintain an action to recover his actual damages suffered as the result of such violation. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subdivision, no purchaser of residential real property located in a noise zone designated on the official zoning map of the locality as having a day-night average sound level of less than 65 decibels shall have a right to maintain an action for damages pursuant to this section.

C. Any action brought under this section shall be commenced within one year of the date the purchaser received the applicable disclosures required by this chapter. If the disclosures required by this chapter were not delivered to the purchaser, an action shall be commenced within one year of the date of settlement, if by sale, or occupancy, if by lease with an option to purchase.

Nothing contained in this chapter shall prevent a purchaser from pursuing any remedies at law or equity otherwise available against an owner in the event of an owner's intentional or willful misrepresentation of the condition of the subject property.

1992, c. 717, § 55-524; 1993, c. 847; 2005, c. 510; 2007, c. 265; 2017, c. 386; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-714. Real Estate Board to develop form; when effective.

An owner shall be required to make disclosures required by this chapter for real property subject to a real estate purchase contract that is fully executed by all parties. The Real Estate Board shall develop the form for signature by the parties stating that the purchaser has been advised of the disclosures listed in the residential property disclosure statement located on the Board's website in accordance with § 54.1-2105.1. The Board may at any time amend the residential property disclosure statement and the form for signature by the parties as the Board deems necessary and appropriate.

1992, c. 717, § 55-525; 1993, c. 848; 2007, c. 265; 2018, cc. 60, 86; 2019, c. 712; 2020, c. 749.

Chapter 8. Exchange Facilitators Act.

§ 55.1-800. Definitions.

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

"Affiliated with" means that a person directly, or indirectly through one or more intermediaries, controls, or is controlled by, or is under common control with, the other specified person.

"Change in control" means any transfer within 12 months of more than 50 percent of the assets or ownership interests, direct or indirect, of the exchange facilitator.

"Commingle" means to mix together exchange funds with operating and other nonexchange funds belonging to or under control of the exchange facilitator in such a manner that a client's exchange funds cannot be distinguished from operating or other nonexchange funds belonging to or under control of the exchange facilitator.

"Deposit account" means a demand, time, savings, passbook, money market, certificate of deposit, or similar account maintained with a financial institution.

"Exchange Accommodation Titleholder" or "EAT" has the same meaning ascribed thereto in IRS Revenue Procedure 2000-37.

"Exchange client" means the taxpayer with whom the exchange facilitator enters into an agreement described in subdivision 1 of the definition of "exchange facilitator."

"Exchange facilitator" means a person that:

1. For a fee facilitates an exchange of like-kind property by entering into an agreement with a taxpayer:

a. By which the exchange facilitator acquires from such taxpayer the contractual rights to sell such taxpayer's relinquished property located in the Commonwealth and transfer a replacement property to such taxpayer as a qualified intermediary as that term is defined under Treasury Regulation § 1.1031(k)-1(g)(4);

b. To take title to a property located in the Commonwealth as an Exchange Accommodation Titleholder; or

c. To act as a qualified trustee or qualified escrow holder as those terms are defined under Treasury Regulation § 1.1031(k)-1(g)(3), except as otherwise provided in this definition; or

2. Maintains an office in the Commonwealth for the purpose of soliciting business as an exchange facilitator.

"Exchange facilitator" does not include (i) the taxpayer or disqualified person as that term is defined under Treasury Regulation § 1.1031(k)-1(k) seeking to qualify for the nonrecognition provisions of Internal Revenue Code § 1031; (ii) any financial institution or any title insurance company, underwritten title company, or escrow company that is merely acting as a depository for exchange funds or that is acting solely as a qualified escrow holder or qualified trustee as those terms are defined under Treasury Regulation § 1.1031(k)-1(g)(3), and is not otherwise facilitating exchanges; (iii) a person who advertises for and teaches seminars or classes or otherwise gives presentations to attorneys, accountants, real estate professionals, tax professionals, or other professionals where the primary purpose is to teach the professionals about tax deferred exchanges or train them to act as exchange facilitators; or (iv) an entity that is wholly owned by an exchange facilitator or that is wholly owned by the same person as the exchange facilitator and is used by such entity to facilitate exchanges or to take title to property in the Commonwealth as an EAT.

"Exchange funds" means the funds received by the exchange facilitator from or on behalf of the exchange client for the purpose of facilitating an exchange of like-kind property.

"Fee" means, for purposes of subdivision 1 of the definition of "exchange facilitator," compensation of any nature, direct or indirect, monetary or in-kind, that is received by a person or a related person as described in Internal Revenue Code § 267(b) or 707(b) for any services relating to or incidental to the exchange of like-kind property under Internal Revenue Code § 1031.

"Financial institution" means any bank, credit union, savings and loan association, savings bank, or trust company chartered under the laws of the Commonwealth or the United States whose accounts are insured by the full faith and credit of the United States of America, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, or other similar or successor programs and any direct or indirect subsidiary of such bank, credit union, savings and loan association, savings bank, or trust company.

"Person" means, in addition to the singular, persons, groups of persons, cooperative associations, limited liability companies, firms, partnerships, corporations, or other legal entities and includes the agents and employees of any such person.

"Transferee" means the party or parties to whom the ownership or control of the exchange facilitator has been transferred.

2010, c. 409, § 55-525.1; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-801. Change in control.

An exchange facilitator shall notify all existing exchange clients whose relinquished property is located in the Commonwealth, or whose replacement property held under a Qualified Exchange Accommodation Agreement is located in the Commonwealth, of any change in control of the exchange facilitator. Such notification shall be made to the exchange facilitator's clients within 10 business days following the effective date of such change in control either by facsimile or email transmission, or by first-class mail, and by posting such notice of change in control on the exchange facilitator's website, if any, for a period ending not sooner than 90 days after the change in control. Such notification shall set forth the name, address, and other contact information of the transferees. Notwithstanding the above, if the exchange facilitator is a publicly traded company and remains a publicly traded company after a change in control, the publicly traded company shall not be required to notify its existing clients of such change in control.

