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Vermont Landlord-Tenant Laws

Vermont Landlord Tenant LawsThis article is intended to be an online resource for Vermont landlords.  We summarize key Vermont Landlord-Tenant laws that are most applicable to residential rental units.

This article is not qualified for legal advice.  Individuals seeking guidance need to work with a legal advisor who is qualified in the jurisdiction.  Vermont Landlord Tenant Laws and statutes may vary from county to county or city to city, this article provides state-level laws and statutes. 

Also, laws and statutes are subject to change and may cause sections of this article to be outdated.  We provide links to assist landlords and tenants to the state statute page for further research.

Click here if you are seeking renters insurance in Vermont.

 

Quick Facts for Real Estate Investors Considering Vermont

Vermont landlord-tenant laws are considered Tenant-friendly.

There are 624,989  residents in Vermont.  Major metropolitan markets in Vermont are:

  1. Burlington: Estimated population of 213,701, which 36% of residents are renter occupied.  The average rent is $1,212.

 

 

SECURITY DEPOSIT LAWS IN VERMONT

 

Does Vermont require security deposits?

Vermont does not require security deposits, however, if accepted then there are laws and regulations.

 

Is a security deposit receipt required in Vermont?

No statute.  It is generally recommended to still send a receipt of at least the date, the total amount received, and its purpose.

 

How much security deposit can a landlord charge in Vermont?

Vermont does not state a limit on security deposits.  Generally, landlords will charge one to one-and-a-half month’s rent for a security deposit.

 

 

Storage Requirements for Security Deposits in Vermont:

Vermont does not state where a landlord must keep security deposits.

 

 

Can security deposits be commingled with other assets in Vermont?

Landlords can commingle deposits with their personal funds.

 

Do landlords have to pay interest on security deposits in Vermont?

Landlords are not required to share the interest earned for deposits.  No statute.

  

 

 

When must a landlord return the deposit by in Vermont?

Landlords must return the security deposits within 14 days after the termination of the lease and delivery of possession by the tenant.  For seasonal rentals, security deposit must be returned within 60 days.   (9 V.S.A. § 4461(c))

 

When can a landlord in Vermont withhold a security deposit?

At the end of a lease, the landlord is required to return the tenant’s security deposit.  However, landlords may withhold all or portions of a tenant’s security deposit for (9 V.S.A. § 4461(b)):

  • Unpaid rent and/or fees
  • Damages beyond normal wear-and-tear
  • Unpaid utility charges the tenant would pay directly to the landlord
  • Expenses related to removing the tenant’s abandoned personal property

 

 

 

Nonrefundable fees:

Allowed but there must be a written agreement and stated if any part of the deposit is to be made non-refundable.  No statute.

 

Pet Deposits and Additional Fees:

No statute on pet security deposits.  Landlords should clarify in the lease agreement.

 

Require a written description / itemized list of damages and charges?

Landlords are required to provide a written and itemized list of damages that are delivered.  (9 V.S.A. § 4461(c))

 

What happens to Vermont landlords that fail to comply with returning the security deposit?

Landlords that fail to return forfeit their rights to without any portion of the security deposit.  If the landlord acted in bad faith, landlords can be liable for twice the amount of security deposit, plus all attorney’s fees and costs.  (9 V.S.A. § 4461(e))

 

 

 

 

 

RENTAL AGREEMENT LAWS IN VERMONT

 

Rental agreements required in Vermont:

Rental agreements are required for leases 12 months or longer.  We always recommend having a legal lease agreement to prevent future complications.

If you need a lease, Burbz offers an online Vermont rental lease agreement.

 

What are the required lease provisions in Vermont?

Vermont requires certain provisions to be included in the lease agreement.  Besides both the landlord and tenant names, the landlord should also list:

  • Conditions of occupancy
  • Description of the rental unit
  • Security deposit amount and terms
  • Process for requesting maintenance and repairs
  • Security deposit amount and terms
  • Process for requesting maintenance and repairs
  • Rent Amount and Due Date.Provision defining automatic renewal
  • Pet policies
  • Late Fees and Penalties
  • Landlords name, address, and phone number
  • Length of the lease agreement
  • Tenants name, address, and phone number
  • Landlord’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • Tenant’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • Occupancy by children or pets
  • Required deposits and the conditions for their refund
  • Inspection rights by the landlord
  • Other fees
  • Address of rental property
  • Subleasing policy
  • Cleaning Fees

 

 

What are the rental agreement notice requirements in Vermont:

Fixed-End or Year-to-Year: Leases with a fixed end date will simply expire.  If the tenant has been occupying for less than 2 years, 30 day notice is required.  For tenacy that has continued for two years or more, 60 day notice is required.  (9 V.S.A. § 4467(e)

Month-to-Month: Must provide at least 30 days’ written notice at any time. (9 V.S.A. § 4467(e))  Read our guide on Month-to-Month rent.

