Criminals targeting agents in homes will face stiffer penalties in this state

Virginia lawmakers get behind Realtor-backed legislation

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Virginia lawmakers have passed a Realtor-backed bill that can add up to five years to the prison sentences of people who commit crimes including murder, robbery and rape after luring their victims into vacant homes. The legislation represents one of the most muscular responses from the industry to heightened concerns over the safety of real estate agents. The Virginia Association of Realtors, which represents about 30,000 Realtors, proposed the bill in early January to help protect licensed real estate agents, citing “several high-profile cases” where Realtors “have been lured into vacant houses and assaulted, abducted … or worse." "This legislation ensures authorities have additional tools in place to prosecute individuals who knowingly lure or trap Realtors into these circumstances with intent to do harm," VAR said in summarizing the legislation. In its original form, the bill would have made enticing a real estate licensee into a home with the intent to com...