Vermont Confirms Fair Housing Protections Against Retaliation

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin recently marked the anniversary of the federal Fair Housing Act by declaring April Fair Housing Month and signing two housing protection bills into law. One bill, H.123, ensures mobile home parks are safely maintained and abandoned mobile homes can be dealt with fairly and expeditiously. The other, H.256, corrects and confirms protections against retaliation for exercising fair housing rights.

“It is integral that we protect the right of Vermonters to live in safe and healthy communities, and these bills will do just that,” the governor said in a statement.

H.123 makes certain that residents of a mobile home park have access to emergency response services and won’t be needlessly subjected to blighted and abandoned homes in their communities. It also gives the Department of Housing and Community Development the ability to ensure habitability standards are maintained and that leases governing these communities are not discriminatory.

H.256 contains a technical correction to fair housing law to surpass federal standards regarding the ability of citizens to ensure they are treated fairly in their housing. It also brings additional clarity to property rights in a residential rental agreement to encourage a functional rental market.

“Barriers to safe, decent, and affordable housing are not always financial. Sadly, discrimination and disrepair sometimes prevent Vermonters from finding a home or being safe in the one they have,” said Jennifer Hollar, Deputy Commissioner of Housing and Community Development. “Today and every day, we must work together to lower these barriers. This legislation gives us more practical tools for ensuring homes are safe and their doors are open to all.”

Source: Vermont Governor’s Office