Vermont Eviction Process

Vermont Eviction Process

Last Updated: September 23, 2022 by Elizabeth Souza

Steps of the eviction process in Vermont:

  1. Landlord serves tenant written notice.
  2. Landlord files complaint with court (if unresolved).
  3. Answer is filed.
  4. Court holds hearing is held & issues judgment.
  5. Writ of possession is issued.
  6. Possession of property is returned to landlord.

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

Questions? To chat with a Vermont eviction attorney, click here

Grounds for an Eviction in Vermont

In Vermont, a landlord cannot legally evict a tenant without cause. Legal grounds to evict include not paying rent on time, staying after the lease ends, violating lease terms, selling the rental property and illegal activity. Even so, proper notice must first be given before ending the tenancy.

Grounds Notice Period Curable?
Nonpayment of Rent 14 Days Maybe
End of / No Lease 30/60/90 Days No
Lease Violation 30 Days No
Sale of Rental Property 30 Days No
Illegal Activity 14 Days No

Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent

In Vermont, a landlord can evict a tenant for not paying rent on time. To do so, they must first give 14 days’  notice to pay rent or vacate the premises. If the tenant does neither after that time, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.

Unless the lease states otherwise, rent is due at the beginning of each pay period and is considered late in Vermont the day immediately after its due date. So for example, if rent is due on the first of the month, it is considered late starting on the second of the month (if not paid in full). There is no right to a legal grace period (i.e., five days).

Once rent is considered late, the landlord can begin the eviction process by serving the tenant with proper notice.

Eviction for No Lease or End of Lease

In Vermont, a landlord can evict a tenant without a lease or with a lease that has ended (known as a “holdover tenant” or “tenant at will”). To do so, they must first terminate the tenancy by giving proper notice to move out.

For month-to-month tenants who have resided at the rental unit less than 2 years and have a written lease the landlord can provide a 30 days’  notice to vacate. For month-to-month tenants who have resided at the rental unit more than 2 years and have a written lease the landlord can provide a 60 days’ notice to vacate.

For month-to-month tenants who have resided at the rental unit less than 2 years and do not have a written lease the landlord can provide a 60 days’ notice to vacate. For month-to-month tenants who have resided at the rental unit more than 2 years and don’t have a written lease the landlord can provide a 90 days’ notice to vacate.

Once the tenancy ends, if the tenant remains on the property, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.

Eviction for Violation of Lease or Responsibilities

In Vermont, a landlord can evict a tenant for violating the terms of their lease or not upholding their responsibilities under Vermont landlord-tenant law. To do so, the landlord can provide a 30 days’ notice to vacate. Landlords are not required to allow the tenant to fix the issue and the tenant must move out.

Tenant responsibilities include:

  • Complying with all building, housing and health regulations.
  • Conducting themselves in a manner that will not disturb other tenants peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
  • Not deliberately or negligently destroying, defacing, damaging, or removing any part of the premises.

Examples of lease violations include:

  • Having an unauthorized pet, guest or vehicle.
  • Parking in an unauthorized area.
  • Not maintaining a certain level of cleanliness.

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

Eviction for Sale of Rental Property

In Vermont, a landlord can evict a tenant if there is no written lease agreement and the rental property is being sold. To do so, landlords are required to provide their tenants with 30 daysnotice to vacate. The tenant does not have the opportunity to remain at the rental property and must move out.

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

Eviction for Illegal Activity

In Vermont, a landlord can evict a tenant if the tenant participates in illegal activity in the rental unit or on the rental property grounds. To do so, the landlord must first give 14 days’ notice to vacate. Tenants do not have the opportunity to fix the issue and must move out.

Illegal activity includes:

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

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

warning

Illegal Evictions in Vermont

In Vermont, any of the below is illegal. If found liable, the landlord could be required to pay the tenant damages sustained and reasonable attorneys’ fees. Additionally for a self-help eviction, the landlord could be required to pay court costs.

“Self-Help” Evictions

No matter the situation, a landlord is not allowed to forcibly remove a tenant by:

  • Changing the locks.
  • Shutting off utilities.
  • Removing tenant belongings.

A tenant can only be legally removed with a court order obtained through the formal eviction process.

Retaliatory Evictions

It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant in response to exercising a legally protected right. These rights include:

  • Complaining about building, housing or health regulation to a governmental agency.
  • Complaining to a landlord of a lease violation.
  • Joining a tenant’s union or organization.

