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BILL AS PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE 2007-2008

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H.863

AN ACT RELATING TO MUNICIPAL PLANNING, CREATING VERMONT NEIGHBORHOODS, ENCOURAGING SMART GROWTH DEVELOPMENT, PURCHASING OF MOBILE HOMES, CLOSURE OF MOBILE HOME PARKS, AND LANDLORD-TENANT RELATIONS AND STATE RESIDENTIAL LEAD-BASED PAINT POISONING PREVENTION

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  LEGISLATIVE ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The general assembly gratefully thanks and acknowledges Gregory Brown, the executive director of the Chittenden County regional planning commission, for:

(1)  his time, commitment, and tenacity in helping to make the Vermont Neighborhood program a reality. 

(2)  his earlier, equally outstanding efforts that greatly contributed to the creation of the Vermont downtown program. 

(3)  his strong and committed leadership as the executive director of the Chittenden County regional planning commission between March 2003 and July 1, 2008, when he is scheduled to retire.

Sec. 1a.  FINDINGS AND PURPOSE

     (a)  Act 250 was enacted as a land use law in 1970 by a general assembly concerned about large scale, unregulated development in Vermont.  At that time, few towns had planning and zoning, and for the ones that did, there was limited staffing to enforce those rudimentary municipal laws.  Revisions were made to Act 250 in 1973, including the addition of 11 new subcriteria to criterion nine, relating to matters such as agricultural soils, energy conservation, earth resources and development affecting public investments, but the focus of the law remained to review large scale developments as those developments were defined.  As a result, a large number of developments around the state have been designed to avoid Act 250 jurisdiction, resulting in no or limited review of the cumulative impact of incremental development of nine or fewer lots in scattered locations.

(b)  Some argued in the 1970s that Act 250 regulatory review should be based a comprehensive land use plan that would delineate all the lands of the state by use classifications, but provided for refinements based on more detailed studies at the regional and local levels.  Others disagreed, arguing that the regulatory review process under Act 250 was sufficient.  In the end, no such measure was ever approved.  The requirement that there be an Act 250 state land use plan was deleted from the law in 1984. 

     (c)  Since that time, the general assembly incrementally has enacted legislation to plan land uses and encourage municipalities to approve compact residential neighborhoods in and around traditional villages and downtowns and in planned growth centers in accordance with smart growth principles. This planning act furthers that goal.

     (d)  Among the strategies to expedite the development of housing in these locations is to exempt certain residential development from Act 250, where it is demonstrated that such proposed land state use review is redundant with municipal land use review, and, through the careful targeting of eligible locations to impacted areas served by infrastructure, the potential for unplanned impact to natural resources and environmental quality is negligible.

     (e)  Targeting limited state incentives to smart growth locations must be balanced with careful planned development in the surrounding countryside.  To this end, strategies for improving certain Act 250 criteria to better manage scattered residential development and to curb strip development along the state’s highways should be studied and recommendations brought back before the general assembly for review and consideration.

     (f)  Through the use of higher Act 250 thresholds, coupled with strengthening criteria related to scattered development, rural growth areas, transportation and settlement patterns, Vermont can better achieve the state’s planning and development goal of maintaining Vermont’s historic settlement pattern of compact village and urban centers separated by rural countryside.

(g)  Regarding affordability, housing units actually developed under this act could very well have a greater degree of affordability than that required by law.

(1)  An important component of this act is the creation of a homeownership affordable housing tax credit, that by itself, creates an important incentive that will leverage private capital, reducing the cost of development and the eventual cost of a unit.

(2)  Because of location and density requirements established in the Vermont neighborhood program, housing options to be created under the program may be expected to encourage construction of rental property or condominiums, or a mix of the two, as well as stand-alone, stick-built homes.  This affects affordability because, statewide, the median price of a condominium is approximately $10,000.00 less than that of a stick-build home.

(3)  Since many projects will be developed with housing tax credits allocated by the Vermont housing finance agency, those projects will be subject to the agency’s qualified allocation plan, which itself considers the degree of affordability, both regarding the percentage of the units, and regarding the income level at which they are aimed.

(4)  Housing developed in Vermont neighborhoods by the land trusts or by Housing Vermont will have significant affordability, and in the case of the land trusts, that affordability will be permanent.

(5)  Downpayment assistance for low and moderate income homebuyers by raising the property transfer tax exemption from $100,000.00 to $110,000.00 for Vermont housing finance agency borrowers, resulting in a 25 percent increase in the maximum consumer benefit, from $500.00 to $625.00.  Downpayment and closing costs are a major obstacle to many potential homebuyers.

(6)  The state’s financial support for the programs of the Vermont housing finance agency will result in lower borrowing costs to consumers, making mortgages more affordable.  Specifically:

(A)  The state treasurer is authorized to provide up to $50 million in short-term credit to the Vermont housing finance agency for interim financing for its mortgage program.

(B)  The Vermont pension investment committee shall consider investing up to $17.5 million with the Vermont housing finance agency to assist with the mobile home financing program and the cash assistance program, which provides cash assistance with downpayments and closing costs, both particularly important for low and moderate income Vermonters.

(C)  The state will increase its moral obligation to enhance bonds and notes issued by the Vermont housing finance agency to $155 million.  These bonds and notes are used to finance VHFA programs for low and moderate income Vermonters.

(7)  The affordability standard for rental housing development established in this act is stricter than that in current law.  It is expected that rental units will be developed in Vermont neighborhoods, especially given the slow-down in the homeownership market.  More middle income Vermonters are turning to rental housing as their most appropriate housing option, especially as it has gotten more difficult to meet stricter underwriting standards and as foreclosure rates are increasing.

(8)  Housing affordability will be supported through funding for the Vermont housing and conservation board.  This year alone, $15 million is appropriated in state funds to provide financial support for housing and conservation programs. 

     (h)  As of May 1, 2008, there are 23 designated downtowns and 76 village centers, but not all of the designated downtown or village centers have zoning bylaws or subdivision regulations, reducing the number of Vermont Neighborhood eligible village centers to 24 and designated downtowns to 22.  There is one designated growth center.  Therefore, the regulatory relief and municipal revenue incentive provided by this act will initially apply to those 46 communities.

     (i)  The regulatory relief and the municipal revenue incentive for these 46 municipalities may encourage other municipalities to undertake the task of seeking designation as a downtown, village center or town growth center, enacting zoning bylaws and subdivision regulations, and then proceeding to obtain designation as a Vermont neighborhood.


* * * Vermont Neighborhoods Program * * *

Sec. 2.  24 V.S.A. § 2791(15) is added to read:

(15)  “Vermont neighborhood” means an area of land that is in a municipality with an approved plan, a confirmed planning process, zoning bylaws, and subdivision regulations, and is in compliance with all the following:

(A)  Is located in one of the following:

(i)  a designated downtown, village center, new town center, or growth center; or

(ii)  an area of land that is within the municipality and outside but contiguous to a designated downtown, village center, or new town center and is not more than 100 percent of the total acreage of the designated downtown, 50 percent of the village center, or 75 percent of the new town center.

(B)  Contains substantially all the following characteristics:

(i)  Its contiguous land, if any, complements the existing downtown district, village center, or new town center by integrating new housing units with existing residential neighborhoods, commercial and civic services and facilities, and transportation networks, and is consistent with smart growth principles.

(ii)  It is served by either a municipal sewer infrastructure or a community or alternative wastewater system approved by the agency of natural resources.

(iii)  It incorporates minimum residential densities of no fewer than four units of single-family, detached dwelling units per acre, and higher densities for duplexes and multi-family housing.

(iv)  It incorporates neighborhood design standards that promote compact, pedestrian-oriented development patterns and networks of sidewalks or paths for both pedestrians and bicycles that connect with adjacent development areas.

Sec. 3.  24 V.S.A. § 2793d is added to read:

§ 2793d.  DESIGNATION OF VERMONT NEIGHBORHOODS

(a)  A municipality that has a duly adopted and approved plan and a planning process that is confirmed in accordance with section 4350 of this title, has adopted zoning bylaws and subdivision regulations in accordance with section 4442 of this title, and has a designated downtown district, a designated village center, a designated new town center, or a designated growth center served by municipal sewer infrastructure or a community or alternative wastewater system approved by the agency of natural resources, is authorized to apply for designation of a Vermont neighborhood.  A municipal decision to apply for designation shall be made by the municipal legislative body after at least one duly warned public hearing.  Designation is possible in two different situations:

(1)  Per se approval.  If a municipality submits an application in compliance with this subsection for a designated Vermont neighborhood that would have boundaries that are entirely within the boundaries of a designated downtown district, designated village center, designated new town center, or designated growth center, the downtown board shall issue the designation.

(2)  Designation by expanded downtown board in towns without growth centers.  If an application is submitted in compliance with this subsection by a municipality that does not have a designated growth center and proposes to create a Vermont neighborhood that has boundaries that include land that is not within its designated downtown, village center, or new town center, the expanded downtown board shall consider the application.  This application may be for approval of one or more Vermont neighborhoods that are outside but contiguous to a designated downtown district, village center, or new town center.  The application for designation shall include a map of the boundaries of the proposed Vermont neighborhood, including the property outside but contiguous to a designated downtown district, village center, or new town center and verification that the municipality has notified the regional planning commission and the regional development corporation of its application for this designation. 

(b)  Designation Process.  Within 45 days of receipt of a completed application, the expanded downtown board, after opportunity for public comment, shall designate a Vermont neighborhood if the board determines the applicant has met the requirements of subsections (a) and (c) of this section.  When designating a Vermont neighborhood, the board may change the boundaries that were contained in the application by reducing the size of the area proposed to be included in the designated neighborhood, but may not include in the designation land that was not included in the application for designation.  A Vermont neighborhood decision made by the expanded board is not subject to appeal.  Any Vermont neighborhood designation shall terminate when the underlying downtown, village center, new town center, or growth center designation terminates.

(c)  Designation Standards.  The board shall determine that the applicant has demonstrated all of the following:

(1)  The municipality has a duly adopted and approved plan and a planning process that is confirmed in accordance with section 4350 of this title, and has adopted zoning bylaws and subdivision regulations in accordance with section 4442 of this title.

(2)  The cumulative total of all Vermont neighborhood land located within the municipality but outside a designated downtown district, designated village center, or designated new town center is not more than 100 percent of the total acreage of the designated downtown district, 50 percent of the village center, or 75 percent of the new town center.

(3)  The contiguous land of the Vermont neighborhood complements the existing designated downtown district, village center, or new town center by integrating new housing units with existing residential neighborhoods, commercial and civic services and facilities, and transportation networks, and the contiguous land, in combination with the designated downtown development district, village center, or new town center, is consistent with smart growth principles established under subdivision 2791(13) of this title;

(4)  The Vermont neighborhood shall be served by one of the following:

(A)  a municipal sewer infrastructure; or

(B)  a community or alternative wastewater system approved by the agency of natural resources.

(5)  The municipal zoning bylaw requires the following for all land located within the Vermont neighborhood:

(A)  Minimum residential densities shall require all the following:

(i)  No fewer than four units of single-family, detached dwelling units per acre, exclusive of accessory apartments.

(ii)  Higher density for duplexes and multi-family housing.

(B)  Neighborhood design standards that promote compact, pedestrian‑oriented development patterns that include the following:

(i)  Pedestrian scale and orientation of development.  Networks of sidewalks or paths, or both, are provided and available to the public to connect the Vermont neighborhood with adjacent development areas, existing and planned adjacent sidewalks, paths, and public streets and the designated downtown, village center, or new town center.

(ii)  Interconnected and pedestrian-friendly street networks.  Street networks are designed to safely accommodate both pedestrians and bicycles through the provisions of sidewalks on at least one side of the street, on-street parking, and traffic-calming features.

(6)  Residents hold a right to utilize household energy conserving devices.

(d)  Vermont Neighborhood Incentives for Municipalities and Developers.  Incentives for Vermont neighborhoods include the following:

(1)  The agency of natural resources shall charge no more than a $50.00 fee for wastewater applications under 3 V.S.A. § 2822(j)(4) where the applicant has received an allocation for sewer capacity from an approved municipal system.  This limitation shall not apply in the case of fees charged as part of a duly delegated municipal program.

(2)  Act 250 fees under 10 V.S.A. § 6083a for residential developments in Vermont neighborhoods shall be 50 percent of the fee otherwise applicable.  Fifty percent of the reduced fees shall be paid upon application, and 50 percent shall be paid within 30 days of the issuance or denial of the permit.

(3)  No land gains tax under chapter 236 of Title 32 shall be levied on a transfer of undeveloped land in a Vermont neighborhood which is the first transfer of that parcel following the original designation of the Vermont neighborhood.

(e)  Length of Designation.  Initial designation of a Vermont neighborhood shall be for a period of five years, after which, the expanded state board shall review a Vermont neighborhood concurrently with the next periodic review conducted of the underlying designated downtown, village center, new town center or growth center, even if the underlying designated entity was originally designated by the downtown board and not by the expanded state board.  However, the expanded board, on its motion, may review compliance with the designation requirements at more frequent intervals.  If at any time the expanded state board determines that the designated Vermont neighborhood no longer meets the standards for designation established in this section, it may take any of the following actions:

(1)   require corrective action within a reasonable time frame;

(2)  remove the Vermont neighborhood designation, with that removal not retroactively affecting any of the benefits already received by the municipality or land owner in the designated Vermont neighborhood; and

(3)  prospectively limiting benefits authorized in this chapter, with the limitation not retroactively affecting any of the benefits already received by the municipality or land owner in the designated Vermont neighborhood.

* * * New Town Center Acreage * * *

Sec. 4.  24 V.S.A. § 2793b(b)(2)(A) is amended to read:

(A)  A map of the designated new town center.  The total area of land encompassed within a designated new town center shall not exceed 125 acres.  In a municipality with a population greater than 15,000, the total area of land encompassed within a designated new town center may include land in excess of 125 acres provided that the additional area is needed to facilitate the redevelopment of predominately developed land in accordance with the smart growth principles defined under subdivision 2791(13) of this title and shall not exceed 175 acres.

* * * Codifying Agency of Natural Resources Incentives * * *

Sec. 5.  3 V.S.A. § 2822(j)(4)(D) is amended to read:

(D)  Notwithstanding the other provisions of this subdivision,:

* * *

(ii)  when a potable water supply is subject to the fee provisions of this subdivision and subdivision (j)(7)(A) of this section, only the fee required by subdivision (j)(7)(A) shall be assessed; and

(iii)  when a project is subject to the fee provision for the subdivision of land and the fee provision for potable water supplies and wastewater systems of this subdivision, only the higher of the two fees shall be assessed; and

(iv)  when a project is located in a Vermont neighborhood, as designated under 24 V.S.A. chapter 76A, the fee shall be no more than $50.00 in situations in which the application has received an allocation for sewer capacity from an approved municipal system.  This limitation shall not apply in the case of fees charged as part of a duly delegated municipal program.

* * * Codifying Higher Act 250 Thresholds * * *

Sec. 6.  10 V.S.A. § 6001(3) are amended to read:  

(3)(A)  “Development” means:

* * *

(B)(i)  Smart Growth Jurisdictional Thresholds.  Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (3)(A) of this section, if a project consists exclusively of any combination of mixed income housing or mixed use and is located entirely within a growth center designated pursuant to 24 V.S.A.

§ 2793c or within a downtown development district designated pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 2793, “development” means:

(i)(I)  Construction of mixed income housing with 100 200 or more housing units or a mixed use project with 100 200 or more housing units, in a municipality with a population of 20,000 15,000 or more.

(ii)(II)  Construction of mixed income housing with 50 100 or more housing units or a mixed use project with 50 100 or more housing units, in a municipality with a population of 10,000 or more but less than 20,000 15,000.

