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New Laws in Virginia 2024

June 26, 2024

The 2024 legislative session was a “long session” of 60 days which occurs every other year to adopt a new budget. There were a lot of new legislators, primarily due to redistricting. The first African American Speaker of the House was elected.

Democrats control the House of Delegates and State Senate. Republicans hold the Governor’s Office. All bills must be approved by the General Assembly then signed by the Governor for final approval, therefore, bi-partisan support was necessary to enact any new laws.  A total of 1,046 legislative bills were considered. Approximately half were approved. None of the vetoes were overridden. This is characteristic of a balance of power between the parties when neither party has enough control to advance their agenda without the other party’s approval. The new laws take effect on July 1, 2024, unless otherwise noted.

This is a list and short summary of some of the new laws that are more noteworthy and a few laws that were not passed.  The bill numbers are listed for quick reference.

The Short List: Several New Laws Highlighted Here from Various Categories

Cocktails to Go: The sunset provision allowing ABC license holders to sell mixed drinks for off-premises consumption was repealed. This clears the way for take-out alcoholic drinks indefinitely. (SB 635/HB 688)

Child Marriage: Virginia became the first southern state to establish 18 as the legal age of marriage, eliminating the parental consent exception. (HB 994)

End of Favorable Admissions for Legacy: Public institutions of higher education are prohibited from giving preferential treatment in the admissions decision to any student applicant on the basis of the student’s legacy status or relationship to any donor to the institution. (SB 46/HB 48)

Debt Collections: Collection efforts for medical bills are barred if not commenced within three years from the due date applicable to the first invoice for a health care service unless it is for a payment plan that allows for a longer period. (HB 34)

Gun Control: The manufacture, importation, sale or offer to sell, possess, transfer, or transport an auto sear (bump stock), other than a trigger activator, for use in converting a semi-automatic firearm to shoot automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger shall be a Class 6 felony. (SB 210/HB 22)

Animal Rights: It is illegal to declaw cats except as necessary for a therapeutic purpose. A civil penalty of $500 will be imposed for a first offense; $1,000 for a second violation; and $2,500 for a subsequent violation. (HB 1382)

Prison Reform: A Corrections Oversight Committee consisting of 13 voting members and two non-voting members has been created. Also, a Department of Corrections Ombudsman will be selected by the oversight committee. (SB 456)

School & Hurricane Supplies: The annual retail sales and use tax holiday that takes place on the first full weekend in August will continue until July 1, 2030, on items such as school supplies, clothing and footwear, qualified products designated as Energy Star or WaterSense, portable generators, and hurricane preparedness. (SB 116/HB 25)

Opioid Crisis: A special fund, the Virginia Opioid Use Reduction and Jail-Based Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Transition Fund, is established.  Funds will be used for funding and supporting the planning and implementation of locally administered jail-based addiction recovery and substance use treatment and transition programs. This bill passed in 2023 but had a delayed effective date of July 1, 2024. (HB 1524)

Mental HealthIrvo’s Law”: Named after Irvo Otieno who died last year while in custody at Central State Hospital, this bill guarantees family members have access to their loved ones during a mental health crisis. The Governor said, “It’s about individuals who may be calling or crying for help and need that help right now. It’s a student in a classroom…it’s a sailor serving on a ship.” The bill is part of a behavioral health project called “Right Help, Right Now,” currently in the second of three years. (SB 403)

Fun Fact: The European honey bee is designated as the official state pollinator. (HB 1896)

Food & Drink

The “cake pop bill” passed allowing homemade goods to be sold at events that operate for a period of no more than 14 consecutive days. The bill also increases the annual gross sales revenue cap from $3,000 to $9,000 for goods that are processed and prepared in a private home without an inspection as is required by food establishments. (HB 759)

The eligibility criteria for performing arts and sports venues to sell alcohol is now standard instead of varying by locality. (SB 400/HB 1349)


As it relates to the tax credit, the definition of “firearm safety device” is expanded to include any device that, when installed on a firearm, is designed to prevent the firearm from being operated without first deactivating the device. (HB 945)

This is commonly known as “Lucia’s Law” for a 13-yearold girl who was fatally shot by another teen in Henrico County. It is a Class 5 felony for any parent, guardian, or other person who is 18 or older and is responsible for the care of a child to enable the child to gain possession of a firearm after having received notice of a preliminary determination that the child poses a threat of violence or when the guardian knows or should know of the child’s delinquency.  (SB 44/HB 36)

