Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia

Residential Ground Rent Act

§ 55.1-1500. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

"Land" is a three-dimensional concept and includes parcels with upper or lower boundaries, or both upper and lower boundaries, as well as parcels extending ab solo usque ad coelum. Parcels of airspace constitute land within the meaning of this chapter. Any requirement in this chapter of a legally sufficient description shall be deemed to include a requirement that the upper and lower boundaries, if any, of the parcel in question be identified with reference to established data.

"Obligee" means any person or entity to whom a residential ground rent is owed.

"Obligor" means one or more individuals who are obligated to pay a residential ground rent.

"Residential ground rent" means a rent or charge paid for the use of land, whether or not title to such land is transferred to the user, or a lease of land, for personal residential purposes, (i) which is assignable by the obligor without the obligee's consent; (ii) which is for a term in excess of 15 years, including any rights of renewal at the option of the obligor; (iii) where the obligor has a present or future right to terminate such ground rent and to acquire the entire interest of the obligee in the land by the payment of a determined or determinable amount; and (iv) where the obligee's interest in the land is primarily a security interest to protect his right to be paid the rent or charge.

1975, c. 363, § 55-79.01; 1992, c. 438; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1501. Form of instrument.

Any agreement in which a residential ground rent is created shall:

1. Be reduced to writing;

2. Be in recordable form; and

3. Disclose the date, the names of the parties, the ground rent and any future adjustments to the ground rent, when such rent is payable, the duration of the agreement, and the value of the land at the time the agreement is made. If the parties agree to the amount for which the ground rent may be redeemed, such amount shall also be included in the agreement. Such agreement shall be included as a part of the deed or other instrument of transfer.

1975, c. 363, § 55-79.02; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1502. Changes in amount of rent.

The amount of a residential ground rent may be changed on demand of either the obligor or obligee at the end of five years from the date of the agreement, and every five years thereafter, by giving notice to the other party by certified mail or overnight delivery using a commercial service or the United States Postal Service between 90 and 60 days prior to such fifth anniversary. Unless the parties agree otherwise, such change in ground rent shall not exceed the percentage change for the preceding three years in the Average Consumer Price Index for all items, all urban consumers (CPI-U), as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor or such other instrument or agency of the United States or of the Commonwealth as may be designated by the General Assembly. The first of such years shall constitute the base year.

1975, c. 363, § 55-79.03; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1503. Encumbrance on real property.

A residential ground rent shall constitute a lien against the real estate from the time it is recorded. Any deed of trust or mortgage may provide that a default in payment of ground rent shall constitute a default in such deed of trust or mortgage, that the trustee or beneficiary of the deed of trust or mortgage may satisfy such obligation for rent, and that the money used to satisfy such obligation, along with interest, shall be a part of the debt secured, to be repaid as provided in § 55.1-320 et seq.

1975, c. 363, § 55-79.04; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1504. Redemption rights.

The obligor shall have the right to redeem a residential ground rent at any time after three years from the date the ground rent agreement is made. The redemption shall be effected for the amount agreed upon by the obligor and the obligee or, in the absence of such an agreement, shall be determined by capitalizing the ground rent in effect at the time of redemption, using the average rate on long-term business loans charged by commercial banks in the southeast, as published by the Federal Reserve Board. Upon tender of such amount by the obligor, together with any lawfully collectible arrearages of rent and interest thereon, the obligor may redeem the land from, and shall be entitled to a release from, all obligation to pay ground rent. Such release shall be in recordable form and the cost of recording the same, together with any other charges incidental to it, other than the state transfer tax, shall be paid by the obligor.

1975, c. 363, § 55-79.05; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1505. Incorporation of agreement into deed.

A ground rent agreement made pursuant to the provisions of this chapter may be incorporated into the deed or other instrument of transfer in the following form:

This deed is subject to annual ground rent or charge as follows:

1. Date of agreement: ______;

2. Parties:

a. Obligor: ______; and

b. Obligee: ______;

3. Ground rent and any future adjustments to it: ______;

4. When payable: ______;

5. Duration: ______;

6. Original value of land: ______; and

7. Redemption price, if agreed on: ______.

1975, c. 363, § 55-79.06; 2019, c. 712.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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