2010, c. 409, § 55-525.2; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-802. Separately identified accounts, or qualified escrows or qualified trusts.

A. An exchange facilitator at all times shall:

1. Deposit the exchange funds in a deposit account that is a separately identified account, as defined in Treasury Regulation § 1.468B-6(c)(ii), and provide that any withdrawals from such separately identified account require the written authorization of the exchange client and written acknowledgment of the exchange facilitator. Authorization for withdrawals may be delivered by any commercially reasonable means, including (i) the exchange client's delivery to the exchange facilitator of the exchange client's authorization to disburse exchange funds and the exchange facilitator's delivery to the financial institution of the exchange facilitator's authorization to disburse exchange funds or (ii) delivery to the financial institution of both the exchange client's and the exchange facilitator's authorizations to disburse exchange funds; or

2. Deposit the exchange funds in a deposit account that is a qualified escrow or qualified trust as those terms are defined under Treasury Regulation § 1.1031(k)-1(g)(3).

B. The deposit account shall be with a financial institution, and the interest earned on such account shall accrue to the parties as provided in a written agreement between the exchange facilitator and the exchange client. However, the exchange client may expressly direct the exchange facilitator in writing to invest the exchange proceeds in an investment of the exchange client's choice, provided that the exchange facilitator provides written acknowledgment back to the exchange client that includes a confirmation of how the exchange proceeds will be invested.

2010, c. 409, § 55-525.3; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-803. Errors and omissions insurance; cash or letters of credit.

A. An exchange facilitator at all times shall:

1. Maintain a policy of errors and omissions insurance in an amount not less than $250,000 executed by an insurer authorized to do business in the Commonwealth; or

2. Deposit an amount of cash or provide irrevocable letters of credit equivalent to the sum of not less than $250,000.

B. The exchange facilitator may maintain errors and omissions insurance, cash, or irrevocable letters of credit in excess of the amounts required in this section.

2010, c. 409, § 55-525.4; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-804. Accounting for moneys and property.

A. Every exchange facilitator shall hold all property related to the exchange client, including the exchange funds, other property, and other consideration or instruments received by the exchange facilitator, on behalf of the client, except funds received as the exchange facilitator's compensation. Exchange funds shall be held in accordance with the requirements of § 55.1-802.

B. An exchange facilitator shall not:

1. Commingle exchange funds with the operating accounts of the exchange facilitator; or

2. Lend or otherwise transfer exchange funds to any person or entity affiliated with or related (as described in Internal Revenue Code § 267(b) or 707(b)) to the exchange facilitator, except that this subsection shall not apply to a transfer or loan made to a financial institution that is the parent of or related to the exchange facilitator or to a transfer from an exchange facilitator to an EAT as required under the exchange contract.

C. Exchange funds are not subject to execution or attachment on any claim against the exchange facilitator. An exchange facilitator shall not keep or cause to be kept any money in any financial institution under any name designating the money as belonging to an exchange client of the exchange facilitator unless the money equitably belongs to the exchange client and was actually entrusted to the exchange facilitator by the exchange client.

2010, c. 409, § 55-525.5; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-805. Prohibited acts.

A. A person who engages in the business of an exchange facilitator is prohibited from:

1. Making any material misrepresentations concerning any exchange facilitator transaction that are intended to mislead another;

2. Pursuing a continued course of misrepresentation or making false statements through advertising or otherwise;

3. Failing, within a reasonable time, to account for any moneys or property belonging to others that may be in the possession or under the control of the exchange facilitator;

4. Engaging in any conduct constituting fraudulent or dishonest dealings;

5. Committing any crime involving fraud, misrepresentation, deceit, embezzlement, misappropriation of funds, robbery, or other theft of property;

6. Materially failing to fulfill its contractual duties to the exchange client to deliver property or funds to the exchange client unless such failure is due to circumstances beyond the control of the exchange facilitator; or

7. Materially violating any of the provisions of this chapter.

B. A person who is an owner, officer, director, or employee of an exchange facilitator is prohibited from committing any crime involving fraud, misrepresentation, deceit, embezzlement, misappropriation of funds, robbery, or other theft of property; however, the commission of such crime by an officer, director, or employee of an exchange facilitator shall not be considered a violation of this chapter if the employment or appointment of such officer, director, or employee has been terminated and no clients of the exchange facilitator were harmed or full restitution has been made to all harmed clients within a reasonable period of time.

2010, c. 409, § 55-525.6; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-806. Penalty; attorney fees.

A. In any action brought under this chapter, if a court finds that a person has willfully engaged in an act or practice in violation of this chapter, the Attorney General, the attorney for the Commonwealth, or the attorney for the locality may recover for the Literary Fund, upon petition to the court, a civil penalty of not more than $2,500 per violation. For purposes of this section, prima facie evidence of a willful violation may be shown when the Attorney General, the attorney for the Commonwealth, or the attorney for the locality notifies the alleged violator by certified mail that an act or practice is a violation of this chapter and the alleged violator, after receipt of the notice, continues to engage in the act or practice.

B. In any action brought under this chapter, the Attorney General, the attorney for the Commonwealth, or the attorney for the locality may recover costs and reasonable expenses incurred by the state or local agency in investigating and preparing the case, and attorney fees.

2010, c. 409, § 55-525.7; 2019, c. 712.

Chapter 9. Real Estate Settlements.

§ 55.1-900. Definitions.

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

"Disbursement of loan funds" means the delivery of the loan funds by the lender to the settlement agent in one or more of the following forms:

1. Cash;

2. Wired funds;

3. Certified check;

4. Checks issued by the Commonwealth or a political subdivision of the Commonwealth;

5. Cashier's check, or teller's check with equivalent funds availability in conformity with the federal Expedited Funds Availability Act (12 U.S.C. § 4001 et seq.);

6. Checks issued by a financial institution, the accounts of which are insured by an agency of the federal or state government, which checks are drawn on a financial institution located within the Fifth Federal Reserve District, the accounts of which are insured by an agency of the federal or state government;

7. Drafts issued by a state chartered or federally chartered credit union;

8. Checks issued by an insurance company licensed and regulated by the State Corporation Commission, which checks are drawn on a financial institution located within the Fifth Federal Reserve District, the accounts of which are insured by an agency of the federal government; or

9. Checks issued by a state or federal savings and loan association or savings bank operating in the Commonwealth, which checks are drawn on the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta.

