Join 5,723 other smart owners and managers who learn about proven property management tactics.
Learn about property management tactics.

Vermont Tenant-Landlord Law

by Margaret O'Brien

Vermont-



Fair Housing

The Fair Housing Act was created in order to ensure that everyone is treated equally during the housing process. It protects tenants from discrimination when seraching for a rental property. At the federal level the Fair Housing Act protects the following classes…

  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial Status
  • Disability

Learn about fair housing at the federal level here https://resources.hemlane.com/landlord-must-know-fair-housing/

In addition to federal fair housing laws, Vermont prohibits discrimination on the basis of...

  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Recipient of public assistance
  • If a person intends to occupy the dwelling with one or more minor person
    (9 V.S.A. § 4503).



Security Deposits

  • Maximum Landlord Can Charge: There is no statute.

  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: Landlords are required to return the security within 14 days after a tenant has moved out. Landlords have 60 days to return the deposit to tenants that rent a property seasonally (9 V.S.A. § 4461(c)).

  • Security Deposit Deduction Notice Upon Move Out: It is required that the landlord delivers an itemized list of monetary deductions along with the reinstatement of the security deposit (9 V.S.A. § 4461(c)).

  • Bank account requirements: There is no statute.

  • Permitted Use of Security Deposit: Landlords may deduct a portion or all of a security deposit to cover the costs if: the tenant fails to pay rent, utilities or other required charges; damages to the property beyond normal wear and tear; or to cover the costs of removing the tenant’s deserted items from the property (9 V.S.A. § 4461(b)).

  • Failure to Comply: Landlords that neglect to return the security deposit back to the tenant within the legal period of 14 days no longer have the right to withhold any amount of the security deposit. Deliberate failure to return the deposit makes the landlord liable for a two-fold increase in the initial amount and the duty to cover attorney’s fees (9 V.S.A. § 4461(e)).



Rent and Late Fees

  • Rent Fee: The tenant must pay rent at the time and place stated in the lease agreement (9 V.S.A. § 4455(a)).

  • Rent Increase: A notice of at least 60 days prior to an increase in rent is required of the landlord. On the first day of the rental period following the 60 days notice, the price increase may take effect. (9 V.S.A. § 4455(b)).

  • Late Fees: There is no statute governing late fees. Landlords that have incurred costs as a result of a late rent payment, however, may charge the value of their costs to compensate for those losses.

  • Withholding Rent: If the landlord neglects to make essential repairs or maintain health code requirements on the premises after receiving notice of noncompliance from the tenant, governmental entity or inspector, the tenant exercises the right to withhold rent (9 V.S.A. § 4458).

  • Repair and Deduct Rent: The tenant may make repairs if, after 30 days have passed since notifying the landlord, the landlord has failed to fulfill the request for minor fixes. The resulting costs may be subtracted from the successive rent payment, as long as it does not exceed the equivalent of one-half month’s rent (9 V.S.A. § 4459).



Notices and Entry

  • Landlord Access to Property: With consent from a tenant, a landlord may enter a rented property within 9 A.M. to 9 P.M. for the purpose of inspection, making repairs, supply services, or show the property to prospectively interested parties. The landlord must provide a notice of at least 48 hours. In the event of an emergency, no notice is required by law (9 V.S.A. § 4460).

  • Notice of Entry With Extended Tenant Absence: There is no statute.

  • Notice to Terminate Periodic Leases - Year or More: In order to terminate a lease agreement of a year or more, with no cause for eviction, a notice of at least 60 days is required. For leases of two years more, a notice of at least 90 days is required (9 V.S.A. § 4467(c)(1)(A) and (c)(1)(B)).

  • Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month Lease: Termination of a monthly lease agreement, under the circumstances of no cause for eviction, requires a notice of at least 30 days (9 V.S.A. § 4467(e)).

  • Notice to Terminate Week-to-Week Lease: A notice of at least 21 days is required to terminate a rent agreement payable on a weekly basis (9 V.S.A. § 4467(c)(2)).



Disclosures

Duties of Landlords:

  • Habitable Conditions: Landlords must maintain habitable conditions in dwelling units, that are safe, clean, and suitable for a human residence. They must comply with the relevant building, housing, and health code regulations of Vermont (9 V.S.A. § 4457(a)).
  • Heat and Water: Landlords are required to ensure that rented properties have working heating and water provisions that the tenant’s have access to a suitable amount of heat and hot water (9 V.S.A. § 4457(c)).
  • Lead Disclosure: Landlords must inform tenants of lead paint hazards and provide with the lease an information pamphlet on these hazards.

Duties of Tenants:

  • Habitable Conditions: Tenants must also comply with the same mandatory provisions of building, housing, and health regulations as the landlords. They should not take part in the noncompliance of these measures (9 V.S.A. § 4456(a)).
  • Quiet Enjoyment: Tenants should behave so as not to disturb the “peaceful enjoyment” of other tenants on their properties (9 V.S.A. § 4456(b)).
  • Damages: Tenants are not to intentionally or carelessly “destroy, deface, damage, or remove” any part of the rented property, nor should they allow anyone else to do so (9 V.S.A. § 4456(c)).

  • Retaliation: Landlords are not allowed to retaliate against a tenant who has taken action to inform the landlord of their violation of Vermont laws, complained to the government of a violation, joined a tenant’s union or organization alike. This includes altering the terms of the lease agreement and threatening to act against a tenant. In the event that the landlord does take retaliatory measures, the tenant has the right to recover damages and attorney’s fees (9 V.S.A. § 4465).



Evictions

  • Notice of Eviction - Nonpayment: Landlords may evict a tenant that remains in possession of a property for nonpayment of rent A written notice stating the date on which the tenancy will terminate is required at least 14 days prior to the actual date. Should the tenant pay the rent in full through the end of the rental period, the lease shall not be terminated (9 V.S.A. § 4467(a)).

  • Notice of Eviction - Lease Violation: The landlord is required to provide the tenant with an eviction notice for failure to comply with the lease agreement at least 30 days before the actual date specified in the notice (9 V.S.A. § 4467(b)(1)).

  • Notice of Eviction - Illegal Activity: The landlord may terminate the tenancy with cause of criminal activity. It is required that a notice is provided to the tenant at least 14 days before the actual date of termination specified in the notice (9 V.S.A. § 4467(b)(2)).

For more information on Vermont Landlord Tenant laws please visit their website here.