CAN SPAM Compliance

Realtors® use email as a big part of their business whether it’s advertising open houses or staying in touch with former clients, and sometimes those communications can run afoul of federal anti-spam law.  The CAN SPAM Act (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) covers ALL commercial email communications, not just spam or bulk email.  If you are emailing fellow agents an advertisement about an open house you have this weekend, that communication falls under the CAN SPAM Act.  And violations can cost some big bucks, as much as $16,000 in some cases.  So don’t violate the law and open yourself up to financial penalties, follow some simple rules and you will be compliant.

  1. Each email you send for business purposes must have a legitimate return address and must clearly state in the subject line the purpose of the email
  2. Clear and conspicuous notice for the recipient to “opt-out” of future emails and promptly honoring opt-out requests.
  3. Clearly indicate that the email is an ad early on in the message.

To read more about the CAN SPAM Act, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

Support the Community Give Day!

From the Community Foundation….

The Community Give is our chance to make history in a single day throughout the Rappahannock River region. This grassroots effort is an opportunity to rally together and give back to a community that gives so much to each of us. Whatever your passion: health and human services, arts and culture, children and families, education, animals, parks and recreation, historic restoration, and more -  this is your time for your gift to do the most good! 

1 Day.

1 Region.

1 Goal.

With your help, we will give more individual donations to area nonprofits than has ever been given in a single day. The maximum amount of every dollar raised goes directly to local nonprofit organizations and keeps our community thriving. And there are bonus contests throughout the day! Random drawings and cash prizes mean that participating nonprofits can raise even more money to support their missions.  Click here to check for your favorite nonprofit!  

Be part of The Community Give!

Click and Give!

May 6, 2014

FAAR works frequently with the Central Virginia Housing Coalition and they have a great project for the Community Give!

CVHC_community_give_#2

CVHC_community_give

City of Fredericksburg launches data center

The City of Fredericksburg has launched a data center that allows users to pull detailed information about the City including demographics, major employers, business incentives, and quality of life indicators among many other things.  These reports are free to the public and are extremely east to generate. 

The reports are ideal for marketing commercial real estate and providing prospective business clients with very detailed statistical data about the City.  Visit the link below and start creating your reports today!

http://www.fredericksburgva.com/datacart.aspx

Fred_City_Data_Report

Gov. McAuliffe signs entire VAR Legislative Package into law

From VAR….

Over the weekend, your Virginia Association of REALTORS® Policy and Advocacy team received confirmation that Governor McAuliffe signed the entire Virginia Association of REALTORS® Legislative Agenda into law.  Though the specific provisions of the bills he signed will not come into effect until July 1, 2014, we are pleased that the Governor signed them, exactly as they passed the Virginia General Assembly.

· HB 331 – Establishing First Time Homeowners Savings Plans
VAR sought to establish First Time Homeowner Savings Plans that will allow a contributor to deposit up to $50,000 principal into a banking or investment account, and have all the earnings on that account be forever free of state taxes. A qualified beneficiary would be someone living in Virginia, who has never owned property- individually or jointly- anywhere in the U.S.

  • HB 273 – Making important changes to the Landlord-Tenant Act
    We amended the Landlord-Tenant Act to allow many more rental properties to fall under the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act, which has long been supported by VAR attorneys as being much better for landlords, property managers and their owners.  In addition, we removed the requirement that landlords and property managers pay interest on security deposits.
  • HB 900 – POA/Condo Act changes
    We amended the POA / Condo Act to continue clarifying fees that are allowed versus those not allowed under Virginia law.  In addition we make sure that Realtors and their clients can receive homeowner association packets electronically, if requested.  Finally, we allow for easier use of those homeowners associations who maintain websites.
  • HB 208 – Clarifying the law to protect property rights
    We clarified the language of the vested rights statute we passed in 2008 to preserve our accomplishments and to protect property owners from local governments that may wish to require existing buildings without documented building permits be removed.
  • SB 302 / HB 259 – Protecting members from being labeled criminals (i.e., making it criminal to assert that a real estate licensee is a criminal)
    To protect Realtors from being unjustly labeled as criminals, if an attorney accuses a real estate licensee of criminal false advertising in a lawsuit, we will now require the attorney to state the facts with particularity, to make sure attorneys are not just accusing criminal false advertising without building in the facts or reasons behind the accusations.

As July 1, 2014 nears, we will make sure our members are reminded of these changes to the law, as well as the many others that will come into effect.

Sincerely,

Bradley J. Boland
2014 Virginia Association of REALTORS® President

NAR Call for Action: Send a message to our senators though Twitter

The following is a blog entry from VAR Buzz. 

Posted by Andrew Kantor   

NAR is trying something new. In its latest Call for Action, it wants Realtors across the country to reach out to the Senate via Twitter. The issue: patent trolls.

Patent trolls are a threat to America’s economy and have increasingly become a financial and legal burden on individual REALTORs, MLSs, and our state and local REALTOR associations. Patent trolls are companies that use patents as legal weapons rather than to produce products or create new innovations. These trolls send threatening demand letters, seeking payment from small businesses like REALTORs, for using common business technologies like scanner-copiers; drop-down website menus; or even mapping features.

Fighting a troll in court can cost hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. Increasingly, tech innovations are driving the delivery of real estate services. Our members know firsthand that patent trolls divert significant time and money from their businesses. Without needed reforms that reinforce legitimate patent rights and curtail frivolous litigation schemes, REALTORs’ ability to grow, innovate and better serve modern consumers will be put at risk.

You can help out either of two ways. Hop onto Twitter and send something like the following, recommended by NAR (just cut and paste):

@MarkWarner: As my senator, I urge you to protect #REALTORS from abusive #patenttrolls #FixPatents now!

@SenKaineOffice: As my senator, I urge you to protect #REALTORS from abusive #patenttrolls #FixPatents now!

Or you can click here to do it through the Realtor Action Center.