RPAC gives REALTORS® a powerful voice to help develop, advance and implement legislative objectives that affect the real estate business and the ownership and operation of real estate. RPAC supports pro-REALTOR® candidates running for public office. It does not matter if the candidate is part of the Republican or Democratic Party as long as they are part of the REALTOR® Party. At NAR, the RPAC team is proactive with direct fundraising efforts and education-based programs.
What is RPAC of Virginia?
RPAC of Virginia is a voluntary political action committee whose membership consists of REALTORS® and others interested in actively and effectively protecting the real estate industry and the dream of home ownership by participating in governmental affairs at the local, state and federal levels.
How does RPAC of Virginia protect the real estate industry?
RPAC of Virginia helps protect the industry by funding those candidates for elective office who best represent the concerns of this industry. In this way, RPAC of Virginia impacts key issues in the General Assembly (like defeating transfer taxes and impact fees and protecting REALTOR® interests). Many other issues of importance to the membership of the Virginia Association of REALTORS® are also affected by RPAC of Virginia’s activities.
Who decides what issues will be funded and what candidates will be endorsed?
On the national level, the National Association of REALTORS® RPAC Trustees make those decisions. On the state level, the RPAC of Virginia Trustees make those decisions, and on the local level, each local association makes those decisions or has a committee which does so.
If all three levels of government are involved in RPAC of Virginia, where does my money go?
Thirty percent of your RPAC of Virginia investment goes to NAR who uses your dollars to participate in very costly federal elections. Seventy percent stays in Virginia to protect the industry at the state and local levels.
Isn’t giving PAC money equivalent to buying a candidate’s vote?
No. At the federal level, there are strict PAC spending limits set for each election. At the state level, RPAC of Virginia bases the amount of money contributed on how costly the candidate’s race should be based on opposition and media markets. On average, RPAC of Virginia contributions to candidates are modest, ranging between $500 and $2,500. That’s hardly enough to “buy” a vote.
What are some of the factors considered before the RPAC of Virginia Trustees make a donation to a General Assembly candidate?
If the candidate is an incumbent, the Trustees look at how well the candidate has worked with the local REALTORS® he/she represents, how he/she voted on key issues and worked with VAR lobbyists, what committees he/she serves on, and what his/her chances are for re-election. If the candidate is not an incumbent, then the Trustees rely heavily on answers to candidate questionnaires and local association input from candidate interviews.
Is RPAC of Virginia affiliated with either major political party?
No. RPAC of Virginia is not affiliated with the Republican or the Democratic Parties, and does not support one candidate over the other because of party affiliation. RPAC of Virginia supports only those candidates who have indicated or demonstrated that they are interested in pro-REALTOR® or pro-business issues.
How can I support RPAC of Virginia when it funds candidates with whom I disagree?
Again, RPAC of Virginia only concerns itself with the voting record a candidate has on
REALTOR® issues. As a member whose livelihood depends on many factors related to the buying and selling of homes, all members should support RPAC of Virginia in order to help improve the business climate for the real estate industry.
Do RPAC of Virginia Trustees ever fund both candidates in a House of Delegates or Senate race?
While the Trustees have “dual”-funded many elections in the past, they now recognize that this often results in wasteful spending. The Trustees encourage Local Associations to interview all candidates for state offices and make a recommendation to RPAC of Virginia based on the interview process. While the Trustees can “dual”-fund a race, it takes the approval of three-quarters of the voting Trustees present at any meeting to do so.
What is the position of the RPAC of Virginia Trustees concerning funding of “REALTOR®” candidates?
While the RPAC of Virginia Trustees do want to promote REALTOR® candidates, it is important to note that just because the candidate is a REALTOR®, it does not mean he/she will receive a RPAC of Virginia endorsement. Like the National RPAC Trustees, the RPAC of Virginia Trustees are guided by a number of factors which hopefully will lead to a decision that is best for the overall good of the Association.
How can I get involved?
RPAC of Virginia involvement can take the form of a monetary commitment or a commitment of one’s time. Since the RPAC of Virginia Campaign and the political process is ongoing, both forms of commitment are needed.
What are the giving levels of RPAC of Virginia investors?
