Roll Call: House imposes registration with fee for most rental housing

Editor’s note: Roll Call is published by the Ethan Allen Institute.

S.210, an act relating to rental housing health and safety and affordable housing, passed in the State House of Representatives on April 22, 2022, by a vote of 88-54.

Purpose: S.210 (as amended by the House) would create a statewide registry of rental properties, a program for enlarging Vermont’s rental market and a program for increasing the homeownership rate.

This exempts rental housing of up to four properties, so long as the owner uses one of them as their primary residence. Seasonal camps and rental units rented out for fewer than 90 days a year are also exempt.

The original Senate-approved measures are left intact, aside from the removal of the Vermont Homeownership Revolving Loan Fund.

First, allocating $400,000 of federal ARPA funds to pay 5 full-time housing inspectors and 2 administrators, who will begin building a registry of Vermont rental properties in 2022. From 2023 onward, the salaries of these 7 government workers would be funded by an “annual registration fee of $35 per rental unit” ($200/unit if late). Vermont’s JFO estimates these fees could confiscate over $1.2 million annually from housing owners by 2025. State inspectors would be obligated to complete rental housing inspections if they receive complaints about a property. Landlords can only rent housing if it has been registered and may not rent units that fail inspection.

Second, S.210 creates a rental housing investment program and a homeownership loan fund, funded initially with $20 million of federal ARPA money. Under the “Vermont Rental Housing Improvement Program” Vermont would “award funding to statewide or regional nonprofit housing organizations to provide competitive grants and forgivable loans to private landlords.” Landlords can receive $50,000/unit to fix-up/weatherize unrentable housing (up from $30,000/unit in the Senate bill).

Analysis:  Those voting YES believe S.210 will increase the quantity, affordability and safety of Vermont’s rental housing market. A statewide registry would allow legislators to know where current rental housing is located, so they can spend federal ARPA dollars more efficiently. S.210 advocates hope a strong enforcement system will lessen safety problems with rental properties.

Those voting NO were against the rental registry portion of the bill, rather than the homeownership and investment portions. They believe increasing housing regulations will reduce Vermont’s housing supply, raise rent on properties, shrink Vermont’s economically significant tourism industry, and reduce the $15 million Vermont receives in taxes from short-term rentals. S.210 represents a rejection of a more gradual approach, of updating the current system of local safety inspections. This new system gives 80,000 landlords extra paperwork, expands state bureaucracy, and is highly intrusive. This bill is less about safety and more about Vermont taking the first step toward state control of rental property.

As Recorded in the House Journal, on Friday, April 22, 2022: “Shall the House propose to the Senate to amend the bill as recommended by the Committee on General, Housing, and Military Affairs, as amended, in the first division, which is Sections 1 through 7; the appropriations in Section 11, subdivisions (b)(1) and (2); and their related effective dates in Section 12?, was decided in the affirmative. Yeas, 88. Nays, 54” (Read the Journal, p. 1189 -1204).

Watch the floor debate (part 1)
Watch the floor debate (part 2)

