Virginia amends real estate settlement kickback provisions
On April 6, the Virginia governor signed HB 819 to add additional sections to the state code related to real estate settlements and settlement agents. Among other things, the amendments discuss the prohibition against the “payment or receipt of settlement services kickbacks, rebates, commissions, and other payments”—whether directly or indirectly—pursuant to an agreement or understanding to refer business incident to a settlement. The amendments also allow for the imposition of penalties and liabilities if a person is found to have willfully engaged in an act or practice in violation of this chapter. Specifically, the state attorney general may recover civil penalties of not more than $5,000 per violation, as well as costs, reasonable expenses, and attorney’s fees. The amendments take effect July 1.