There are several annual giving levels of RPAC of Virginia contributors. They are:
• 99 Club represents investing between $99-$249
• Capitol Insider Club represents investing between $250-$499
• Governor’s Club represents investing between $500-$999
Major Investors include:
• Sterling R represents investing between $1,000-$1,499
• Crystal R represents investing between $2,500-$4,999 [$1,500 to sustain]
Golden R represents investing at least $5,000 [$2,000 to sustain for those investors on or after January 1, 2002; $1,000 for investors on or before December 31, 2001]
Contributions to Virginia REALTORS® RPAC are voluntary and are used for political purposes; they are not deductible for federal or state income tax purposes. Members may contribute more or less than the suggested amount and may refuse to contribute without reprisal. The National Association of REALTORS® or any of its state associations or local boards will not favor or disfavor any member because of the amount contributed. NAR has established state Federal RPAC Disbursement Allocations based on anticipated National RPAC needs. Thirty percent of all Major Investor contributions are sent to NAR to be applied to the Federal RPAC Disbursement Allocation and are charged against the limits under 2 U.S.C. 441a with the remaining seventy percent maintained for state and local usage. Decisions regarding Virginia REALTORS® RPAC contributions to meet the Federal RPAC Disbursement Allocation will be made throughout the fundraising year.
The Public Policy Team of the Williamsburg Area Association of REALTORS is dedicated to protecting YOU, your profession and business. We utilize several different committees and coalitions and full-time staff professionals to effectively and efficiently achieve this goal such as lobbying against legislative and regulatory proposals that can negatively impact our real estate industry. Our Public Policy Program also includes:
■ Monitoring municipalities: James City County, York County, New Kent County and the City of Williamsburg
■ An active Public Policy Committee
■ History of setting record RPAC fundraising goals
■ A Legislative Director/Consultant to monitor local, state and national issues
■ Political candidate screening
■ Call-to-action website for local, state and national issues
REALTOR® representation in government is critical to creating and maintaining the most positive environment for our industry. We encourage you to become a politically active and informed REALTOR®, and join us as we continue to protect your livelihood. When informed REALTORS® speak their minds, lawmakers listen.
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Translation of Documents – Delegate Bulova (HB 439)/Senator Mason (SB 528)
Effective July 2018
This legislation allows real estate licensee to assist the client in obtaining a translator or may refer a client to an electronic translation service. The licensee will not charge a fee for this assistance or referral. In doing so, the licensee cannot be held liable for any inaccuracies in the translation.
Condo and Property Owner Associations – Delegate Bulova (HB 923)
Effective July 2018
This legislation would require all Common Interest Communities (Condo and Property Owner Associations) to provide a short summary of important information contained in the resale certificate or disclosure packet, delivered at the same time as the Resale Certificate or Disclosure Packet. Much like the Residential Real Property Disclosure Statement, this summary will provide buyers with a summary of items that could affect their decision to purchase a home in a Common Interest Community including:
Acceptance of Rent with Reservation – Delegate Peace (HB 855)/Senator Locke (SB 197)
Effective July 2018
The current statute requires a landlord to give a notice of acceptance of rent with reservation in order to accept rental payments and still move forward with eviction. The current language of the statute is being interpreted different ways by different judges, so that landlords and tenants, property managers and lawyers don’t know exactly how to handle these notices. The purpose of this legislation is to simply clarify the existing law removing the requirement for second notice for the time period between entry of an order of possession and prior to eviction, thus eliminating the confusion with the existing statutory language.
Lexington Short Term Rental Ordinance – Delegate Knight (HB 824)
Effective July 2018
Earlier this year, the City of Lexington passed an ordinance to regulate short-term rentals that violates state law in a number of different ways. Among other items, the ordinance prohibits individuals from owning more than one rental property, requires BPOL taxes, requires a business license, etc. The purpose of this legislation is to require the City of Lexington to amend its ordinance to come into compliance with various provisions of state law. Every other locality in the Commonwealth that has adopted a short-term rental ordinance has complied with state law and the City of Lexington should be required to do the same thing.
Clarification of Supreme Court Case – Delegate Simon (HB 311)
Effective July 2018
A real property owner who buys a house at foreclosure sale, if the occupant does not move out, would file an unlawful detainer in the general district court. In the Parrish case, the occupant challenged the legal title of the successor owner and the Supreme Court ruled that such owner would have to try “sufficiency of legal title” in the circuit court since a general district court does not have jurisdiction to try legal title to real property. The Office of the Executive Secretary of the Virginia Supreme Court (OES) prepared a narrative in the general district court judge’s manual to try to head off the potential of every unlawful detainer case getting derailed by assertion by a tenant or other occupant of insufficiency of legal title to real property. The purpose of this legislation is to put into statutory language the substance of the OES judge’s manual narrative.
Legislative News Article.