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More than 300 former motel residents to receive improperly withheld security deposit

A man stands near a women speaking at a podium.
Liam Elder-Connors
Vermont Public
Attorney General Charity Clark announces the settlement at a press conference at the statehouse on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024.

The Vermont Attorney General's office announced today that more than 300 former motel residents will get back security deposits that were improperly withheld.

Motel owner Anil Sachdev housed people experiencing homelessness through a state program that was meant to help them transition to permanent housing. The state paid a $3,300 security deposit for each resident, which people could keep if they stayed in the program for at least four months and left their rooms in good condition.

But Attorney General Charity Clark told reporters on Wednesday that Sachdev, who owns five motels, didn't properly document room damages and many residents got improper notices telling them that they “may have” caused damages.

“The notices require a signature and a waiver of pursuing any remainder of the deposit,” Clark said during Wednesday’s press conference. “In some cases, people felt compelled to take the money in order to have some amount as they left the program. These notices were unfair and deceptive under Vermont law.”

Sachdev is required to pay back $310,000 in improperly withheld security deposits, the settlement says. A third-party administrator, paid for by Sachdev, is expected to send out claim forms to former motel residents in a few weeks and set-up a website, according to the AG’s office.

Sachdev, in a brief phone call, referred all questions about the settlement to his attorney who didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Attorney General’s investigation found similar practices to ones first reported on last year by Seven Days and VTDigger.

Clark said the AG’s office started investigating Sachdev after the Consumer Assistance Program received more than a dozen complaints from motel residents who said their security deposits had been improperly withheld.

The settlement agreement also requires Sachdev to use $523,600 to make repairs and improve conditions at his motels and provide the state with documentation of that work.

The motels covered by the settlement are the Cortina Inn in Rutland, EconoLodge in Montpelier, Hilltop Inn in Berlin, Pine Tree Lodge in Rutland, and Quality Inn in Brattleboro.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or contact reporter Liam Elder-Connors:


Corrected: January 26, 2024 at 3:00 PM EST
A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Anil Sachdev owned The Comfort Inn in Rutland, when in fact he owned the Cortina Inn.
Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
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