Certain hunting vehicles used in fox hunts must display flashing amber warning lights when they are not in motion for the purpose of warning other vehicles of the hunt. Also, a sign reading “Horse Crossing with Rider” must be displayed. (HB 24)

Real Estate

The Eviction Diversion Pilot Program is extended another year to July 1, 2025. (SB 50/HB 477)

The Property Owners’ Association Act shall govern the conduct of meetings of the board of directors without regard to whether the association is incorporated or not. (HB 723)

The Property Owners’ Association Act and the Virginia Condominium Act have been modified to remove provisions that authorize associations to reduce some assessments necessary for maintenance and upkeep of common areas or capital components. The bill further authorizes associations to borrow money and assign revenues to the lender. Also, the bill defines the term “reserve study”. (HB 1209)

A common interest community is prohibited from enforcing a lien to foreclosure if the property is the debtor’s primary residence and the judgment is for assessments less than $5,000. The association must maintain individual unit assessment account records and restrict access to the governing body, the management agent, the unit owner, and legal counsel. The association must maintain records of any recorded liens. (SB 341)

The Virginia Real Estate Time-Share Act is modified to allow partial termination of certain time-shares and sets a one-year statute of limitations on legal challenges or actions for damages or equitable relief arising from such termination. The bill is declared to be effective retroactively. (SB 600/ HB 1241)

Condominium associations and real estate cooperative associations are added to the types of entities under the Resale Disclosure Act that are prohibited from collecting certain fees with certain exceptions. (HB 105)

Failure of an entity to deliver a resale certificate within 14 days under the Resale Disclosure Act deems the certificate unavailable. The buyer then has three days to rescind, if desired. A purchaser’s authorized agent may accept the certificate on behalf of the purchaser. (SB 526/ HB 876)

This bill creates the Unfair Real Estate Service Agreement Act and adds violation of the Act to the list of prohibited violations of relevant consumer protection laws. Real estate service agreements that last more than a year are prohibited from running with the land or binding future owners of the real property. The service provider is prohibited from assigning or transferring rights to provide services without notice or from creating a lien or security interest on the residential real property. (SB 576/HB 1243)

Manufactured home park owners must provide 90 days advanced notice to tenants prior to unconditionally accepting an offer to purchase a manufactured home park. Localities located in Planning District 8 have right of first refusal. Homeowners will be provided $5,000 in relocation expenses if a rental agreement is terminated due to the sale of the park to a buyer that is going to redevelop it and change its use. (HB 1397)

Localities may require owners of vacant buildings that are determined to be derelict, criminal blight or otherwise occupied by a person without authority of the owner to register such building annually. (SB 48/HB 1486)

The definition of a real estate broker has changed to add any individual or business entity who sells or offers to sell, buys or offers to buy, negotiates, or otherwise deals in real estate contracts on two or more occasions for compensation within a 12-month period. (SB 358/HB 917)

Vehicle towing services of a multifamily residential unit must provide 48-hours written notice prior to towing for the reasons of an expired registration or expired inspection sticker. A copy of the notice must be provided to the landlord. Failure to do so will result in reimbursement to the resident for the cost of the tow and a civil penalty of $100. (HB 925)

Real estate foreclosure procedures and sales are amended so that when there is a sale due to default for non-payment of a subordinate security instrument, the lienholder must submit to the trustee an affidavit affirming whether monthly statements were sent to a property owner for each period of assessed interest, fees, or other charges and an itemized statement of the current amount owed. A purchaser at foreclosure must pay any priority security instrument within 90 days.  Failure to do so gives the person originally required to pay the right to petition the circuit court of jurisdiction to recover from the purchaser any payments made on the instrument after the date of the foreclosure sale plus attorney fees and costs.  (HB 184)

Localities may provide for a waiver of any zoning permits for the operation of a child day program if an office building otherwise meets the requirements for state licensure as a child day program. (HB 281)

Where a residence is occupied by the property owner as his primary residence, localities are barred from requiring a conditional use permit for the use of the dwelling as a short-term rental. (SB 544)

Military personnel presenting orders for a permanent change of station, a temporary duty order in excess of three months, or a stop movement order in response to a local, national, or global emergency that is effective for 30 days or more, may terminate a lease early. This became effective immediately when signed on March 8, 2024. (SB 213/HB 352)

Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act

Landlord or his/her agent may amend the amount due in an unlawful detainer action up to the date of the court hearing. If such an amendment is permitted, plaintiff/landlord shall not file warrants in debt against the defendant/tenant for additional amounts if they could have been included in an amendment. (HB 86)

A tenant who is a victim of family abuse, sexual abuse, or other criminal sexual assault may terminate his/her obligations under a rental agreement if he/she has obtained a permanent protective order and has given proper written notice of termination. This is a change from previous law that required a family abuse protective order or a conviction before the tenant could terminate a rental agreement. (HB 764)

Landlords entering leased property for routine maintenance must provide notice to residential tenants and specify the last day on which the maintenance may be done. The maintenance must be performed within 14 days of delivering the notice. (HB 701)

Landlords are liable to tenants for actual damages and reasonable attorney fees if the tenant gave notice that his/her dwelling was in violation of a building code that posed a substantial risk to health, safety and welfare of a tenant, and the violation resulted in the tenant being excluded from the dwelling due to condemnation. There are exceptions for negligence by the tenant, acts of God, and termination due to fire damage. (HB 957)

Landlords must provide tenants with a copy of the signed rental agreement within 10 business days of the effective date of the lease. Additional hard copies or easily accessed electronic copies must also be provided upon request at no charge. (HB 1272)

An emergency hearing is granted to a landlord who files an unlawful detainer against a residential occupant who has no lease, no permission, and has been provided written notice to vacate at least 72 hours prior to the filing. The hearing shall occur as soon as practicable but not more than 14 days after filing. (HB 1482)

The Department of Housing and Community Development must translate all forms and documents on its website for use by residential landlords and tenants into the five non-English languages most common in Virginia. (HB 1487)

Landlords may not charge a fee for electronic payment of rent, security deposit or any transaction.  This bill requires a special ratification. It will not become effective unless re-enacted by the 2025 legislative session. (HB 1519)

Natural Resources

The Department of Forestry, along with a Technical Advisory Committee composed of stakeholders, must develop a Forestland and Urban Tree Canopy Conservation Plan and update the plan every 5 years. The plan must be posted on its website and submitted to the Governor and Chairs of the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources. (SB 461/ HB 309)

Certain localities may adopt an ordinance providing for planting and replacement of trees during the development process by allowing a tree canopy fund.  (SB 121/HB 459)

Money from the Forest Sustainability Fund must be allocated proportionally among localities that forgo tax revenues as a result of the use value assessment and taxation for real estate devoted for forest use. (SB 129/HB 944)

When distributing loans or grants from the Resilient Virginia Revolving Fund to local governments, additional weight shall be given to projects located in low-income geographic areas and projects that incorporate nature-based solutions. (HB 673)

An Office of Commonwealth Resilience is created to support the Chief Resilience Officer (CRO). The CRO position is removed from under the Secretary of Natural and Historic Resource and placed under the Governor. The position of Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection is eliminated. The Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation must convene an Advisory Review Committee to assist with grants and loans from the Virginia Community Flood Preparedness Fund. An Advisory Review Committee will be established to oversee the distribution of grants and loans from the Resilient Virginia Revolving Funds. (HB 1458 and HB 966)

The sale or distribution of any pavement sealant that contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon concentrations greater than one percent by weight is prohibited except a retailer may continue to sell existing inventory after July 1, 2024. The application and use of such sealants is prohibited after July 1, 2025. The penalty for a violation will be a civil penalty of $250 to be paid into the Virginia Environmental Emergency Response Fund. (HB 985)

The Secretary of the Commonwealth will designate an Ombudsman for Tribal Consultation to facilitate communication and consultation with federally recognized Tribal Nations in the Commonwealth. The Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Historic Resources, and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission must establish policies and procedures for consulting with the Ombudsman of recognized Tribal Nations when evaluating certain permits and reviews relating to environment, cultural, or historic resources that potentially impact the tribes. (HB 1157)

The individual and corporate tax credit for purchase of conservation tillage and precision agricultural application equipment is extended from January 1, 2026 to January 1, 2030. (SB 298)

The decision-making processes related to the issuance and renewal of groundwater withdrawal permits and surface water withdrawal permits by the Department of Environmental Quality shall include comprehensive groundwater, surface water, and aquifer data. (SB 581)

The Virginia Coastal Resilience Collaborative at The College of William and Mary is added to a list of entities with whom the Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources may seek input and consultation in establishing policy. (SB 674)

