RAD’s Burlington Chapter is part of a coalition working to improve tenant rights in the city by passing a Just Cause Eviction charter change, which would protect tenants from arbitrary evictions and require landlords to have a legal justification for evicting a tenant. This past Monday, the coalition secured an important win when the Burlington City Council voted “yes” on a resolution to include the Just Cause Eviction question on the ballot for residents to vote on this coming Town Meeting Day.

To learn more and join the Just Cause Eviction fight in Burlington, head to https://justcausebtv.org 

The evening was was also a great victory for racial justice and police accountability, with RAD endorsed Councilor Perri Freeman securing a ballot measure that would create the most comprehensive and autonomous police oversight board in the country. Read RAD Regional Organizer Tom Proctor’s statement on the Just Cause win below:

“At the Just Cause Coalition, we are thrilled to have successfully placed Just Cause Eviction on the Burlington ballot this upcoming Town Meeting day. Monday’s ‘Yes’ vote for Just Cause is an important milestone for tenant rights in Burlington. While the fight is far from over, the city council has agreed to ask the people of Burlington whether it is time to regulate evictions in this city. No Cause eviction puts the lives of the 64% of Burlingtonians who rent in the hands of their landlords, who can choose to evict their tenants at any time and for any reason. Just Cause Eviction means tenants who pay their rent, look after their house and obey the law will be able to live in peace, stability and security, without the threat of eviction hanging over their heads.

The language for this ballot measure has been carefully crafted by bipartisan lawmakers to ensure reasonable exemptions will be made for landlords who need to move in family members, are selling their property, need to do substantial repairs, or live in the building (up to a triplex). We are pleased the City Council has recognized that an eviction is a disruptive and expensive life event, and that with Burlington’s 1.6% vacancy rate, it is extremely difficult for tenants to find new accommodation at short notice. We are pleased that future no-cause evictions will come with extended notice periods and financial compensation for the small percentage of tenants that will still be affected by a no-cause eviction.

Monday’s Yes vote on Just Cause was made possible by hundreds of hours of work from our dedicated activists; who have called into countless committee meetings, phone banked, flyered Burlington neighborhoods, emailed their representatives and spoken to the city’s NPA’s. Their tireless work has solidified support for this crucial charter change and has ensured that the City of Burlington will not ignore tenant rights issues for another year.

We owe a debt of gratitude towards Councilor Hightower and Councilor Pine, who have been instrumental to the Just Cause effort. They have been focused and dedicated to moving this legislation through the council, taking input and comment from all stakeholders to craft strong legislation that considers the needs of everyone affected by this issue.

We would also like to also thank our wonderful partners for their support: Rights and Democracy, CVOEO, Legal Aid, members of the Burlington Tenants Union, and the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition. Your knowledge and experience has been invaluable, and we hope to continue to fight alongside you as we get the Just Cause ballot measure passed on March 2nd.

This bipartisan vote shows the universal acknowledgement that it is time we build tenant rights in this city and work towards a fairer, more equitable Burlington that works for everyone and not just a privileged few.”

~ Tom Proctor, RAD Burlington & Chittenden Organizer and proud member of the Just Cause Coalition