(iii)(III)  Construction of mixed income housing with 30 50 or more housing units or a mixed use project with  30 50 or more housing units, in a municipality with a population of 5,000 6,000 or more and less than 10,000.

(iv)(IV)  Construction of mixed income housing with 25 30 or more housing units or a mixed use project with 25 30 or more housing units, in a municipality with a population of 3,000 or more but less than 5,000 6,000.

(v)(V)  Construction of mixed income housing with 25 or more housing units or a mixed use project with 25 or more housing units, in a municipality with a population of less than 3,000.

(VI)  Historic Buildings.  Construction of 10 or more units of mixed income housing or a mixed use project with 10 or more housing units where the construction involves the demolition of one or more buildings that are listed on or eligible to be listed on the state or national register of historic places.  However, demolition shall not be considered to create jurisdiction under this subdivision if the division for historic preservation has determined the proposed demolition will have: no adverse effect; no adverse effect provided that specified conditions are met; or, will have an adverse effect, but that adverse effect will be adequately mitigated.  Any imposed conditions shall be enforceable through a grant condition, deed covenant, or other legally binding document.

(ii)  Mixed Income Housing Jurisdictional Thresholds.  Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (3)(A) of this section, if a project consists exclusively of mixed income housing and is located entirely within a Vermont neighborhood, but outside a growth center designated pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 2793c and outside a downtown development district designated pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 2793, “development” means:

(I)  Construction of mixed income housing with 200 or more housing units, in a municipality with a population of 15,000 or more.

(II)  Construction of mixed income housing with 100 or more housing units, in a municipality with a population of 10,000 or more but less than 15,000.

(III)  Construction of mixed income housing with 50 or more housing units, in a municipality with a population of 6,000 or more and less than 10,000.

(IV)  Construction of mixed income housing with 30 or more housing units, in a municipality with a population of 3,000 or more but less than 6,000.

(V)  Construction of mixed income housing with 25 or more housing units, in a municipality with a population of less than 3,000.

(VI) Historic Buildings.  Construction of 10 or more units of mixed income housing where the construction involves the demolition of one or more buildings that are listed on or eligible to be listed on the state or national register of historic places.  However, demolition shall not be considered to create jurisdiction under this subdivision if the division for historic preservation has determined the proposed demolition will have: no adverse effect; no adverse effect provided that specified conditions are met; or will have an adverse effect, but that adverse effect will be adequately mitigated.  Any imposed conditions shall be enforceable through a grant condition, deed covenant, or other legally binding document.

(C)  For the purposes of determining jurisdiction under subdivisions (3)(A) and (3)(B) of this section, the following shall apply:

(i)  Incentive for Growth Inside Designated Areas.  Housing  Notwithstanding subdivision (3)(A)(iv) of this section, housing units constructed by a person partially or completely outside a designated downtown development district, or designated growth center, or designated Vermont neighborhood shall not be counted to determine jurisdiction over housing units constructed by a that person entirely within a designated downtown development district, or designated growth center, or designated Vermont neighborhood.

(ii)  Five Year, Five Mile Radius Jurisdiction Analysis.  Within any continuous period of five years, housing units constructed by a person entirely within a designated downtown district or, designated growth center, or designated Vermont neighborhood shall be counted together with housing units constructed by a that person partially or completely outside a designated downtown development district or, designated growth center, or designated Vermont neighborhood to determine jurisdiction over the housing units constructed by a person partially or completely outside the designated downtown development district or, designated growth center, or designated Vermont neighborhood and within a five-mile radius in accordance with subdivision (3)(A)(iv) of this section.

(iii)  All Discrete Housing Projects in Designated Areas and Exclusive Counting for Housing Units.  Notwithstanding subdivisions (3)(A)(iv) and (19) of this section, jurisdiction shall be determined exclusively by counting housing units constructed by a person within a designated downtown development district or, designated growth center, within any continuous period of five years, commencing on or after the effective date of this subdivision, shall be counted together or designated Vermont neighborhood, provided that the housing units are part of a discrete project located on a single tract or multiple contiguous tracts of land

(iv)  Railroad projects.  In the case of a project undertaken by a railroad, no portion of a railroad line or railroad right-of-way that will not be physically altered as part of the project shall be included in computing the amount of land involved.  In the case of a project undertaken by a person to construct a rail line or rail siding to connect to a railroad’s line or right-of-way, only the land used for the rail line or rail siding that will be physically altered as part of the project shall be included in computing the amount of land involved.

(v)  Permanently Affordable Housing.  Notwithstanding subdivision (C)(iii) of this subdivision (3), any subdivisions (3)(A)(iv) and (19) of this section, jurisdiction shall be determined exclusively by counting affordable housing units, as defined by this section, that are subject to housing subsidy covenants as defined in 27 V.S.A. § 610 that preserve their affordability for a period of 99 years or longer, and that are constructed by a person within a designated downtown development district, designated village center, or designated growth center, shall count toward the total number of housing units used to determine jurisdiction only if they were constructed within the previous 12-month period, commencing on or after the effective date of this subdivision provided the affordable housing units are located in a discrete project on a single tract or multiple contiguous tracts of land, regardless of whether located within an area designated under 24 V.S.A. chapter 76A.

* * *

* * * Rules on Mixed Income Housing * * *

Sec. 7.  10 V.S.A. § 6001(27) is amended to read:

(27)  “Mixed income housing” means a housing project in which the following apply:

(A)  Owner occupied housing.  At the option of the applicant, owner-occupied housing may be characterized by either of the following:

(i)  at least 15 percent of the total housing units are affordable housing units have a purchase price which at the time of first sale does not exceed 85 percent of the new construction, targeted area purchase price limits established and published annually by the Vermont housing finance agency; or

(ii)  at least 20 percent of the housing units have a purchase price which at the time of first sale does not exceed 90 percent of the new construction, targeted area purchase price limits established and published annually by the Vermont housing finance agency;

(B)  Affordable Rental Housing.  At least 20 percent of housing that is rented by the occupants whose gross annual household income does not exceed 60 percent of the county median income, or 60 percent of the standard metropolitan statistical area income if the municipality is located in such an area, as defined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development for use with the Housing Credit Program under Section 42(g) of the Internal Revenue Code, and the total annual cost of the housing, as defined at Section 42(g)(2)(B), is not more than 30 percent of the gross annual household income as defined at Section 42(g)(2)(C), and with a duration of affordability of no less than 30 years.

* * * Act 250 Fees In Vermont Neighborhood * * *

Sec. 8.  10 V.S.A. § 6083a(d) is amended to read:

(d)  Vermont Neighborhood Fees.  Fees for residential development in a Vermont neighborhood designated according to 24 V.S.A. § 2793d shall be no more than 50 percent of the fee otherwise charged under this section, with 50 percent due with the application, and 50 percent due within 30 days after the permit is issued or denied.

* * * Vermont Neighborhood Chapter 117 Conditional Use Appeals * * *

Sec. 9.  24 V.S.A. § 4471(e) is added to read:

(e)  Vermont Neighborhood.  Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, a determination by an appropriate municipal panel shall not be subject to appeal if the determination is that a proposed residential development within a designated downtown development district, designated growth center, or designated Vermont neighborhood seeking conditional use approval will not result in an undue adverse effect on the character of the area affected, as provided in subdivision 4414(3)(A)(ii) of this title.

* * * Report * * *

Sec. 10.  REPORT ON POLLUTION CONTROL SYSTEM

By no later than January 15, 2009, the secretary of natural resources shall report to the legislative committees on natural resources and energy with regard to the agency’s implementation of and compliance with the municipal pollution control priority system rules, and as to the impact of these rules on development.

* * * VHFA Sunset Repeal * * *

Sec. 11.  10 V.S.A. § 625(1) is amended to read:

(1)  The residential housing is primarily for occupancy by persons and families of low and moderate income, or qualifies for financing with proceeds of federally tax-exempt obligations, or at least 20 percent of the units are for occupancy by persons and families of low and moderate income;

Sec. 11a.  EFFECTIVE DATE OF SEC 11

Sec. 11 (VHFA sunset repeal) of this act shall take effect on July 1, 2008, at which time the prospective repeal provisions of Sec. 7a of No. 189 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) shall have no force or effect.


* * * VHFA Reserve Funds * * *

Sec. 11b.  10 V.S.A. § 632(d) is amended to read:

(d)  Moral obligation bonds.  In order to assure the maintenance of the debt service reserve requirement in each debt service reserve fund established by the agency, there may be appropriated annually and paid to the agency for deposit in each such fund, such sum as shall be certified by the chair of the agency, to the governor or the governor-elect, the president of the senate, and the speaker of the house, as is necessary to restore each such debt service reserve fund to an amount equal to the debt service reserve requirement for such fund.  The chair shall annually, on or about February 1, make and deliver to the governor or the governor-elect, the president of the senate, and the speaker of the house, his or her certificate stating the sum required to restore each such debt service reserve fund to the amount aforesaid, and the sum so certified may be appropriated, and if appropriated, shall be paid to the agency during the then current state fiscal year.  The principal amount of bonds or notes outstanding at any one time and secured in whole or in part by a debt service reserve fund to which state funds may be appropriated pursuant to this subsection shall not exceed $125,000,000.00 $155,000,000.00, provided that the foregoing shall not impair the obligation of any contract or contracts entered into by the agency in contravention of the Constitution of the United States of America.

* * * Land Gains Tax * * *

Sec. 12.  32 V.S.A. § 10002(p) is added to read:

(p)  Also excluded from the definition of “land” is a transfer of undeveloped land in a Vermont neighborhood which is the first transfer of that parcel following the original designation of  the Vermont neighborhood.

* * * Housing Tax Credit * * *

Sec. 13.  32 V.S.A. § 5930u is amended to read:

§ 5930u.  TAX CREDIT FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Affordable housing project” or “project” means a rental housing project identified in 26 U.S.C. § 42(g) or owner-occupied housing identified in 26 U.S.C. § 143(e) and (f) and eligible under the Vermont housing finance agency allocation plan criteria.

* * *

(9)  “Allocation plan” means the plan recommended by the committee and approved by the Vermont housing finance agency, which sets forth the eligibility requirements and process for selection of eligible housing projects to receive affordable housing tax credits under this section.  The allocation plan shall include requirements for creation and retention of affordable housing for low income persons, and requirements to ensure that eligible housing is maintained as affordable by subsidy covenant, as defined in 27 V.S.A. § 610 on a perpetual basis, and meets all other requirements of the Vermont housing finance agency related to affordable housing.

(b)(1)  Affordable housing credit allocation.  Prior to the placement of an affordable housing project in service, the owner, or a person having the right to acquire ownership of a building, may apply to the committee for an allocation of affordable housing tax credits under this section.  The committee shall advise the allocating agency on an affordable housing tax credit application based upon published priorities and criteria.  An eligible applicant may apply to the allocating agency for an allocation of affordable housing tax credits under this section related to an affordable housing project authorized by the allocating agency under the allocation plan.  In the case of a specific affordable rental housing project, the eligible applicant must also be the owner or a person having the right to acquire ownership of the building and must apply prior to placement of the affordable housing project in service.  In the case of owner‑occupied housing units, the applicant must apply prior to purchase of the unit and must ensure that the allocated funds will be used to ensure that the housing qualifies as affordable for all future owners of the housing.  The allocating agency shall issue a letter of approval if it finds that the applicant meets the priorities, criteria, and other provisions of subdivision (2) of this subsection.  The burden of proof shall be on the applicant.

(2)  Upon receipt of a completed application, an allocation of affordable housing tax credits with respect to a project under this section shall be granted to an applicant, provided the applicant demonstrates to the satisfaction of the committee all of the following:

(A)  The owner of the project has received from the allocating agency a binding commitment for, a reservation or allocation of, an out-of-cap determination letter for, Section 42 credits, or meets the requirements of the allocation plan for development of units to be owner-occupied;

(B)  The project has received community support.

* * *

(g)  In any fiscal year, the allocating agency may award up to $400,000.00 in total first-year credit allocations to all applicants under this subchapter for rental housing projects; and may award up to $100,000.00 per year for owner‑occupied unit applicants.  In any fiscal year, total first-year allocations plus succeeding-year deemed allocations shall not exceed $2,000,000.00 $2,500.000.00.

Sec. 13a.  EFFECTIVE DATE OF SEC. 13

Sec. 13 (VHFA Home Ownership Tax Credit) of this act, amending 32 V.S.A. § 5930u, shall take effect July 1, 2008.


* * * Property Transfer Tax * * *

Sec. 14.  32 V.S.A. § 9602(1) is amended to read:

§ 9602.  TAX ON TRANSFER OF TITLE TO PROPERTY

A tax is hereby imposed upon the transfer by deed of title to property located in this state.  The amount of the tax equals one and one quarter one‑quarter percent of the value of the property transferred, or $1.00, whichever is greater, except as follows:

(1)  with respect to the transfer of property to be used for the principal residence of the transferee:  the tax shall be imposed at the rate of five-tenths of one percent of the first $100,000.00 in value of the property transferred and at the rate of one and one quarter one-quarter percent of the value of the property transferred in excess of $100,000.00; except that no tax shall be imposed on the first $110,000.00 in value of the property transferred if the purchaser obtains a purchase money mortgage funded in part with a homeland grant through the Vermont housing and conservation trust fund or which the Vermont housing and finance agency or U.S. Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has committed to make or purchase and tax at the rate of one and one-quarter percent shall be imposed on the value of that property in excess of $110,000.00.


* * *

Sec. 14a.  APPLICABILITY OF SEC. 14

Sec. 14 (Low Income Home Ownership Program) of this act, amending 32 V.S.A. § 9602, shall apply to transfers on or after July 1, 2008.

Sec. 15. 24 V.S.A. § 2792(a) is amended to read:

(a)  A “Vermont downtown development board,” also referred to as the “state board,” is created to administer the provisions of this chapter. The state board members shall be composed of the following permanent members, or their designees:

(1)  The the secretary of commerce and community development;

(2)  The the secretary of transportation;

(3)  The the secretary of natural resources;

(4)  The secretary of human services;

(5)  The the commissioner of public safety;

(6)  The commissioner of housing and community affairs; and

(5)  a person appointed by the governor from a list of three names submitted by the Vermont Natural Resources Council, the Preservation Trust of Vermont, and Smart Growth Vermont;

(6)  a person appointed by the governor from a list of three names submitted by the Association of Chamber Executives; and

(7)  Three three public members representative of local government, one of whom shall be designated by the Vermont league of cities and towns, and two shall be appointed by the governor.

Sec. 16.  SMART GROWTH; STUDY COMMITTEE

(a)  A smart growth study committee is created to:

(1)  Study Act 250 (10 V.S.A. § 6086) criterion 5, relating to traffic, criterion 9(H), relating to scattered development, criterion 9(L), relating to rural development, and other criteria identified by the committee, to determine the effectiveness of those criteria to promote compact settlement patterns, prevent sprawl, and protect important natural resources, and to make recommendations to improve the effectiveness of those criteria in preserving the economic vitality of Vermont’s existing settlements and preventing sprawl development.

(2)  Evaluate the development potential of existing designated downtowns, new town centers, and village centers and evaluate the community and natural resource impacts of developing surrounding lands.

(3)  Make recommendations for incentives designed to encourage municipalities to preserve Vermont’s working landscape and to develop Vermont neighborhoods and new housing.

(4)  Develop recommendations for how best to conduct periodic assessments of the effectiveness of the designation programs established under chapter 76A of Title 24.

(b)  The committee shall be composed of the following 13 members:

(1)  Two members of the house, one from the committee on general, housing and military affairs and one from the committee on natural resources and energy.

