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Burlington officials to create new landlord ranking database - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Burlington officials to create new landlord ranking database

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

The Queen City has about 10,000 rental units. Burlington officials are putting together a new resource to give tenants a hint at what they're signing up for. The city is creating a website for renters to get ratings on properties they're interested in before signing a lease. The better the property is maintained, the better the score.

"I think the biggest benefit is the transparency of it," said William Ward, Burlington code enforcement director. 

The Queen City is developing a public database for tenants to get a sneak peek at their landlord before signing a lease. Ward says residents will be able to check out a property's rating on a scale of one to five.

"We think it's really marketable for a landlord to say that they have, for example, ten properties in their rental portfolio and that all ten received a five," said Ward. 

The rating is based on the number of deficiencies the apartment has at inspection. The most common deficiencies inspectors have found within the last month are heating unit and smoke detector violations. No deficiencies grant a perfect 5 rating. With 10 or more deficiencies, you get a one.

"I think that's encouraging for them to find out why they got a one and make sure that it doesn't happen again," said Ward.

Ward tells us the full data will be available next spring. WCAX News filed a public records request to collect the data ready so far. Out of the nearly 1,500 properties checked to date, 10 received a one rating.

"Between 40 and 50 percent of the properties have a five, so that's pretty good health of the housing index," said Ward.

Burlington residents we spoke with were on board with the new resource.

"I think it would definitely help," said Spencer Needham, Burlington.

"You're just going off of Craigslist or other websites checking and seeing what's available. You don't have anything to base it off of or past review for those landlords," said Alden Gilbert, Burlington. "I think it's a really good idea for people to get an idea of who they want to rent from." 

Ward says this system can be especially helpful for college students, who come in and out of apartments frequently.

"I really like that idea. That was something that I really thought was missing when I started looking for places off campus," said Emily Millar, Burlington. 

Landlords unhappy with their score can appeal it.

"It's pretty competitive and difficult to find a place where you're going to like and I think the rating system will help you make that decision," said Adam Weinheimer, Burlington. 

City Councilor Karen Paul spearheaded the property ratings idea. She doesn't know of any other cities that use a similar system and hopes it makes Burlington a model for other communities.

Code 2016 Housing Inspections:

Code 2015 Housing Inspections:

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