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City of Winooski News Updates

Posted on: November 9, 2022

Winooski Housing Commission Update 11.9.22

Deputy Mayor Jim Duncan

By Deputy Mayor Jim Duncan

I serve as the City Council Liaison to the Housing Commission, which is charged with helping Council and staff "ensure a mix of quality housing that maintains and enhances Winooski’s unique sense of place and supports the needs of the entire community". 

The Housing Commission met on October 24th to begin work on housing quality-related issues in Winooski. Over the next several months, the Commission will focus on ordinances related to inspecting rental units for health and life safety issues. Winooski’s system for inspecting rental units combines a mix of fire and electrical codes, statewide residential housing codes, and our local ordinances. Inspections take place every four years for rental units using a checklist of dozens of items, but if a renter has a concern they can file a “minimum housing complaint” which can trigger an inspection.

At the meeting, Fire Chief John Audy and Fire Marshall Bruce Palmer walked the commission through the 17-page inspection list in detail, covering areas such as mold, bed bugs, electrical covers, and bathroom fans. You can see examples of items that have failed inspections here. The Commission discussed some of the practices currently allowed by national code and City ordinance that staff are looking to change, such as the ability for a commercial building owner to transfer sprinkler system maintenance responsibility to a tenant. The Commission also discussed areas that need more objective definitions, such as what it means to keep a residence clean. There was also substantial discussion about where education may be more appropriate than enforcement, such as how to fill dumpsters to ensure trash is hauled away on a regular basis.

After receiving this thorough introduction to what gets looked at in an inspection, Commissioners will be reviewing the list for any additional items that should be considered in inspections to share with Chief Audy. At their next meeting, Commissioners will walk through what happens when a violation is found and what tools are in the ordinances for correcting these violations. Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, the Commission moved its next meeting to Thursday, December 8th at 6pm. Meetings are open to the public; if any members of the community are interested in learning more about how the City enforces its housing standards, please consider attending. If you have questions about the work of the Winooski Housing Commission, feel free to reach out directly: or visit to learn more.

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