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Scott vetoes rental housing and safety bill

July 2, 2021 GMT

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont Gov. Phil Scott on Friday vetoed a bill that aimed to improve rental housing and safety, saying it would reduce the number of housing options for people at a time when the state is grappling with a critical housing shortage.

Scott, a Republican, wrote Friday that “the solution is not more regulation,” adding, “we need to invest in new and rehabilitated housing in every corner of our state.

“We need to lower costs to make housing more affordable and we need to ease complicated and duplicative permitting requirements while we have the funding to grow and improve our housing stock,” he added.

He said the bill, which would have required owners of short-term rentals to register their properties with the state, adds restrictions and costs, and targets all rental units in all types of buildings “with few exceptions.” Scott added he believed the bill “will discourage everyday Vermonters from offering their homes, rooms or summer cabins for rent” as a way to supplement their income.

Scott said he would support a rental housing registry for buildings that exceed two dwelling units available for rental for more than 120 days per year.

Jill Krowinski, speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives, said in a statement that the bill “was crafted to create equitable solutions to our housing crisis, in supporting both renters and landlords, and it passed with broad support from community and business organizations across Vermont.”

She added that “we need to create a recovery plan that works for all Vermonters, and by vetoing this bill, the governor has taken away resources from our goal of recovery.”