A West Hartford couple accused of trashing at least two homes in West Hartford while participating in a state program that paid their rent is facing additional criminal charges.
NBC Connecticut Investigates first reported the allegations against Chad and Jessica Anderson in May when several landlords complained that the couple had damaged their rental properties.
The pair receives rental assistance through the federally-funded Shelter Plus Care program, which is administered by the through the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS).
Chad and Jessica Anderson were arrested Friday by West Hartford Police. They are each charged with one count of Criminal Damage to a Landlord's Property in the 1st Degree and Larceny in the 2nd Degree.
Their former landlord, Dritan Dalipi, told NBC Connecticut Investigates a DMHAS employee contacted him to inquire about renting his home to the Andersons.
Dalipi said the pair blatantly disregarded the no pets clause in their lease, damaged his house, and stole furniture when he asked them to leave.
The Andersons and their six children moved into Dalipi’s home after they were kicked out of their previous rental property in Bishop’s Corner.
In June, Chad and Jessica Anderson were charged with one count each of Criminal Damage to a Landlord's Property in the 1st Degree after the homeowner, Laura Guilmartin, accused them of causing $20,000 in damages.
Guilmartin said DMHAS gave her $4,000 to cover damages, the maximum allowed under the terms of the state’s Shelter Plus Care program.
The Andersons deny the charges and say they did nothing wrong. They invited NBC Connecticut inside their current rental home, which was spotless when we visited.
NBC Connecticut Investigates was unable to reach Chad Anderson’s attorney.
We spoke by phone with the attorney representing Jessica Anderson. Paul E. Mawn, Jr. He says he doesn’t believe his client has done anything in bad faith and called the allegations, “at best a misunderstanding.”
Mawn added that it is unusual for criminal charges to be filed in a landlord/tenant dispute.
In response to the landlords’ allegations, a DMHAS spokesperson told Investigates the department does not conduct background checks or vouch for its clients. The spokesperson also said the leases are between the landlord and tenant, and any disputes should be handled in court.
Chad and Jessica Anderson are scheduled to appear in court later this month.