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

“This is what I have been getting from some tenants lately: ‘I know you can’t evict me because of this eviction moratorium, and I’m going to sit here and not pay rent and save my money and move when all this is over,’” Scibek said. “He said, ‘If you want to pay me $15,000, I’ll move.’”

Vermont was seeing about 1,750 court-filed evictions each year before the Covid-related moratoriums — about 2% of the state’s estimated 76,000 rental households, said Jean Murray, a Vermont Legal Aid attorney who works with tenants. The number has slowed dramatically since the moratoriums began in March; Murray said between March and August, about 250 new eviction cases were filed — about a third the number normally filed in previous years. 

The state program does contain a provision for eviction when criminal activity is happening in the rental. With their five security cameras trained on the property, Mahmood and McPhetres have been assiduously documenting all activity, and are now on a first-name basis with several members of the South Royalton Police Department, who are called to the rental property — by Mahmood and McPhetres, or by people in the rental — a few times a month.

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