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Governor's rent relief order meets with criticism

State Senator Rob Sampson says issues should be left to landlord and tenant to work out

HARTFORD, Connecticut — Governor Lamont issued another executive order yesterday designed to help renters during these tough times.

But one Republican senator says it doesn’t provide any relief at all.

The governor told renters during his news conference -- they will be getting a break.

“Doing something for the renters was really important to me," Lamont said. 

He ordered all landlords to grant their tenants an automatic 60-day grace period for rent payments for the month of April and May.

The renter *will* have to show proof they have been impacted by this health crisis.

The Governor's Chief of Staff Paul Mounds says there will be no evictions at least until July. “Landlords will not be able to issue a notice, basically eviction proceedings through July 1. Except for serious issues of a nuisance or harming that occurs between the tenant and the landlord. Additionally, rent for renters will be provided an automatic 60-day grace period.

However -- there are some exceptions -- Lamont says a tenant can still be evicted now if there are serious issues of a nuisance or harm that may take place between the tenant and the landlord.

RELATED: Connecticut banks and credit unions agree to provide mortgage payment relief

“But there was a group that we were leaving out. And folks in those areas that are predominately renters, what can we do for them? They're the ones just as likely to have lost all sources of income.”

Republican State Senator Rob Sampson says Lamont's renter relief program is not providing any *relief* at all. “How do you expect people who might be struggling to pay their April and May rent, when suddenly june comes, they're going to owe two months."

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Also included in the executive order: if a tenant has a paid security deposit of more than one month's rent, the tenant can apply all or part of that to their April, May or June rent.

But Senator Sampson argues, that will not assure landlords they will be getting their property back in the condition it was leased. Sampson said, “If it was me, I would've left it up to the landlord and tenant to work it out together and to provide assistance in other ways.”

The Center for Leadership and Justice, which has advocated for Hartford area tenants for other issues, issued a statement on the rent relief order saying in part:

"Housing right now is healthcare and our most vulnerable citizens cannot have their housing at risk.
Many people have been unemployed for several weeks now. Many have children, and homes have become our schools. Housing needs to be protected first and foremost, and we applaud this step and hope there are ongoing protections and support."