"Disbursement of settlement proceeds" means the payment of all proceeds of the transaction by the settlement agent to the persons entitled to such proceeds.

"Lender" means any person regularly engaged in making loans secured by mortgages or deeds of trust on real estate.

"Loan closing" means the time agreed upon by the borrower and lender, when the execution of the loan documents by the borrower occurs.

"Loan documents" means the note evidencing the debt due the lender, the deed of trust, or the mortgage securing the debt due the lender and any other documents required by the lender to be executed by the borrower as a part of the transaction.

"Loan funds" means the gross or net proceeds of the loan to be disbursed by the lender at loan closing.

"Settlement" means the time when the settlement agent has received the duly executed deed, loan funds, loan documents, and other documents and funds required to carry out the terms of the contract between the parties and the settlement agent reasonably determines that prerecordation conditions of such contracts have been satisfied. A determination by a settlement agent that prerecordation conditions have been satisfied shall not control the rights and obligations of the parties under the contract, including whether settlement has occurred under the terms and conditions of the contract. "Parties," as used in this definition, means the seller, purchaser, borrower, lender, and settlement agent.

"Settlement agent" means the person responsible for conducting the settlement and disbursement of the settlement proceeds and includes any individual, corporation, partnership, or other entity conducting the settlement and disbursement of loan proceeds.

"Settlement service provider" means any person providing settlement services, as that term is defined under the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (12 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.).

"Thing of value" means any payment, advance, funds, loan, service, or other consideration.

1980, c. 730, § 6.1-2.10; 1981, c. 86; 1984, c. 118; 1987, cc. 576, 577; 1990, c. 340; 1991, c. 254; 1999, c. 109; 2008, c. 514; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.8; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-901. Applicability; effect of noncompliance.

A. This chapter applies only to transactions involving loans that (i) are made by lenders and (ii) will be secured by first deeds of trust or mortgages on real estate containing not more than four residential dwelling units.

B. Failure to comply with the provisions of this chapter shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any loan documents.

1980, c. 730, §§ 6.1-2.11, 6.1-2.14; 1993, c. 530; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.9; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-902. Duty of lender.

The lender shall, at or before loan closing, cause disbursement of loan funds to the settlement agent. In the case of a refinancing or any other loan where a right of rescission applies, the lender shall, within one business day after the expiration of the rescission period required under the federal Truth in Lending Act (15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq.), cause disbursement of loan funds to the settlement agent. The lender shall not be entitled to receive or charge any interest on the loan until disbursement of loan funds and loan closing has occurred.

1980, c. 730, § 6.1-2.12; 1993, c. 530; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.10; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-903. Duty of settlement agent.

The settlement agent shall cause recordation of the deed, the deed of trust, or the mortgage or other documents required to be recorded and shall cause disbursement of settlement proceeds within two business days of settlement. A settlement agent may not disburse any or all loan funds or other funds coming into its possession prior to the recordation of any instrument except (i) funds received that are overpayments to be returned to the provider of such funds, (ii) funds necessary to effect the recordation of instruments, or (iii) funds that the provider has by separate written instrument directed to be disbursed prior to recordation of any instrument. Additionally, in any transaction involving the purchase or sale of an interest in residential real property, the settlement agent shall provide notification to the purchaser of the availability of owner's title insurance as required under § 38.2-4616.

1980, c. 730, § 6.1-2.13; 1987, c. 576; 1992, c. 733; 1996, c. 883; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.11; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-904. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2020, c. 700, cl. 2.

§ 55.1-905. Disclosure of affiliated business by settlement service providers.

Any person making a referral to an affiliated settlement service provider shall disclose the affiliation in accordance with the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (12 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.). Such disclosure shall be provided regardless of the amount of the person's actual ownership interest in the affiliated provider. However, if the person's ownership interest is one percent or less of the capital stock of a corporation or entity with a class of securities registered under the federal Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. § 78a et seq.), the disclosure shall not be required. If the person's ownership interest is greater than one percent, then the disclosure shall include the percentage of ownership, or, if the person making the referral owns more than 50 percent of the affiliated business, the disclosure shall state that the settlement service provider is a subsidiary of the person making the referral.

1999, c. 688, § 6.1-2.13:2; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.13; 2011, c. 82; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-906. Disclosure of charges for appraisal or valuation using automated or other valuation mechanism.

Any lender providing a loan secured by a first deed of trust or mortgage on real estate containing not more than four residential dwelling units shall disclose on the settlement statement or closing disclosure, as those terms are defined in § 55.1-1000, any fee charged to the borrower for an appraisal, as that term is defined in § 54.1-2009, and any fee charged to the borrower for a valuation or opinion of value of the property prepared using an automated or other mechanism prepared by a person who is not licensed as an appraiser under Chapter 20.1 (§ 54.1-2009 et seq.) of Title 54.1.

2008, c. 400, § 6.1-2.13:3; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.14; 2016, c. 619; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-907. Penalty.

Any persons suffering losses due to the failure of the lender or the settlement agent to cause disbursement as required by this chapter shall be entitled to recover, in addition to other actual damages, double the amount of any interest collected in violation of § 55.1-902 plus reasonable attorney fees incurred in the collection of such damages and interest.

1980, c. 730, § 6.1-2.15; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.15; 2019, c. 712.

Chapter 10. Real Estate Settlement Agents.

§ 55.1-1000. Definitions.

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

"Association" means the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

"Closing disclosure" means the combined mortgage loan disclosure statement of final loan terms and closing costs prescribed under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (RESPA)(12 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Regulation X (12 C.F.R. Part 1024) and Regulation Z (12 C.F.R. Part 1026).

