Land use assessment; parcels with multiple owners.
Heirs’ property is property passed to family members by inheritance, usually without a will. Owners of heirs property are considered tenants in common. Heirs’ property is disproportionately present in middle and low income families without access to affordable legal services. And heirs’ property continues to be the leading cause of Black involuntary land loss as Black Americans are more than twice as likely as white Americans to not have a will. Virginia law and county code allows eligible agricultural, horticultural, forest and open space land to be taxed based on the land’s use value as opposed to the land’s market value. But current law requires all known property owners to sign off on a request to participate in the use value taxation program. This presents significant challenges for heirs’ property owners, and allows for a de facto 1-party veto, which can stop the majority of owners from lowering their tax burden. This legislation will assist in preventing the loss of farms and forests by allowing all landowners maintaining the eligible uses to take advantage of use value taxation.
Introduced by: Delegate Michael Webert (District 18)