Under Pressure From Scott, Lawmakers Scrap Rental Registry | Education | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Under Pressure From Scott, Lawmakers Scrap Rental Registry

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Published May 11, 2022 at 11:14 a.m.
Updated May 24, 2022 at 4:05 p.m.


Federal relief funds are being earmarked for the construction of accessory dwelling units like this one on Howard Street in Burlington - FILE: LUKE AWTRY
  • File: Luke Awtry
  • Federal relief funds are being earmarked for the construction of accessory dwelling units like this one on Howard Street in Burlington
Vermont lawmakers stripped a key housing bill of a proposal that would have required rental property owners to pay $35 per unit and register with the state, a provision Gov. Phil Scott opposed.

The compromise clears the way for S.210 to head to Scott’s desk. He's now more likely to sign the measure.

The bill contains $20 million in federal funding to help people renovate properties in an effort to increase the stock of badly needed rental housing. Each unit is eligible for up to $50,000.



Paired with that was a plan to require property owners to pay a fee to raise the money needed to start and run a statewide rental inspection program. The program would shift responsibility for rental property inspections from often overburdened town health officers to new state inspectors in the Division of Fire Safety.

But in a compromise hammered out Tuesday night between a team of House and Senate negotiators, the bill no longer contains the registry provision. It still contains the new inspection program, which would be complaint-driven, but would pay for it with $400,000 in federal pandemic relief dollars.

In addition to dropping the registry, House lawmakers agreed to a Senate demand that 20 percent of the $20 million in federal funding be steered toward the construction of accessory dwelling units. Senators view ADUs as a good way to create new rentals in existing neighborhoods. People can renovate garages, barns or other outbuildings into livable units.

The compromise also allows the state Department of Housing and Community Development to use cash to help residents navigate the process of designing and permitting ADUs.