The Vermont Statutes Online
Title 9: Commerce and Trade
Chapter 137: RESIDENTIAL RENTAL AGREEMENTS
- Subchapter 001: GENERAL
§ 4451. Definitions
As used in this chapter:
(1) “Actual notice” means receipt of written notice hand-delivered or mailed to the last known address. A rebuttable presumption that the notice was received three days after mailing is created if the sending party proves that the notice was sent by first-class or certified U.S. mail.
(2) “Building, housing, and health regulations” means any law, ordinance, or governmental regulation concerning health, safety, sanitation, or fitness for habitation or concerning the construction, maintenance, operation, occupancy, use, or appearance of any premises or dwelling unit.
(3) “Dwelling unit” means a building or the part of a building that is used as a home, residence, or sleeping place by one or more persons who maintain a household.
(4) “Landlord” means the owner, lessor, or where applicable, the sublessor of a residential dwelling unit or the building of which it is a part.
(5) “Normal wear and tear” means the deterioration that occurs, based upon the reasonable use for which the rental unit is intended, without negligence, carelessness, accident, or abuse of the premises or equipment or chattels by the tenant or members of his or her household or their invitees or guests.
(6) “Premises” means a dwelling unit, its appurtenances and the building, and the grounds, areas, and facilities held out for the use of tenants generally or whose use is promised to the tenant.
(7) “Rent” means all consideration to be made to or for the benefit of the landlord under the rental agreement, not including security deposits.
(8) “Rental agreement” means all agreements, written or oral, embodying terms and conditions concerning the use and occupancy of a dwelling unit and premises.
(9) “Sublease” means a rental agreement, written or oral, embodying terms and conditions concerning the use and occupancy of a dwelling unit and premises between two tenants, a sublessor, and a sublessee.
(10) “Tenant” means a person entitled under a rental agreement to occupy a residential dwelling unit to the exclusion of others. (Added 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2007, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 44; 2015, No. 126 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 4452. Exclusions
Unless created to avoid the application of this chapter, this chapter does not apply to any of the following:
(1) occupancy at a public or private institution, operated for the purpose of providing medical, geriatric, educational, counseling, religious, or similar service;
(2) occupancy under a contract of sale of a dwelling unit or the property of which it is a part, if the occupant is the purchaser or a person who succeeds to the interest of the purchaser;
(3) occupancy by a member of a fraternal, social, or religious organization in the portion of a building operated for the benefit of the organization;
(4) transient occupancy in a hotel, motel, or lodgings during the time the occupancy is subject to a tax levied under 32 V.S.A. chapter 225;
(5) occupancy by the owner of a condominium unit or the holder of a proprietary lease in a cooperative;
(6) rental of a mobile home lot governed by 10 V.S.A. chapter 153;
(7) transient residence in a campground, which for the purposes of this chapter means any property used for seasonal or short-term vacation or recreational purposes on which are located cabins, tents, or lean-tos, or campsites designed for temporary set-up of portable or mobile camping, recreational, or travel dwelling units, including tents, campers, and recreational vehicles such as motor homes, travel trailers, truck campers, and van campers;
(8) transient occupancy in a hotel, motel, or lodgings during the time the occupant is a recipient of General Assistance or Emergency Assistance temporary housing assistance, or occupancy in a hotel or motel funded by federal Emergency Rental Assistance administered by the Department for Children and Families through September 30, 2025, regardless of whether the occupancy is subject to a tax levied under 32 V.S.A. chapter 225;
(9) occupancy of a dwelling unit without right or permission by a person who is not a tenant; or
(10) transient occupancy by an occupant placed in a hotel, motel, or lodgings in connection with health care treatment or recovery, where the occupancy is paid for by a hospital as licensed in 18 V.S.A. chapter 43, an agency designated pursuant to 18 V.S.A. § 8907, or a specialized service agency operating under an agreement entered into pursuant to 18 V.S.A. § 8912, regardless of whether the occupant is subject to a tax levied under 32 V.S.A. chapter 225. (Added 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1987, No. 116, § 1; 1987, No. 252 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2007, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2015, No. 58, § E.321.3; 2015, No. 126 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2019, No. 177 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. October. 12, 2020; 2021, No. 83 (Adj. Sess.), § 54a, eff. March 16, 2022.)