(2)  Two members of the senate, one from the committee on economic development, housing and general affairs and one from the committee on natural resources and energy.    

(3)  A representative from each of the following organizations: 

(A)  Vermont homebuilders and remodelers association.

(B)  Lake Champlain regional chamber of commerce.

(C)  Vermont planners association.

(D)  Vermont association of planning and development agencies.

(E)  Smart growth Vermont.

(F)  Vermont natural resources council.

(G)  Vermont natural resources board.

(H)  Vermont association of realtors.

(I)  Vermont league of cities and towns.

(J)  The land use law center at Vermont Law School.

(c)  The four legislative members shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement of necessary expenses as provided to members of standing committees under 2 V.S.A. § 406 for attendance at a meeting when the general assembly is not in session.

(d)  The chair shall be elected from any of the four legislative members by the members of the study committee from among the four legislative members.  The committee shall meet as needed, and the legislative council shall provide administrative support. 

(e)  The committee shall issue a brief report on its findings and recommendations to the house committees on general, housing and military affairs and on natural resources and energy and the senate committees on economic development, housing and general affairs and on natural resources and energy on or before January 15, 2009. 

* * * State Surplus Land Inventory * * *

Sec. 17.  STATE SURPLUS LAND IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO OR
               WITHIN A DOWNTOWN, VILLAGE CENTER, OR NEW TOWN
               CENTER; INVENTORY AND PROGRAM PROPOSALS 

(a)  The secretary of commerce and community affairs, in consultation with Vermont housing finance agency, the Vermont housing and conservation board, and any other interested parties, shall:

(1)  compile an inventory of state lands deemed to be surplus to state needs and located in close proximity to or within a designated downtown, a designated village center, a designated new town center or a designated growth center that would be appropriate for developing housing that meets the community housing needs;

(2)  develop program recommendations for the use of suitable state surplus land that will ensure that housing development on this land includes a substantial amount of affordable housing, including permanently affordable housing; and

(3)  recommend processes and mechanisms for transfer of the land to assure its use for housing development whether by outright sale, long-term lease, or some other appropriate mechanism.

(b)  On or before January 15, 2009, the secretary of commerce and community development shall issue a report that includes an inventory of state surplus land and recommendations developed pursuant to the goals of subsection (a) of this section.  The report shall be provided to the house committees on corrections and institutions and on general, housing and military affairs and the senate committees on institutions and on economic development, housing and general.


* * * VHFA Economic Stimuli * * *

Sec. 18.  3 V.S.A. § 523(e) is amended to read:

(e)  The committee may formulate policies and procedures deemed necessary and appropriate to carry out its functions.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, the committee shall consider, consistent with chapter 147 of Title 9, subsection 472a(b) of this title, 16 V.S.A. § 1943a(b), and 24 V.S.A. § 5063a(b), investing up to $17,500,000.00 with the Vermont housing finance agency to assist in its homeownership financing programs for persons and families of low and moderate income as defined in 10 V.S.A. § 601(11).

Sec. 19.  INVESTMENT OF STATE MONEYS

The treasurer is hereby authorized to establish a short-term credit facility for the Vermont housing finance agency in an amount of up to $50,000,000.00 to be used as interim financing for its homeownership mortgage loan program as authorized under chapter 25 of Title 10.

Sec. 19a.  REPEAL OF SEC. 19

Sec. 19 (Short-Term Loan from State Treasury to VHFA) of this act shall be repealed on July 1, 2009.

Sec. 20.  VERMONT NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT; AGENCY OF
               COMMERCE AND COMMUNITY AFFAIRS

(a)  On or before January 15, 2010, the secretary of commerce and community affairs, in collaboration with the regional planning commissions, shall issue a report on the status of the Vermont neighborhood program to the senate committees on economic development, housing and general affairs, on natural resources and energy, and on finance, and the house committees on general, housing and military affairs, on natural resources and energy, and on ways and means.  The report shall include all the following:

(1)  The number of Vermont neighborhood applications and designations.

(2)  The number of housing units, including a description, size, selling price, and location of each, permitted and constructed in each Vermont neighborhood.

(3)  With regard to projects of 20 housing units or more within a Vermont neighborhood , the average cost per unit of becoming fully permitted, by region, including state and local permitting costs.

(4)  The number and description of rental housing properties permitted or constructed in each Vermont neighborhood and the rental charges for each unit.

(5)  By region, the type and amount of fees charged by municipalities, and how fees are used.

(6)  An evaluation of incentives and disincentives to municipal participation in the Vermont neighborhood program.

(7)  Any other information useful to determining the success of the Vermont neighborhood program to stimulate housing development and encourage smart growth.

(b)  The department of taxes shall track new construction residential housing transfers through property transfer tax data collection, and shall make this information public.

Sec. 21.  Regional Planning Commission Report on Infill
               Opportunities

     By no later than January 15, 2009, each regional planning commission is requested to inventory and map locations within its region that are served by municipal wastewater and water supply services and that are otherwise suitable for infill development and redevelopment, giving due regard to the location of important natural resources and primary agricultural soils.  The inventory and map shall be provided, by January 30, 2009, to the committees of the general assembly with jurisdiction over housing, natural resources, and agriculture.

* * * Rental Housing Study * * *

Sec. 22.  RENtal Housing Safety and Habitability STUDY

(a)  Legislative purpose and intent.  It is the intent of the general assembly to provide for rental housing safety and habitability.  A safe rental housing study committee is hereby established to achieve all the following goals:

(1)  Promote the health and safety of the citizens of Vermont.

(2)  Facilitate compliance with existing health and safety standards.

(3)  Provide support to municipal health officers.

(4)  Create a resource for tenants and landlords.

(5)  Enable communities to focus on problem properties.

(6)  Encourage a private sector response to a public health and safety need.

(7)  Reduce fire fatalities.

(8)  Establish a statewide rental housing inspection system.

(b)  Safe rental housing study committee.  A safe rental housing study committee is created to consist of the following 14 members:

(1)  The director of the division of fire safety, or designee.

(2)  The commissioner of the department of health, or designee.

(3)  The commissioner of the department of housing and community affairs, or designee.

(4)  The attorney general, or designee.

(5)  The executive director of the Vermont housing finance agency, or designee.

(6)  A representative of commercial landlords.

(7)  A representative of nonprofit landlords.

(8)  A tenant representative.

(9)  A municipal inspection program representative.

(10)  A town health officer from a municipality without an exempt program.

(11)  A regional revolving loan fund representative.

(12)  An architect.

(13)  The executive director of the Vermont state housing authority, or designee.

(14)  A representative of the coalition of Vermont firefighters.

(c)  Appointment of members.  The speaker of the house and the senate president pro tempore shall appoint members of the committee and shall designate a chair by July 1, 2008.

(d)  Duties.  Before January 15, 2010, the committee shall review and consider:

(1)  The development of a simplified rental housing code, to include lead safety, habitability, and basic life safety standards.

(2)  A priority for inspections based on factors including:  the age of the rental unit, a score of the rental units’ self-assessment, and complaints from rental units at the address.

(3)   Procedures for scheduled, complaint-based, emergency and time-of-sale inspections, including a time frame and a priority for scheduled inspections.

(4)  Standards for licensed rental housing inspectors to include:

(A)  Training standards.

(B)  A code of professional ethics.

(C)  Curriculum outlines and a delivery mechanism.

(5)  A funding structure necessary and appropriate to implement the inspection program.

(6)  A procedure for issuing a certificate of habitability.

(7)  Procedures to assure enforcement and compliance.

(8)  Recommendations regarding the role of town health officers in regard to safe rental housing.

(9)  Training and education resources for landlords and tenants, including all the following:

(A)  A rental housing code self-assessment checklist.

(B)  A central resource for rental unit owners and managers that provides:

(i)  Lead safety, minimum housing habitability, and basic life safety standards available from one site.

(ii)  Coordinated training across disciplines for owners and managers of rental housing units.

(10)   Incentives and development of a process for municipalities to establish an inspection program.

(11)  An implementation schedule, to begin July 1, 2010, that provides for the commencement of inspections beginning January 1, 2011.

(12)  Staffing levels necessary to establish and maintain the program and provide for enforcement.

(13)  An appropriation sufficient to fund the certification program, licensing, complaint-driven inspections, and enforcement.

(14)  A system for coordinating appropriate displacement services.

(15)  A program and the identification of resources for repair and improvement.

(e)  Reports.  The committee shall submit an interim report on its progress to date on or before January 15, 2009 to the house committee on general, housing and military affairs and the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs.  The committee shall submit a final written report on its findings on or before January 15, 2010 to the house committee on general, housing and military affairs and the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs.

(f)  Appropriation.  In fiscal year 2009, there is appropriated from the general fund to the department of public safety the amount of $30,000.00 to be used by the department for the purpose of assisting the rental housing safety and habitability study committee in carrying out its duties.


Sec. 22a. 3 V.S.A. § 2473(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The department of housing and community affairs is created within the agency of commerce and community development. The department shall:

* * *

(3)  Administer the community development block grant program pursuant to 10 V.S.A. chapter 29.  When awarding municipal planning grants prior to fiscal year 2012, the department shall give priority to grants for downtowns, new town centers, growth centers, and Vermont neighborhoods.

* * *

* * * Staffing Neighborhoods Program * * *

Sec. 23.  STAFFING AND RESOURCES; VERMONT

                NEIGHBORHOOD PROGRAM

The natural resources board and the agency of commerce and community development shall collaborate and develop a protocol to ensure that there are adequate financial and staffing resources for the growth center program, the downtown program, the new town center program, and the Vermont neighborhood program.  The board and the agency are authorized to redeploy staff and resources to accomplish this objective.

Sec. 24.  EFFECTIVE DATES OF FIRST 24 SECS. OF BILL

This section and Secs. 1-23 of this act shall take effect on passage, except as otherwise provided.

* * * Lead Provisions Originating in H.352; Secs. 25-37 * * *

Sec. 25.  FINDINGS AND INTENT

The general assembly finds that:

(1)  Lead is highly toxic to humans, particularly to young children, and can cause irreversible damage resulting in long‑lasting, permanent neurological damage, including decreases in I.Q scores.

(2)  Medical research shows that there is no safe level of lead, and that decreases in I.Q. scores are greatest for the first ten micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood in young children.

(3)  In February 2007, the Vermont department of health announced that it would lower from ten to five micrograms of lead per deciliter the blood lead level that triggers educational outreach.

(4)  In 2004, four percent of all Vermont children under the age of six who received lead screening–or approximately 350 children–had blood lead levels at or above ten micrograms per deciliter.  Approximately one-third of those screened, or nearly 3,000 children, had blood lead levels at or above five micrograms.  In 2006, 2.7 percent of all Vermont children under the age of six who received lead screening–or approximately 250 children–had blood lead levels at or above ten micrograms per deciliter.  Approximately 20 percent of those screened, or nearly 2,000 children, under the age of six, had blood lead levels at or above five micrograms per deciliter.

(5)  The primary exposure to lead for Vermont children is lead‑based paint in housing built prior to 1978 when lead was banned in residential paint. Vermont has over 112,000 owner‑occupied housing units and over 56,000 rental housing units built prior to 1978.

(6)  Vermont’s existing lead law, which has been in place since 1996, attempts to prevent exposing children to lead-based paint in rental housing and child care facilities by requiring that essential maintenance practices (EMP) be performed in nearly all rental housing units and child care facilities built prior to 1978.  Even though 40 percent of children with blood lead levels above 20 micrograms per deciliter live in owner‑occupied housing, the primary provisions under current law that attempt to prevent elevated blood lead levels in children in owner‑occupied housing are related to public awareness.

(7)  The intent of this act is to decrease Vermonters’ exposure to lead in pre-1978 housing and child care facilities.  This act does not address lead in other consumer products, in ammunition, or at shooting ranges.

Sec. 26.  18 V.S.A. § 1751 is amended to read:

§ 1751.  DEFINITIONS

(a)  Words and phrases used in this chapter or in rules adopted pursuant to this chapter and not defined herein shall have the meanings given to them have the same definitions as provided in the Federal Residential Lead‑Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992.  In the event of unless there is an inconsistency between meanings given in such federal act and meanings given in this chapter, the federal act shall apply except where meanings given in this chapter serve to narrow, limit or restrict the applicability of a word or phrase, in which cases the narrower meaning shall apply in which case, any definition provided in this section that narrows, limits, or restricts shall control.

(b)  For the purposes of this chapter:

(1)  “Abatement” means any set of measures designed to permanently eliminate lead‑based paint hazards in accordance with standards established by appropriate state and federal agencies.  The term includes:

(A)  the removal Removal of lead‑based paint and lead‑contaminated dust, the permanent containment or encapsulation of lead‑based paint, the replacement of lead‑painted surfaces or fixtures, and the removal or covering of lead‑contaminated soil; and .

(B)  all All preparation, cleanup, disposal, and post‑abatement clearance testing activities associated with such measures.

(2)  “Certified inspector” or “licensed inspector” means an individual who has been trained by an accredited training program and certified by the department to perform the duties of an inspector or risk assessor.  “Child” or “children” means an individual or individuals under the age of 18 years, except where specified as a child or children six years of age or younger.

(3)  “Child care facility” means a day child care facility or family day child care home as defined in 33 V.S.A. § 4902 that was constructed prior to 1978.

(4)  “Commissioner” means the commissioner of the department of health.

(5)  “Comprehensive environmental lead inspection” or “inspection” means a surface‑by‑surface investigation to determine the presence of lead‑based paint and the provision of a report explaining the results of the investigation.

(6)  “Department” means the department of health.

(7)  “Deteriorated paint” means any interior or exterior lead‑based paint or other coating that is peeling, chipping, chalking, flaking, or cracking or any lead‑based paint or other coating located on an interior or exterior surface or fixture that is otherwise damaged or deteriorated separated from the substrate.

(8)(5)  “Due date” means the date by which an owner of rental target housing or a child care facility shall file with the department the EMP compliance statement required by section 1759 of this title.  The due date shall be one of the following:

(A)  No later than 366 days after the most recent EMP compliance statement or EMP affidavit was received by the department.

(B)  Within 60 days after the closing of the purchase of the property if no EMP compliance statement was filed with the department within the past 12 months.

(C)  Any other date agreed to by the owner and the department.

(D)  Any other date set by the department.

(6)  “Dwelling” means

(A)  a single‑family dwelling, including attached structures such as porches and stoops; or.

(B)  a single‑family dwelling any residential unit in a structure that contains more than one separate residential dwelling unit, and which is used or occupied, or intended to be, including attached structures such as porches and stoops, used or occupied, in whole or in part, as the home or residence of one or more persons.

(7)  “Elevated blood lead level” means having a blood lead level of at least five micrograms per deciliter of human blood, or a lower threshold as determined by the commissioner.

(8)  “EMP” means essential maintenance practices required by section 1759 of this title.

(9)  “Independent dust clearance” means a visual examination and collection of environmental samples, including dust samples, by a licensed inspector in whose firm or corporation the owner of lead inspector or lead risk assessor who has no financial interest in either the work being performed or the property to be inspected has no financial interest, and is independent of both the persons performing the work and the owner of the property.  The licensed inspector lead inspector or lead risk assessor shall use methods specified by the department and analysis by an accredited laboratory to determine that lead exposures do not exceed limits set by the department utilizing current information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

(10)  “Inspection” means a surface‑by‑surface investigation to determine the presence of lead‑based paint and other lead hazards and the provision of a report explaining the results of the investigation.

(10)(11)  “Interim controls” means a set of measures designed to temporarily reduce human exposure to lead‑based paint hazards, including specialized cleaning, repairs, maintenance, painting, temporary containment, ongoing monitoring of lead‑based paint hazards or potential hazards, and the establishment of management and resident education programs.

