Vermont Landlord Tenant Law

Below you will find a compilation of information regarding Vermont state landlord tenant laws. This list is not exhaustive and you should do your own research and consult with an attorney as needed. This will give you a general idea of the laws in Vermont that landlords need to be aware of while renting residential property, citing the Vermont Statutes for Residential Rental Agreements, chapter 9, section 137.

Vermont Landlord Tenant Law

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Vermont Landlord Tenant Law Resources

Vermont Statutes – Residential Rental Agreements (Chapter 9, Section 137) Vermont Fair Housing Information

Vermont Landlord Tenant Law

Rental Agreement

  • Rental agreements between landlord and tenant cannot contain any provisions or clauses which are prohibited by law. (137.4454)
  • Tenants must pay rent on the day or date agreed upon in the rental agreement without prior notice. (137.4455)
  • Tenants may terminate their rental agreement in writing at least one rental payment before the date specified in the termination notice – as long as there is no termination date specified in the rental agreement. (137.4456)
  • Landlords or their agents may not charge an application fee to any potential tenant in order for them to apply to rent the property. (137.4456a)

Security Deposits (137.4461)

  • Security deposits are defined as any advance, deposit, or prepaid rent which is refundable to the tenant at the end of their tenancy. The deposit functions as a way to secure the performance of a tenant’s obligations to the rental agreement, including paying rent and maintaining the property.
  • Landlords may retain a portion or all of the security deposit for specific reasons.
    • Nonpayment of rent
    • Damage to the property, unless the damage is due to normal wear and tear or something beyond the tenant’s control
    • Nonpayment of utility bills or other charges which the tenant was supposed to pay to the landlord or the utility company
    • Any expense that occurs as a result of removing property from the rental that was abandoned by the tenant
  • Landlords must return the security deposit with written notice detailing any deductions within 14 days from the date the tenant vacated the property with notice or when the landlord discovered the property was vacated or abandoned.
    • For seasonal tenancies for properties that are not a primary residence, the landlord has 60 days to return the deposite and written notice of deductions.
  • Landlords must hand deliver or mail written notices and security deposits to the tenant’s last known address.
  • Landlords who fail to meet the 14 day deadline forfeit their right to withhold any portion of the security deposit.
  • If a landlord’s interest in the property is terminated, the security deposit is transferred to the new landlord. The new landlord must give the tenant written notice of their name and address, along with a statement that the security deposit funds have been transferred.

Tenant Obligations – Living in the Property (137.4456)

  • Tenants must follow all building, housing, and health regulations in the state of Vermont while occupying the rental property.
  • Tenants must behave in a way that will not disturb other tenants’ enjoyment and peaceful use of the property.
  • Tenants may not deliberately or negligently damage or destroy property, nor shall they remove anything from the property including fixtures, mechanical systems, or furnishings. Furthermore, tenants may not allow anyone else to damage, destroy, or remove any of the property.
  • Landlords are entitled to recover damages, costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees if the tenant violates any of the rules within the 137.4456 section of the Vermont landlord tenant law.

Habitability (137.4457)

  • Landlords are required to deliver and maintain, through the entirety of the tenancy, a property that is safe, clean, and fit for human habitation.
  • Landlords must comply with all requirements for building, housing, and health regulations where applicable.
  • The tenant cannot waive these protections through the rental agreement. These waivers, if they are found in a rental agreement, are unenforceable and void.
  • Landlords must ensure that the property has heating facilities that produce a reasonable amount of heat.
  • Landlords must provide a sufficient amount of water to each rental property and make sure it is connected properly with both hot and cold water lines. Hot water lines must be connected with supplied water-heating facilities which allow tenants to draw an adequate amount of hot water.

Tenant Remedies – Habitability (137.4458)

  • Landlords may receive written notice of any noncompliance of habitability from a tenant, government entity, or a qualified independent inspector.
  • If a landlord fails to make repairs within a reasonable amount of time and the problems identified in the notice affect a tenants health and safety, the tenant may take direct action:
    • Tentants may withhold the rent payment until the problems are repaired or corrected
    • Tenants can obtain injunctive relief.
    • Tenants can recover damages, costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees.
    • Tenants can terminate the rental agreement with reasonable notice.
  • If the tenant has caused the inhabitability of the property, they may not use the remedies listed above.