"Commission" means the State Corporation Commission.

"Escrow" means written instruments, money, or other items deposited by a party with a settlement agent for delivery to other persons upon the performance of specified conditions or the happening of a certain event.

"Escrow, closing, or settlement services" means the administrative and clerical services required to carry out the terms of contracts affecting real estate. These services include placing orders for title insurance, receiving and issuing receipts for money received from the parties, ordering loan checks and payoffs, ordering surveys and inspections, preparing settlement statements or closing disclosures, determining that all closing documents conform to the parties' contract requirements, setting the closing appointment, following up with the parties to ensure that the transaction progresses to closing, ascertaining that the lenders' instructions have been satisfied, conducting a closing conference at which the documents are executed, receiving and disbursing funds, completing form documents and instruments selected by and in accordance with instructions of the parties to the transaction, handling or arranging for the recording of documents, sending recorded documents to the lender, sending the recorded deed and the title policy to the buyer, and reporting federal income tax information for the real estate sale to the Internal Revenue Service.

"Lay real estate settlement agent" means a person who (i) is not licensed as an attorney under Chapter 39 (§ 54.1-3900 et seq.) of Title 54.1; (ii) is not a party to the real estate transaction; (iii) provides escrow, closing, or settlement services in connection with a transaction related to any real estate in the Commonwealth; and (iv) is listed as the settlement agent on the settlement statement or closing disclosure for such transaction.

"Licensing authority" means the (i) Commission acting pursuant to this chapter, Title 6.2, Title 12.1, or Title 38.2; (ii) the Virginia State Bar acting pursuant to this chapter or Chapter 39 (§ 54.1-3900 et seq.) of Title 54.1; or (iii) the Real Estate Board acting pursuant to this chapter or Chapter 21 (§ 54.1-2100 et seq.) of Title 54.1.

"Party to the real estate transaction" means, with respect to that real estate transaction, a lender, seller, purchaser, or borrower and, with respect to a corporate purchaser, any entity that is a subsidiary of or under common ownership with that corporate purchaser.

"Settlement agent" means a person, other than a party to the real estate transaction, that provides escrow, closing, or settlement services in connection with a transaction related to real estate in the Commonwealth and that is listed as the settlement agent on the settlement statement or closing disclosure for such transaction. Any person, other than a party to the transaction, who conducts the settlement conference and receives or handles money shall be deemed a "settlement agent" subject to the applicable requirements of this chapter.

"Settlement statement" means the statement of receipts and disbursements for a transaction related to real estate, including a statement prescribed under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (RESPA)(12 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.), as amended, and the regulations thereunder.

1997, c. 716, § 6.1-2.20; 1998, cc. 69, 598; 1999, c. 647, § 6.1-2.32; 2002, c. 375; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.16; 2016, c. 619; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1001. Limitation on applicability of chapter.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent a person licensed under Chapter 21 (§ 54.1-2100 et seq.) of Title 54.1, or such licensee's employees or independent contractors, from performing escrow, closing, or settlement services to facilitate the settlement of a transaction in which the licensee is involved without complying with the provisions of this chapter, so long as the licensee, the licensee's employees, or independent contractors are not named as the settlement agent on the settlement statement or closing disclosure and the licensee is otherwise not prohibited from performing such services by law or regulation.

1997, c. 716, § 6.1-2.19; 1998, cc. 69, 162, 736; 1999, c. 647, § 6.1-2.30; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.17; 2016, c. 619; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1002. Scope of chapter; lay real estate settlement agents.

A. Except as provided in subsection B, this chapter applies only to transactions involving the purchase of or lending on the security of real estate located in the Commonwealth containing not more than four residential dwelling units.

B. Notwithstanding any rule of court or other provision of this chapter to the contrary:

1. A lay real estate settlement agent may provide escrow, closing, and settlement services for any real property located within the Commonwealth, and receive compensation for such services, provided that he is registered pursuant to and is in compliance with the provisions of this chapter with the exception of subsection A; and

2. A party to a real estate transaction involving the purchase of or lending on the security of real estate located in the Commonwealth containing more than four residential dwelling units shall have the same authority as a party to a real estate transaction as is provided pursuant to subsection B of § 55.1-1003.

1997, c. 716, § 6.1-2.19; 1998, cc. 69, 162, 736; 1999, c. 647, § 6.1-2.32; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.18; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1003. Persons who may act as a settlement agent.

A. A person shall not act in the capacity of a settlement agent, and a lender, seller, purchaser or borrower may not contract with any person to act in the capacity of a settlement agent, with respect to real estate settlements in the Commonwealth unless the person has not been convicted of a felony, unless such person has had his civil rights restored by the Governor or been granted a writ of actual innocence, and is either:

1. Licensed as an attorney under Chapter 39 (§ 54.1-3900 et seq.) of Title 54.1;

2. Licensed as a title insurance company under Title 38.2;

3. Licensed as a title insurance agent under Title 38.2 and is appointed by a title insurance company licensed in the Commonwealth pursuant to Chapter 18 (§ 38.2-1800 et seq.) of Title 38.2;

4. Licensed as a real estate broker under Chapter 21 (§ 54.1-2100 et seq.) of Title 54.1;

5. A financial institution authorized to do business in the Commonwealth under any of the provisions of Title 6.2 or under federal law; or

6. A subsidiary or affiliate of a financial institution described in subdivision 5.

Any person described in subdivisions 1 through 6 not acting in the capacity of a settlement agent shall not be subject to the provisions of this chapter.

B. Notwithstanding any rule of court to the contrary, a settlement agent operating in compliance with the requirements of this chapter or a party to the real estate transaction may provide escrow, closing, or settlement services and receive compensation for such services.

1997, c. 716, § 6.1-2.21; 1998, c. 69; 2000, c. 549; 2002, c. 464; 2007, c. 898; 2008, c. 92; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.19; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1004. Duties of settlement agents.

