Thanks to a conference committee including Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City), the most aggressive provisions of HB 791, the HOA bill, have been removed and other pro-consumer measures have been protected.
The Assembly initially passed HB 791 over the objections of Petersen and other civil libertarians– had it become law in its original form, all residents living in a HOA or condo association could be subject to fines, even if the original charter of the association did not grant fining permission.
The final version of the bill, now headed to the Governor’s desk, strips out the expanded power as well as the ability to fine homeowners where that power was not originally delegated to the association by its charter.
The bill now offers increased homeowner protections: for example, owners who sue HOAs can receive reimbursement for attorney’s fees if they prevail. Previously only HOAs could receive attorney’s fees which led to an uneven playing field.
“The original version of HB 791, as passed by the House, was a complete infringement on contract law. The changes we made in conference have removed the noxious provisions of the bill. Now, homeowners living in HOAs or condo associations have some protections.” Petersen said upon the bill’s passage with amendment.
The bill in its conference form has passed both bodies. It now heads to the Governor for his signature.