Vermont Eviction Process

Timeline. Evicting a tenant in Vermont can take around 4 to 7 months (or more) depending on the type of eviction being filed. If tenants request a jury trial, the process can take even longer (read more).

Below are the individual steps of the eviction process in Vermont.

Step 1: Notice is Posted

Landlords in Vermont can begin the eviction process for several reasons, including:

  1. Nonpayment of Rent – Once rent is past due, written notice must be served giving the tenant the option to pay rent in order to avoid eviction.
  2. Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement – If a tenant violates a provision of a written lease/rental agreement, the landlord is not required to give the tenant the opportunity to correct the issue before moving forward with the eviction process.
  3. No Lease / End of Lease Term (Tenant at Will) – If there is no lease or the term of the lease has ended, the landlord does not need any additional reason to end the tenancy as long as proper notice is given.
  4. Sale of Rental Property– If the rental property is sold, tenants must be given written notice before a landlord can proceed with the eviction process.
  5. Illegal Activity – If a tenant is engaged in illegal activity, the landlord must serve them with written notice before pursuing eviction proceedings.
NOTES
  • Retaliatory Evictions. It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for complaining to the landlord or to the appropriate local or government agency regarding the property. It is also illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for joining or organizing a tenant organization or union.
  • Evicting a Squatter If the individual occupying the property did not have the permission of the landlord when initially moving in, doesn’t have a lease/verbal agreement, and has no history of paying rent, then eviction proceedings would fall under Vermont’s Entry and Detainer statutes and would not follow the eviction process outlined below (read more).

Each possible ground for eviction has its own rules for how the process starts.

Eviction Process for Nonpayment of Rent

A landlord is allowed to evict a tenant for failing to pay rent on time.

In Vermont, rent is considered late the day after it’s due; grace periods (if any) are addressed in the rental agreement/lease.

Once rent is past due, the landlord must provide tenants with a 14-Day Notice to Pay if the landlord wants to file an eviction action with the court. This notice gives the tenant the option to pay the past due amount in full within 14 days of the due date, in order to avoid eviction.

If the tenant does not pay the rent due by the end of the notice period and remains on the property, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction Process for Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement

A tenant can be evicted in Vermont if they do not uphold their responsibilities under the terms of a written lease/rental agreement.

Vermont landlords are not required to allow tenants to correct a lease violation in these instances, but they must provide tenants with a 30-Day Notice to Quit, giving tenants 30 days to move out of the rental unit.

Typical lease violations under this category could include things like damaging the rental property, having too many people residing in the rental unit, and having a pet when there’s a no-pet policy.

Note that illegal activity is not included in this category.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction Process for No Lease / End of Lease

In the state of Vermont, terminating a tenancy at the end of a lease or when there’s no written rental agreement/lease is referred to as a “no cause” eviction, because landlords are not required to give tenants a reason for the eviction.

Often this type of eviction applies to tenants who are at the end of their lease and the landlord doesn’t want to renew.

The amount of time required in the notice depends on the type of tenancy, and how long the tenant lived in the rental unit.

For all written leases the landlord must provide the following notices:

  • Week-to-week – If rent is paid on a week-to-week basis, the landlord must provide the tenant with a 7-Day Notice to Quit.
  • Month-to-month – If rent is paid on a month-to-month basis, and the tenant has lived in the rental unit for less than two years, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 30-Day Notice to Quit.
  • Month-to-month – If rent is paid on a month-to-month basis, and the tenant has lived in the rental unit for two or more years, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 60-Day Notice to Quit.

For tenants with no written lease, landlords must provide the following notices:

  • Week-to-week – If rent is paid on a week-to-week basis, the landlord must provide the tenant with a 21-Day Notice to Quit.
  • Month-to-month – If rent is paid on a month-to-month basis, and the tenant has lived in the rental unit for less than two years, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 60-Day Notice to Quit.
  • Month-to-month – If rent is paid on a month-to-month basis, and the tenant has lived in the rental unit for two or more years, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 90-Day Notice to Quit.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction Process for Sale of Rental Property

If there is no written lease agreement, and the rental property is sold, landlords are required to provide their tenants with 30 days’ written notice if the tenants are being evicted because of the sale.

This type of notice needs to state that the rental property is being sold and include the date the tenant must move out.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction Process for Illegal Activity

If tenants participate in illegal activity in the rental unit or on rental property grounds, under Vermont law, the landlord can evict the tenant after giving 14 days’ notice.

Illegal activity includes:

  • Criminal activity
  • Illegal drug activity
  • Violent acts that affect the health/safety of other residents.