Week-to-Week: Must provide at least 21 day’s written notice with the termination date specified in the notice. (9 V.S.A. § 4467(c)(2))

 

Rent Increase Notice:

Landlords must provide at least 60 days notice prior to the first day of the rental period.  (9 V.S.A. § 4455(b))

Rent Grace Period for Residential:

No statute.

 

 

Prepaid Rent:

No statute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LATE FEES AND LIMITS IN VERMONT

Late Fees for Residential:

Vermont landlords cannot charge a late fee that is considered a penalty.  Landlords can only charge late fees based on actual compensation for costs incurred as a result of the late rent payment, this is the only acceptable situation for late fees.

 

 

 

 

VERMONT LEASE TERMINATIONS / NOTICES TO QUIT

 

In Vermont, lease agreements between landlords and tenants can be terminated.  Read our blog for landlords about handling early lease terminations.  Here are the cause and effects:

 

What is the Pay or Quit for Nonpayment requirement in Vermont?

Vermont landlords must provide a 14 day notice.  Accepting partial payment does not waive the landlord’s remedies for nonpayment of rent.  (9 V.S.A. § 4467(a))

 

How many days must a landlord allow before terminating for a Lease Violation?

Landlords must provide a 30 day notice to remedy or cure the violation.  For criminal activity, only a 14 day notice is required.   (9 V.S.A. § 4467(b)(1) and (2))

 

 

Any actions that result in an immediate lease termination?

Landlords can provide an immediate 14 day notice for lease termination due to criminal activity, illegal drug activity, or acts of violence, any of which threaten the health or safety of other residents.   (9 V.S.A. § 4467(b)(2)).

 

 

 

 

VERMONT LAWS ON REPAIRS

 

Vermont requires landlords to provide a habitable property for tenants to live and enjoy.  There are specific provisions defining how tenants can remedy repairs if the landlord fails to do so. 

How many days must the tenant give for repairs? 

Vermont state landlords must be given 30 days notice to correct the condition for non-emergency repairs.  If the tenant pays for the repairs, the limit is not to exceed one-half of the monthly rent amount and must provide notice to the landlord when the cost is deducted from rent.   (9 V.S.A. § 4459(a))

Tenants must provide reasonable notice for emergency repairs that make the unit inhabitable.  (9 V.S.A. § 4458).

 

Can tenants withhold rent for landlords’ failure to provide essential services (i.e. water, heat, etc.)?

Vermont allows the tenant the following remedies to handle repairs if the landlord fails (9 V.S.A. § 4458):

  • Tenant may withhold rent for the period of the noncompliance
  • Tenant may obtain injunctive relief
  • Tenant can recover damages, costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees
  • Tenant can terminate the rental agreement on reasonable notice

 

 

VERMONT LANDLORD LAWS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Landlords have an obligation to the tenants, which include (9 V.S.A. § 4457):

  • Warranty of Habitability:  In any residential rental agreement, the landlord shall be deemed to covenant and warrant to deliver over and maintain, throughout the period of the tenancy, premises that are safe, clean, and fit for human habitation and which comply with the requirements of applicable building, housing, and health regulations.
  • Waiver: No rental agreement shall contain any provision by which the tenant waives the protections of the implied warranty of habitability. Any such waiver shall be deemed contrary to public policy and shall be unenforceable and void.
  • Heat and Water: As part of the implied warranty of habitability, the landlord shall ensure that the dwelling unit has heating facilities which are capable of safely providing a reasonable amount of heat. Every landlord who provides heat as part of the rental agreement shall at all times supply a reasonable amount of heat to the dwelling unit. The landlord shall provide an adequate amount of water to each dwelling unit properly connected with hot and cold water lines. The hot water lines shall be connected with supplied water-heating facilities which are capable of heating sufficient water to permit an adequate amount to be drawn. This subsection shall not apply to a dwelling unit intended and rented for summer occupancy or as a hunting camp.

 

 

 

VERMONT TENANT LAWS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Generally, tenants must dispose of all rubbish and garbage, refrain from unreasonable use of electrical, heating, and plumbing fixtures, meet all obligations lawfully by the code enforcement agency, refrain from willfully destroying or damaging the structure, take in additional occupants, rent or sublease without the owner’s consent.  (9 V.S.A. § 4456)

 

 

 

 

 

VERMONT EVICTION LAWS

 

Can landlords do a ‘self help’ eviction?

In Vermont, it is illegal for landlords to cause the tenant to quit the rental unit involuntarily.  Landlords may be liable for damages sustained as a result of an illegal eviction for injunctive relief, damages, costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees.  (9 V.S.A. § 4464)

Are landlords allowed to lockout tenants by changing locks?

The landlord cannot change or remove the doors or locks. (9 V.S.A. § 4464)

 

Are landlords allowed to turn off utilities?

The landlord cannot change or turn off utilities to impede on the tenants.. (9 V.S.A. § 4464)

Do landlords have to make a reasonable attempt to mitigate damages when re-renting the rental unit?

