in the State House of Representatives
on May 21, 2021, by a vote of
Purpose: To create a statewide registry of rental properties and establish a new program of regulations, subsidies, and penalties to incentivize landlords to improve their rental housing stock.
Analysis: S.79 creates the “Vermont Rental Housing Investment Program,” requiring owners of rental properties, including “short term” rentals such as AirBnBs, to register with the state ($35 per unit).
The bill would also increase state bureaucracy in order to maintain the registry, enforce an inspection regime, and coordinate grants, including a new 5-person, full-time task force charged with maintaining a registry of Vermont rental properties.
Grants and loans made under the program would have a “special focus on increasing the homeownership rates of households identifying as Black, Indigenous, or Persons of Color, who are systematically disenfranchised from financing real estate through traditional banking and have therefore been generationally dispossessed of the ability to develop lasting wealth.”
Those voting YES believe the bill would encourage and help landlords who own blighted or vacant rental properties to bring them up to code, increasing the overall amount of rental housing available in the state.
Those voting NO believe this would cripple Vermont’s short-term rental industry, such as Airbnb’s, which could have unintended consequences impacting tourism (The Vermont Department of Taxes estimates that the state receives at least $15 million in taxes from short-term rentals), could harm homeowners who rely on income from a short term rental to afford their properties, and that the regulatory burdens associated with the bill would, for most landlords, outweigh any benefits of the program creating an overall disincentive to put rental properties on the market.
As Recorded in the House Journal, May 21, 2021: “…Shall the bill pass in concurrence with proposal of amendment?, was decided in the affirmative. Yeas, 93. Nays, 54.. (Read the Journal, p. 1494 - 1496)
Watch the floor debate on YouTube.
These roll call reports are designed to help citizens understand how their elected representatives vote on key issues. The bills may or may not eventually become law. Click on the link to the bill page at the top of this post for an up to date status on the bill.
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) – ABSENT
Kirk White (P/D - Bethel) – NO
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