The Vermont Statutes Online
§ 5005. Housing board of review
(a) If a municipality adopts an ordinance pursuant to section 5003 of this title it shall provide for the selection and organization of a housing board of review consisting of five members who shall be appointed by the legislative body. The chair, or in his or her absence, the acting chair, may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses. All hearings of the board shall be open to the public.
(b) A housing board of review shall be governed by the following procedure:
(1) The board shall keep minutes of its proceedings, showing the vote upon each question, and shall keep records of its decisions and findings and the reasons therefor, and of its examinations and other official actions, all of which shall be filed in the office of the town or city clerk and shall be a public record;
(2) Any person aggrieved by an order issued by the enforcing officer may appeal to the board. The appeal shall be taken within seven days from the date of the order appealed from unless a different period is specified by ordinance. The appeal shall be in writing and shall specify the grounds therefor and the relief requested. The board shall immediately send a copy of the appeal to the enforcing officer who shall forthwith send to the board all evidence constituting the record upon which the order was based;
(3) An appeal to the board shall stay the effectiveness of the order appealed from unless the enforcing officer certifies to the board after notice of the appeal has been sent to him or her, that, by reason of facts stated in the certificate, a stay would, cause a serious hazard or imminent peril to the health or safety of the occupants of a dwelling or of the public. Upon consideration of such certificate, the board may give written notice to the appealing party specifying that the order shall be effective pending a hearing on the merits of the appeal in which case the effectiveness of the order shall not be stayed otherwise than by a restraining order which may be granted by a court of competent jurisdiction or application therefor and upon notice to the enforcing officer and on due cause shown;
(4) The board shall fix a reasonable time for the hearing of the appeal, give due notice thereof to the party making the appeal and the enforcing officer and decide it within a reasonable time. At the hearing any party may appear in person or by agent or attorney;
(5) If a municipality adopts an ordinance governing security deposits and further provides that a housing board of review shall hear and decide disputes related to security deposits, a landlord or tenant may request a hearing before the board without the involvement or order of an enforcing officer. A hearing shall be set and held by the board in the same manner as provided in subdivisions (1) through (4) of this subsection.
(c) The housing board of review shall have the following powers:
(1) The housing board of review may hear and decide appeals where it is alleged that there is error in any order, requirement, decision or determination made by an enforcing officer in the enforcement of any ordinance or regulation adopted under this chapter or where a municipality so provides, to resolve disputes related to security deposits for the occupancy of dwellings;
(2) Where, by reason of an extraordinary and exceptional condition or situation unique to the property involved, the strict application of any ordinance or regulation adopted under this chapter would result in peculiar and exceptional difficulties to, or exceptional and undue hardship upon, the person to whom an order has been issued, the housing board of review may vary from the strict application to the least extent necessary to relieve the difficulties, or hardship if the relief may be granted without substantial detriment to public health, safety, morals and general welfare and without substantial impairment of the intent and purpose of the ordinance or regulation;
(3) In exercising its powers, the board may in conformity with this chapter reverse or affirm wholly or partly, or may modify any order, requirement, decision or determination of the enforcing officer and may make such order, requirement, decision or determination as ought to be made, and to that end shall have all the powers of the enforcing officer from whom the appeal was taken and where a municipality so provides, the board may order that all, part or none of the portion of the security deposit which is withheld be retained by the owner or returned to the tenant;
(4) In order to hear an appeal, a majority of the board must be present. A concurring vote of a majority of the members of the board present at the hearing shall be necessary to reverse or modify any order or decision of the enforcing officer and to authorize a variance or modification in the application of any ordinance or regulation adopted under this chapter. When a tie vote occurs, the order of the enforcing officer shall be considered to be sustained. Except as provided in subsection 5006(b) of this title, the findings of the board shall be conclusive with respect to questions of fact and may be reviewed only as to questions of law. (Added 1969, No. 270 (Adj. Sess.); amended 1991, No. 229 (Adj. Sess.),§§ 3, 4.)