Over the past few weeks, we have seen many landlords taking a stance against the Tenants Union of Brattleboro’s (TUB) recent proposal to limit tenant move-in costs to a maximum of two month’s rent (first month plus security deposit). In a housing shortage that’s only getting worse and an environment where over half of Vermonters are rent burdened, this is an important and simple step toward making housing accessible and affordable for all people in Brattleboro.
Yet, we continually hear confusion from landlords about why we can’t just get along and why they are perceived as “mustache twirling villains”.
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.