A. A settlement agent shall exercise reasonable care and comply with all applicable requirements of this chapter and its licensing authority regarding licensing, financial responsibility, errors and omissions or malpractice insurance policies, fidelity bonds, employee dishonesty insurance policies, audits, escrow account analyses, and record retention.

B. A settlement agent who is not (i) a person described in subdivision A 5 of § 55.1-1003 or (ii) a title insurance company as defined in § 38.2-4601 shall maintain the following to the satisfaction of the appropriate licensing authority:

1. An errors and omissions or malpractice insurance policy providing a minimum of $250,000 in coverage;

2. A blanket fidelity bond or employee dishonesty insurance policy covering persons employed by the settlement agent providing a minimum of $100,000 in coverage. When the settlement agent has no employees except the owners, partners, shareholders, or members, the settlement agent may apply to the appropriate licensing authority for a waiver of this fidelity bond or employee dishonesty requirement; and

3. A surety bond of not less than $200,000.

C. A settlement agent, other than an attorney or a title insurance company if such company's financial statements are audited annually by an independent certified public accountant, shall, at its expense, have an audit of its escrow accounts conducted by an independent certified public accountant at least once each consecutive 12-month period. The appropriate licensing authority shall require the settlement agent to provide a copy of its audit report to the licensing authority no later than 60 days after the date on which the audit is completed. A settlement agent that is a licensed title insurance agent under Title 38.2 shall also provide a copy of the audit report to each title insurance company that it represents. In lieu of such annual audit, a settlement agent that is licensed as a title insurance agent under Title 38.2 shall allow each title insurance company for which it has an appointment to conduct an analysis of its escrow accounts in accordance with regulations adopted by the Commission or guidelines issued by the Bureau of Insurance of the Commission, as appropriate, at least once each consecutive 12-month period, and each title insurance company conducting such analysis shall submit a copy of its analysis report to the appropriate licensing authority no later than 60 days after the date on which the analysis is completed. With the consent of the title insurance agent, a title insurance company may share the results of its analysis with other title insurance companies that will accept the same in lieu of conducting a separate analysis. A title insurance company shall retain a copy of the analysis or audit report, as applicable, for each title insurance agent it has appointed and such reports and other records of the insurance company's activities as a settlement agent shall be made available to the appropriate licensing authority when examinations are conducted pursuant to provisions in Title 38.2.

1997, c. 716, § 6.1-2.21; 1998, c. 69; 2000, c. 549; 2002, c. 464; 2007, c. 898; 2008, c. 92; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.20; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1005. Persons prohibited from assisting or being employed by settlement agents.

A. A person who has been convicted of a felony involving fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation shall not assist a settlement agent in the performance of escrow, closing, or settlement services involving the receipt or disbursement of funds from real estate settlements in the Commonwealth.

B. A settlement agent shall not employ a person who has been convicted of a felony involving fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation in an administrative or clerical capacity that involves the receipt or disbursement of funds from real estate settlements in the Commonwealth.

1997, c. 716, § 6.1-2.21; 1998, c. 69; 2000, c. 549; 2002, c. 464; 2007, c. 898; 2008, c. 92; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.21; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1006. Choice of settlement agent.

A purchaser or borrower in a transaction related to real estate in the Commonwealth shall have the right to select the settlement agent to provide escrow, closing, or settlement services in connection with the transaction. The seller in such a transaction may not require the use of a particular settlement agent as a condition of the sale of the property.

2009, c. 140, § 6.1-2.21:1; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.22; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1007. Disclosure.

All contracts involving the purchase of real estate containing not more than four residential dwelling units shall include in at least 10-point boldface type the following language:

"Choice of Settlement Agent: Chapter 10 (§ 55.1-1000 et seq.) of Title 55.1 of the Code of Virginia provides that the purchaser or borrower has the right to select the settlement agent to handle the closing of this transaction. The settlement agent's role in closing this transaction involves the coordination of numerous administrative and clerical functions relating to the collection of documents and the collection and disbursement of funds required to carry out the terms of the contract between the parties. If part of the purchase price is financed, the lender for the purchaser will instruct the settlement agent as to the signing and recording of loan documents and the disbursement of loan proceeds. No settlement agent can provide legal advice to any party to the transaction except a settlement agent who is engaged in the private practice of law in Virginia and who has been retained or engaged by a party to the transaction for the purpose of providing legal services to that party.

"Variation by agreement: The provisions of Chapter 10 (§ 55.1-1000 et seq.) of Title 55.1 of the Code of Virginia may not be varied by agreement, and rights conferred by this chapter may not be waived. The seller may not require the use of a particular settlement agent as a condition of the sale of the property.

"Escrow, closing, and settlement services guidelines: The Virginia State Bar issues guidelines to help settlement agents avoid and prevent the unauthorized practice of law in connection with furnishing escrow, settlement, or closing services. As a party to a real estate transaction, the purchaser or borrower is entitled to receive a copy of these guidelines from his settlement agent, upon request, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 10 (§ 55.1-1000 et seq.) of Title 55.1 of the Code of Virginia."

1997, c. 716, § 6.1-2.22; 2009, c. 140; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.23; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1008. Conditions for providing escrow, closing, or settlement services and for maintaining escrow accounts.

A. All funds deposited with the settlement agent in connection with an escrow, settlement, or closing shall be handled in a fiduciary capacity and submitted for collection to or deposited in a separate fiduciary trust account or accounts in a financial institution authorized to do business in the Commonwealth no later than the close of the second business day, in accordance with the following requirements:

1. The funds shall be the property of the person entitled to them under the provisions of the escrow, settlement, or closing agreement and shall be segregated for each depository by escrow, settlement, or closing in the records of the settlement agent in a manner that permits the funds to be identified on an individual basis; and

2. The funds shall be applied only in accordance with the terms of the individual instructions or agreements under which the funds were accepted.