(11)(12)  “Lead‑based paint” means paint or other surface coatings that contain lead in excess of limits established under section 302(c) of the Federal Lead‑Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act.

(12)(13) “Lead contractor” means any person engaged in deleading or lead hazard reduction as a business and includes consultants and inspectors who design, perform, oversee or evaluate lead hazard reduction projects employing one or more individuals licensed by the department under this chapter.

(13)  “Lead‑based paint activities” means:

(A)  in the case of target housing, risk assessment, inspection, and abatement.

(B)  in the case of any public building constructed before 1978, identification of lead‑based paint and materials containing lead‑based paint, deleading, and demolition.  The term “lead‑based paint activities” may be further limited or restricted by rule adopted by the secretary.

(14)  “Lead abatement worker” means any individual who has satisfactorily completed an accredited training program approved by the department and has a current license issued by the department to perform abatements.

(15)  “Lead designer” means any individual who has satisfactorily completed an accredited training program approved by the department and has a current license issued by the department to prepare lead abatement project designs, occupant protection plans, and abatement reports.

(14)(16)  “Lead‑based paint hazard” or “LBP” “Lead hazard” means any condition that causes exposure to lead inside and in the immediate vicinity of target housing from water, lead‑contaminated dust, lead‑contaminated soil, lead‑contaminated paint that has deteriorated or is present in accessible surfaces, friction surfaces, or impact surfaces, or building materials that would result in adverse human health effects as defined by the department using current information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

(15)  “Lead‑based paint hazard control” or “LBP hazard control” or “lead hazard control” means a measure or set of measures designed to control or eliminate human exposure to lead‑based paint hazards through methods that include interim controls, abatement, and complete removal.

(16)  “Lead poisoning” means a confirmed blood lead level in a child six years of age or younger greater than or equal to ten micrograms of lead per deciliter of whole blood, unless the commissioner finds by rule that a higher or lower concentration is necessary to protect public health.

(17)  “Lead inspector” means any individual who has satisfactorily completed an accredited training program approved by the department and has a current license issued by the department to conduct inspections.

(18)  “Lead risk assessor” means any individual who has satisfactorily completed an accredited training program approved by the department and has a current license issued by the department to conduct risk assessments.

(19)  “Lead‑safe renovator” means any person who has completed a lead‑safe training program approved by the department and has a current registration issued by the department to perform renovations in target housing or child care facilities in which interior or exterior lead‑based paint will be disturbed.

(20)  “Lead supervisor” means any individual who has satisfactorily completed an accredited training program approved by the department and has a current license issued by the department to supervise and conduct abatement projects and prepare occupant protection plans and abatement reports. 

(17)(21)  “Occupant” means any person who resides in, or regularly uses, a dwelling, car mobile dwelling unit, or structure.

(18)(22)  “Owner” means any person who, alone or jointly or severally with others:

(A)  Has legal title to any dwelling or dwelling unit or child care facility with or without accompanying actual possession thereof; or of the property.

(B)  Has charge, care, or control of any dwelling or dwelling unit or child care facility as agent of the owner or guardian of the estate of the owner.  An agent of the owner does not include real estate and property management functions where the agent is only responsible for the property management and does not have authority to fund capital or major property rehabilitation on behalf of the owner.

(C)  Has charge, care, or control of any dwelling or child care facility as property manager for the owner if the property management contract includes responsibility for any maintenance services, unless the property management contract explicitly states that the property manager will not be responsible for compliance with section 1759 of this title.

(C)  For purposes of publicly‑owned property only, the owner shall be

(D)  Is the chief executive officer of the municipal or state agency which that owns, leases, or controls the use of the property publicly owned target housing or a child care facility.

(D)  A (E)  Is a person who holds indicia of ownership in a dwelling or dwelling unit or child care facility furnished by the owner or person in lawful possession for the primary purpose of assuring repayment of a financial obligation shall not be considered an owner unless such person has taken full legal title of a dwelling or child care facility through foreclosure, deed in lieu of foreclosure, or otherwise.  “Owner” does not include a person who holds indicia of ownership given by the person in lawful possession for the primary purpose of assuring repayment of a financial obligation.  Indicia of ownership includes interests in real or personal property that are held as security or collateral for repayment of a financial obligation such as a mortgage, lien, security interest, assignment, pledge, surety bond, or guarantee and includes participation rights of a financial institution used for legitimate commercial purposes in making or servicing the loan.

(E)  Owns a building in which a child care facility is located or owns the child care business, although the owner of the child care business may not own the building.

(19)(23)  “Rental target housing” means target housing offered for lease or rental under a rental agreement as defined in 9 V.S.A. § 4451.  “Rental target housing” does not include a rented single room located within a residential dwelling unit in which the owner of the dwelling unit resides unless a child six years of age or younger resides in or is expected to reside in that dwelling.

(20)(24)  “Risk assessment” means an on‑site investigation by a licensed inspector or risk assessor lead risk assessor to determine and report the existence, nature, severity, and location of lead‑ based paint lead hazards, including information gathering about the age and history of the property and occupancy by children under the age of six years of age or younger, visual inspection, limited wipe sampling, or other environmental sampling techniques, other appropriate risk assessment activities and a report on the results of the investigation.

(21)  “Secretary” means the secretary of the agency of human services.

(22)  “Severely lead‑poisoned” means a confirmed venous blood lead level in a child six years of age or younger that is greater than or equal to 20 micrograms of lead per deciliter of whole blood or as defined by the commissioner.

(23)  “State inspector” means the commissioner or any person who is authorized in writing by the commissioner to conduct inspections for the department.

(25)  “Screen,” “screened,” or “screening” relating to blood lead levels, means the initial blood test to determine the presence of lead in a human.

(24)(26)  “Target housing” means any dwelling or dwelling unit constructed prior to 1978, except any 0‑bedroom residential dwelling unit or any residential dwelling unit located in multiple‑unit buildings or projects reserved for the exclusive use of the elderly or persons with disabilities, unless a child six years of age or younger resides in or is expected to reside in that housing dwelling.   “Target housing” does not include units in a hotel, motel, or other lodging, including condominiums, that are designed and rented for transient occupancy for travelers or vacationers and not intended to be used as a primary residence 30 days or less.


Sec. 27. 18 V.S.A. § 1753 is amended to read:

§ 1753.  ACCREDITATION, REGISTRATION, CERTIFICATION, AND LICENSE FEES

(a)  The commissioner shall assess fees for accrediting training programs and for certifications, registrations, licenses, and license renewals issued in accordance with this chapter.  Fees shall not be imposed on any state or local government or nonprofit training program and may be waived for the purpose of training state employees.

(b)  Each accredited training program, registrant, and licensee shall be subject to the following fees:

Training courses = $480.00 per year

Lead contractors = $600.00 per year

Lead workers = $60.00 per year

Supervisors Lead supervisors = $120.00 per year

Inspectors Lead inspectors = $180.00 per year

Risk Lead risk assessors = $180.00 per year

Designers Lead designers = $180.00 per year

Laboratories = $600.00 per year

Lead-safe renovation contractors Lead‑safe renovators = $50.00 per year

(c)  Each lead abatement project shall be subject to the following permit fees:

(1)  Lead abatement project permit fee $50.00.

(2)  Lead abatement project permit revision fee $25.00.

(d)  Fees imposed by this section shall be deposited into the lead paint abatement accreditation and licensing special fund.  Monies in the fund may be used by the commissioner only to support departmental accreditation, registration, certification, and licensing activities related to this chapter.  The fund shall be subject to the provisions of subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32.

Sec. 28.  18 V.S.A. § 1755 is amended to read:

§ 1755.  UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO SCREENING

(a)  Not later than November 1, 1993, the The commissioner shall publish the results of the department’s lead poisoning prevalence study.  Not later than January 1, 1994, the commissioner shall publish guidelines establishing that establish the methods by which and the intervals at which children under six years of age are recommended to should be screened and tested given a confirmation test for elevated blood lead poisoning levels, according to the age of the children and their probability of exposure to high‑dose sources of lead.  The guidelines shall take into account the recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics and shall be updated as those recommendations are changed.  The commissioner may also shall recommend screening for lead poisoning in other high risk groups. The commissioner shall ensure that all health care providers who provide primary medical care to children six years of age or younger are informed of the guidelines.  Once the department has implemented lead screening reports within the immunization registry, the department shall use the information in the registry to inform health care providers of their screening rates and to take, within available resources, other measures necessary to optimize screening rates, such as mailings to parents and guardians of children ages one and two, outreach to day care facilities and other community locations, screening at district offices, and educating parents and guardians of children being served.

(b)  Not later than January 1, 1994, the Vermont  the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration shall recommend to the general assembly whether lead screening should be a common benefit under the universal access proposals it has presented, and, if so, how such benefits should be financed.  The cost of implementing the Vermont commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration’s plan under this chapter shall be included in the unified health care budget to be adopted by the authority effective July 1, 1994.

Annually, the commissioner shall determine the percentage of children six years of age or younger who are being screened in accordance with the guidelines and shall, unless a final report is available, provide interim information on screening to the legislature annually on April 15 .  If fewer than 85 percent of one-year-olds and fewer than 75 percent of two–year-olds as specified in the guidelines are receiving screening, the secretary shall adopt rules to require that all health care providers who provide primary medical care to young children shall ensure that their patients are screened and tested according to the guidelines, beginning January 1, 2011.

(c)  Beginning July 1, 1994 , all All health care providers who provide primary medical care shall ensure that parents and guardians of children below the age of six years of age or younger are advised of the availability and advisability of screening and testing their children for lead poisoning in accordance with the commissioner’s guidelines, .  No health care provider shall be liable for not performing a screening or confirmation test for blood lead level when a parent or guardian has refused to consent or has failed to follow through in response to a referral for a screening or confirmation test.  No late than 120 days after the department has notified health care providers that it has implemented lead screening reports within the immunization registry, a health care provider shall report to the department regarding lead screening of children ages one and two pursuant to the guidelines in subsection (a) of this section in a form and as required by the department.

(d)  Any health care provider or employee thereof making the diagnosis of lead poisoning shall report such diagnosis to the department within such time and using such format as the department shall prescribe.  Any laboratory in Vermont which that analyzes blood samples of children below the age of six Vermont residents for lead levels shall report to the department such all information on blood lead analyses as required by the department may require including data on the number and results of blood lead analyses performed by the laboratory.  All health care providers who analyze blood samples for lead levels or who use laboratories outside Vermont to analyze blood samples of children below the age of six for lead levels shall report all information required by the department to the department such information as the department may require including data on the number and results of such blood lead tests.  The commissioner shall establish procedures to ensure the confidentiality of the children and families immediately by telephone if the result of any analysis is 45 micrograms or more of lead per deciliter of blood, or by electronic means within 14 days of analysis if the result of the analysis is less than 45 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood.  All blood lead data reports to the department shall include the name, date of birth, date of blood test, and address of the individual whose blood is analyzed and, if known, the owner of the residence of the individual.

(e)  After the guidelines established pursuant to subsection (a) of this section have been in place for two years, the commissioner shall determine the percentage of children below the age of six who are being screened in accordance with those guidelines.  If fewer than 75 percent of such children are receiving such screening, the secretary shall adopt rules to require that all health care providers who provide primary medical care to young children shall ensure that their patients are screened and tested according to the commissioner’s guidelines beginning January 1, 1997.  Such rules shall provide that no screening or testing shall be required pursuant to this subsection if the parent or guardian of the child objects to the child undergoing blood lead screening on the grounds that such screening conflicts with their moral or religious tenets or practices.  No later than 120 days after the department has notified laboratories that it has implemented lead screening reports within the immunization registry, a laboratory shall report to the department regarding lead screening of children ages one and two pursuant to the guidelines in subsection (a) of this section in a form and as required by the department.

Sec. 29.  18 V.S.A. § 1757 is amended to read:

§ 1757.  LEAD POISONED CHILDREN WITH ELEVATED BLOOD LEAD LEVELS

(a)  Upon receiving a report that a child under age six has been diagnosed by a qualified physician to have lead poisoning, the a screening test result of ten or more micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood, or a lower level as determined by the commissioner, the commissioner shall take prompt action to confirm the diagnosis ensure that the child obtains a confirmation test.

(b)  If the child is severely lead poisoned has an elevated blood lead level, the commissioner shall provide for information on lead hazards to the parents or guardians of the child.

(c)  If a child six years of age or younger has a confirmed blood lead level at or above ten micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood, and if resources permit, the commissioner:

(1)  Shall, with the consent of the parent or guardian, provide an inspection of the dwelling unit occupied by the child or the child care center facility the child attends, by a state inspector or licensed private inspector lead risk assessor, and develop a plan in consultation with the parents, owner, physician, and others involved with the child to minimize the exposure of the child to lead.  The plan developed under this subdivision shall require that any lead hazards identified through the inspection be addressed.  The owner of rental target housing or a child care facility shall address those lead hazards within the owner’s control, and shall not be required to abate lead hazards if interim controls are effective.

(2)  The commissioner may May inspect and evaluate other dwelling units in a the building in which a severely lead‑poisoned the child has been identified as is living and if it is reasonable to believe that a child under the age of six years of age or younger occupies, receives care, or otherwise regularly frequents the other dwelling units dwellings in that building.

(c)  The commissioner shall work with the parents, owner, physician, and others involved with the child to develop a plan to minimize exposure of the child to lead hazards.

(d)  Concerning target housing which is rented or leased, on or before January 1, 1994, the secretary with the concurrence of the commissioner of housing and community affairs shall adopt rules to implement this section including rules which assure that prompt action will be taken to confirm a lead poisoning diagnosis, to inspect the possible sources of lead poisoning, and to secure voluntary compliance or to take necessary enforcement action.  Enforcement action shall include providing the child’s parents or guardians and the owner of the dwelling unit with appropriate educational materials on lead poisoning prevention and may include requiring the owner of the dwelling unit to initiate interim controls or abatement of lead‑based paint hazards within a specified time. 

(e)  Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the commissioner’s authority under any other provision of Vermont law.

Sec. 30.  18 V.S.A. § 1759 is amended to read:

§ 1759.  ESSENTIAL MAINTENANCE PRACTICES

(a)  For the purposes of this section, all paint is presumed to be lead‑based unless a certified inspector has determined that it is not lead‑based.  All owners of rental target housing and child care facilities shall perform the following essential maintenance practices on their property

Essential maintenance practices (EMP) in rental target housing and child care facilities shall be performed only by a person who has successfully completed an EMP training program approved by the commissioner or a person who works under the direct, on‑site supervision of a person who has successfully completed such training.  That person shall comply with section 1760 of this title and shall take all reasonable precautions to avoid creating lead hazards during any renovations, remodeling, maintenance, or repair project that disturbs more than one square foot of lead‑based paint, pursuant to guidelines issued by the department.  The following essential maintenance practices shall be performed in all rental target housing and child care facilities, unless a lead inspector or a lead risk assessor has certified that the property is lead‑free:

(1)  Take all reasonable precautions to avoid creating lead hazards during any renovation, remodeling, maintenance, or repair project that disturbs a lead‑based painted surface pursuant to guidelines issued by the department. The guidelines shall include the following requirements:

(A)  A prohibition against lead‑based paint removal by burning, water blasting, dry scraping, power sanding, or sandblasting, unless authorized by the department.

(B)  Use of good work practices and safety precautions to prevent the spread of lead dust, including limiting access to work areas to workers, covering the work area with six mil polyethylene plastic or the equivalent, wearing of protective clothing by workers, protecting belongings of occupants by covering or removing them from the work area, misting painted surfaces before disturbing the paint, and wetting sweeping debris.