§ 4453. Obligations implied
Obligations imposed on landlords and tenants under this chapter shall be implied in all rental agreements. (Added 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 4454. Attempt to circumvent
No rental agreement shall contain any provision that attempts to circumvent or circumvents obligations and remedies established by this chapter and any such provision shall be unenforceable and void. (Added 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
- Subchapter 002: RESIDENTIAL RENTAL AGREEMENTS
§ 4455. Tenant obligations; payment of rent
(a) Rent is payable without demand or notice at the time and place agreed upon by the parties.
(b) An increase in rent shall take effect on the first day of the rental period following no less than 60 days’ actual notice to the tenant. (Added 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 4456. Tenant obligations; use and maintenance of dwelling unit
(a) The tenant shall not create or contribute to the noncompliance of the dwelling unit with applicable provisions of building, housing, and health regulations.
(b) The tenant shall conduct himself or herself and require other persons on the premises with the tenant’s consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb other tenants’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
(c) The tenant shall not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, or remove any part of the premises or its fixtures, mechanical systems, or furnishings or deliberately or negligently permit any person to do so.
(d) Unless inconsistent with a written rental agreement or otherwise provided by law, a tenant may terminate a tenancy by actual notice given to the landlord at least one rental payment period prior to the termination date specified in the notice.
(e) If a tenant acts in violation of this section, the landlord is entitled to recover damages, costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees, and the violation shall be grounds for termination under subsection 4467(b) of this title. (Added 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 4456a. Residential rental application fees; prohibited
A landlord or a landlord’s agent shall not charge an application fee to any individual in order to apply to enter into a rental agreement for a residential dwelling unit. This section shall not be construed to prohibit a person from charging a fee to a person in order to apply to rent commercial or nonresidential property. (Added 1999, No. 115 (Adj. Sess.), § 5.)
§ 4456b. Subleases; landlord and tenant rights and obligations
(a)(1) A landlord may condition or prohibit subleasing a dwelling unit under the terms of a written rental agreement and may require a tenant to provide written notice of the name and contact information of any sublessee occupying the dwelling unit.
(2) If the terms of a written rental agreement prohibit subleasing the dwelling unit, the landlord or tenant may bring an action for ejectment pursuant to 12 V.S.A. §§ 4761 and 4853b against a person that is occupying the dwelling unit without right or permission. This subdivision (2) shall not be construed to limit the rights and remedies available to a landlord pursuant to this chapter.
(b) In the absence of a written rental agreement, a tenant shall provide the landlord with written notice of the name and contact information of any sublessee occupying the dwelling unit. (Added 2015, No. 126 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)
§ 4457. Landlord obligations; habitability
(a) Warranty of habitability. In any residential rental agreement, the landlord shall be deemed to covenant and warrant to deliver over and maintain, throughout the period of the tenancy, premises that are safe, clean, and fit for human habitation and that comply with the requirements of applicable building, housing, and health regulations.
(b) Waiver. No rental agreement shall contain any provision by which the tenant waives the protections of the implied warranty of habitability. Any such waiver shall be deemed contrary to public policy and shall be unenforceable and void.
(c) Heat and water. As part of the implied warranty of habitability, the landlord shall ensure that the dwelling unit has heating facilities that are capable of safely providing a reasonable amount of heat. Every landlord who provides heat as part of the rental agreement shall at all times supply a reasonable amount of heat to the dwelling unit. The landlord shall provide an adequate amount of water to each dwelling unit properly connected with hot and cold water lines. The hot water lines shall be connected with supplied water-heating facilities that are capable of heating sufficient water to permit an adequate amount to be drawn. This subsection shall not apply to a dwelling unit intended and rented for summer occupancy or as a hunting camp. (Added 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 4458. Habitability; tenant remedies
(a) If the landlord fails to comply with the landlord’s obligations for habitability and, after receiving actual notice of the noncompliance from the tenant, a governmental entity or a qualified independent inspector, the landlord fails to make repairs within a reasonable time and the noncompliance materially affects health and safety, the tenant may:
(1) withhold the payment of rent for the period of the noncompliance;
(2) obtain injunctive relief;
(3) recover damages, costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees; and
(4) terminate the rental agreement on reasonable notice.
(b) Tenant remedies under this section are not available if the noncompliance was caused by the negligent or deliberate act or omission of the tenant or a person on the premises with the tenant’s consent. (Added 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1999, No. 115 (Adj. Sess.), § 6.)