B. Funds held in an escrow account shall be disbursed only pursuant to a written instruction or agreement specifying how and to whom such funds may be disbursed. Funds payable to persons other than the settlement agent shall be disbursed in accordance with § 55.1-903, except:

1. Title insurance premiums payable to title insurers under § 38.2-1813 or to title insurance agents. Such title insurance premiums payable to title insurers and agents may be (i) held in the settlement agent's settlement escrow account, identified and itemized by file name or file number, as a file with a balance; (ii) disbursed in the form of a check drawn upon the settlement escrow account payable to the title insurer or agent but maintained within the settlement file of the settlement agent; or (iii) transferred within two business days into a separate title insurance premium escrow account, which account shall be identified as such and be separate from the business or personal funds of the settlement agent. These transferred title insurance premium funds shall be itemized and identified within the separate title insurance premium escrow account. All title insurance premiums payable to title insurers by title insurance agents serving as settlement agents shall be paid in the ordinary course of business as required by subsection A of § 38.2-1813; and

2. Escrows held by the settlement agent pursuant to written instruction or agreement. A settlement statement or closing disclosure that has been signed by the seller and the purchaser or borrower shall be deemed sufficient to satisfy the requirement of this subsection.

C. A settlement agent may not retain any interest received on funds deposited in connection with any escrow, settlement, or closing. An attorney settlement agent shall maintain escrow accounts in accordance with applicable rules of the Virginia State Bar and the Supreme Court of Virginia.

D. Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to prohibit the recording of documents prior to the time funds are available for disbursement with respect to a transaction, provided that all parties consent to such recordation.

E. All settlement statements or closing disclosures for transactions related to real estate governed by this chapter shall be in writing and identify, by name and business address, the settlement agent.

F. Nothing in this section is intended to amend, alter, or supersede other sections of this chapter, or the laws of the Commonwealth or the United States, regarding the duties and obligations of the settlement agent in maintaining escrow accounts.

1997, c. 716, § 6.1-2.23; 1998, c. 69; 2001, cc. 316, 512; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.24; 2016, c. 619; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1009. Falsifying settlement statements prohibited.

No settlement agent shall intentionally make any materially false or misleading statement or entry on a settlement statement or closing disclosure. An estimate of charges made in good faith by a settlement agent, and indicated as such on the settlement statement or closing disclosure, shall not be deemed to be a violation of this section.

2000, c. 549, § 6.1-2.23:1; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.25; 2016, c. 619; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1009.1. Prohibition against payment or receipt of settlement services kickbacks, rebates, commissions, and other payments.

A. No person selling real property, or performing services as a settlement agent, lay real estate settlement agent, real estate agent, attorney, or lender incident to any real estate settlement or sale, shall pay or receive, directly or indirectly, any kickback, rebate, commission, thing of value, or other payment pursuant to any agreement or understanding, oral or otherwise, that business incident to services required to complete a settlement be referred to any person.

B. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit:

1. Expenditures for bona fide advertising and marketing promotions otherwise permissible under the provisions of the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (12 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.);

2. The provision of educational materials or classes, if such materials or classes are provided to a group of persons or entities pursuant to a bona fide marketing or educational effort;

3. The payment to any person of a bona fide salary or compensation or other payment for services actually performed for the business of the settlement service provider; or

4. An employer's payment to its own bona fide employees for referrals of mortgage loan or insurance business. An employer's payment to its own employees for the referral of insurance business shall be subject to the requirements of subdivision B 8 of § 38.2-1821.1.

C. No person shall be in violation of this section solely by reason of ownership in a settlement service provider, where such person receives returns on investments arising from the ownership interest, provided that such person discloses in writing to the consumer an ownership interest in those settlement services, including its ownership percentage in the settlement service provider pursuant to the requirements of § 55.1-905.

2020, c. 700.

§ 55.1-1010. Separate charge for reporting transactions limited.

No settlement agent shall charge any party to a real estate transaction, as a separate item on a settlement statement or closing disclosure, a sum exceeding $10 for complying with any requirement imposed on the settlement agent by § 58.1-316 or 58.1-317.

2005, cc. 734, 780, § 6.1-2.23:2; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.26; 2016, c. 619; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1011. Record retention requirements.

The settlement agent shall maintain sufficient records of its affairs so that the appropriate licensing authority may adequately ensure that the settlement agent is in compliance with all provisions of this chapter. The settlement agent shall retain records pertaining to each settlement handled for a minimum of five years after the settlement is completed. The appropriate licensing authority may prescribe the specific record entries and documents to be kept.

1997, c. 716, § 6.1-2.24; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.27; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1012. Regulations and orders.

Except as provided in § 55.1-1014, the appropriate licensing authority may issue summonses, subpoenas, rules, regulations, and orders, including educational requirements, consistent with and necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter.

1997, c. 716, § 6.1-2.25; 2004, cc. 336, 597; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.28; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1013. Accounting by title insurance companies.

A title insurance company domiciled in the Commonwealth or acting in the capacity of a settlement agent pursuant to this chapter shall account for funds held and income derived from escrow, closing, or settlement services in accordance with the applicable instructions of, and the accounting practices and procedures manuals adopted by, the Association when filing the annual statements and reports required under Chapter 13 (§ 38.2-1300 et seq.) of Title 38.2.

1997, c. 716, § 6.1-2.25; 2004, cc. 336, 597; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.29; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1014. (Effective until January 1, 2021) Settlement agent registration requirements and compliance with unauthorized practice of law guidelines; civil penalty.

A. Every settlement agent subject to the provisions of this chapter shall be registered as such with the appropriate licensing authority. In conjunction therewith, settlement agents shall furnish (i) their names, business addresses, and telephone numbers and (ii) such other information as may be required. Each such registration (a) shall be accompanied by a nonrefundable fee not to exceed $100 and (b) shall be renewed at least biennially thereafter. When the registration of a settlement agent is renewed, the appropriate licensing authority shall notify the registrant of the provisions of § 17.1-223.