Repair of Minor Defects (137.4459)

  • Landlords must repair minor defects to the property within 30 days of written notice from a tenant.
  • If the repairs are not made, the tenant can make the repair and deduct the cost of the repair from the rent.
    • This amount cannot exceed half of the monthly rent.
    • Tenants must provide the landlord with written notice of the cost for the pair at the time the amount is deducted from the rent.

Access to the Property (137.4460)

  • Landlords may enter the property with the tenant’s consent.
  • The tenant cannot unreasonably withhold their consent.
  • Landlords may enter the property between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. with 48 hours notice for specific reasons:
    • Inspection of the property
    • Necessary and/or agreed upon repairs, changes, or improvements
    • Supply agreed upon services
    • Show the rental property to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workers, or contractors
  • Landlords may enter the rental property without consent or written notice if the landlord has a reasonable belief that there is an ongoing emergency and the property or a person is in danger.

Abandonment of Property by Tenants (137.4462)

  • Abandonment of the rental property by tenants is defined as
    • Circumstances which would lead the landlord to believe the property is no longer occupied as a full-time residence,
    • Rent is not current, and
    • The landlord makes reasonable efforts to discover the tenant’s intentions and plans.
  • If a tenant abandons the rental property, they are still liable for the full rent until the end of the rental agreement.
    • If the landlord rents the property to new tenants, after the intial abandonment, before the end of prior agreement, that previous agreement is terminated.
  • Tenants are to be granted the ability to claim their property within 60 days of written notice by the landlord. After the 60 day notice, the landlord may dispose of the property or claim the property as their own.
  • Tenants can claim their property, within the 60 day window by giving written notice with a description of the property and payment of reasonable storage costs and any other related expenses the landlord may incur.
  • Any personal property left behind by tenants that issued a written notice to the landlord that they would vacate the property may be disposed of by the landlord without notice to the owner or previous tenant of the personal property.

Termination of Tenancy (137.4467)

  • Landlords may terminate a tenancy for nonpayment of rent.
    • Landlords must provide written notice of the termination and must be at least 14 days from the date of the notice.
    • Termination will be halted if the tenant pays what is owed to the landlord.
    • Landlords may accept partial rent payments without waiving their remedies for nonpayment of rent.
  • Landlords may terminate a tenancy for violations of the rental agreement.
    • Landlords must provide 30 days written notice of the termination of the rental agreement.
  • Landlords may terminate a tenancy for criminal activity or acts of violence.
    • Landlords must provide 14 days written notice.

Vermont Tenant Screening Background Checks

When screening tenants in the state of Vermont, landlords must be mindful of the federal Fair Housing laws, as well as state and local fair housing laws. In the state of Vermont, the classes protected under Fair Housing laws include: race, color, national origin/ancestry, culture, religion, disability, familial status, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, and those on public assistance. Visit Vermont Tenant Screening Background Checks to screen your tenant.

Landlords can determine eligibility for tenancy based on whether a tenant seems likely to pay their rent. Landlords may obtain references from previous landlords, financial history, or employment history for prospective tenants.

Vermont Landlord Forms

If you need any Vermont landlord forms when working with your rental properties or tenants, take a look at the links below. Vermont Landlord Forms Landlord’s Certificate (Form LC-142) Click to see American Apartment Owners Association’s Vermont Landlord Forms..

Nationwide Landlord Tenant Laws

Looking for landlord tenant laws outside of Vermont? The American Apartment Owners Association offers helpful landlord tenant laws for all 50 states. Click on any of the states listed below and go directly to its landlord tenant law page. To visit the homepage of landlord tenant laws, click here.

Bookmark this page and use it as a reference guide when dealing with legal questions that arise in working with tenants and rental properties in Vermont. For more specific information or to answer any questions, please work with an attorney who understands Vermont landlord tenant laws. Make sure to check the exact Vermont statutes whenever possible for updates and additional information.