§ 4459. Minor defects; repair and deduct
(a) If within 30 days of notice, the landlord fails to repair a minor defect in order to comply with this chapter or a material provision of the rental agreement, the tenant may repair the defect and deduct from the rent the actual and reasonable cost of the work, not to exceed one-half of one month’s rent. The tenant shall provide the landlord with actual notice of the cost of the repair when the cost is deducted from the rent.
(b) The tenant remedies under this section are not available if the noncompliance was caused by the negligent or deliberate act or omission of the tenant or a person on the premises with the tenant’s consent. (Added 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 4460. Access
(a) A landlord may enter the dwelling unit with the tenant’s consent, which shall not be unreasonably withheld.
(b) A landlord may also enter the dwelling unit for the following purposes between the hours of 9:00 A.M. and 9:00 P.M. on no less than 48 hours’ notice:
(1) when necessary to inspect the premises;
(2) to make necessary or agreed repairs, alterations, or improvements;
(3) to supply agreed services; or
(4) to exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workers, or contractors.
(c) A landlord may only enter the dwelling unit without consent or notice when the landlord has a reasonable belief that there is imminent danger to any person or to property. (Added 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 4461. Security deposits
(a) A security deposit is any advance, deposit, or prepaid rent, however named, which is refundable to the tenant at the termination or expiration of the tenancy. The function of a security deposit is to secure the performance of a tenant’s obligations to pay rent and to maintain a dwelling unit.
(b) The landlord may retain all or a portion of the security deposit for:
(1) nonpayment of rent;
(2) damage to property of the landlord, unless the damage is the result of normal wear and tear or the result of actions or events beyond the control of the tenant;
(3) nonpayment of utility or other charges that the tenant was required to pay directly to the landlord or to a utility; and
(4) expenses required to remove from the rental unit articles abandoned by the tenant.
(c) A landlord shall return the security deposit along with a written statement itemizing any deductions to a tenant within 14 days from the date on which the landlord discovers that the tenant vacated or abandoned the dwelling unit or the date the tenant vacated the dwelling unit, provided the landlord received notice from the tenant of that date. In the case of the seasonal occupancy and rental of a dwelling unit not intended as a primary residence, the security deposit and written statement shall be returned within 60 days.
(d) The landlord shall comply with this section by hand-delivering or mailing the statement and any payment required to the last known address of the tenant.
(e) If a landlord fails to return the security deposit with a statement within 14 days, the landlord forfeits the right to withhold any portion of the security deposit. If the failure is willful, the landlord shall be liable for double the amount wrongfully withheld, plus reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.
(f) Upon termination of the landlord’s interest in the dwelling unit, the security deposit shall be transferred to the new landlord. The new landlord shall give the tenant actual notice of the new landlord’s name and address with a statement that the security deposit has been transferred to the new landlord.
(g) A town or municipality may adopt an ordinance governing security deposits on dwellings. The ordinance shall be supplemental to and not inconsistent with the minimum protections of the provisions of this section. The ordinance may not limit how a security deposit is held. The ordinance may authorize the payment of interest on a security deposit. The ordinance may provide that a housing board of review constituted pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 5005 may hear and decide disputes related to security deposits upon request for a hearing by a landlord or tenant. The board’s actions shall be reviewable under 24 V.S.A. § 5006. (Added 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1987, No. 116, § 2; 1991, No. 229 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2007, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 45.)
§ 4462. Abandonment; unclaimed property
(a) A tenant has abandoned a dwelling unit if:
(1) there are circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the dwelling unit is no longer occupied as a full-time residence;
(2) rent is not current; and
(3) the landlord has made reasonable efforts to ascertain the tenant’s intentions.
(b) If the tenant abandons the dwelling unit, the tenant shall remain liable for rent until the expiration of the rental agreement. However, if the landlord rents the dwelling unit before the expiration of the rental agreement, the agreement terminates on the date of the new tenancy.
(c)(1) If any property, except trash, garbage, or refuse, is unclaimed by a tenant who has abandoned a dwelling unit, the landlord shall give written notice to the tenant mailed to the tenant’s last known address that the landlord intends to dispose of the property after 60 days if the tenant has not claimed the property and paid any reasonable storage and other fees incurred by the landlord. The landlord shall place the property in a safe, dry, secured location, but may dispose of any trash, garbage, or refuse left by the tenant. The tenant may claim the property by providing the landlord with the following within 60 days after the date of the notice:
(A) a reasonable written description of the property; and
(B) payment of the fair and reasonable cost of storage and any related reasonable expenses incurred by the landlord.
