Rental inspections: ‘For people like me, where does it end?’

BRATTLEBORO — I have been reading about the proposed changes to the rental inspections in Brattleboro with some interest.

One of the things I have not seen mentioned are homes like mine that have two or three apartments and are also owner-occupied.

The issues I read about seem to be with landlords who do not live on their properties. I have had two inspections by the fire department in the past eight years and have followed up on all recommendations. Why would I not? I live here!

Has any differentiation or exemption for owner-occupied units been discussed? Those of us who are in this situation are not landlords as a business, per se.

I feel it's not in the best interests of the town, or landlords or potential landlords with one property - our homes - to put another burden on us. Our rentals help us pay mortgages, taxes, and the other expenses involved in home ownership.

The 1-percent local-option sales tax gets shot down year after year, with its ludicrous argument that it will drive people to New Hampshire. (They already left; the ones still shopping downtown aren't going to notice or care.) But it's OK to continue to put additional expense on homeowners.

While I know the 1-percent local option sales tax is a discussion for Representative Town Meeting, it is tied to the rental inspection fee for me.

Homeowners are asked each year to pay more and more, with little to no benefit. Our streets have potholes, my daily walk to and from work at times forces me to walk in the street because either the sidewalks aren't plowed or they are in such need of repair that they are unsafe to walk on, especially when it's icy.

When we have heavy rains or spring thaws, the sidewalks on the east side of Oak Street near High Street and at the junctions of High and Bullock and Bullock and Green streets, are under inches of water. It's maddening. Main Street sees improvements, and the rest of us - we who pay our share of taxes, too - see not much.

And now we are to be levied with another expense. I know it's small. But we live in a town that has few good-paying jobs, with many people in low-paying hourly or tip-dependent service-related jobs.

For people like me who own homes with one or two rentals that help us get by - or that maybe help us fund retirements when we sell our homes at some point - where does it end?

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates