Vermont Landlord Responsibilities for Habitability

Vermont Landlord Responsibilities for Habitability

Last Updated: August 16, 2023

Most places, including Vermont, make a landlord responsible for the “habitability” of rental property. This means rental properties must be kept in proper condition to use for their intended purpose. Habitability is an important right for renters, but can be complicated because of details and differences in habitability requirements.

Vermont Implied Warranty of Habitability

In Vermont, the implied warranty of habitability means that a landlord must provide and maintain safe and habitable rental property. “Implied” means the requirement applies whether or not the lease agreement specifically says so and even if the lease tries to waive the obligation.

Examples of clear habitability violations include:

  • Exposed electrical wiring.
  • A pipe leaking human waste.
  • A broken front doorknob that won’t lock.

However, the implied warranty of habitability does not guarantee that anything at the property will be pretty, clean, new or issue-free, so it doesn’t cover things like stained carpet or dents in a wall. It only guarantees basic health and safety.

Landlord Responsibilities in Vermont

Note: Check local city/county laws and ordinances for additional requirements.

Item Has To Provide? Has To Fix / Replace?
Air Conditioning / Heating Only Heating Only Heating
Hot Water Yes Yes
Kitchen Appliances No No
Washer & Dryer No No
Smoke/CO Detectors Yes Yes
Window Coverings Yes Yes
Light Fixtures Yes Yes
Landscaping No No
Garbage Removal Yes Yes
Garbage Pickup Yes Yes
Mold N/A Yes
Pest Control No N/A
Pest Infestations N/A Yes
Water Leaks N/A Not Usually
Clogs N/A Not Usually

Landlord Responsibilities for Heating & Air Conditioning in Vermont

Vermont landlords must provide and maintain heating for rental properties. They don’t have to provide air conditioning.

Are Landlords Required to Provide Air Filter Replacements in Vermont?

Vermont landlords don’t have to replace things like air filters, unless required heating equipment won’t work otherwise.

Landlord Responsibilities for Plumbing in Vermont

Vermont landlords must provide and maintain plumbing, although the renter must also use plumbing in a reasonable and sanitary way that doesn’t cause damage. Rental property must have hot and cold running water, sinks for the kitchen and bathroom, a toilet, a shower or bathtub, and sewage service.

Are Landlords Required To Provide Hot Water in Vermont?

Vermont landlords must provide and maintain running heated water for rental properties. When water becomes temporarily unavailable or poor quality, landlords must provide an alternate water supply until any related issues are fixed.

Are Landlords Responsible for Fixing Clogged Drains & Toilets in Vermont?

Vermont landlords must fix clogs that keep the plumbing from being in good repair.

Are Landlords in Vermont Responsible for Fixing Leaks?

Vermont landlords must fix leaks that keep the plumbing from being in good repair.

Landlord Responsibilities for Kitchen Appliances in Vermont

Vermont landlords don’t have to provide or maintain kitchen appliances such as a dishwasher, stove, oven, microwave, or refrigerator.

Landlord Responsibilities for Electrical Issues in Vermont

Vermont landlords are responsible for making sure there are no electrical issues that endanger basic safety or habitability on the rental property. In addition, every room must have at least one electric light fixture, and every property must have exterior lighting that permits safe access at night.

Are Landlords Responsible for Replacing Light Bulbs in Vermont?

Vermont landlords are responsible for replacing light bulbs as necessary to maintain required light fixtures.

Landlord Responsibilities for Garbage Removal in Vermont

Vermont landlords must provide and maintain outside garbage containers and garbage removal services as well as keeping common areas free of garbage. Tenants must keep their rental dwellings from accumulating garbage.

Landlord Responsibilities for Landscaping in Vermont

Vermont landlords have no specific obligation to provide landscaping or maintain it with actions like cutting grass. They only have to deal with issues like fallen trees if they interfere with the cleanliness of common areas, violate local codes, or create a hazard to health and safety.

Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Mold in Vermont

Vermont landlords are responsible for most mold issues. While there’s no state requirement for testing, landlords must investigate and fix mold problems since they threaten health and safety. If the renter’s deliberate or negligent actions cause mold issues, the landlord can make the renter fix it, or pay for repairs.

Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Pests in Vermont

Vermont landlords are responsible for fixing pest issues the renter didn’t cause, including rats, roaches, mice, bed bugs, and ants.

Landlord Responsibilities for Windows & Window Coverings in Vermont

Vermont landlords are responsible for providing window screens for all windows. The landlord has to repair broken windows the tenant didn’t cause, since this is a health and safety issue. Windows and exterior-opening spaces in general must have adequate weatherproofing.

Landlord Responsibilities Regarding Safety Devices in Vermont

Vermont landlords are responsible for providing and maintaining required smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors on a rental property.

Are Landlords Responsible for Replacing Batteries of Safety Devices in Vermont?

Vermont landlords have unclear responsibilities relating to battery replacement in safety devices. In general, the landlord has to maintain safety devices, but minor issues like battery replacement may be the tenant’s responsibility by agreement. Check rental agreements carefully.

Landlord Responsibilities for Washers and Dryers in Vermont

Vermont landlords are not required to furnish their rental properties with a working washer and dryer.

Renter’s Rights for Repairs in Vermont

Vermont renters have the right to repairs for health and safety issues which they didn’t cause themselves. To exercise their right, the renter must notify the landlord of the issue in writing (mailed or hand delivered). Landlords get a “reasonable time” after notice to fix issues, usually 30 days.

If the issue isn’t fixed within the legally required time, the renter can end the rental agreement, ask a court to order repairs or compensation, withhold rent, or (for minor issues) repair and deduct. Tenants can also recover reasonable attorney fees.

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