(2) If the tenant does not claim the property within the required time, the property shall become the property of the landlord. If the tenant claims the property within the required time, the landlord shall immediately make the property available to the tenant at a reasonable place and the tenant shall take possession of the property at that time and place.
(d) Any personal property remaining in the dwelling unit or leased premises after the tenant has vacated may be disposed of by the landlord without notice or liability to the tenant or owner of the personal property, provided that one of the following has occurred:
(1) The tenant provided actual notice to the landlord that the tenant has vacated the dwelling unit or leased premises.
(2) The tenant has vacated the dwelling unit or leased premises at the end of the rental agreement. (Added 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1999, No. 115 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2007, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 46.)
§ 4463. Illegal evictions
(a) No landlord may willfully cause, directly or indirectly, the interruption or termination of any utility service being supplied to the tenant, except for temporary interruptions for emergency repairs.
(b) No landlord may directly or indirectly deny a tenant access to and possession of the tenant’s rented or leased premises, except through proper judicial process.
(c) No landlord may directly or indirectly deny a tenant access to and possession of the tenant’s property, except through proper judicial process. (Added 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 4464. Remedies for illegal evictions
(a) Any tenant who sustains damage or injury as a result of an illegal eviction may bring an action for injunctive relief, damages, costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees.
(b) A court may award reasonable attorney’s fees to the landlord if, upon motion and hearing, it is determined that the action was not brought in good faith and was frivolous or intended for harassment only. (Added 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 4465. Retaliatory conduct prohibited
(a) A landlord of a residential dwelling unit may not retaliate by establishing or changing terms of a rental agreement or by bringing or threatening to bring an action against a tenant who:
(1) has complained to a governmental agency charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building, housing, or health regulation of a violation applicable to the premises materially affecting health and safety;
(2) has complained to the landlord of a violation of this chapter; or
(3) has organized or become a member of a tenant’s union or similar organization.
(b) If the landlord acts in violation of this section, the tenant is entitled to recover damages and reasonable attorney’s fees and has a defense in any retaliatory action for possession.
(c) If a landlord serves notice of termination of tenancy on any grounds other than for nonpayment of rent within 90 days after notice by any municipal or State governmental entity that the premises are not in compliance with applicable health or safety regulations, there is a rebuttable presumption that any termination by the landlord is in retaliation for the tenant having reported the noncompliance. (Added 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2007, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 47.)
§ 4466. Repealed. 1987, No. 74, § 2(b).
§ 4467. Termination of tenancy; notice
(a) Termination for nonpayment of rent. The landlord may terminate a tenancy for nonpayment of rent by providing actual notice to the tenant of the date on which the tenancy will terminate, which shall be at least 14 days after the date of the actual notice. The rental agreement shall not terminate if the tenant pays or tenders rent due through the end of the rental period in which payment is made or tendered. Acceptance of partial payment of rent shall not constitute a waiver of the landlord’s remedies for nonpayment of rent or an accord and satisfaction for nonpayment of rent.
(b) Termination for breach of rental agreement.
(1) The landlord may terminate a tenancy for failure of the tenant to comply with a material term of the rental agreement or with obligations imposed under this chapter by actual notice given to the tenant at least 30 days prior to the termination date specified in the notice.
(2) When termination is based on criminal activity, illegal drug activity, or acts of violence, any of which threaten the health or safety of other residents, the landlord may terminate the tenancy by providing actual notice to the tenant of the date on which the tenancy will terminate, which shall be at least 14 days from the date of the actual notice.
(c) Termination for no cause. In the absence of a written rental agreement, the landlord may terminate a tenancy for no cause as follows:
(1) If rent is payable on a monthly basis, by providing actual notice to the tenant of the date on which the tenancy will terminate, which shall be:
(A) for tenants who have resided continuously in the same premises for two years or less, at least 60 days after the date of the actual notice;
(B) for tenants who have resided continuously in the same premises for more than two years, at least 90 days after the date of the actual notice.
(2) If rent is payable on a weekly basis, by providing actual notice to the tenant of the date on which the tenancy will terminate, which shall be at least 21 days after the date of the actual notice.
