Vermont Landlord Tenant Laws
March 2, 2023
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|Required Disclosures |
Rent and Fees
Application Fees: Prohibited
Rent Control: N/A
Late Fee Limit: N/A
Grace Period Minimum: N/A
Amount Limit: N/A
Return Within: 14 days
Notice: 48 hours’
Permitted Times of Entry: 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
|Fair Housing Protections |
Source of income (status as a recipient of public assistance)
Status as a victim of domestic violence
Rent Demand Notice: 14-day pay-or-quit notice
Notice for Lease Violation: 30-day quit notice
Unconditional Notice to Quit: 14-day quit notice
Vermont Landlord-Tenant Law
Landlords in all 50 states must include information about lead-based paint hazards in the rental agreements for most properties built before 1978. Sellers and landlords must distribute an EPA-approved information pamphlet called “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home” and disclose any known lead hazards in the property. These obligations were established by Section 1018 of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992.
Rent and Fees
- Rent Due Date: Rent is due at the time and place agreed on in the lease (9 VSA § 4455).
- Application Fees: Rental application fees are prohibited in Vermont. A landlord may not charge any fee to a prospective tenant to apply to enter into a rental agreement (9 VSA § 4456a).
- Rent Increases: There is no statewide rent control in Vermont. However, landlords must give at least 60 days’ notice for rent increases, which must take effect on the first day of the next rental period (9 VSA § 4455(b)).
- Late Fees: There are no statutory limits on a late fee charge for rent in Vermont.
- Grace Period: There is no mandatory grace period in Vermont.
- NSF/Bounced Check Fee Maximum: There is no defined service fee for bounced checks in Vermont. See 9 VSA § 2311 for civil penalties for bad checks.
- Withholding Rent/Repair and Deduct: If the landlord fails to fulfill their obligations for habitability, the tenant has the right to both withhold rent or repair and deduct. If the noncompliance materially affects health and safety, the tenant may send notice of the noncompliance to the landlord, wait a reasonable time, then withhold rent until the breach is remedied. The tenant may also obtain injunctive relief, recover reasonable damages and attorney’s fees, and terminate the Vermont lease agreement with reasonable notice (9 VSA § 4458).
If the landlord fails to repair a minor defect after 30 days of notice, the tenant may arrange for the repair and deduct the cost from the rent, so long as it does not exceed one-half of one month’s rent. The tenant must also provide the landlord with actual notice of the cost of the repair (9 VSA § 4459).
- Deposit Limit: There is no limit on security deposit amounts in Vermont.
- Interest: Landlords in Vermont are not required to pay interest on security deposits. However, a town or municipality in Vermont may adopt an ordinance that requires the payment of interest (9 VSA § 4461(g)).
- Return Within: 14 days (9 VSA § 4461(c)).
- Deposit Location: Landlords are not required to keep security deposits in a separate bank account. In fact, towns and municipalities in Vermont are prohibited from passing any ordinance that limits how a security deposit is held (9 VSA § 4461(g)).
- Withholding: Landlords may withhold funds from the security deposit for unpaid rent, unpaid utility bills, damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear or outside the tenant’s control, and expenses required to remove the tenant’s abandoned belongings. The landlord must also deliver to the tenant a written statement itemizing any deductions (9 VSA § 4461(b-c)).
Tenant Screening and Fair Housing Protections
- Federal law prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, and disability (Title 24 USC § 3601-3607). Vermont state law adds sexual orientation, gender identity, age, marital status, source of income (status as a recipient of public assistance), and status as a victim of domestic violence (9 VSA § 4503).
- Vermont landlords are subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) (15 USC § 1681), which outlines the responsibilities of landlords to protect tenant credit information. According to the Act, landlords may not share tenant credit information with anyone without a legal reason to view it. They must also investigate disputed information, dispose of credit reports after use in tenant screening, and notify applicants when their credit score or history was the reason for their denial.
- Criminal background checks may be used during tenant screening in Vermont.
- Vermont landlords should follow HUD recommendations for using criminal background checks fairly. This includes avoiding blanket policies for denying applicants with criminal convictions, assessing applicants and their criminal histories on a case-by-case basis, and only denying an applicant when they demonstrate a risk to the safety of other residents or the property.
- Advanced Notice: 48 hours’ (9 VSA § 4460(b)).
- Permitted Times: 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. Acceptable reasons for entry include inspections, repairs, alterations, improvements, services, or showings (9 VSA § 4460(b)).
- Emergency Entry: If the landlord has a reasonable belief that there is imminent danger to a person or the property, they may enter the dwelling unit without prior consent or notice (9 VSA § 4460(c)).
- Rent Demand Notice: 14 days to pay or quit (9 VSA § 4467(a)).
- Notice for Lease Violation: 30 days to quit (9 VSA § 4467(b)(1)).
- Unconditional Notice to Quit: 14 days to quit. According to Vermont eviction law, this notice applies when the tenant participates in criminal activity, illegal drug activity, or acts of violence that threaten the health or safety of other residents (9 VSA § 4467(b)(2)).
Other Laws and Facts About Vermont
- The median rent rate in Vermont is $999.
- The median rent rate in Burlington is $1,975.
- If a tenant in Vermont abandons a dwelling unit and does not claim it by paying the cost of storage and expenses within 60 days, the landlord may reclaim possession of the property and dispose of any personal property remaining on the leased premises (9 VSA § 4462).