The requirement of four years of relevant experience to be certified as a professional wetland delineator has been reduced to three years. (HB 1182)


This bill amends the definition of child pornography, production, and publication plus allows the court to set suspension of sentence up to 3 years for sexual battery or abuse of a child between 13 and 15-years old. (SB 731)

Emergency service workers may have four flashing or steady-burning red or red and white combination warning lights on his/her personal vehicle. This is an increase from two. (SB 150/HB 15)

No internet service shall be liable for restricting publication of material that the provider considers to be intended to incite hatred on the basis on ethnic origin. The Commonwealth shall safeguard all individuals from unlawful discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin in employment and public places. (SB 7/HB 18)

Dentists and dental hygienists have been added to the list of providers who are immune from civil liability for any act done in performance of his/her duties while serving as a member of or consultant to an entity that reviews, evaluates or makes recommendations on a professional program to address issues related to career fatigue and wellness in health care professionals. (SB 629/HB42)

If a person who is a candidate for nomination by a political party at a primary election withdraws his/her candidacy prior to the Tuesday immediately preceding the primary election, and there is only one remaining candidate who is now unopposed, the primary election will be canceled. (SB 131/HB 55)

The Parental Child Safety Placement Program was established to promote and support placements of children with relatives by local boards of social services in an effort to avoid foster care. The bill establishes requirements for a parental child safety placement agreement along with the procedure for assessing the proposed caregiver and the process for terminating such placement. (SB 39/HB 27)

This bill creates an alert program for missing or endangered children; Virginia Critical Operation for a Disappeared Child Initiative (Codi). The bill requires state police to work with local law-enforcement agencies to set uniform standards of Codi Alert throughout the Commonwealth. (SB 201)

An elderly or vulnerable adult may submit a list of trusted people to contact in case a financial institution suspects financial exploitation. The financial institution may conduct training to instruct staff how to identify and report suspected financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. The Bureau of Financial Institutions of the State Corporation Commission is instructed to develop and publish guidelines for such training. (SB 174)

The age at which a person is exempt from jury service upon request is increased from 70 to 73. (SB 638/HB 156)

A copy of the jury panel to be used for a trial case must be presented to all counsel of record five days in advance of the trial. This is an increase from three days. (HB 432)

Limited liability companies and other legal or commercial entities may be represented by an owner, partner, or officer in small claims court. This is relief for small companies that needed to retain an attorney previously. (HB 934)

Any person who is incarcerated or otherwise in custody of a law-enforcement officer or facility is excluded from a charge of failure to appear before a court or judicial officer.  (HB 1114)

Where publication or advertisement is required, an online-only news publication subject to certain requirements will suffice instead of a hard-copy print publication. (SB 157/HB 264)

The exemptions from garnishment and liens have increased for the amount that a householder may hold exempt from the creditor; real or personal property increases from $25,000 to $50,000 and motor vehicles increases from $6,000 to $10,000. These figures will be indexed by the Consumer Price Index once every three years. (HB 1339)

The requirement that a person be a resident of Virginia has been removed as it applies to persons seeking information under the Freedom of Information Act.  (SB 215)

A person who has a protective order against him/her must notify the court in writing within seven days of any change of residence. (SB 398)

Suppliers of automatically renewing service offers must notify the consumer between 30 and 60 days prior to a renewal of their option to cancel and terminate the service. (HB 744)

Public utilities may not be disconnected for non-payment of service during 30 days after the Governor declares a state of emergency or if the forecasted temperature is below 32 degrees or above 92 degrees within the 24 hours following the scheduled disconnection.  Also, utilities may not be disconnected from service on Fridays, weekends, state holidays, and the day immediately preceding a state holiday. Notification of intent to disconnect for nonpayment must be provided to residential customers prior to disconnection. (SB 480/HB 906)

The Virginia Consumer Protection Act is amended to require those offering services as a professional mold remediator to hold a mold remediation certification from the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration. (HB 1270)

The penalty for multiple violations of the Statewide Building Code committed within 10 years have been increased. For three violations the minimum and maximum fines are increased from $2,500 & $5,000 to $5,000 & $10,000, respectively. There are similar increases for owners of a blighted multifamily property. (SB 538/HB 578)