(d) Termination of rental agreement when property is sold. In the absence of a written rental agreement a landlord who has contracted to sell the building may terminate a tenancy by providing actual notice to the tenant of the date on which the tenancy will terminate, which shall be at least 30 days after the date of the actual notice.
(e) Termination for no cause under terms of written rental agreement. If there is a written rental agreement, the notice to terminate for no cause shall be at least 30 days before the end or expiration of the stated term of the rental agreement if the tenancy has continued for two years or less. The notice to terminate for no cause shall be at least 60 days before the end or expiration of the term of the rental agreement if the tenancy has continued for more than two years. If there is a written week-to-week rental agreement, the notice to terminate for no cause shall be at least seven days; however, a notice to terminate for nonpayment of rent shall be as provided in subsection (a) of this section.
(f) Termination date. In all cases, the termination date shall be specifically stated in the notice.
(g) Conversion to condominium. If the building is being converted to condominiums, notice shall be given in accordance with 27 V.S.A. chapter 15, subchapter 2.
(h) Termination of shared occupancy. A rental arrangement whereby a person rents to another individual one or more rooms in his or her personal residence that includes the shared use of any of the common living spaces, such as the living room, kitchen, or bathroom, may be terminated by either party by providing actual notice to the other of the date the rental agreement shall terminate, which shall be at least 15 days after the date of actual notice if the rent is payable monthly and at least seven days after the date of actual notice if the rent is payable weekly.
(i) Multiple notices. All actual notices that are in compliance with this section shall not invalidate any other actual notice and shall be a valid basis for commencing and maintaining an action for possession pursuant to this chapter, 10 V.S.A. chapter 153, 11 V.S.A. chapter 14, or 12 V.S.A. chapter 169, notwithstanding that the notices may be based on different or unrelated grounds, dates of termination, or that the notices are sent at different times prior to or during an ejectment action. A landlord may maintain an ejectment action and rely on as many grounds for ejectment as are allowed by law at any time during the eviction process.
(j) Payment after termination; effect.
(1) A landlord’s acceptance of full or partial rent payment by or on behalf of a tenant after the termination of the tenancy for reasons other than nonpayment of rent or at any time during the ejectment action shall not result in the dismissal of an ejectment action or constitute a waiver of the landlord’s remedies to proceed with an eviction action based on any of the following:
(A) the tenant’s breach of the terms of a rental agreement pursuant to subsection (b) of this section;
(B) the tenant’s breach of the tenant’s obligations pursuant to subsections 4456(a), (b), and (c) of this title; or
(C) for no cause pursuant to subsections (c), (d), (e), and (h) of this section.
(2) This subsection shall apply to 10 V.S.A. chapter 153, 11 V.S.A. chapter 14, and 12 V.S.A. chapter 169.
(k) Commencement of ejectment action. A notice to terminate a tenancy shall be insufficient to support a judgment of eviction unless the proceeding is commenced not later than 60 days from the termination date set forth in the notice. (Added 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1999, No. 115 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 2, 2a; 2007, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 48; 2009, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2021, No. 20, § 42.)
§ 4468. Termination of tenancy; action for possession
If the tenant remains in possession after termination of the rental agreement without the express consent of the landlord, the landlord may bring an action for possession, damages, and costs under 12 V.S.A. chapter 169, subchapter 3. (Added 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
- Subchapter 003: FARM EMPLOYEE HOUSING
§ 4469. Repealed. 1999, No. 26, § 6, eff. February 15, 2003.
§ 4469a. Termination of occupancy of farm employee housing
(a) As used in this section:
(1) “Farm employee” means an individual employed by a farm employer for farming operations.
(2) “Farm employer” means a person earning at least one-half of his or her annual gross income from the business of farming as that term is defined in Section 1.175-3 of the regulations issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, as amended.
(3) “Housing provided as a benefit of farm employment” means housing owned or controlled by the farm employer, whether located on or off the farm premises and provided for the occupancy of the farm employee and the farm employee’s family or household members for no payment other than the farm employee’s labor. Payment of utility and fuel charges paid by the farm employee does not affect the designation of housing provided as a benefit of farm employment.