HOW THEY VOTED

Sally Achey (R – Middletown Springs) – NO
Janet Ancel (D – Calais) – YES
Peter Anthony (D – Barre City) – YES
Norman Arrison (D – Weathersfield) – YES
Sarita Austin (D – Colchester) – YES
John Bartholomew (D – Hartland) – YES
Scott Beck (R – St. Johnsbury) – NO
Matthew Birong (D – Vergennes) – YES
Alyssa Black (D – Essex) – YES
Tiffany Bluemle (D – Burlington) – YES
Thomas Bock (D – Chester) – YES
Seth Bongartz (D – Manchester) – YES
Michelle Bos-Lun (D – Westminster) – YES
Erin Brady (D – Williston) – YES
Patrick Brennan (R – Colchester) – NO
Timothy Briglin (D – Thetford) – YES
Jana Brown (D – Richmond) – YES
Nelson Brownell (D – Pownal) – NO
Jessica Brumsted (D – Shelburne) – YES
Thomas Burditt (R – West Rutland) – NO
Mollie Burke (P/D – Brattleboro) – YES
Elizabeth Burrows (P/D – West Windsor) – YES
Scott Campbell (D – St. Johnsbury) – YES
Bill Canfield (R – Fair Haven) – NO
Seth Chase (D – Colchester) – YES
Kevin “Coach” Christie (D – Hartford) – YES
Brian Cina (P/D – Burlington) – YES
Sara Coffey (D – Guilford) – YES
Selene Colburn (P/D – Burlington) – YES
Hal Colston (D – Winooski) – YES
Peter Conlon (D – Cornwall) – YES
Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (D – Bradford) – YES
Timothy Corcoran (D – Bennington) – NO
Mari Cordes (D/P – Lincoln) – YES
Lawrence Cupoli (R – Rutland City) – NO
Lynn Dickinson (R – St. Albans Town) – NO
Karen Dolan (D – Essex) – YES
Kari Dolan (D – Waitsfield) – YES
Anne Donahue (R – Northfield) – NO
Kate Donnally (D – Hyde Park) – ABSENT
David Durfee (D – Shaftsbury) – YES
Caleb Elder (D – Starksboro) – YES
Alice Emmons (D – Springfield) – YES
Peter Fagan (R – Rutland City) – NO
Martha Feltus (R – Lyndon) – ABSENT
John Gannon (D – Wilmington) – NO
Rey Garofano (D – Essex) – YES
Leslie Goldman (D – Bellows Falls) – YES
Kenneth Goslant (R – Northfield) – NO
Maxine Grad (D – Moretown) – ABSENT
Rodney Graham (R – Williamstown) – NO
James Gregoire (R – Fairfield) – NO
Lisa Hango (R – Berkshire) – NO
James Harrison (R – Chittenden) – NO
Robert Helm (R – Fair Haven) – NO
Mark Higley (R – Lowell) – NO
Robert Hooper (D – Burlington) – YES
Mary Hooper (D – Montpelier) – YES
Philip Hooper (D – Randolph) – YES
Lori Houghton (D – Essex) – YES
Mary Howard (D – Rutland) – YES
Kathleen James (D – Manchester) – YES
Stephanie Jerome (D – Brandon) – YES
Kimberly Jessup (D – Middlesex) – YES
John Kascenska (R – Burke) – NO
John Killacky (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Charles Kimbell (D – Woodstock) – YES
Warren Kitzmiller (D – Montpelier) – YES
Emilie Kornheiser (D – Brattleboro) – YES
Jill Krowinski (D – Burlington) – PRESIDING
Larry Labor (R – Morgan) – NO
Robert LaClair (R – Barre) – NO
Martin LaLonde (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Diane Lanpher (D – Vergennes) – YES
Wayne LaRoche (R – Franklin) – NO
Paul Lefebvre (R – Newark) – NO
Samantha Lefebvre (R – Orange) – NO
Felisha Leffler (R – Enosburgh) – NO
William Lippert (D – Hinesburg) – ABSENT
Emily Long (D – Newfane) – YES
Michael Marcotte (R – Coventry) – NO
Marcia Martel (R – Waterford) – NO
James Masland (D – Thetford) – YES
Christopher Mattos (R – Milton) – NO
Michael McCarthy (D – St. Albans City) – YES
Curtis McCormack (D – Burlington) – YES
Patricia McCoy (R – Poultney) – NO
James McCullough (D – Williston) – YES
Francis McFaun (R – Barre Town) – ABSENT
Leland Morgan (R – Milton) – NO
Michael Morgan (R – Milton) – NO
Kristi Morris (D – Springfield) – YES
Mary Morrissey (R – Bennington) – NO
Michael Mrowicki (D – Putney) – YES
Emma Mulvaney-Stanak (D – Burlington) – YES
Barbara Murphy (I – Fairfax) – NO
Logan Nicoll (D – Ludlow) – YES
Michael Nigro (D – Bennington) – YES
Robert Norris (R – Sheldon) – NO
Terry Norris (I – Shoreham) – NO
William Notte (D – Rutland) – YES
Daniel Noyes (D – Wolcott) – NO
John O’Brien (D – Tunbridge) – YES
Carol Ode (D – Burlington) – YES
“Woody” Page (R – Newport City) – NO
Kelly Pajala (I – Londonderry) – YES
John Palasik (R – Milton) – ABSENT
Joseph Parsons (R – Newbury) – NO
Carolyn Partridge (D – Windham) – YES
Avram Patt (D – Worcester) – YES
Henry Pearl (D – Danville) – NO
Arthur Peterson (R – Clarendon) – NO
Ann Pugh (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Barbara Rachelson (D/P – Burlington) – YES
Lucy Rogers (D – Waterville) – NO
Carl Rosenquist (R – Georgia) – NO
Larry Satcowitz (D – Randolph) – YES
Robin Scheu (D – Middlebury) – YES
Heidi Scheuermann (R – Stowe) – NO
Charles “Butch” Shaw (R – Pittsford) – NO
Amy Sheldon (D – Middlebury) – YES
Laura Sibilia (I – Dover) – NO
Katherine Sims (D – Craftsbury) – NO
Taylor Small (P/D – Winooski) – YES
Brian Smith (R – Derby) – NO
Harvey Smith (R – New Haven) – ABSENT
Trevor Squirrell (D – Underhill) – YES
Gabrielle Stebbins (D – Burlington) – YES
Thomas Stevens (D – Waterbury) – YES
Vicki Strong (R – Albany) – NO
Linda Joy Sullivan (D – Dorset) – NO
Heather Suprenant (D – Barnard) – YES
Curt Taylor (D – Colchester) – YES
Thomas Terenzini (R – Rutland Town) – NO
George Till (D – Jericho) – YES
Tristan Toleno (D – Brattleboro) – YES
Casey Toof (R – St. Albans Town) – NO
Maida Townsend (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Joseph “Chip” Troiano (D – Stannard) – YES
Tanya Vyhovsky (P/D – Essex) – YES
Matt Walker (R – Swanton) – NO
Tommy Walz (D – Barre City) – YES
Kathryn Webb (D – Shelburne) – 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

Image courtesy of Public domain
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One thought on “Roll Call: House imposes registration with fee for most rental housing

  1. Another peg in the wall for making Vermont more user unfriendly and expensive.

    Why do these leftist clowns hate us? Just because their a miserable lot of poor
    excuses don’t mean they have to push their misery on us…
    Vote out the socialist pukes who don’t give one iota of thought to your well being..

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