The Town of Brattleboro will vote on a ban to No Cause Evictions in a referendum on March 7, 2023. Landlords and managers of rental properties are strongly opposed to this ban.
The term “No Cause Evictions” is a bit of a misnomer. There is always a cause when a property owner or manager does not renew a lease. And these are not exactly evictions, they are non-renewal of leases at the lease terminations. Tenants are able to leave at the end of a lease, why should the owner or manager not be allowed to ask the tenant to leave?
No Cause Evictions are a tool used by property owners and managers to ensure the safe and quiet enjoyment of rental properties by all tenants. Taking a tenant to court for a “For Cause Eviction” is extremely costly ($5,000 to get started), take many months and offer no guarantee of results.
The Brattleboro Selectboard will hold two public hearings to discuss a Charter Amendment. The first public hearing will be held on Friday, February 3, 2023 at 6:15pm in the Selectboard Meeting Room at the Municipal Center (230 Main Street) and the second public hearing will be held during a scheduled Selectboard meeting on Tuesday, February 7, 2023 at 6:15pm in the Selectboard meeting room.
Tuesday’s meeting of the Brattleboro Selectboard featured discussions of rental housing, downtown, marketing, tax exemptions, and a new Amtrak station. And the meeting, again, was very long.
The Brattleboro Selectboard spent the bulk of their primetime evening discussing a proposal from the Tenants Union of Brattleboro. They heard from tenants and landlords about a wide range of issues, realized the problem was bigger than what Brattleboro can solve by itself, but pressed on to work on an ordinance limiting what landlords collect and how that money is used. A new board will be created to hear rental housing security deposit disputes.
Some landlords speaking at this week’s Brattleboro Selectboard meeting had a few problems with the proposed apartment inspection program. In speaking up, they brought up a community need for both landlords and tenants.
The first issue for landlords was cost. Multi-unit landlords said that to suddenly have a bill due for a couple of thousand dollars, all at once, wasn’t terribly appealing. The board tried to make the point that it was only a couple of dollars per month per unit, but the new ordinance doesn’t call for billing monthly. It’s all due in one lump sum, 30 days from the date billed. Penalties and interest extra.
The Brattleboro Selectboard took up a full agenda, though with only three members present, they themselves were not quite full.
The big discussion of the evening centered on landlords and a new rental housing inspection system soon to take effect, but the exciting news came during public participation when it was announced that a day work program, legal and with dignity, will soon be getting started.