(C)  At the conclusion of the work, specialized cleaning of the work area shall be performed shall be thoroughly cleaned using methods designed to remove lead dust and recommended by the department.

(2)  Perform visual on‑site inspections of all interior and exterior surfaces and fixtures of the building to identify deteriorated paint and install window well inserts into all windows, or protect window wells by another method approved by the department, no later than July 1, 1998; thereafter, visual on‑site inspections shall be performed annually and upon a change of tenant.  Install window well inserts in all windows or protect window wells by another method approved by the department.

(3)(2)  At least once a year, with the consent of the tenant, and at each change of tenant, and annually in units in which a child six years of age or younger resides clean all window wells and window sills within the unit and in all areas of the building to which access by tenants is not restricted by the rental agreement.  The cleaning shall be accomplished by using cleaning methods, products and devices that are effective in the removal of lead‑contaminated dust and recommended by the department perform visual on‑site inspection of all interior and exterior painted surfaces and components at the property to identify deteriorated paint.

(4)(3)  Promptly and safely remove or stabilize lead‑based paint if more than one square foot of deteriorated lead‑based paint is found on any interior or exterior surface located within any area of the building dwelling to which access by tenants is not restricted by the rental agreement or on any exterior porch or an exterior wall, surface or fixture within the exterior porch.  An owner shall restore the assure that all surfaces to be are free of deteriorated lead‑based paint within 30 days after deteriorated lead‑based paint has been visually identified or within 30 days after receipt of a written or oral report of deteriorated lead‑based paint from any person including the department, a tenant, or from an owner of a child care facility.  If Because exterior paint repairs cannot be completed in cold weather, any exterior repair work is identified after November 1 of any year, the repair may be delayed for completion until shall be completed no later than the following May 31 of the following year provided that access to surfaces and components with lead hazards and areas directly below the deteriorated surfaces is clearly restricted.

(5)(4)  If more than one square foot of deteriorated paint is found on any exterior wall surface or fixture not covered by subdivision (4)(3) of this subsection and is located in an area frequented by children six years of age or younger in warm weather, the owner shall:

(A)  promptly and safely repair and stabilize the paint and restore the surface; or

(B)  prohibit access to the area, surface, or fixture to assure that children will not come into contact with the deteriorated lead‑based paint.

(5)  For any outdoor area, annually remove all visible paint chips from the ground on the property.    

(6)  At least once a year, using methods recommended by the department, thoroughly clean all interior horizontal surfaces, except ceilings, in common areas accessible to tenants.

(6)(7)  Provide written LBP hazard information prepared or approved by the department to current and prospective tenants and current and prospective owners of child care facilities. At each change of tenant, thoroughly clean all interior horizontal surfaces of the dwelling, except ceilings, using methods recommended by the department.

(7)(8)  Post, in a prominent place in buildings containing rental target housing units or a child care facility, a notice to occupants emphasizing the importance of promptly reporting deteriorated paint to the owner or to the owner’s agent.  The notice shall include the name, address, and telephone number of the owner or the owner’s agent.

(8)  Attend a training program offered or approved by the department.  The training, which shall be available to any person who repairs, remodels or renovates property, shall be attended by the owner, the owner’s property manager, or a representative of the owner’s regular maintenance staff. 

(9)  Ensure that any person who performs essential maintenance work has completed a department‑approved training program or is being supervised on‑site by a person who has completed the training program and complies with the essential maintenance practices. 

(10)  At each change of tenant, the owner shall clean all horizontal surfaces, except ceilings, within all areas of the building used by tenants and not otherwise restricted by the rental agreement.  This cleaning shall be done by using cleaning methods, products and devices prescribed by the department that are effective in cleaning up lead‑contaminated dust, such as vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters, and wet‑cleaning with trisodium phosphate or other lead specific detergents.

(b)  When the essential maintenance practices are completed, the owner shall sign an affidavit indicating that, to the best of the owner’s knowledge and belief the essential maintenance practices have been performed, the dates they were completed, and by whom they were performed. The owner shall file the affidavit with the owner’s lliability insurance carrier and the department.  Annually, the owner shall conduct a visual check, perform required essential maintenance practices, and sign and file an affidavit as required by this subsection.

The owner of rental target housing shall perform all the following:

(1)  File with the department by the due date an EMP compliance statement certifying that the essential maintenance practices have been performed, including all the following:

(A)  The addresses of the dwellings in which EMP were performed.

(B)  The dates of completion.

(C)  The name of the person who performed the EMP.

(D)   A certification of compliance with subdivision (4) of this subsection. 

(E)  A certification that subdivisions (2) and (3) of this subsection have been or with be complied with within ten days.

(2)  File the statement required in subdivision (1) of this subsection with the owners’ liability insurance carrier and the department.

(3)  Provide a copy of the statement to all tenants with written materials regarding lead hazards approved by the department.

(4)  Prior to entering into a lease agreement, provide approved tenants with written materials regarding lead hazards approved by the department, along with a copy of the owner’s most recent EMP compliance statement.

The written materials approved by the department pursuant to this subdivision shall include information indicating that lead is highly toxic to humans, particularly young children, and may even cause permanent neurological damage. 

(c)  The owner of the premises of a child care facility shall perform all of the following:

(1)  File with the department by the due date an EMP compliance statement certifying that the essential maintenance practices have been performed, including all the following:

(A)  The address of the child care facility.

(B)  The date of completion of the EMP.

(C)  The name of the person who performed the EMP.

(D)  A certification that subdivision (2) of this subsection has been or will be complied with within ten days.

(2)  File the statement required in subdivision (1) of this subsection with the owner’s liability insurance carrier; the department for children and families; and with the tenant of the facility, if any.

(d)  An owner who desires an extension of time for filing the EMP compliance statement shall file a written request for an extension from the department no later than ten days before the due date.  The department may grant or deny an extension.

Sec. 31.  18 V.S.A. § 1760 is amended to read:

§ 1760.  CERTIFICATION; RULES; REPORT; FUTURE DEPARTMENT UNSAFE WORK PRACTICES

(a)  No later than January 1, 1997, the secretary shall adopt rules that establish methods and practices to be used by licensed inspectors who certify that target housing and child care facilities are lead free or have had lead‑based paint hazards identified and controlled and have passed independent dust clearance tests.  The rules shall include the duration of validity of any certifications and requirements for renewal of certifications.

(b)  By January 1, 1999, the secretary shall report to the general assembly on the need for additional essential maintenance practices or other actions to further prevent lead poisoning in children based on significant:

(1)  Reductions in the number and percentage of poisoned and severely lead‑poisoned children.

(2)  Increases in the number and percentages of owners of rental target housing that have performed essential maintenance practices.

(3)  Increases in the number and percentage of housing units that have achieved higher levels of lead hazard control.

(4)  Advances in lead poisoning prevention technology.

(5)  Impact of public education efforts in reducing the lead levels of children at risk.

(c)  After July 1, 2000, the secretary may adopt rules for the low cost and cost effective implementation of the essential maintenance practices established in section 1759 of this title and additional recommended low cost and cost effective essential maintenance practices and other actions to further prevent lead poisoning in children.

All paint in target housing and child care facilities is presumed to be lead‑based unless a lead inspector or lead risk assessor has determined that it is not lead‑based.  Unsafe work practices include the following, unless specifically authorized by permit by the department:

(1)  Removing lead‑based paint by:

(A)  Open flame burning or torching.

(B)  Use of heat guns operated above 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit.

(C)  Dry scraping.

(D)  Machine sanding or grinding.

(E)  Uncontained hydro‑blasting or high-pressure washing.

(F)  Abrasive blasting or sandblasting without containment and high‑efficiency particulate exhaust controls.

(G)  Chemical stripping using methylene chloride products.

(2)  Failing to employ one or more of the following lead‑safe work practices: 

(A)  Limiting access to interior and exterior work areas.

(B)  Enclosing interior work areas with plastic sheathing or other effective lead dust barrier.

(C)  Using protective clothing.

(D)  Misting painted surfaces before disturbing paint.

(E)  Wetting paint debris before sweeping to limit dust creation.

(F)  Any other measure required by the department.

(b)  No person shall disturb more than one square foot of lead‑based paint using unsafe work practices in target housing or in child care facilities. 

Sec. 32.  18 V.S.A. § 1760a is added to read:

§ 1760a.  ENFORCEMENT; ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER; PENALTIES

(a)  A person who violates section 1759 of this title commits a civil violation and shall be subject to a civil penalty as set forth below which shall be enforceable by the commissioner in the judicial bureau pursuant to the provisions of chapter 29 of Title 4.

(1)  An owner of rental target housing who fails to comply with subsection 1759(b)(1), (2), and (3) of this title by the due date or an owner of a child care facility who fails to comply with subsection 1759(c) of this title by the due date shall pay a civil penalty of not more than $50.00 if the owner comes into compliance within 30 days after the due date; otherwise the owner shall pay a civil penalty of not more than $150.00.

(2)  An owner who cannot demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that essential maintenance practices were performed by the due date shall pay an additional penalty of not more than $250.00. 

(b)  Nothing in this section shall limit the commissioner’s authority under any other provisions of law.

Sec. 32a.  EFFECTIVE DATE OF SEC. 32

Sec. 32 of this act, adding 18 V.S.A. § 1760a, shall take effect on January 1, 2010.

Sec. 33.  18 V.S.A. § 1761 is amended to read:

§ 1761.  DUTY OF REASONABLE CARE; NEGLIGENCE; LIABILITY

(a)  Owners of target housing and owners of child care facilities shall take reasonable care to prevent exposure to, and the creation of, lead‑based paint lead hazards.  In an action brought under this section, evidence of actions taken or not taken to satisfy the requirements of this chapter, including performing essential maintenance practices EMP, may be admissible evidence of reasonable care or negligence.

(b)  Any person who suffers an injury proximately caused by an owner’s breach of this duty of reasonable care shall have a cause of action to recover damages and for all other appropriate equitable relief.

(c)  A person who is severely lead poisoned as a result of a violation of the duty of reasonable care before the age of six, or a parent, legal guardian or other person authorized to act on behalf of that person, shall have a cause of action to recover damages and other appropriate relief.

(d)  The owner of target housing or a child care facility who has reduced lead‑based paint hazards by completing risk assessment and controls and who has had a licensed inspector certify, pursuant to rules under section 1760 of this title the, that identified lead‑based paint l hazards have been controlled in target housing or child care facility premises and the housing or facility contains no lead‑contaminated dust shall not be liable for injury or other relief claimed to be caused by exposure to lead during the time period covered by the certification.  This immunity does not apply if: shall not be liable to a tenant of the housing or facility in an individual action for habitability under common law or pursuant to chapter 63 of Title 9, chapter 137 of Title 9, chapter 153 of Title 10, or chapter 169 of Title 12 for injury or other relief claimed to be caused by exposure to lead if, during the relevant time period, the owner is in compliance with section 1759 of this title and any of the following, should they exist:

(1)  The conditions of a lead risk assessor’s certification, pursuant to Vermont regulations for lead control, that all identified lead hazards have been controlled and the housing or facility has passed an independent dust clearance test.

(2) Any plan issued pursuant to section 1757 of this title.

(3)  Any assurance of discontinuance, order of the commissioner, or court order regarding lead hazards.

(d)  The immunity under subsection (c) of this section shall not be available if:

(1)  there was fraud in the certification process; or

(2)  the owner violated conditions of the certification; or

(3)  the owner created lead‑based paint lead hazards during renovation, remodeling, maintenance, or repair after the certification; or

(4)  the owner failed to respond in a timely fashion to notification that lead‑based paint lead hazards may have recurred on the premises.

(e)  A defendant in an action brought under this section or at common law has a right of to seek contribution from any other person or persons who have violated subsection (a) of this section may be responsible, in whole or in part, for the child’s blood lead level.

(f)  The remedies provided under this section shall be the exclusive remedies against owners arising from lead‑based paint hazards, except for the following:

(1)  causes of action under 9 V.S.A. chapter 63;

(2)  causes of action for relief under 9 V.S.A. § 4458; and

(3)  common law actions for fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation.

(g)  Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the right of the commissioner or any agency or instrumentality of the state of Vermont to seek remedies available under any other provision of Vermont statutory law.

(h)   In an action under 9 V.S.A. § 4458, compliance by the landlord with the duties required under section 1759 of this title shall create a conclusive presumption of habitability with respect to lead‑based paint hazards.  However, if a child under the age of six who occupies the dwelling is lead poisoned as defined in subdivision 1751(b)(16) of this title, this presumption shall be rebuttable, not conclusive.  Presumptions under this subsection shall be limited to actions based on a breach of the warranty of habitability under 9 V.S.A. § 4458.

(i)  This section shall apply only to actions arising from acts or omissions that occur on or after July 1, 1996.

Sec. 34.  18 V.S.A. § 1767 is added to read: 

§ 1767.  TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP OF TARGET HOUSING;
RISK ASSESSMENT; EMP COMPLIANCE

(a)  Prior to the time a purchase and sale agreement for target housing is executed, the seller shall provide the buyer with materials approved by the commissioner, including a lead paint hazard brochure and materials on other lead hazards in housing.  The seller shall also provide a disclosure form that shall include any assurance of discontinuance, administrative order, or court order the terms of which are not completed and, if the property is rental target housing, verification that the EMP have been completed and that a current EMP compliance statement has been filed with the department.

(b)  At the time of sale of target housing, sellers and other transferors shall provide the buyer or transferee with any materials delineated in subsection (a) of this section not previously disclosed and a lead‑safe renovation practices packet approved by the commissioner and shall disclose any assurance of discontinuance, administrative order, or court order not disclosed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section the terms of which are not completed.

(c)  No sale of rental target housing, building, or unit may occur if the building or unit is currently the subject of an assurance of discontinuance, administrative order, or court order unless the assurance or order is amended in writing to transfer to the buyer or other transferee all remaining obligations under the assurance or order. 

(d)  Prior to the time of sale of rental target housing, the real estate agents, sellers, and other transferors of title shall provide the buyer or transferee with information approved by the commissioner explaining EMP obligations. 

(e)  A buyer or other transferee of title to rental target housing who has purchased or received a building or unit that is not in full compliance with section 1759 of this title shall bring the target housing into compliance with section 1759 of this title within 60 days after the closing.  Within the 60‑day period, the buyer or transferee may submit a written request for an extension of time for compliance, which the commissioner may grant in writing for a stated period of time for good cause only.  Failure to comply with this subsection shall result in a mandatory civil penalty.

(f)  This section shall not apply to target housing that has been certified

lead-free.

(g)  Noncompliance with this section shall not affect marketability of title.

Sec. 35.  4 V.S.A. § 1102(b) is amended to read:

(b)  The judicial bureau shall have jurisdiction of the following matters:

* * *

(14)  Violations of chapter 38 of 18 V.S.A. that are subject to civil penalties pursuant to subsection 1760a(a) relating to reducing lead hazards in housing.

Sec. 35a.  EFFECTIVE DATE OF SEC. 35

Sec. 35 of this act, amending 4 V.S.A. § 1102(b), shall take effect on January 1, 2010.

Sec. 36.  CONSTRUCTION

Nothing in Secs. 25 through 35 of this act, relating to the regulation of lead,  shall be construed to regulate firearms, ammunition, or shooting ranges or circumstances resulting from shooting, handling, storing, or casting and reloading ammunition.

Sec. 37.  EFFECTIVE DATE OF SECTIONS 25 THROUGH 37

Except as otherwise provided, Secs. 25 through 37 of this act shall take effect on July 1, 2008.

