Liz Francese

Renters and landlords are not in a democratic relationship

Landlords have reacted emotionally to the Tenants’ Union proposal. They believe they are not inflicting harm, but their worldview is shrouded — and understandably so. It is difficult to comprehend and admit to being part of a system that perpetuates poverty.

Brandie Starr, a member of the Selectboard, recently wrote “Landlords, what do you want to invest in?” [Viewpoint, Sept. 16], in which she directly addresses community members and, more specifically, landlords. Her 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.

Since the proposal was added to the 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 [“Owning rental property is a business,” Counterpoint, Sept. 23], to emails sent directly to the Tenants' 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.

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