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Weatherization deadline for Burlington landlords approaching

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 5:21 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2021 at 5:32 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Renters in Burlington will soon benefit from a new law requiring landlords to weatherize their properties, but a shortage of workers means many of the upgrades won’t be completed until next year.

Vermont Gas officials are helping Burlington identify the city’s draftiest homes.

“Creates a real win-win scenario for property owners, homeowners, and those living in apartments and trying to figure out how to pay their utility bills, and hopefully reducing their carbon emissions as well,” said VGS’ Tim Perrin. He’s part of the team identifying which of the city’s over 3000 rental units are above 90,000 BTUs, a measurement of how energy efficient the units are.

“If someone gets that notice that they are in that 90K BTU threshold today, then if they contact one of those folks, get on schedule with a contractor for this spring, they will be in compliance with the ordinance,” said Bill Ward with the Burlington Department of Permitting and Inspections.

Some of the weatherization work can get expensive, which is why the City Council instituted a $2,500 cap per unit for what landlords have to pay out of pocket.

“I think this will be a good thing for everybody because it will help property owners keep their building safe and more importantly keep the tenants healthy by having a climate-controlled environment to have a safe and healthy apartment,” Ward said.

The ordinance takes effect January 1st, so landlords have a few months to get into compliance. Weatherization contractors are booked out until spring 2022, so the city says as long as the work is scheduled by January, landlords should be fine.

Vermont Gas has already enrolled 38 rental properties totaling 165 apartments in its weatherization program. Homeowners who need the work done should be notified in the next 30 days if they need to schedule the weatherization upgrades.

The city is also looking at creating a schedule for the future which could also include rental properties which aren’t the worst offenders but still are over a certain threshold for weatherization work in the future.

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