in the State House of Representatives
on February 18, 2022, by a vote of
Purpose: The purpose of H.708 is to restrict the circumstances in which Burlington landlords can evict tenants. Burlington voters passed an eviction ballot item in March 2021 with similar language.
Vermont law currently gives landlords permission to not renew a tenant’s lease if they choose. H.708 removes this blanket permission, and lays out acceptable reasons the landlord may evict: nonpayment of rent, if they threaten the landlord, if the tenant damages the property or does something illegal on the property, or if the landlord chooses to remove the unit from the rental market. A tenant may not be evicted if the landlord imposes “unreasonable rent increases” that result in “de facto evictions or nonrenewals.” The acceptable reasons for eviction are meant to be more fleshed out further by Burlington’s City Council.
Analysis: Those voting YES believe Burlington tenants need better protection from eviction than they currently have.
Those voting NO believe contracts between landlord and tenant should lived up to on both sides, without more government interference. Burlington already gives the benefit of doubt to tenants when a dispute arises, and H.708 will put landlords at an even great disadvantage. The proposal could end up reducing Burlington’s housing supply if landlords are more cautious to put housing on the rental market.
As Recorded in the House Journal, for Friday, February 18, 2022: “Pending the question, Shall the bill be read a third time?, Rep. McCoy of Poultney demanded the Yeas and Nays, which demand was sustained by the Constitutional number. The Clerk proceeded to call the roll and the question, Shall the bill be read a third time?, was decided in the affirmative. Yeas, 98. Nays, 49” (Read the Journal, p. 320-322).
How They Voted
(Click on your Rep’s name to send an email)
Sally Achey (R - Middletown Springs) – NO
William Lippert (D – Hinesburg) – YES
Curtis McCormack (D – Burlington) – YES
Kirk White (P/D - Bethel) – YES
Rebecca White (D – Hartford) – YES
Dane Whitman (D - Bennington) – YES
Terri Lynn Williams (R - Granby) – NO
Theresa Wood (D – Waterbury) – YES
David Yacovone (D – Morristown) – YES
Michael Yantachka (D – Charlotte) – YES