B. The Virginia State Bar, in consultation with the Commission and the Real Estate Board, shall adopt regulations establishing guidelines for settlement agents designed to assist them in avoiding and preventing the unauthorized practice of law in conjunction with providing escrow, closing, and settlement services. Such guidelines shall be furnished by the appropriate licensing authority to (i) each settlement agent at the time of registration and any renewal thereof, (ii) state and federal agencies that regulate financial institutions, and (iii) members of the general public upon request. Such guidelines shall also be furnished by settlement agents to any party to a real estate transaction in which such agents are providing escrow, closing, or settlement services, upon request.

C. The Virginia State Bar shall receive complaints concerning settlement agent or financial institution noncompliance with the guidelines established pursuant to subsection B and shall (i) investigate such complaints to the extent they concern the unauthorized practice of law or any other matter within its jurisdiction and (ii) refer all other matters or allegations to the appropriate licensing authority. The willful failure of any settlement agent to comply with the guidelines shall be considered a violation of this chapter, and such agent shall be subject to a civil penalty not exceeding $5,000 for each such failure as the Virginia State Bar may determine.

1997, c. 716, §§ 6.1-2.25, 6.1-2.26; 2004, cc. 336, 597; 2009, c. 256; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.30; 2016, c. 619; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1014. (Effective January 1, 2021) Settlement agent registration requirements and compliance with unauthorized practice of law guidelines; civil penalty.

A. Every settlement agent subject to the provisions of this chapter shall be registered as such with the appropriate licensing authority. In conjunction therewith, settlement agents shall furnish (i) their names, business addresses, and telephone numbers and (ii) such other information as may be required. Each such registration (a) shall be accompanied by a nonrefundable fee prescribed by the appropriate licensing authority and (b) shall be renewed at least biennially thereafter, except that (1) the registration of a person described in subdivision A 2 of § 55.1-1003 shall be renewed on or before May 1, 2021, and biennially thereafter and (2) the registration of a person described in subdivision A 3 of § 55.1-1003 shall be renewed at the same time as renewal of his title insurance agent license pursuant to § 38.2-1825.1. When the registration of a settlement agent is renewed, the appropriate licensing authority shall notify the registrant of the provisions of § 17.1-223.

B. The Commission shall retain the authority to enforce the provisions of and impose any penalty or remedy authorized by this title and Title 38.2 against any person who is under investigation by the Commission for or charged with a violation of this title, even if the person's license or registration has been surrendered, terminated, suspended, or revoked or has lapsed by operation of law.

C. The Virginia State Bar, in consultation with the Commission and the Real Estate Board, shall adopt regulations establishing guidelines for settlement agents designed to assist them in avoiding and preventing the unauthorized practice of law in conjunction with providing escrow, closing, and settlement services. Such guidelines shall be furnished by the appropriate licensing authority to (i) each settlement agent at the time of registration and any renewal thereof, (ii) state and federal agencies that regulate financial institutions, and (iii) members of the general public upon request. Such guidelines shall also be furnished by settlement agents to any party to a real estate transaction in which such agents are providing escrow, closing, or settlement services, upon request.

D. The Virginia State Bar shall receive complaints concerning settlement agent or financial institution noncompliance with the guidelines established pursuant to subsection C and shall (i) investigate such complaints to the extent they concern the unauthorized practice of law or any other matter within its jurisdiction and (ii) refer all other matters or allegations to the appropriate licensing authority. The willful failure of any settlement agent to comply with the guidelines shall be considered a violation of this chapter, and such agent shall be subject to a civil penalty not exceeding $5,000 for each such failure as the Virginia State Bar may determine.

1997, c. 716, §§ 6.1-2.25, 6.1-2.26; 2004, cc. 336, 597; 2009, c. 256; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.30; 2016, c. 619; 2019, cc. 675, 712; 2020, c. 225.

§ 55.1-1015. Penalties and liabilities.

A. If the appropriate licensing authority determines that the settlement agent licensed by it or any of its other licensees has violated this chapter, or any regulation or order adopted thereunder, after notice and opportunity to be heard, the appropriate licensing authority may do one or more of the following:

1. Impose a civil penalty not exceeding $5,000 for each violation;

2. Revoke or suspend the applicable licenses;

3. Issue a restraining order requiring such person to cease and desist from engaging in such act or practice; or

4. Require restitution to be made by the person violating this chapter in the amount of any actual, direct financial loss.

B. The appropriate licensing authority may terminate administratively the registration of any settlement agent if the settlement agent (i) no longer holds a license, (ii) fails to renew its registration, or (iii) fails to comply with the financial responsibility requirements set forth in § 55.1-1004.

C. In addition to the authority given in subsection A, and pursuant to § 12.1-13, the Commission, after determining that any person who does not hold a license from the appropriate licensing authority has violated this chapter or any regulation or order adopted thereunder, may do one or more of the following:

1. Impose a civil penalty not exceeding $5,000 for each violation;

2. Issue a temporary or permanent injunction, or restraining order requiring such person to cease and desist from engaging in such act or practice; or

3. Require restitution to be made by the person violating this chapter in the amount of any actual, direct financial loss.

D. Nothing in this section shall affect the right of the appropriate licensing authority to impose any other penalties provided by law or regulation. Notwithstanding any provision contained in this section to the contrary, as to that portion of any complaint by a party to the real estate transaction arising under this chapter or any regulation or order adopted thereunder relating to the unauthorized practice of law, the Virginia State Bar, after complying with applicable law and regulation relating to unauthorized practice of law complaints and concluding the activity was not authorized by statute or regulation, may refer that portion of such complaint to the Attorney General or an attorney for the Commonwealth. The Attorney General or attorney for the Commonwealth may, in addition to any other powers conferred on him by law, seek the issuance of a temporary or permanent injunction or restraining order against any person so violating this chapter or any regulation or order adopted thereunder.

E. A final order of the licensing authority imposing a civil penalty or ordering restitution may be recorded, enforced, and satisfied as orders of a circuit court upon certification of such order by the licensing authority.

1997, c. 716, § 6.1-2.27; 2000, c. 549; 2004, c. 597; 2009, c. 256; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.31; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1015.1. Civil penalties; attorney fees.

