Bill to create Vermont rental property registry fails – for now

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  • Julie marks
  • Julie Marks in her short-term rental property in Jericho.

A bill that would have required short-term rental owners to register their properties with the state failed to gain the final approval needed to become law. Defenders hope they can bring the measure to life when they return to the Statehouse in January.

The bill is part of a larger measure aimed at improving the quality of long-term rental housing and establishing a professional health and safety inspection system to replace the now largely composed volunteer municipal health workers.

“We’ve been trying to get something like this through for essentially 12 years,” said Rep. Tom Stevens (D-Waterbury), a longtime housing advocate who chairs the House Committee on General Affairs, Housing and Housing. military affairs. He said the bill was rejected by many Republicans who viewed the proposed registry as excessive government action.

The proposed registry for short and long term rental units would have cost landowners $ 35 per unit; this money would have helped pay for five inspectors who would work in the State Fire Safety Division.

The bill itself is the work of the state rental housing advisory committee, a panel that includes affordable housing advocates, a group of homeowners, city officials and others who represent a range of interests. The council was established in 2018 and released a report a year later that served as the basis for the Rental Housing Health and Safety Bill, S.79.

The bill also calls for a $ 5 million grant program that would provide a $ 30,000 forgivable loan to homeowners to renovate their rentals if they make them available to low-income Vermonters, and an interest-free loan from $ 50,000 to first-time homebuyers paying up to 120 percent of the area’s median income. Up to a quarter of this money could be used for a down payment.

And that would change the state’s moratorium on evictions to allow certain evictions in an emergency – for example, when a landlord tries to move into the house.

Senate passes measure to regulate and inspect short-term rentals

Phineas Swann Inn at Montgomery Center

Senate passes measure to regulate and inspect short-term rentals

By Anne Wallace Allen

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Senator Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor) said she heard from two voters who were trying to retire and return to their homes in Vermont, but who couldn’t get their tenants to leave. The moratorium on evictions is expected to be lifted this summer, a month after Gov. Phil Scott ended the state of emergency in Vermont.

The Vermont Short-Term Rental Alliance, a Richmond-based group that has formed over the past few months, is not on the rental housing advisory board. But the alliance also supported S.79, said executive director Julie Marks.

Marks said the alliance has around 500 members who own property in Vermont and want the short-term rental industry to become more professional, with standards similar to other states and countries.

“We’re not against regulation, but we want to be part of the process of making regulations that make sense in our industry,” Marks said. She assesses which municipalities in Vermont have their own short-term rental regulations. At present, she knows three of them: Woodstock, Norwich and Killington. Greensboro and Burlington are working on their own rules, she said.

Hospitality business owners have requested that short-term rental properties go through the same health and safety inspections as traditional accommodation properties.

Some short-term rental property owners oppose the bill, saying it would impose onerous fees on very small businesses and hurt the state’s tourism industry.

“If Vermont loses STR properties due to new, burdensome and expensive requirements, most of these tenants won’t rush to a local hotel,” said Eric Chittenden, owner of a short-term rental at Waterbury Center. , May 3. Stevens Committee. “They will and already are looking for properties in neighboring states if they can’t find what they want in Vermont.”

But Marks said the alliance was in favor of regulation.

“What we’re really interested in is sort of running a responsible and respected vacation rental industry in Vermont,” said Marks.

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