As the pandemic stretches on, landlords ask for help with tenant troubles

SOUTH ROYALTON — From the backyard of their modest 850-square-foot home on Vermont Route 14, Chris McPhetres and Wendy Mahmood can look down upon a branch of the White River, verdant farm fields and woods. 

The view is a lot less bucolic in the other direction. Plainly visible out front is the detritus packed onto the porch of a small 1938 schoolhouse, now a home that McPhetres has been renting out since 2008.

The two would like to evict their tenant, who they said hasn’t paid her $950/month rent since March and whose lease ran out at the end of August. But new renter stabilization rules that went into effect as a result of Covid are making it nearly impossible for them to do so.

Their five security cameras, which Mahmood monitors while working her day job for the state in Montpelier, show a steady stream of visitors, some from out of state. Police are regular visitors to the schoolhouse. The two tell of headlights shining on their bedroom ceiling late at night, and of cars blocking their driveway. 

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