No.  However, once a landlord rents the dwelling unit before the expiration of the prior rental agreement, the previous agreement terminates on the date of the new tenancy.  (9 V.S.A. § 4462)

 

 

 

VERMONT LAWS ON RETALIATION

 

Vermont laws does not state any retaliation laws.  However, Burbz generally recommends for landlords not to retaliate for any of the following:

  • Tenant submitted, or threatened to, a complaint to a government agency for building or health code violation
  • Tenant has sent written complaints to the landlords about repairs
  • Tenant has organized or become a member of a tenant’s union or similar organization

Vermont defines a period of 90 days after notice by any municipal or State governmental entity as an assumed period of retaliation.  (9 V.S.A. § 4465)

 

 

 

 

LAWS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, AND SEXUAL ASSAULT

Vermont does not have any law to protect victims of domestic violence.  Burbz encourages landlords to work with their tenants for safety and health.  A general good practice is allowing the victim to terminate the lease with a 30-day notice and victims should provide proof of documentation. 

If you are a victim, please search The Vermont Network  site for a helpline:

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

 

 

 

 

VERMONT LAWS FOR LOCKS AND LANDLORDS

Vermont does not have any statewide laws regarding locks for landlords.  The tenant cannot remove, replace, or add a lock without the written permission from the landlord.  If the tenant does with permission, they must provide the landlord with a key. 

 

 

 

 

VERMONT PET LAWS & PET POLICIES

Vermont Landlord-Tenant Laws does not have any specific pet laws.  The lease agreement should state whether pets are allowed and any type of pet deposit that will be charged.

Landlords are legally allowed to create their own pet policies and requirements.  Including tolerance for breeds, size, types, and more. 

Read our guide to pet policies.

 

 

 

 

 

DO LANDLORDS IN VERMONT NEED A RENTAL LICENSE?

 

According to Vermont Landlord-Tenant Laws, landlords do not need a rental license in Vermont. 

Local cities may have different requirements, we recommend you research the local city-specific laws.

 

 

 

 

 

NOTICE OF ENTRY LAWS IN VERMONT

Do landlords in Vermont have to provide notice of entry? 

Vermont requires the landlord to provide 48 hours notice, except in the case of an emergency.  Entry is only allowed from 9am to 9pm:

  • Non-emergency maintenance and repairs
  • Improvements to property
  • Inspections
  • Showing prospective tenants, contractors, mortgagees, or buyers.

 

When can a landlord enter without notice:

Landlords may only enter without consent if there is a reasonable belief that there is imminent danger to any person or to property.  (9 V.S.A. § 4460)

 

 

Can landlords enter for non-emergency maintenance and repairs?

Landlords may enter with at least a 48 hour notice.  (9 V.S.A. § 4460)

 

 

Can landlords enter for showings?

Landlords may enter with at least a 48 hour notice.  (9 V.S.A. § 4460)

 

 

 

Can landlords enter for emergencies without notice?

Landlords may enter without notice if there is a reasonable belief for harm to a person or property.  (9 V.S.A. § 4460)

 

 

Can landlords enter during Tenant’s extended absence?

No statute.

 

 

Can landlords enter for pesticides?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

 

VERMONT SUBLEASE AND ASSIGNMENT PROVISIONS

Landlords should include a clause in the lease agreement to prevent subleasing.  Otherwise, the tenant may sublet the rental unit.

 

 

 

 

TENANT ABANDONED PROPERTY IN VERMONT

 

Vermont Landlord Tenant Laws state a tenant is considered abandoned if:

  • There are circumstances which would lead a reasonable person to believe that the rental unit is no longer occupied as a full-time residence
  • Rent is not current, and
  • Landlord has made reasonable efforts to ascertain the tenant’s intentions

Landlords must provide written notice sent via certified mail to the tenants last known address.  Tenants have 60 days to pick up their property after they pay for costs of inventory, moving and storage.  After the 60 days, the property becomes the landlords and they may dispose of how they deem fit.

The tenant may claim the property by providing the landlord with the following within the 60 day notice:

  • A reasonable written description of the property; and
  • Payment of the fair and reasonable costs of storage and any related reasonable expenses incurred by the landlord

Read more: (9 V.S.A. § 4462)

 

 

 

 

REQUIRED RENTAL AGREEMENT DISCLOSURES FOR VERMONT LEASES

 

Vermont Landlord-Tenant Laws requires the following be included with all Rental Agreement Disclosures:

 

Lead Paint Disclosure:  Yes.  Federal law requires every landlord to disclose known information on lead-based paint and hazards.  Landlords must provide this EPA-approved pamphlet.

 

 

 

 

HELPFUL RESOURCES

Vermont Statutes Online Title 9, Chapter 137: Residential Rental Agreements

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Vermont

Vermont Housing Finance Agency

Vermont Consumer Services

 

VERMONT RELATED COURT INFO & LINKS

 

Vermont Small Claims Court Limits:

$5,000 is the limit for small claims court. (12 V.S.A. § 5531)

 

Vermont Eviction Cases Allowed in Small Claims:

No.

Vermont Judiciary

Vermont Judiciary Court Divisions – Civil Division

Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Vermont Bar Association

 

 

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