(b) Unless otherwise provided in a written employment contract, a farm employer who provides housing to a farm employee and the farm employee’s family or household members as a benefit of the employment may terminate that benefit and all rights of the employee and the employee’s family or household members to occupy the housing when the employee’s employment is terminated.
(c) The termination of the housing benefit shall be by written notice served upon the former farm employee by a law enforcement officer in accordance with Rule 4 of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure. The notice shall be served together with a summons and complaint seeking a writ of possession under this section to remove the former farm employee from occupancy of the farm housing. The notice shall include the following statements, in boldface print:
“Your employment and housing benefit have been terminated.
“Your employer has filed a legal proceeding in ______ County Superior Court to obtain a court order directing you and any family or household member cohabitating in the dwelling to vacate and leave the dwelling and remove all of your possessions. The address and telephone number of the court are as follows:
“The court will hold a hearing on your former employer’s request for a court order directing you to leave and vacate the dwelling. The hearing will be held on ______ at ______ in the ____ am/pm at the courthouse at the address listed above. You have the right to be served with notice of the hearing at least ten days prior to the hearing date. You have the right to appear at this hearing. At the hearing, your former employer must prove that the dwelling is needed for housing a replacement employee and that your failure to vacate is causing actual hardship.
“If you believe that your employment was terminated wrongfully, that your dwelling house was not habitable, or if you have any other claim against your former employer, you may file a counterclaim against your former employer as explained in the summons and complaint that are being served upon you with this notice.
“Filing a counterclaim against your former employer will not delay or stop the court from ordering you to leave and vacate the dwelling.
“You may wish to seek legal advice from a licensed attorney. If you believe you cannot afford an attorney, you may contact the Clerk of the court listed above for information about the availability of an attorney at public expense, although you may not be entitled to an attorney at public expense.”
(d) A farm employer shall be entitled to a show cause hearing on an expedited basis for the purpose of demonstrating that the failure of the former farm employee to vacate the farm housing is causing an actual hardship to the farm employer. The show cause hearing shall be held not less than 10 calendar days after service on the former employee of the notice described in subsection (c) of this section. The issue before the court at the hearing shall be whether the farm employer has suffered actual hardship because of the unavailability of the farm housing for a replacement employee.
(e) If the court finds that the farm employer has suffered actual hardship because of the unavailability of the farm housing for a replacement employee, the court shall enter an order approving a writ of possession, which shall be executed not earlier than five business days nor later than 30 days after the writ is served, to put the plaintiff into possession.
(f) If the court does not make a finding on behalf of the farm employer, the farm employer may seek an eviction pursuant to sections 4467 and 4468 of this title and 12 V.S.A. chapter 169, subchapter 3. In any action pursuant to this section, the farm employer may file a motion for payment of the reasonable rental value of the premises into court pursuant to 12 V.S.A. § 4853a.
(g) The right of a former farm employee to pursue any claim that he or she may have against the former farm employer by way of a counterclaim in a civil action brought pursuant to this section is expressly preserved. The assertion of a counterclaim shall not have the effect of delaying or preventing the removal of the employee from the housing, nor shall the employee be entitled to obtain injunctive relief in the form of repossession of farm housing. A former employee who prevails on a counterclaim shall be entitled to relief as provided by applicable law.
(h) Sections 4455, 4461, and 4467 of this chapter shall not apply to housing provided to a farm employee as a benefit of the employment. (Added 2009, No. 89 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. April 28, 2010; amended 2017, No. 11, § 10.)
- Subchapter 004: HOUSING DISCRIMINATION; DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE
§ 4470. Recodified. 2019, No. 48, § 1(b).
§ 4471. Definitions
As used in this subchapter:
(1) “Abuse” has the same meaning as in 15 V.S.A. § 1101.
(2) “Protected tenant” means a tenant who is:
(A) a victim of abuse, sexual assault, or stalking;
(B) a parent, foster parent, legal guardian, or caretaker with at least partial physical custody of a victim of abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.
(3) “Sexual assault” and “stalking” have the same meaning as in 12 V.S.A. § 5131. (Added 2019, No. 48, § 2.)
§ 4472. Right to terminate rental agreement
(a) Notwithstanding a contrary provision of a rental agreement or of subchapter 2 of this chapter, a protected tenant may terminate a rental agreement pursuant to subsection (b) of this section without penalty or liability if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to vacate a dwelling unit:
(1) based on a fear of imminent harm to any protected tenant due to abuse, sexual assault, or stalking; or
(2) if any protected tenant was a victim of sexual assault that occurred on the premises within the six months preceding the date of his or her notice of termination.