Eviction notice posted on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 1: Landlord Serves Notice to Tenant

A landlord can begin the eviction process in Vermont by serving the tenant with written notice. The notice must be delivered by one of the following methods:

  • Giving it to the tenant in person; or
  • Mailing the notice to the tenant’s last known address via first class or certified mail.

It is important for a landlord to always maintain a copy of the signed and served notice as proof of proper service of notice. 

14-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit

If a tenant is late on paying rent (full or partial) in Vermont, the landlord can serve them a 14-Day Notice to Pay or Quit. This notice gives the tenant 14 calendar days to pay the entire remaining balance or vacate the premises.

30-Day Notice to Quit

For a tenant with a month-to-month lease in Vermont, the landlord must serve them a 30-Day Notice to Quit to end the tenancy. This eviction notice allows the tenant 30 calendar days to move out.

However, for tenants that don’t pay monthly, the amount of notice differs.

Tenancy with written lease agreement:

Rent Payment Frequency Notice Amount
Week-to-Week 7 Days
Month-to-Month (Tenancy Less Than 2 Years) 30 Days
Month-to-Month (Tenancy More Than 2 Years) 60 Days

Tenancy with no written lease agreement:

Rent Payment Frequency Notice Amount
Week-to-Week 21 Days
Month-to-Month (Tenancy Less Than 2 Years) 60 Days
Month-to-Month (Tenancy Less Than 2 Years) 90 Days

30-Day Notice to Quit

In Vermont, if a tenant commits a lease violation or the owner of the dwelling unit wants to sell the rental property and the tenant has no lease, the landlord can serve them a 30-Day Notice to Quit. This eviction notice gives the tenant 30 calendar days to move out without the chance to fix the issue.

14-Day Notice to Quit

In Vermont, if a tenant is involved with an illegal activity, the landlord can serve them a 14-Day Notice to Quit. This eviction notice gives the tenant 14 calendar days to move out without the chance to fix the issue.

Questions? To chat with a Vermont eviction attorney, click here

Eviction Summons Complaint Served   on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 2:  Landlord Files Lawsuit with Court

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 that was appointed by a judge by using any of the following methods:

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

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.com~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.

Eviction Answer Filed on iPropertyManagement.com

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. A copy of the answer should be sent to the landlord and a certificate of service must be filed with the court.

If the tenant does not respond to every allegation 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.

If a motion to dismiss is filed before an answer is filed, the answer deadline is postponed until 14 days after the court decides on the motion to dismiss.

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

Eviction Court Hearing on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 4: Court Holds Hearing & Issues 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, called “Motion for Rent” 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.

An opposition to the Rent Into Court may be filed by the tenant with the court a day before the hearing. Examples of why a tenant may want to file for an opposition:

  • The tenant has paid rent in full.
  • The tenant gave notice to the landlord that there was a violation of health or safety, and the landlord did not make the repair.
  • Proper notice of the Rent Into Court wasn’t given.

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

Eviction Writ of Possession on iPropertyManagement.com

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 judge rules in favor of the landlord at an eviction hearing, a writ of possession may be requested by the landlord and could possibly be issued immediately, and the eviction process will proceed.

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.

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.com Immediately. The writ of possession will be issued the same day as the hearing.

Eviction property possession returned on iPropertyManagement.com

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 five 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 five 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 of the county will forcibly remove the tenant from the premises.

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.com5-14 days. Tenants evicted for illegally subleasing, or who fail to make rent payments to the court, have five 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

In Vermont, an eviction can be completed in 4 to 7 months but can take longer depending on the reason for eviction, whether the eviction is contested, which days courts are (or aren’t) in session and other various possible delays.

Below are the parts of the Vermont eviction process outside the control of landlords for cases that go uncontested.

Step Estimated Time
Initial Notice Period 7-90 Calendar Days
Court Issuing/Serving Summons ~60 Business Days
Tenant Response Period 21 Calendar Days
Court Ruling 3-21 Business Days
Court Serving Writ of Possession Immediately
Final Notice Period 5-14 Calendar Days
Questions? To chat with a Vermont eviction attorney, click here

Flowchart of Vermont Eviction Process

Vermont Eviction Process Flowchart on iPropertyManagement.com

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.

Sources