RUMFORD – Tenants ordered by selectmen to vacate 14 Prospect Ave. until their landlord fixes code violations, may not have to go, according to Rumford building program landlord-tenant advocate Jennifer Norris.

She said Saturday that Town Manager Len Greaney told her the three tenants do not have to leave, because the town will work with landlord Brian O’Keefe of Chelmsford, Mass., to resolve code issues.

“Rumford does want to create a win-win process and give landlords a fair chance,” Norris said on Saturday, taking a break from documenting with O’Keefe cited violations and completed work.

Working together, Norris said they will create a plan of correction and a presentation for selectmen at an upcoming meeting.

It’s not a sure thing, however. Selectmen could stick to their Oct. 2 eviction decision.

“We want to do what’s best for Rumford, so as not to put people in bankruptcy for a laundry list of violations and have the town end up with another vacant building. We don’t want to hurt and destroy lives while bettering Rumford,” Norris said.

That was good news to Alton and Stacy Steward, who were packed and ready to move on Saturday into another Rumford apartment where they’d have to pay heat and rent. Heat is included in O’Keefe’s rent.

“We’re grateful that Jen’s helping or we would have moved today,” Stacy Steward said. “I’m glad that she’s able to help them hear us, or we wouldn’t have a Christmas.”

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