* * * Mobile Homes from H.331, Secs. 38 – 43 * * *

Sec. 38.  9 V.S.A. § 2601 is amended to read:

§ 2601.  Definitions

(a)  As used in this chapter, unless the context requires otherwise, “mobile home” means:

(1)  Mobile home as defined in 10 V.S.A. § 6201.

(2)  An unmotorized vehicle, other than a travel or recreational trailer, designed to be towed and designed or equipped for use as sleeping, eating or living quarters.

(b)  A mobile home remains a mobile home for purposes of this chapter even though it may be used for advertising, sales, display or promotion of merchandise or services, or for any other commercial purposes except the transportation of property.

(c)  A mobile home that was financed as residential real estate shall be defined as residential real estate.

(d)  “Permanently sited” means the mobile home has become affixed to the land.   Factors that tend to show a mobile home is permanently sited include:

(1)  The mobile home has been set up on blocks or otherwise stabilized so that the wheels do not form a major part of the structural support.

(2)  The mobile home has been connected to utilities such as electricity, sewage, water, gas, or oil.

(3)  Skirting has been installed around the base of the mobile home.

(4)  The wheels or axles have been removed.

(5)  The mobile home has been situated in a place that makes removal unlikely.

Sec. 39.  9 V.S.A. § 2603(b) is amended to read:

(b)  An obligation to finance a mobile home if consummated while the A mobile home that is or is intended to be permanently sited in a manner intended for continuous residential occupancy by the owner on land owned that is:

(1)  Owned by the owner of the mobile home shall be financed as a residence residential real estate.

(2)  Leased by the owner of the mobile home may be financed as residential real estate.

Sec. 40.  9 V.S.A. § 2604 is amended to read:

§ 2604Penalty REAL ESTATE DEEDS FOR MOBILE HOMES

A person who violates a provision of this chapter:

(1)  Except for violations of subsection 2603(e) of this title, shall be fined not more than $5,000.00 for each occurrence.

(2)  Shall be subject to all the remedies and penalties available to a consumer and the attorney general under chapter 63 of this title.

(a)  Any mobile home purchased from a mobile home dealer on or after

July 1, 2008 that is financed as residential real estate pursuant to subsection 2603(b) of this title shall be conveyed by a warranty deed drafted in substantially the form provided in subsection (c) of this section.

(b)  An owner of a mobile home shall, upon financing or refinancing a mobile home as residential real estate or selling a mobile home that has been financed as residential real estate, issue to the grantee either a warranty deed or a quitclaim deed that is drafted in substantially the form provided in subsection (c) or (d) of this section.

(c)  A deed that is substantially in the form provided in this subsection shall, when duly executed and delivered, have the force and effect of a deed in fee simple to the grantee, the heirs, successors, and assigns, to their own use, with covenants on the part of the grantor, for the grantor, the grantor’s heirs, executors, and administrators that, at the time of the delivery of the deed, the grantor was lawfully seized in fee simple of the mobile home; that the mobile home was free from all encumbrances, except as stated; that the grantor had good right to sell and convey the same to the grantee, the grantee’s heirs, successors, and assigns; and that the grantor and the grantor’s heirs, executors, and administrators shall warrant and defend the same to the grantee and the grantee’s heirs, successors and assigns, against the lawful claims and demands of all persons.  No owner of land on which a mobile home is sited shall unreasonably withhold the consent required by this statutory form.

Form for Mobile Home Warranty Deed

                              , of                        ,                               County, State of____________,                         (“Grantor”), for consideration paid, grants to___________ of                   Street, Town (City) of                  ,____________ County, State of                  (“Grantee”), with warranty covenants, the________ (description of mobile home being conveyed: name of manufacturer, model and serial number and encumbrances, exceptions, reservations, if any) which mobile home is situated, or is to be situated, at __________ (state name of park, if any, and street address), Town (City) of __________, __________ County, State of Vermont.
The tract or parcel of land upon which the mobile home is situated, or is to be situated, is owned by                        by deed dated and recorded at Book        , Page      in the land records of the Town (City) of                        
.  

_______                        (wife) (husband) of said Grantor, releases to said Grantee all rights and other interests therein.

   Signed this __________ day of __________, ___.

(Here add acknowledgment)

__________, owner of the tract or parcel of land upon which the aforesaid mobile home is situated, or is to be situated, hereby consents to the conveyance of the mobile home.

Signed this __________ day of __________, ___.

(Here add acknowledgment)

[ ] Check box if the mobile home has been relocated from one site to another within Vermont, and attach a Relocation Statement in the form provided in section 2606 of this title.

(d)  A deed that is substantially in the form provided in this subsection shall, when duly executed and delivered, have the force and effect of a deed in fee simple to the grantee, the heirs, successors, and assigns, to their own use.  No owner of land on which the mobile home is sited shall unreasonably withhold consent required by this statutory form.

Form for Mobile Home Quitclaim Deed

___________, of ___________,              County, State  of__________ _________(“Grantor”), for consideration paid, grants to___ ________ of _________ Street, Town (City) of ____       ,_   ____County, State of __________(“Grantee”), with quitclaim covenants, the (description of mobile home being conveyed:  name of manufacturer, model and serial number and encumbrances, exceptions, reservations, if any) which mobile home is situated, or is to be situated, at ________________ (state name of park, if any, and street address), Town (City) of _____________ County, State of Vermont.

The tract or parcel of land upon which the mobile home is situated, or is to be situated, is owned by ____________ by deed dated _____________ and recorded at Book ___, Page    , in the land records of the Town (City) of _________.  

    _____ (wife) (husband) of said Grantor releases to said Grantee all rights and other interest therein.

Signed this ___ day of _______    ,______.

(Here add acknowledgment)

_____________, owner of the parcel of land upon which the aforesaid mobile home is situated, or is to be situated, hereby consents to the conveyance of the mobile home.

Signed this ___day of__                __, _____.

(Here add acknowledgment)

[ ]  Check box if the mobile home has been relocated from one site to another within Vermont, and attach a relocation statement in the form provided in section 2606 of this title.

Sec. 41.  9 V.S.A. § 2605 is added to read:


§ 2605.  Mobile home bill of sale conversion process

The owner of any mobile home that was initially financed pursuant to a motor vehicle loan, motor vehicle retail installment contract, or another form of chattel mortgage shall, if the mobile home is subsequently financed as residential real estate pursuant to subsection 2603(b) of this title, file a request for purging of the security interest with the clerk of the municipality where the chattel mortgage for the mobile home was last recorded.

(1)  A request to purge the security interest of a mobile home shall include the most recent Vermont uniform bill of sale or certificate of origin, the terminated UCC financing statement or statements, and an executed warranty or quitclaim deed, which shall be drafted substantially in the form provided in section 2604 of this title.

(2)  Upon the filing of a request to purge the security interest of a mobile home with the clerk of the municipality where the chattel mortgage for the  mobile home was last recorded, and upon the owner’s procuring the consent of the holders of any security interest in the mobile home shown to be unreleased, the mobile home shall become residential real estate.

(3)  Upon receiving a request to purge the security interest of a mobile home, the municipal clerk shall mark or stamp the originally filed Vermont uniform bill of sale or certificate of origin with the word “converted.”

(4)  A mobile home that has been converted to residential real estate shall not be converted or redefined as personal property.

Sec. 42.  9 V.S.A. § 2606 is added to read:

§ 2606.  Relocating mobile homes to another

              municipality or state

(a)  If a deed for any mobile home is recorded by the clerk of the municipality in which the mobile home is sited, and if that mobile home is relocated to another site within the state of Vermont, the owner of the mobile home shall, within 10 days of the relocation, do all the following:

(1)  File with the clerk of the municipality where the deed was last recorded a relocation statement substantially in the form provided in this subsection.

(2)  File with the clerk of the municipality where the mobile home is relocated a copy of the relocation statement as required by subdivision (1) of this subsection, together with the deed filed with the clerk of the municipality where the mobile home was previously sited.  If the records of a municipality in which the deed or conveyance is recorded are destroyed, an attested copy of the deed or other conveyance from the county clerk shall have the same validity as a copy from the municipal clerk’s office.

(3)  Provide a copy of the relocation statement filed pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection to the holders of any unreleased, recorded security interests in the mobile home.

Form for Relocation Statement

                              , of                        ,                               County, State of                         , is the owner of (description of mobile home: name of manufacturer, model and serial number and encumbrances, exceptions, reservations, if any), which mobile home has been relocated.

The mobile home was previously located at __________ (state name of park, if any, and street address), Town (City) of __________, __________ County, State of Vermont and title, if any, to the same was recorded at Book ___, Page ___, in the records of the Town (City) of __________.

The mobile home is has been relocated to  __________ (state name of park, if any, and street address), Town (City) of __________, __________ County, State of Vermont and title, if any, to the same was recorded at Book___ ___, Page ___, in the records of the Town (City) of __________. 

The tract or parcel of land upon which the mobile home is situated is owned by                        by deed dated                               and recorded at
Book        , Page      in the land records of the Town (City) of               .

The mobile home is subject to an existing mortgage by _____________in favor of _____________, recorded at Book ___, Page    , in the land records of the Town (City) of _______     __.

If the relocation is to a municipality in Vermont other than the municipality in which the deed to the Grantor was recorded, a duplicate original of the deed to the Grantor shall be recorded in the land records of the municipality of the relocation at the same time this statement is recorded.

       Signed this __________ day of __________, ___.

(b)  An out-of-state transfer statement substantially in the form provided in this subsection shall, when duly executed and recorded by the clerk of the municipality in which the mobile home was previously located, have the force and effect of transferring title of the mobile home to the grantee, the grantee’s heirs, successors, and assigns and terminating the record title or deed of the mobile home in the municipal records under circumstances by which the mobile home is relocated outside this state.  No owner of land on which a mobile home is sited shall unreasonably withhold the consent required by this statutory form.  No mobile home may be relocated to a site outside this state unless all holders of liens, attachments, or encumbrances, if any, consent in writing on the transfer statement.

Form for Out-of-State Transfer Statement

__________, of __________, County, State of __________ (“Grantor”), for consideration paid, grants to __________, (complete mailing address) __________, of __________ Street, Town (City) of __________, __________ County, State of __________ (“Grantee”), the __________ (Description of mobile home being conveyed: name of manufacturer, model and serial number and encumbrances, exceptions, reservations, if any) which mobile home was situated at __________ (state name of park, if any, and street address), Town (City) __________ of __________ County, State of Vermont.

The tract or parcel of land upon which the mobile home was situated is owned by __________ by deed __________ dated __________ and recorded at Book___, Page ___ in the __________ County Registry of Deeds. __________ (wife) (husband) of said Grantor, releases to said Grantee all rights and other interest therein.

The mobile home is transferred subject to an existing mortgage by __________in favor of _____________, recorded at Book ___, Page    , in the land records of the Town (City) of _________, State of Vermont.

Signed this __________ day of __________, ___.

(Here add acknowledgment)

        __________, owner of the tract or parcel of land upon which the aforesaid mobile home was situated, hereby consents to the conveyance of the mobile home.

Signed this __ day of __________, ___.

(Here add acknowledgment)

        __________, holder of (lien, attachment or encumbrance) hereby consent to the conveyance of the aforesaid mobile home, subject to condition that the aforesaid (lien, attachment or encumbrance) shall remain in force and effect thereon.

Signed this __________ day of __________, ___.

(Here add acknowledgment)

(c)  An attachment, mortgage, security interest, lien, or other encumbrance on a mobile home, when properly perfected, shall be enforceable until released or discharged notwithstanding the relocation of the mobile home within or outside this state.

Sec. 43.  9 V.S.A. § 2607 is added to read:

§ 2607.  PENALTY

A person who violates a provision of this chapter:

(1)  Except for violations of subsection 2603(e) of this title, shall be fined not more than $5,000.00 for each occurrence.

(2)  Shall be subject to all the remedies and penalties available to a consumer and the attorney general under chapter 63 of this title.


* * * Landlord – Tenant from S.372, Secs. 44 – 53 * * *

Sec. 44.  9 V.S.A. § 4451(1) is amended to read:

(1)  “Actual notice” means receipt of written notice hand-delivered or mailed to the last known address.  A rebuttable presumption that the notice was received three days after mailing is created if the sending party proves that the notice was sent by first class or certified United States mail.  

Sec. 45.  9 V.S.A. § 4461(c) is amended to read:

(c)  A landlord shall return the security deposit along with a written statement itemizing any deductions to a tenant within 14 days from the date on which the landlord discovers that the tenant vacated or abandoned the dwelling unit, with a written statement itemizing any deductions or the date the tenant vacated the dwelling unit, provided the landlord received notice from the tenant of that date.  In the case of the seasonal occupancy and rental of a dwelling unit not intended as a primary residence, the security deposit and written statement shall be returned within 60 days. 

Sec. 46.  9 V.S.A. § 4462(d) is added to read:

(d)  Any personal property remaining in the dwelling unit or leased premises after the tenant has vacated may be disposed of by the landlord without notice or liability to the tenant or owner of the personal property, provided that one of the following has occurred:

(1)  The tenant provided actual notice to the landlord that the tenant has vacated the dwelling unit or leased premises.

(2)  The tenant has vacated the dwelling unit or leased premises at the end of the rental agreement.

Sec. 47.  9 V.S.A. § 4465(c) is added to read:

(c)  If a landlord serves notice of termination of tenancy on any grounds other than for nonpayment of rent within 90 days after notice by any municipal or state governmental entity that the premises are not in compliance with applicable health or safety regulations, there is a rebuttable presumption that any termination by the landlord is in retaliation for the tenant having reported the noncompliance.

Sec. 48.  9 V.S.A. § 4467 is amended to read:

§ 4467.  TERMINATION OF TENANCY; NOTICE

(a)  Termination for nonpayment of rent. Termination for nonpayment of rent. The landlord may terminate a tenancy for nonpayment of rent by providing actual notice to the tenant of the date on which the tenancy will terminate which shall be at least 14 days after the date of the actual notice.  The rental agreement shall not terminate if the tenant pays or tenders all arrearages prior to the termination date. A tenant may not defeat a notice to terminate by payment of arrearages more than three times in 12 months rent due through the end of the rental period in which payment is made or tendered. Acceptance of partial payment of rent shall not constitute a waiver of the landlord’s remedies for nonpayment of rent.

(b)  Termination for breach of rental agreement.

(1)  The landlord may terminate a tenancy for failure of the tenant to comply with a material term of the rental agreement or with obligations imposed under this chapter, by actual notice given to the tenant at least 30 days prior to the termination date specified in the notice.

(2)  When termination is based on criminal activity, illegal drug activity, or acts of violence any of which threaten the health or safety of other residents, the landlord may terminate the tenancy by providing actual notice to the tenant of the date on which the tenancy will terminate which shall be at least 14 days from the date of the actual notice.

* * *

(e)  Termination by landlord for no cause under terms of written rental agreement.  If the landlord terminates a tenancy in accordance with the terms of there is a written rental agreement, the notice to terminate for no cause shall be at least 30 days before the end or expiration of the stated term of the rental agreement, if rent is payable on a monthly basis and the tenancy has continued for two years or less. The notice to terminate for no cause shall be at least 60 days the rent is paid on a monthly basis and before the end or expiration of the term of the rental agreement if the tenancy has continued for more than two years.  The If there is a written week-to-week rental agreement, the notice to terminate for no cause shall be at least seven days, if rent is payable on a weekly basis; however, a notice to terminate for nonpayment of rent shall be as provided in subsection (a) of this section.

