Vermont Tenant Rights Laws

Whether you live in the heart of Montpelier or down in Brattleboro, every renter hopes to avoid the wide array of frustrating issues that commonly befall the landlord-tenant relationship. Luckily, Vermont has a number of laws governing the rental process, in addition to federal and local laws. Read on to learn more about Vermont's tenant rights laws.

Tenant Rights: Repairs, Security Deposits, and More

Vermont law protects you against discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, and disability, among other protected characteristics. And once your tenancy begins, your landlord must maintain the premises in a habitable condition such that they are safe, clean, and comply with building, housing, and health regulations. If your landlord fails to make repairs necessary for health and safety within a reasonable time, you may be able to withhold rent temporarily or even terminate the rental agreement.

Another common area of tension involves security deposits. In Vermont, a landlord can keep part of your security deposit for things like unpaid rent and damage beyond normal wear and tear. In any case, your landlord must return your security deposit to you, along with an itemized list of deductions, within 14 days after you move out of the unit. If they fail to do so, they may forfeit their right to retain any portion of security deposit.

These and other laws are designed to protect you within the landlord-tenant relationship. Therefore, it's also important to note that your landlord may not retaliate against you by raising the rent or evicting you simply because you requested repairs or complained about code violations.

Vermont Tenant Rights Laws at a Glance

The chart below provides a summary of Vermont laws governing the landlord-tenant relationship, including links to key statutes.

Statutes

Security Deposits

  • Limit: No state-wide limit; cannot be nonrefundable
  • Must return all or part of the security deposit within 14 days (along with an itemized list of deductions)
  • Part or all may be used for:
    • Nonpayment of rent or utility charges
    • Damage beyond normal wear and tear
    • Costs to remove articles abandoned by tenant

Paying Rent

  • Increase in rent shall take effect on first day of rental period following no less than 60 days' notice

Living Conditions

  • With 48 hours' notice and between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., landlord may enter unit for certain reasons including:
    • When necessary to inspect premises
    • Make necessary or agreed repairs
    • Supply agreed services
    • To exhibit unit to prospective purchasers or tenants
    • In an emergency (no notice required)
  • Landlord must maintain premises fit for human habitation: comply with building, housing, and health regulations; keep area safe and clean; provide heating and water facilities

Discrimination

  • No discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, marital status, religious creed, color, national origin, disability, familial status, or receipt of public assistance

Ending or Renewing a Tenancy

  • Landlord must give notice to terminate the tenancy:
    • Lease: according to written lease agreement
    • Month-to-month: 60 days for tenancies that have lasted less than two years; 90 days for tenancies over two years
    • Week-to-week: 21 days
    • Eviction: 14 days for nonpayment of rent; 30 days for breach of rental agreement
  • Eviction: court order required

Retaliation

  • Landlord may not retaliate against tenant for exercising tenant rights

Note: State regulations are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Vermont Tenant Rights Laws: Related Resources

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