A. In addition to the penalties and liabilities set forth in §§ 55.1-1009.1 and 55.1-1015, in any action brought under this chapter, if a court finds that a person has willfully engaged in an act or practice in violation of this chapter, the Attorney General may recover for the Literary Fund, upon petition to the court, a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 per violation. For purposes of this section, prima facie evidence of a willful violation may be shown when the Attorney General notifies the alleged violator by certified mail that an act or practice is a violation of this chapter and the alleged violator, after receipt of the notice, continues to engage in the act or practice.

B. The Attorney General recovering a civil penalty under subsection A, or the appropriate licensing authority or the Commission instituting an enforcement action under § 55.1-1015, may recover costs and reasonable expenses incurred by it in investigating and preparing the case and attorney fees.

2020, c. 700.

§ 55.1-1016. Confidentiality of information obtained by the Commission.

A. Any documents, materials, or other information in the control or possession of the Commission that are furnished by a title insurance company or title insurance agent or an employee thereof acting on behalf of the title insurance company or title insurance agent, or obtained by the Commission in an investigation pursuant to this chapter, shall be confidential by law and privileged, shall not be subject to inspection or review by the general public, shall not be subject to subpoena, and shall not be subject to discovery or admissible in evidence in any private civil action. The Commission is authorized to use the documents, materials, or other information in the furtherance of any regulatory or legal action brought as a part of the Commission's duties.

B. Neither the Commission nor any person who received documents, materials, or other information while acting under the authority of the Commission shall be permitted or required to testify in any private civil action concerning any confidential documents, materials, or information subject to subsection A.

C. In order to assist in the performance of the Commission's duties under this chapter, the Commission:

1. May share documents, material, or other information, including the confidential and privileged documents, materials, or information subject to subsection A, with other state, federal, and international regulatory agencies, with the Association and its affiliates and subsidiaries, and with local, state, federal, and international law-enforcement authorities, provided that the recipient agrees to maintain the confidentiality and privileged status of the document, material, or other information; and

2. May receive documents, materials, or information, including otherwise confidential and privileged documents, materials, or information, from the Association or its affiliates or subsidiaries and from regulatory and law-enforcement officials of other foreign or domestic jurisdictions and shall maintain as confidential or privileged any document, material, or information received with notice or the understanding that it is confidential or privileged under the laws of the jurisdiction that is the source of the document, material, or information.

D. No waiver of any applicable privilege or claim of confidentiality in the documents, materials, or information shall occur as a result of disclosure to the Commission under this section or as a result of sharing as authorized in subsection C.

E. Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit the Commission from releasing final, adjudicated actions, including for-cause terminations that are open to public inspection pursuant to Chapter 4 (§ 12.1-18 et seq.) of Title 12.1, to a database or other clearinghouse service maintained by the Association or its affiliates or subsidiaries.

2006, c. 312, § 6.1-2.27:1; 2008, c. 303; 2010, c. 794, § 55-525.32; 2019, c. 712.

Chapter 11. Commercial Real Estate Broker's Lien Act.

§ 55.1-1100. Definitions.

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

"Commercial real estate" means any real estate other than (i) real estate containing one to four residential units or (ii) real estate classified for assessment purposes under the provisions of Article 4 (§ 58.1-3230 et seq.) of Chapter 32 of Title 58.1. Commercial real estate does not include single-family residential units, including condominiums, townhouses, apartments, or homes in a subdivision when leased on a unit-by-unit basis even though these units may be part of a larger building or parcel of real estate containing more than four residential units.

"Principal broker" means the same as that term is defined in regulations promulgated by the Real Estate Board.

1992, c. 877, § 55-526; 2009, c. 262; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1101. Broker's lien.

A. Any principal broker who, either himself or through the principal broker's or associated broker's employees or independent contractors, has provided licensed services that result in the procuring of a tenant of commercial real estate upon the terms provided for in a written agreement signed by the owner of such commercial real estate, or that are otherwise acceptable to the owner as evidenced by a written agreement signed by the owner, shall have a lien, in the amount of the compensation agreed upon by and between the principal broker and the owner, upon rent paid by the tenant of the commercial real estate or by the successors or assigns of such tenant. The amount of the lien shall not exceed the lesser of (i) the amount of the rent to be paid during the term of the lease or (ii) the amount of the rent to be paid during the first 20 years of such lease.

B. The lien provided by this chapter shall not attach or be perfected until a memorandum of such lien signed under oath by the broker and meeting the requirements of this subsection has been recorded in the clerk's office of the circuit court of the county or city where the commercial real estate is located, from which date the lien shall have priority over all liens recorded subsequent thereto. The memorandum of lien shall state the name of the claimant, the name of the owner of the commercial real estate, a description of the commercial real estate, the name and address of the person against whom the broker's claim for compensation is made, the name and address of the tenant paying the rent against which the lien is being claimed, the amount for which the lien is being claimed, and the real estate license number of the principal broker claiming the lien. The lien provided by this chapter and the right to rents secured by such lien shall be subordinate to all liens, deeds of trust, mortgages, or assignments of the leases, rents, or profits recorded prior to the time the memorandum of lien is recorded and shall not affect a purchaser for valuable consideration without constructive or actual notice of the recorded lien.

However, a purchaser acquiring fee simple title to commercial real estate and having actual knowledge of terms of a lease agreement that provide for the payment of brokerage fees due and payable to a real estate broker shall be liable for payment of such brokerage fees, unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the parties at or before the time of sale regardless of whether the real estate broker has perfected the lien in accordance with this chapter. The term "purchaser" does not include a trustee under or a beneficiary of a deed of trust, a mortgagee under a mortgage, a secured party or any other assignee under an assignment as security, or successors, assigns, transferees, or purchasers from such persons or entities.

C. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a subsequent purchaser of commercial real estate subject to a lien under this chapter from establishing an escrow fund at settlement sufficient to satisfy the lien that may otherwise affect transferability of title.

1992, c. 877, § 55-527; 1996, c. 557; 1998, c. 617; 2019, c. 712.