* * *

     (i)  Multiple notices.  All actual notices that are in compliance with this section shall not invalidate any other actual notice and shall be a valid basis for commencing and maintaining an action for possession pursuant to this chapter, chapter 153 of Title 10, chapter 14 of Title 11, or chapter 169 of Title 12, notwithstanding that the notices may be based on different or unrelated grounds, dates of termination, or that the notices are sent at different times prior to or during an ejectment action.  A landlord may maintain an ejectment action and rely on as many grounds for ejectment as is allowed by law at any time during the eviction process.

(j)(1)  A landlord’s acceptance of full or partial rent payment by or on behalf of a tenant after the termination of the tenancy for reasons other than nonpayment of rent or at any time during the ejectment action shall not result in the dismissal of an ejectment action or constitute a waiver of the landlord’s remedies to proceed with an eviction action based on any of the following:

(A)  The tenant’s breach of the terms of a rental agreement pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.

(B)  The tenant’s breach of the tenant’s obligations pursuant to subsections 4456(a), (b), and (c) of this title.

(C)  For no cause pursuant to subsections (c), (d), (e), and (h) of this section.

(2)  This subsection shall apply to chapter 153 of Title 10, chapter 14 of Title 11, and chapter 169 of Title 12.

(k)  A notice to terminate a tenancy shall be insufficient to support a judgment of eviction unless the proceeding is commenced no later than 60 days from the termination date set forth in the notice.

Sec. 49.  10 V.S.A. § 6204(c) is amended to read:

(c)  To the extent that they are consistent with this chapter, the provisions of chapter 137 of Title 9 (residential rental agreements) and the provisions of subchapter 3 of chapter 169 of Title 12 (eviction) shall apply to the occupancy and rental of a mobile home but not to the rental of a mobile home lot, except the rental of a mobile home lot shall be subject to the provisions of chapter 169 of Title 12, relating to payment of rent into court.

Sec. 50.  12 V.S.A. § 4773 is amended to read:

§ 4773.  EJECTMENT FOR NONPAYMENT OF RENT; PROOF;

               PAYMENT

In actions of ejectment for nonpayment of rent, the plaintiff shall not be required to prove a demand of the rent in arrear or a stipulation for reentry on nonpayment of rent or a reentry on the premises, but shall recover judgment as if the rent in arrear had been demanded and reentry made.  Before final judgment a writ of possession is executed, if the defendant in such action pays into court the rent in arrear with all rent due through the end of the current rental period, including interest and the costs of suit, such the action shall be discontinued.  A defendant may not defeat an ejectment action by payment of all rent in arrears, interest, and court costs more than one time in 12 months.  The 12-month period shall begin on the day the payment is made.

Sec. 51.  12 V.S.A. § 4853a(a), (b), and (d) are amended to read:

(a)  In any action against a tenant for possession brought in accordance with this chapter, chapter 137 of Title 9 or, chapter 153 of Title 10, or chapter 14 of Title 11, the landlord may file a motion for an order that the tenant pay rent into court.  The motion may be filed and served with the complaint or at any time after the complaint has been filed.  The motion shall be accompanied by affidavit setting forth particular facts in support of the motion.

(b)  A hearing on the motion shall be held any time after 10 days notice to the parties.  If the tenant appears at the hearing and has not been previously defaulted, the court shall not enter judgment by default unless the tenant fails to file a written answer within 10 days after the hearing.  Any rent escrow order shall remain in effect notwithstanding the issuance of a default judgment but shall cease upon execution of a writ of possession.

(d)  If the court finds the tenant is obligated to pay rent and has failed to do so, the court shall order full or partial payment into court of rent as it accrues while the proceeding is pending and prorated rent for the month in which the hearing is held rent accrued from the date of filing with the court the complaint for ejectment or the date the summons and complaint for ejectment were served on the tenant pursuant to Rule 3 of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure, whichever occurs first.

Sec. 52.  12 V.S.A. § 4854 is amended to read:

§ 4854.  JUDGMENT FOR PLAINTIFF; WRIT OF POSSESSION

If the court finds that the plaintiff is entitled to possession of the premises the plaintiff shall have judgment for possession and rents due, damages and costs, and when a written rental agreement so provides, the court may award reasonable attorney fees.  A writ of possession shall issue ten days after on the date judgment is entered, unless the court for good cause orders a stay.  The writ shall direct the sheriff of the county in which the property or a portion thereof is located to serve the writ upon the defendant and, no sooner than five ten days after the writ is served, to put the plaintiff into possession.

* * * Mobile Home Park Sales from H.332 Secs. * * *

Sec. 53.  10 V.S.A. § 6201(5), (6), and (7) are amended to read:

(5)  “Leaseholder” means a resident lawfully occupying a mobile home owned by the park owner or the owner of a mobile home sited on a mobile home lot in a mobile home park regardless of whether the leaseholder has actual possession of a written lease.

(6)  “Mobile home park resident” or “resident” means an individual, individuals, or family who occupies a mobile home on a permanent or temporary basis in a mobile home park as that term is defined in subdivision (2) of this section.

(7)  “Mobile home park owner” or “park owner” means the owners, operators, officers, or managing agents of a mobile home park as well as any person acting through any corporate or other device who has the practical authority to establish rules, policies, or other requirements for the operation of the mobile home park.  The term shall not include a stockholder for a corporation owning stock in a mobile home park unless such stockholder has a controlling interest in the corporation and has the practical authority to establish rules, policies or other requirements for the operation of the mobile home park.

Sec. 54.  10 V.S.A. § 6204(c) is amended to read:

(c)  To the extent that they are consistent with this chapter, the provisions of chapter 137 of Title 9 (residential rental agreements) and the provisions of subchapter 3 of chapter 169 of Title 12 (eviction) shall apply to the occupancy and rental of a mobile home but not and the provisions of subchapter 3 of chapter 169 of Title 12 (eviction) shall apply to the rental of a mobile home lot.

Sec. 55.  10 V.S.A. § 6205(c) is amended to read:

(c)  A resident of a mobile home park leaseholder may bring an action against a the park owner for a violation of sections 6236-6243 of this title.  The action shall be filed in district court for the district in which the alleged violation occurred.  If the resident’s leaseholder’s claim against the owner exceeds the jurisdictional limit of the district court, an action may be brought in superior court in the county in which the alleged violation occurred. No action may be commenced by the resident leaseholder unless the resident leaseholder has first notified the park owner of the violation by certified mail at least 30 days prior to bringing the action.  During the pendency of an action brought by a resident leaseholder, the resident leaseholder shall pay rent in an amount designated in the lease, or as provided by law, which rental amount shall be deposited in an escrow account as directed by the court.

Sec. 56. 10 V.S.A. § 6231 is amended to read:

§ 6231.  Rules

* * *

(b)  The department of housing and community affairs may adopt rules to carry out the provisions of sections 6236-6243 of this title into effect.  The department shall seek advice and comment from the advisory commission prior to adopting rules.

(c)  A mobile home park that has been closed pursuant to subdivision 6237(a)(5) section 6237a of this title and reduced to no more than two occupied leased lots, shall be required, if the number of occupied leased lots subsequently is increased to more than two, to obtain all state land use and environmental permits required for a mobile home park that has been established or expanded after May 31, 1970.

Sec. 57.  10 V.S.A. § 6236 is amended to read:

§ 6236.  LEASE TERMS; MOBILE HOME PARKS

(a)  All terms governing the rental use and occupancy of a mobile home lot shall be contained in a written lease which shall be furnished to all mobile home residents. Mobile home park owners shall promulgate reasonable and fair lease terms governing the rental use and occupancy of a mobile home lot and shall furnish an initial copy of the lease to all mobile home residents leaseholders. Any lease term which that prohibits or in any other manner obstructs the ability of any park leaseholder to act in accordance with the provisions of this chapter shall be unenforceable. Any lease term which that is not uniformly applied to all mobile home residents leaseholders of the same or a similar category shall be unenforceable, except that an a park owner may establish a different lot rent rate for a mobile home park constructed after June 1, 1995, or for new lots in an expanded mobile home park constructed after June 1, 1995.  Mobile home park owners shall not restrict access by representatives of the department to the leaseholders of the park.

(b)  A lease term requiring the removal from a mobile home park of a mobile home which that is detrimental to the other tenants residents of the park for either health, safety or aesthetic reasons shall not be considered unreasonable or unfair.

(c)  A prospective resident Prospective leaseholders shall be furnished with a copy of the proposed lease prior to any agreement to lease use or occupy a mobile home lot, and upon acceptance of the lease terms the lease shall be signed by the lessor and lessee.  Any provision in a lease governing rental and utility charges shall be effective for a minimum of one year, except in the case of a new tenant leaseholder in a mobile home park in which there is a uniform rent schedule which that affects all lots in that park simultaneously.  The initial lease for a new tenant leaseholder may include the anticipated increase in the rent and utility charge at the time it occurs for the other lots.  A mobile home park owner shall provide residents leaseholders with a minimum of 60 days notice prior to any rent increase.  Rent increase notices shall not be given within six months prior to the issuance of a closure notice or at any time during which the closure notice is in effect.  All rent increases received by the park owner during the six months prior to the issuance of a closure notice shall be returned to the affected leaseholders within seven days of issuance of the closure notice, except when the commissioner determines the rent increase is needed to help remedy an emergency situation that affects the resident’s health, safety, or welfare.  This subsection shall not apply to proprietary leases in mobile home parks owned by limited equity housing cooperatives established under chapter 14 of Title 11.  The rental and utility charge may be increased during a year if the operating expenses of the park increase 20 percent or more during that year as the result of legislative action taken during that year and the increase could not have been anticipated.  The rental and utility charge may be increased during a year only to the extent necessary to cover the increase in operating expenses of the park.

(d)  No person shall sell, lease, or sublease a mobile home resident may sublet the resident’s mobile home without the express permission or sublease or assign a lease for a lot in a mobile home park without first obtaining the written approval of the park owner, which shall not be unreasonably withheld.  A violation of this subsection shall be grounds for eviction.

(e)  All mobile home lot leases shall contain the following:

* * *

(5)  The requirement of to obtain permission, if any, from the park owner for subletting prior to leasing or selling a mobile home or assigning or subleasing a lease for a mobile home lot to another person.

(6)  The notice required from a mobile home resident leaseholder in order to terminate the lease or occupancy arrangement.

* * *

(f)  A copy of all new lease terms shall be furnished to all mobile home residents leaseholders at least 30 days prior to the effective date of any amendment, addition, or deletion of the existing lease terms.  Upon request, the park owner shall provide to any leaseholder a copy of the current lease for his or her lot.

Sec. 58.  10 V.S.A. § 6237(a), (b), and (d) are amended to read:

(a)  A mobile home resident leaseholder may be evicted only for nonpayment of rent or for a substantial violation of the lease terms of the mobile home park, or if there is a change in use of the park land or parts thereof or a termination of the mobile home park, and only in accordance with the following procedure:

(1)  A resident leaseholder shall not be evicted by force or any other self-help measure.

(2)  Prior to the commencement of any eviction proceeding, the park owner must notify the mobile home resident leaseholder by certified or registered mail, except as provided in subdivision (3) of this subsection;

(A)  of the grounds for an eviction proceeding;

(B)  that an eviction proceeding may be commenced if the mobile home resident leaseholder does not pay the overdue rent within 20 days from the date of the mailing of the notice.

* * *

(5)  A mobile home park owner shall give to each affected leaseholder and to the commissioner of the department of housing and community affairs notice by certified mail at least 18 months prior to any voluntary change in use of all or part of the park land or termination of the mobile home park that would result in the removal of any or all of the mobile home units.  Upon request, the commissioner of housing and community affairs may waive the notice requirement if the change in use is necessary to assure the health, safety or welfare of the park residents.  No eviction proceedings may be commenced during the 18-month notice period, except for nonpayment of rent.

(b)  A mobile home resident leaseholder shall not be evicted when there is proof that the lease terms he is the leaseholder has been accused of violating are not enforced with respect to the other mobile home residents or nonresidents leaseholders or others on the park premises.

* * *

(d)  This section shall apply only to evictions undertaken by the park owner of a mobile home park. Evictions of a mobile home tenant resident by a mobile home owner who is not the park owner of the mobile home park shall be governed by 9 V.S.A. § 4467.

Sec. 59.  10 V.S.A. § 6237a is added to read:

§ 6237a.  MOBILE HOME PARK CLOSURES

(a)  At least 18 months prior to the closure of a mobile home park or any mobile home lot that will result in the eviction of a  resident or a leaseholder or removal of a mobile home, a park owner shall give notice of the closure to each affected resident or leaseholder and to the commissioner by certified mail.  Upon request, the commissioner may waive some or all of the 18-month notice period if the closure is necessary to assure the health, safety, or welfare of park residents.  No evictions may be commenced during the 18‑month closure period except for nonpayment of rent or a substantial violation of the lease terms.

(b)  Prior to issuing a closure notice pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, a park owner shall first notify all mobile home owners of the park owner’s intent to sell in accordance with section 6242 of this title.  However, if the park owner sends a notice of closure to the residents and leaseholders without first providing the mobile home owners with a notice of sale under section 6242, then the park owner must retain ownership of the land for five years after the date the closure notice was provided.  If required, the park owner shall record the notice of the five-year restriction in the land records of the municipality in which the park is located.  The park owner may apply to the commissioner for relief from the notice and holding requirements of this subsection if the commissioner determines that strict compliance is likely to cause undue hardship to the park owner or the leaseholders, or both.  This relief shall not be unreasonably withheld.

(c)  When a park owner gives notice of intent to sell pursuant to section 6242 of this title, any previous notice of closure and any evictions commenced pursuant to the closure notice are void.

(d)  A park owner who gives notice of intent to sell pursuant to section 6242 of this title shall not give notice of closure until after:

(1)  At least 45 days after giving notice of intent to sell.

(2)  If applicable, the commissioner receives notice from the mobile home owners and the park owner that negotiations have ended following the 90‑day negotiation period provided in subdivision 6242(c)(1) of this title.

(e)  A park owner who closes a mobile home park within five years of providing closure notice by selling the land on which the park was located without complying with subsection (b) of this section shall be liable to the state in the aggregate amount of $10,000.00 or 50 percent of the gain realized by the park owner from the sale, whichever is greater, unless the commissioner has granted relief from strict compliance pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.

(f)  A park owner may bring an action for possession upon the expiration of the 18-month closure notice.  The only defense to an action for possession in the case of a park closure is improper notice.

Sec. 60.  10 V.S.A. § 6238(a) and (b)(4) are amended to read: 

(a)  A prospective resident leaseholder or other person may not be charged an entrance fee for the privilege of leasing or occupying a mobile home lot. A reasonable charge for the fair value of services performed in placing a mobile home on a lot shall not be considered an entrance fee.

(b)  A qualified park owner may charge the initial lessee or occupant of an eligible site a site improvement fee.

* * *

(4)  A mobile home park owner who has collected a site improvement fee may not terminate the park or change the use of any site which that has paid the fee without offering to sell the park to the leaseholders mobile home owners in accordance with the provisions of section 6242 of this title.

Sec. 61.  10 V.S.A. § 6239 is amended to read: 

§ 6239.  GOODS AND SERVICES

A mobile home resident leaseholder shall not be restricted in his or her choice of vendors from whom he or she may purchase goods and services. This section shall not be construed to prohibit a mobile home park owner or operator from contracting with any or all mobile home residents leaseholders for the sale, supply or distribution of goods and services, but such contract shall not be required as a condition of entrance to the mobile home park.

Sec. 62.  10 V.S.A. § 6240 is amended to read:

§ 6240.  SALE OF HOMES LOCATED IN PARKS

(a)  Prior to selling a mobile home located in a mobile home park, the mobile home owner shall notify the park owner by certified or registered mail of the name and mailing address of the prospective purchaser.  The seller may be held liable by the purchaser or prospective purchaser for failure to comply with this section.

