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

“I have great sympathy for their situation,” Hanford said. He’s also talked to tenants.

“There are always two sides to some of these stories. That’s what the eviction process is for: for courts to decide what is due and who should be held accountable. That’s what is so hard about this eviction moratorium.”

Landlords still have the same bills

Vermont Legal Aid, which worked with the Vermont Landlords Association and the Vermont State Housing Authority on the rent stabilization program, is seeing more lockouts than usual these days — situations where the landlord changes the locks in a dispute with the tenant, said Wendy Morgan of Legal Aid.

“Landlords say, ‘I want to be able to evict this person,’ and my answer is, ‘I get it,’” Morgan said. “But you’re not going to be able to evict them until at least January, or until much later than that. So take the money, leave the tenant there for six months, and you’re not going to be further behind.”

The intractable problems faced by both landlords and tenants right now are the reason the state needs to make sure that, at the very least, landlords are being paid and renters can remain housed, Hanford said.

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