The Brattleboro Selectboard will have a first reading of an ordinance to limit upfront rental costs at their next regular meeting, which will be held on 10-20-2020. (And probably end at 10:20.)
Police cars will be purchased, health insurance will be renewed, leases will be extended, grants will be applied for, and the skatepark committee will be disbanded now that their work is through. You can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.
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.
Brattleboro’s budget season kicks off with the board reviewing the Town’s Long Term Financial Plan, and scheduling meetings about the FY22 budget.
The Tenant’s Union proposal will be revisited. Other items include a new fire truck, the taking of some land for the Hinsdale Bridge project, waterproofing at the parking garage, an interim finance director decision, a reduction of rent for The Reformer, finances, and more. You can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.
Brandie Starr of the Brattleboro selectboard recently wrote an article titled, “Be part of the movement towards a sustainable Brattleboro” in which she directly addresses community members and, more specifically, landlords. The article is in reaction to and support of a, now notorious, proposal written by the Tenants’ Union of Brattleboro (TUB) which limits security deposits to an amount of one month’s rent or less.
Since the proposal was added to the last selectboard meeting agenda and since Starr has voiced her support, there have been rumblings of discontent from the landlord community. From voices of opposition at the selectboard meetings, to local landlord Deedee Jones’s rebuttal piece, to emails sent directly to the tenant’s union.
I am a member of TUB and a tenant who has rented four apartments in Brattleboro. On behalf of myself and the tenant’s union, I would like to elaborate on Starr’s points and examine the conditions that make a proposal like this reasonable, necessary and, quite honestly, not very radical. I would also like to address some of the voiced and rumored concerns from our local landlords.
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.
Are there any affordable apartments in or near Brattleboro yet?