(b)  A purchaser or prospective purchaser of a mobile home located in a park shall not be refused entrance if except for the inability of the purchaser and his the purchaser’s household to meet the terms of the proposed lease or to qualify under the lease terms a valid admission policy of the park.  Upon approval for entrance into the mobile home park, the purchaser or prospective purchaser shall be offered a written lease pursuant to section 6236 of this title.  If the purchaser or prospective purchaser does not notify the park owner in writing of any objections to the lease terms prior to occupancy of the mobile home park, the purchaser shall be deemed to have accepted the lease, regardless of whether the purchaser signs and returns a copy of the lease to the park owner.  The seller’s failure to provide the notice required in subsection (a) of this section shall not be grounds to deny the purchaser or prospective purchaser’s application.

(c)  A park owner shall not charge or collect any commission on the sale of a mobile home located in a park unless he the park owner contracts to sell the home.

Sec. 63.  10 V.S.A. § 6241(a) and (b)(4) are amended to read:

(a) A park owner may enter a mobile home lot in the park with the tenant’s resident’s consent, which shall not be unreasonably withheld.

(b) A park owner may also enter a mobile home lot in the park between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on no less than 12 hours’ notice for any of the following purposes:

* * *

(4)  To exhibit show the lot to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants residents, workers or contractors.

Sec. 64.  10 V.S.A. § 6242 is amended to read:

§ 6242.  LEASEHOLDER’S MOBILE HOME OWNERS’ RIGHT TO
              NOTIFICATION PRIOR TO PARK SALE

(a)  A mobile home park owner shall give to each leaseholder mobile home owner and to the commissioner of the department of housing and community affairs notice by certified mail of his or her intention to sell the mobile home park. For the purpose of this section, a leaseholder is the holder of a lease for a lot or a leasehold on which a mobile home owned by the leaseholder is sited. Nothing herein shall be construed to restrict the price at which the park owner offers the park for sale.  The notice shall state all the following:

(1)  that That the park owner intends to sell the park;.

(2)  the The price, terms and conditions under which the park owner offers the park for sale;.

(3)  a A list of the affected leaseholders mobile home owners and the number of leaseholds held by each;.

(4)  the The status of compliance with applicable statutes, regulations and permits, to the park owner’s best knowledge, and the reasons for any noncompliance; and.

(5)  that That for 45 days following the notice the mobile home park owner shall not make a final unconditional acceptance of an offer to purchase the park and that if within the 45 days the park owner receives notice pursuant to subsection (c) of this section that a majority of the leaseholders mobile home owners intend to consider purchase of the park, the park owner shall not make a final unconditional acceptance of an offer to purchase the park for an additional 90 days, starting from the 46th day following notice, except one from a group representing a majority of the leaseholders mobile home owners or from a nonprofit corporation approved by a majority of the leaseholders mobile home owners.

(b)  The leaseholders mobile home owners shall have 45 days following notice under subsection (a) of this section in which to determine whether they intend to consider purchase of the park through a group representing a majority of the leaseholders mobile home owners or a nonprofit corporation approved by a majority of the leaseholders mobile home owners. A majority of the leaseholders mobile home owners shall be determined by one vote per leasehold and no leaseholder mobile home owner shall have more than three votes or 30 percent of the aggregate park vote, whichever is less.  During this 45-day period, the park owner shall not accept a final unconditional offer to purchase the park. A park owner shall not restrict representatives of the department from access to the park residents.

(c)  If the park owner receives no notice from the leaseholders mobile home owners during the 45-day period or if the leaseholders mobile home owners notify the park owner that they do not intend to consider purchase of the park, the park owner has no further restrictions regarding sale of the park pursuant to this section.  If during the 45-day period, the park owner receives notice in writing that a majority of the leaseholders mobile home owners intend to consider purchase of the park then the park owner shall do all the following:

(1)  shall not Not accept a final unconditional offer to purchase from a party other than leaseholders for 90 days following the 45-day period, a total of 135 days following the notice from the leaseholders;.

(2)  shall negotiate Negotiate in good faith with the group representing a majority of the leaseholders mobile home owners or a nonprofit corporation approved by a majority of the leaseholders mobile home owners concerning purchase of the park;.

(3)  shall consider Consider any offer to purchase from a group representing a majority of the leaseholders mobile home owners or from a nonprofit corporation approved by a majority of the leaseholders mobile home owners.

(d)  A park owner who sells a mobile home park without complying with this section shall be liable to the residents mobile home owners in the aggregate amount of $10,000.00 or 50 percent of the gain realized by the park owner from the sale, whichever is greater. A sale, an offer to sell, or an attempt to sell a mobile home park without complying with this section shall also be subject to the remedies of section 6205 of this title, including actual and punitive damages.

(e)  The provisions of this section do not apply when the sale, transfer or conveyance of the mobile home park is any one or more of the following:

(1)  through Through a foreclosure sale;.

(2)  to To a member of the park owner’s family or to a trust for the sole benefit of members of the park owner’s family;

(3)  among Among the partners who own the mobile home park;.

(4)  incidental Incidental to financing the park;.

(5)  between Between joint tenants or tenants in common;.

(6)  pursuant Pursuant to eminent domain.

(7)  Pursuant to a municipal tax sale.

(f)  No additional notice pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be required if the sale is in compliance with either of the following:

(1)  The mobile home park owner completes a sale of the park within one year from the expiration of the 45-day period following the date of the notice and the sale price is either of the following:

(A)  No less than the price for which the park was offered for sale pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

(B)  Substantially higher than the final written offer from a group representing a majority of the mobile home owners or a nonprofit corporation approved by a majority of the mobile home owners.

(2)  The park owner has entered into a binding purchase and sale agreement with a group representing a majority of the mobile home owners or a nonprofit corporation approved by a majority of the mobile home owners with a closing date later than one year from the date of the notice.

(g)  A majority of the leaseholders group representing a majority of the mobile home owners or a nonprofit corporation approved by a majority of the mobile home owners shall negotiate in good faith with the park owner for purchase of the park.

Sec. 65.  10 V.S.A. § 6244 is amended to read:

§ 6244.  SECURITY DEPOSITS

(a)  A security deposit is any advance, deposit or prepaid rent which is refundable to a mobile home resident leaseholder at the termination or expiration of the occupancy. A security deposit is to secure the resident’s leaseholder’s obligation to pay rent and to maintain a rented mobile home or mobile home lot.

(b)  The mobile home park owner may retain all or a portion of the security deposit for any of the following reasons:

(1)  Nonpayment of rent.

(2)  Damage to property of the park owner, unless the damage is the result of normal wear and tear or the result of actions or events beyond the control of the resident leaseholder.

(3)  Nonpayment of utility or other charges which the resident leaseholder was required to pay directly to the park owner or to a utility.

(4)  Expenses for removal of articles abandoned by the resident leaseholder, including personal property, the mobile home, rubbish and motor vehicles from the mobile home lot.

(c)  A park owner shall return to the resident leaseholder the security deposit with a written statement itemizing any deductions within 14 days from the date on which the resident leaseholder:

* * *

(3)  has been removed from the park, together with the resident’s mobile home pursuant to a writ of possession.

(d)  The park owner shall comply with this section by hand-delivering or mailing the statement and any payment required to the last known address of the resident leaseholder.

* * *

(f)  Upon termination of the park owner’s interest in the park, the security deposit shall be transferred to the new park owner.  The new park owner shall give the resident leaseholder actual notice of the new park owner’s name and address with a statement that the security deposit has been transferred to the new park owner.

(g)  A town or municipality may adopt an ordinance governing security deposits on mobile homes or mobile home lots.  The ordinance shall be supplemental to and not inconsistent with the minimum protections of the provisions of this section.  The ordinance may not limit how a security deposit is held.  The ordinance may authorize the payment of interest on a security deposit.  The ordinance may provide that a housing board of review constituted pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 5005 may hear and decide disputes related to security deposits upon request for a hearing by a park owner or resident leaseholder. The board’s actions shall be reviewable under 24 V.S.A. § 5006.

Sec. 66.  10 V.S.A. § 6245 is amended to read:

§ 6245.  ILLEGAL EVICTIONS

(a)  No park owner may wilfuly cause, directly or indirectly, the interruption or termination of any utility service to a resident mobile home except for temporary interruptions for necessary repairs.

(b)  No park owner may directly or indirectly deny a resident leaseholder access to and possession of the resident’s rented or leased premises a mobile home, except through proper judicial process.

(c)  No park owner may directly or indirectly deny a resident leaseholder access to and possession of the resident’s leaseholder’s rented or leased property, except through proper judicial process.

Sec. 67.  10 V.S.A. § 6246(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Any resident leaseholder who sustains damage or injury as a result of an illegal eviction, as defined in section 6245 of this title, may bring an action for injunctive relief, damages, costs, and reasonable attorney fees.

Sec. 68.  10 V.S.A. § 6247(a) is amended to read:

(a)  A park owner may not retaliate by establishing any of the following:

(1)  Establishing or changing terms of a rental agreement or by bringing.

(2)  Bringing or threatening to bring an action against a resident who has done any of the following:

(1)  has complained (A)  Complained in writing to a governmental agency charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building, housing or health regulation of a violation applicable to the premises materially affecting health and safety;.

(2)  has complained (B)  Complained in writing to the park owner of a violation of this chapter; or.

(3)  has organized (C)  Organized or become a member of a resident’s association or similar organization.

Sec. 69.  10 V.S.A. § 6252(a) is amended to read:

(a)  If the percentage of a proposed lot rent increase is more than one percentage point above the U.S. Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers, Housing Component, published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in the periodical “Monthly Labor Review and Handbook of Labor Statistics” as established annually by the department, and if, within 15 business days after receipt by the commissioner of the notice required pursuant to subsection 6251(a) of this title, a majority of the affected leaseholders of the occupied leased lots files with the commissioner and the park owner a written petition that includes the name of the person who will act as the representative of the leaseholders and a statement that they dispute the proposed lot rent increase, the commissioner shall send a list of qualified professional mediators compiled by the department in cooperation with park owners and leaseholders to the park owner and to the leaseholders’ representative. Within five business days of receipt of the list, the park owner and the leaseholders’ representative shall agree on a mediator from the list provided by the commissioner and notify the commissioner of the name, address and telephone number of the mediator selected, accompanied by the mediator’s agreement to conduct the mediation.  If the commissioner has not been notified of a mediator as required by this subsection, the commissioner shall appoint a mediator from the department’s list.  The mediator may not have any interest, direct or indirect, in the mobile home park at issue and shall disclose to the park owner, the leaseholders and the commissioner, any experience as a mobile home park owner, resident or leaseholder, or any other circumstance that may create a real or perceived conflict of interest.  The department shall pay the reasonable fees for professional mediation services based on a schedule established by rule of the department.

Sec. 70.  10 V.S.A. § 6253(a) is amended to read:

(a)  If the parties are unable to resolve the disputed proposed lot rent increase pursuant to the process provided in section 6252 of this title, an action for abatement of some or all of the proposed lot rent increase based on a claim that the increase is clearly excessive may be initiated by the number a majority of the affected mobile home park leaseholders that corresponds to a majority of the occupied leased lots by filing a complaint in the superior court in the county in which the mobile home park is located within 30 days after the effective date of the proposed lot rent increase.

Sec. 71.  10 V.S.A. § 6254 is amended to read:

§ 6254.  REGISTRATION OF MOBILE HOME PARKS; REPORT

(a)  No later than September 1, 1995, and every three years thereafter on September 1, each year, each mobile home park owner shall register with the department on a form provided by the department.  The form shall include the following information:

* * *

(9)  The services provided to the mobile home park residents leaseholders for payment of lot rent.

(10)  Additional charges for services paid by residents leaseholders in addition to lot rent.

* * *

(c)  The department may charge a mobile home park owner an annual fee of no more than $9.00 for each occupied leased lot in the park on September 1 of each year.  The mobile home park owner may charge this fee to the affected mobile home park residents leaseholders.  The fee shall be submitted to the department with the registration form required in subsection (a) of this section. If a mobile home park owner charges the fee under this subsection to the mobile home park residents, the fee shall not be deemed to be a lot rent increase and shall not be included in any calculation of a lot rent increase pursuant to section 6251 of this title. A mobile home park owner shall not be charged the fee under this subsection for any mobile home park in which all the mobile homes are owned by the mobile home park owner.  The commissioner may enforce filing of the registration form and payment of the fee under subsection 6205(a) of this title.  A special fund shall be created for these fees, to be used by the department of housing and community affairs for its expenses in administering the laws regarding mobile home parks, and to pay any fees required in the mediation process pursuant to section 6252 of this title and for legal representation for leaseholders pursuant to section 6253 of this title.  This special fund shall be managed in accordance with subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32.

Sec. 72.  10 V.S.A. § 6262(c) is amended to read:

(c)  No rental agreement shall contain any provision by which the resident leaseholder waives the protections of the implied warranty of habitability. Any such waiver shall be deemed contrary to public policy and shall be unenforceable and void.


Sec. 73.  10 V.S.A. § 6263 is amended to read:

§ 6263.  HABITABILITY; TENANT LEASEHOLDER REMEDIES

(a)  If the mobile home park owner fails to comply with the obligation of habitability, the park owner shall be deemed to have notice of the noncompliance if the park owner receives actual notice of the noncompliance from the resident leaseholder, a governmental entity, or a qualified independent inspector.  If the park owner has received notice from any of those sources and fails to make repairs within a reasonable time and the noncompliance materially affects health and safety, the resident leaseholder may pursue any of the following remedies:

* * *

(b)  The remedies under this section are not available to a resident leaseholder if the noncompliance was caused by the negligent or deliberate act or omission of the resident leaseholder or of a person on the premises with the resident’s leaseholder’s consent.

Sec. 74.  10 V.S.A. § 6264 is amended to read:

§ 6264.  MINOR DEFECTS; REPAIR AND DEDUCT

(a)  If the park owner fails to repair a minor defect or noncompliance with this chapter or noncompliance with a material provision of the rental agreement within 30 days of receipt of written notice, the resident leaseholder may repair the defect or noncompliance and deduct from the rent the actual and reasonable cost, not to exceed one-half of one month’s lot rent.  No major work on water, sewer, or electrical systems may be performed under this section. The resident leaseholder shall provide the owner with written notice of the cost of the repair or service when the cost is deducted from the rent.  The resident leaseholder shall be responsible for any damage caused by the repair or attempts to repair.

(b)  The remedies under this section are not available to a resident leaseholder if the noncompliance was caused by the negligent or deliberate act or omission of the resident leaseholder or a person on the premises with the resident’s  leaseholder’s consent.

Sec. 75.  10 V.S.A. § 6265 is amended to read:

§ 6265.  CONDEMNATION AND RELOCATION OF RESIDENTS

(a)  The owner of a lot or rented mobile home which that is condemned by a governmental agency due to the wilful failure or refusal of the owner to comply with any obligations imposed by law shall provide for reasonable relocation costs of affected leaseholders and residents, except when the owner can demonstrate that he or she has no financial capacity to comply.  The affected leaseholders and residents shall have the right to recover the reasonable costs of relocation, including court costs and reasonable attorney fees.  The agency of natural resources shall grant to the owner in a timely fashion all permits necessary to correct violations under this subchapter.

(b)  The commissioner may require a park owner who commences a closure of a mobile home park pursuant to section 6237a of this title within one year of receiving from a state or municipal enforcement official a notice of a violation of health, safety, or environmental laws or of section 6262 of this title to pay reasonable relocation costs not to exceed $3,500.00 to each affected leaseholder, except when the park owner can demonstrate that he or she has no financial capacity to comply.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us