This bill addresses insurance companies licensed in the Commonwealth who deny, fail to pay, or fail to make a timely settlement offer to its insured after the insured has become legally entitled to recover, or, after all applicable liability policy limits and underlying uninsured and underinsured motorists benefits have been paid, reject a reasonable settlement demand within the policy’s coverage limits.  If a court finds that the failure to pay was not made in good faith, the company will be liable for an amount up to double of the judgment not to exceed $500,000 along with reasonable attorney fees and all costs and expenses incurred by the insured to secure a judgment. (SB 256)

Retail establishments which do not have a public restroom but have an employee toilet facility must allow any customer with an eligible medical condition to use the employee facility. (HB 474)

A locality that holds a referendum on casino gaming that fails may not hold another referendum on the subject for three years. (HB 525)

The Small Business Procurement Enhancement Program is established to promote small, women-owned, and minority businesses (SWaM) with a statewide goal of 42 percent utilization in all discretionary spending by executive branch agencies and a target goal of 50 percent subcontracting to SWaM businesses where the prime contractor is not a SWaM business. (HB 1404)

State and local public bodies and covered institutions must provide documentation of the selection processes used for selection of a construction contract to unsuccessful applicants upon request. (SB 18)

The Virginia Business Ready Expedited Permitting Program is established. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority must designate up to two sites and four projects for participation in the program. (SB 217)

A knowledge-based authentication assessment is added to the methods by which a notary public may obtain evidence of identity. This requires a quiz composed of at least five questions related to the principal’s personal history or identity and the score must be at least 80 percent. This bill applies retroactively. (HB 1372)

A suspension by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) or the Department of Health Professions of a person’s license due to their payment of a fee being dishonored by the financial institution named may not be considered a disciplinary action. (HB 120)

Every place of public accommodation is permitted to make epinephrine available for administration and any employee who is authorized by a prescriber and trained in the administration of epinephrine is permitted to administer to a person he/she believes in good faith to be having an anaphylactic reaction. This is an expansion of previous law for enclosed, indoor areas used by the public. (HB 1035)

The Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Virginia Program is established. The program promotes a comprehensive, statewide initiative for encouraging preschool-age children to develop a love of reading and learning. One reading selection per month is provided to each registered child from birth to age five at no cost to the family or child. The program contributes 50 percent matching funds to all participating counties. (HB 1108)

Records of any name change made in relation to a person’s marriage or divorce is entitled to be recorded in the appropriate clerk’s office where deeds are recorded. This is an expansion of previous law that only allowed a woman’s name change upon marriage or divorce to be recorded. (SB 598)

This bill provides a dispute resolution process for disagreements in determining funeral arrangements. The funeral service licensees may require a person claiming next of kin status to execute a document affirming their status. (HB 652)

The real property tax exemption that is currently available to the surviving spouse of a soldier killed in action is expanded. This bill is enabling legislation for a constitutional amendment to be presented during the November 2024 general election. (SB 240)

A person subject to a guardianship or conservatorship who does not have legal representation may send informal written communication to the court initiating the process to be restored to capacity. Previously, a formal petition was required. (HB 786)

A trustee may terminate a trust if it holds less than $100,000 of value without a court order, provided that the trustee sends requisite notice to all qualified beneficiaries and co-trustees. (SB 63/HB 332)

Localities may set an ordinance establishing one or more military centered community zones where the community has a significant presence of military personnel living or working in the area. Businesses in the zone may receive favorable grants, taxes, or other incentives to drive economic development. (SB 343/HB 619)


The following bills are among the bills passed through the Democrat-controlled House and Senate but vetoed by the Republican Governor. They could be brought back next year.

Recreational cannabis sales failed. Related, the Governor also vetoed legislation that would have facilitated resentencing relief for those convicted of certain marijuana-related offenses. (HB 698)

An increase in minimum wage from the current $12.00 per hour to $13.50 effective January 1, 2025, and $15.00 per hour effective January 1, 2026, failed. (SB 1/HB1)

Two bills on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder allowing dispatchers to claim workers’ compensation benefits and removing the 52-week cap for benefits for first responders failed. (HB 68, HB 1226)

This is a partial list and doesn’t include all bills. The summary was compiled from various sources; primarily, from Virginia’s Legislative Information System which provides the full text of all bills along with the sponsors and legislative history. The reader is encouraged to look up a bill in full or consult an attorney for a more complete interpretation of any legislation that has particular importance.

Kathryn Byler is a Pender & Coward attorney focusing her practice on real estate, business, guardianships, and estate planning matters.  Kathryn is an adjunct professor at Regent Law School, a licensed real estate broker and a member of the Virginia Beach Planning Commission.

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