(b) Not less than 30 days before the date of termination, the protected tenant shall provide to the landlord:
(1) a written notice of termination; and
(2) documentation from one or more of the following sources supporting his or her reasonable belief that it is necessary to vacate the dwelling unit:
(A) a court, law enforcement, or other government agency;
(B) an abuse, sexual assault, or stalking assistance program;
(C) a legal, clerical, medical, or other professional from whom the tenant, or the minor or dependent of the tenant, received counseling or other assistance concerning abuse, sexual assault, or stalking; or
(D) a self-certification of a protected tenant’s status as a victim of abuse, sexual assault, or stalking, signed under penalty of perjury, on a standard form adopted for that purpose by:
(i) a federal or State government entity, including the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development or the Vermont Department for Children and Families; or
(ii) a nonprofit organization that provides support services to protected tenants.
(c) A notice of termination provided pursuant to subsection (b) of this section may be revoked and the rental agreement shall remain in effect if:
(1)(A) the protected tenant provides a written notice to the landlord revoking the notice of termination; and
(B) the landlord has not entered into a rental agreement with another tenant prior to the date of the revocation; or
(2)(A) the protected tenant has not vacated the premises as of the date of termination; and
(B) the landlord has not entered into a rental agreement with another tenant prior to the date of termination. (Added 2019, No. 48, § 2.)
§ 4473. Right to change locks; other security measures
Notwithstanding any contrary provision of a rental agreement or of subchapter 2 of this chapter:
(1) Subject to subdivision (2) of this subsection, a protected tenant may request that a landlord change the locks of a dwelling unit within 48 hours following the request:
(A) based on a fear of imminent harm to any protected tenant due to abuse, sexual assault, or stalking; or
(B) if any protected tenant was a victim of sexual assault that occurred on the premises within the six months preceding the date of his or her request.
(2) If the perpetrator of abuse, sexual assault, or stalking is also a tenant in the dwelling unit, the protected tenant shall include with his or her request a copy of a court order that requires the perpetrator to leave the premises.
(3) If the landlord changes the locks as requested, the landlord shall provide a key to the new locks to each tenant of the dwelling unit, not including the perpetrator of the abuse, sexual assault, or stalking who is subject to a court order to leave the premises.
(4) If the landlord does not change the locks as requested, the protected tenant may change the locks without the landlord’s prior knowledge or permission, provided that the protected tenant shall:
(A) ensure that the new locks, and the quality of the installation, equal or exceed the quality of the original;
(B) notify the landlord of the change within 24 hours of installation; and
(C) provide the landlord with a key to the new locks.
(5) Unless otherwise agreed to by the parties, a protected tenant is responsible for the costs of installation of new locks pursuant to this section.
(6)(A) A protected tenant may request permission of a landlord to install additional security measures on the premises, including a security system or security camera.
(B) A protected tenant:
(i) shall submit his or her request not less than seven days prior to installation;
(ii) shall ensure the quality and safety of the security measures and of their installation;
(iii) is responsible for the costs of installation and operation of the security measures; and
(iv) is liable for damages resulting from installation.
(C) A landlord shall not unreasonably refuse a protected tenant’s request to install additional security measures pursuant to this subdivision (6). (Added 2019, No. 48, § 2.)
§ 4474. Confidentiality
An owner, landlord, or housing subsidy provider who possesses documentation or information concerning a protected tenant’s status as a victim of abuse, sexual assault, or stalking shall keep the documentation or information confidential and shall not allow or provide access to another person unless:
(1) authorized by the protected tenant;
(2) required by a court order, government regulation, or governmental audit requirement; or
(3) required as evidence in a court proceeding, provided:
(A) the documentation or information remains under seal; and
(B) use of the documentation or information is limited to a claim brought pursuant to section 4472 or 4473 of this title. (Added 2019, No. 48, § 2.)
§ 4475. Limitation of liability; enforcement
Except in the case of gross negligence or willful misconduct, a landlord is immune from liability for damages to a protected tenant if he or she acts in good faith reliance on:
(1) the provisions of this subchapter; or
(2) information provided or action taken by a protected tenant pursuant to the provisions of this subchapter. (Added 2019, No. 48, § 2.)