by Guy Page
The Burlington City Council last night ruled last night that rental housing must meet what the city’s mayor calls “stringent, enforceable” weatherization standards.
The ordinance takes effect January 1.
“With tonight’s passage of a mandatory weatherization ordinance Burlington joins just a handful of cities that require existing buildings to be brought up to modern insulation and air sealing standards,” Mayor Miro Weinberger said in press release. “This ordinance replaces outdated regulation with new, stringent, enforceable requirements that will dramatically lower tenant utility bills and reduce the fossil fuel emissions in hundreds of Burlington homes over the next few years.”
The ordinance allows a temporary waiver for landlords who cannot afford the upgrades, and sets a spending cap at $2,500/per rental unit, not including government weatherization assistance.
It is unclear how the weatherization mandate will impact rental rates. The average rent in Burlington is $1425/month, according to www.zumper.com. Both state and federal law have placed eviction moratoriums on all Vermont landlords. The federal moratorium is set to expire July 24, unless the building is backed by federal loans. The state moratorium provided by S333 will last as long as the State of Emergency – possibly longer if extended by the Legislature.
Meanwhile, the average median household income in Burlington is $42,000/year, according to http://www.bestplaces.com. In other words, the ‘median’ rent requires the ‘median’ household to pay 40% of its income in rent alone – not including other housing expenses.
Weinberger promised to “address our housing crisis in the months ahead by passing short-term rental reform and then hosting another Housing Summit this summer.”