Town Manager Chet Hagenbarth answers questions on Article 1 short term rental registration
What is a short-term rental?
A short-term rental, sometimes called home-sharing or a vacation rental, is a rental of a home or apartment for periods of less than 30 consecutive days. Killington’s proposed zoning bylaw change would not require registration for short-term rentals for less than 14 days per calendar year.
Why does the town need to regulate short-term rentals?
Awareness – we have learned that many rental agents and property owners are not aware of many of the rules that already exist.
All short-term rental properties are public buildings as part of the rules governing the Vermont Division of Fire Safety. As such, all such rental properties must have the Division of Fire Safety inspect and provide a certificate of occupancy. Self-certification is an option for rental properties with an occupancy of 8 or less. Depending on the age of the building and rental history, fire sprinklers are required for occupancies greater than 9 (newer) or 16 (older) along with other considerations.
Agents and property owners must comply with wastewater rules governing their property. There has been misleading information regarding the state’s Clean Slate rules. Clean Slate rules govern all wastewater sites constructed prior to 2007, which do not have local wastewater permits issued in conjunction with a wastewater ordinance. The Town of Killington’s Wastewater Ordinances date back to 1975. Therefore, only systems installed prior to 1975 are potentially able to fall within the guidelines of Clean Slate.
Occupancies greater than 16 may also be subject to water quality and testing requirements.
Zoning requirements and permits exist for most buildings constructed in Killington. Occupancy requirements and zoning district limitations will affect how the property is utilized as a rental.
A major issue that has been identified is a lack of coordination between state agencies on regulations that affect rental properties. We have seen many instances where agents/owners have contacted one agency, usually the Division of Fire Safety, and completed expensive repairs/upgrades only to find out they are in violation of other permits and will not be able to utilize the property to the extent met with the approving agency.
Finally, given the large scale of violations and complaints, monitoring has become a critical piece of the process. We have received a record number of complaints and safety issues this summer due to the influx of out-of-state rental occupants. A large quantity of rental units are not being managed locally and, therefore, no point of contact or manager is available to deal with issues that arise. Currently, the burden is on the town to verify and manage violations, which will have a significant cost to the taxpayers. The registration program will shift the burden and cost to the rental properties who are benefiting from the rental income. Proposed fees discussed but not adopted, have ranged from $150-$250 per year, which is less than the average daily rental rate in Killington for short-term rentals.
Is the town trying to discourage short-term rentals?
On the contrary. The town encourages all forms of real estate management in order to safely bring as many guests as legally possible. We have not reached 100% capacity of all rental units even in the busy last few years in town. Health and safety of our guests, property owners and neighbors is the driving force in promoting the registration program.
Will enforcement of the existing laws continue if the zoning amendments do not pass?
Yes, as stated the laws exist and new laws are not proposed in the registration program. We have already contracted with a monitoring company and we will be adding functions within the system to include a complaint hotline where anonymous complaints can be uploaded with photos.
The choice of the voters is whether to pass the responsibility for compliance and cost for monitoring and legal assistance onto the rental properties or have it be borne by the taxpayers.
Can second homeowners vote in a local election?
The state of Vermont allows for same day voter registration for residents. The law does not allow any voter to maintain voting rights in their previous place of residence. Therefore, all persons registering to vote in Vermont must give up their right to vote elsewhere and must complete a homestead declaration in the state of Vermont for property taxes. Residents pay a higher rate in Killington than non-residents.