A new housing bill, sponsored by Burlington Rep. Brian Cina, would greatly inhibit the ability for Vermont rental property owners to sell their property. The title of the bill summarizes the proposal as "an act relating to creating tenant rights to purchase an apartment building." Although the bills indicates that the intention is create more affordable housing options for Vermont residents, the negative consequences it would have on rental property owners is substantial!
In Burlington, which contains the largest number of rental units in the state, landlords have already been burdened with recent changes including increased tax liability from the citywide tax reassessment and "just-cause" eviction legislation, which would severely obstruct the ability to regulate tenants lease-end conditions.
Bill H.640 seeks to provide tenants in apartment buildings with 3 or more units the right to purchase the property from their landlord upon receiving notification that the building is going to be listed for sale. During this 45-day option period, property owners would be unable to accept offers from other interested parties until the tenants have declined the purchase option or the option period ends. If the leaseholders decide they are interested, an additional 120-day timeframe is created whereas the owners would be unable to accept an offer other than from the majority of tenants exercising the purchase option.
The proposed legislation would greatly impact a landlord's ability to market and sell their property in a fair and timely manner. For property owners already dealing with recent changes that have negatively affected their business, bill H.640 would only create more problems than it seeks to address.
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