Tenants involved in illegal activity don’t have the option of correcting the issue in order to avoid eviction.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Step 2: Complaint is Filed and Summons Issued

As the next step in the eviction process, Vermont landlords must file a complaint in the appropriate Superior court within 60 days of the final date on the eviction notice given to tenants. A $295 filing fee is required no matter where in the state the complaint is filed.

The summons and complaint must be served on the tenant within 60 days of filing the complaint with the court, or the eviction action may be dismissed.

The summons and complaint may be served on the tenant by a sheriff, deputy, constable, or professional process server using any of the following methods:

  1. Giving a copy to the tenant in person
  2. Leaving a copy with someone who lives on the rental premises
  3. By posting a copy on the rental premises
  4. By publication (court-order only)

~60 days. The summons and complaint must be served on the tenant within 60 days of the date the complaint was filed with the court.

Step 3: Answer is Filed

In Vermont, tenants must file an answer to the complaint within 21 days, or the court will rule in favor of the landlord. This should be clearly stated on the summons.

If the tenant does not respond to all of the allegations in the complaint in their answer, the court may view the response as incomplete and rule in favor of the landlord.

The tenant will still need to appear for the hearing, however; or the court may still rule in favor of the landlord and evict the tenant even if the answer was filed within the 21 days.

21 days. Tenants must respond to the landlord’s complaint within 21 days of receiving the summons and complaint.

Step 4: Court Hearing and Judgment

Vermont laws do not specify how quickly an eviction hearing must held once the tenant’s answer is filed, or once the landlord’s complaint is filed.

In some court locations, the hearing is scheduled when the complaint is filed; while in other court locations, the hearing may not be scheduled until after the court receives the tenant’s answer.

However, if either the landlord or tenant requests a jury trial, this will add more time to the process.

If the tenant fails to appear for the hearing, the judicial officer will make a ruling in favor of the landlord, and the eviction process will continue.

NOTE

Rent Escrow Hearings. Landlords can file a motion asking for the tenant to pay past-due rent into the court for the duration of the eviction process. In that case, a separate rent escrow hearing will be held prior to the eviction hearing to determine the amount of rent to be paid into the court, and how often rent should be paid.

If the tenant fails to pay rent to the court as ordered at the rent escrow hearing, the tenant may be evicted within 5 business days of missing a court-ordered payment without another hearing.

If the judge rules in favor of the landlord at an eviction hearing, a writ of possession will be issued and the eviction process will proceed.

A few days to a few weeks, depending on the court location and the judicial officer’s trial schedule.

Step 5: Writ of Possession Is Issued

The writ of possession is the tenant’s final notice to leave the rental unit, and will be issued the same day as the judgment in favor of the landlord.

If the reason for the eviction was for nonpayment of rent, a tenant may stop the eviction process by paying all past-due rent in full, plus any interest, before the writ of possession is enforced.

Immediately. The writ of possession will be issued the same day as the hearing.

Step 6: Possession of Property is Returned

A tenant has 14 days after the writ of possession is posted to move out of the rental unit.

If the eviction is for subleasing when subleasing is prohibited under the rental agreement, the tenant will only have 5 days after the writ of possession is posted to move out of the rental unit.

As noted under Step 4 above, any tenant who was ordered to make rent payments to the court and misses a payment will also have only 5 days once the writ of possession is posted to move out of the rental unit.

In all three scenarios, if the tenant remains in the rental unit after the deadline, the sheriff will forcibly remove the tenant from the premises.

5-14 days. Tenants evicted for illegally subleasing, or who fail to make rent payments to the court, have 5 days to move out; for all other evictions, the tenant has 14 days to move out once the writ of possession has been posted.

Vermont Eviction Process Timeline

Below is a summary of the aspects outside of the landlord’s control that dictate the amount of time it takes to evict a tenant in Vermont. With that being said, these estimates can vary greatly, and some time periods may not include weekends or legal holidays.

  1. Initial Notice Period – between 7 and 90 days, depending on the reason for eviction.
  2. Issuance/Service of Summons and Complaint – within 60 days of the complaint being filed with the court.
  3. Court Hearing and Ruling on the Eviction – a few days to a few weeks; more if a jury trial is requested.
  4. Issuance of Writ of Possession – immediately at the hearing.
  5. Return of Possession – 5-14 days, depending on the reason for the eviction.

Flowchart of Vermont Eviction Process

For additional questions about the eviction process in Vermont, please refer to the official state legislation, Vermont Statutes (annotated) §§ 4451-4475 and §§4761-4859, and Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules 3 and 4, for more information.