Vermont Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Vermont Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Last Updated: August 16, 2023

In general, a landlord in Vermont has to repair any issues at a rental property that could affect a tenant’s health or safety. The landlord must repair issues within a “reasonable time” (usually up to 30 days) of getting mailed or hand-delivered written notice from the tenant about the needed repairs.

Vermont Landlord Responsibilities for Repairs

Vermont landlords are responsible for keeping all of the following in good working condition:

  • Plumbing, including kitchen and bathroom sinks, a toilet, and a shower or bathtub.
  • Required utilities, including electricity.
  • Required light fixtures.
  • Heating.
  • Hot water.
  • Garbage containers and removal.
  • Window screens.
  • Weatherproofing.
  • Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors (except as agreed by the tenant).
  • Common areas.
  • Features that affect health, safety, or habitability.

If any of the above stops working properly, and the tenant isn’t at fault for the damage, the landlord is the one responsible for making the repairs necessary to fix it.

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What Repairs Are Tenants Responsible for in Vermont?

Vermont tenants are responsible for repairing any damage they cause to the property which affects health and safety.

Requesting Repairs in Vermont

Vermont tenants must request repairs by providing the landlord written notice about the issue that needs repair. This notice must be hand-delivered, or mailed (preferably through certified or registered mail).

How Long Does a Landlord Have To Make Repairs in Vermont?

Vermont landlords have a “reasonable time” to make repairs after getting proper written notice about an issue from the tenant. What’s reasonable is case by case and depends on the circumstances, but in general it can’t be more than 30 days.

Can the Landlord Refuse To Make Repairs in Vermont?

Vermont landlords can refuse to make repairs, when the issue was caused by the tenant’s deliberate or negligent actions.

Do Landlords Have To Pay for Alternative Accommodation During Repairs in Vermont?

Vermont landlords are not required to pay for alternative accommodation while they conduct repairs.

Tenant’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in Vermont

Vermont tenants can cancel the rental agreement after reasonable notice, if the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs. They might also repair and deduct, sue for damages, or get an injunction to force repairs. Tenants can also recover reasonable attorney fees from the landlord.

Can the Tenant Withhold Rent in Vermont?

Vermont tenants can withhold rent until repairs are complete, when the landlord hasn’t made repairs within a reasonable time after the legally required notice.

Can the Tenant Repair and Deduct in Vermont?

Vermont tenants can arrange for repairs and deduct from the rent. The deductible amount is the actual and reasonable cost of the work, up to half the monthly rent. At the time of deduction, the tenant must provide written receipts proving costs, by hand-delivering them or mailing to the landlord.

Can the Tenant Break Their Lease in Vermont?

Vermont tenants can break their lease when the landlord hasn’t done repairs within a reasonable time after proper notice. The tenant must give the landlord an additional notice providing a reasonable amount of time until the lease ends and the tenant moves out.

Can the Tenant Sue in Vermont?

Vermont tenants can sue to force repairs or recover monetary damages, when the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs after proper notice. The tenant can also recover reasonable attorney fees from the landlord.

Can the Tenant Report the Landlord in Vermont?

Vermont tenants can report landlords for code violations that affect health or safety. Tenants should usually report to the local inspections or code enforcement department. If an inspecting officer finds a violation, the tenant could cancel the rental agreement, or sue to force repairs.

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Landlord Retaliation in Vermont

It’s illegal for Vermont landlords to retaliate by changing the terms of the rental agreement or threatening an eviction or other lawsuit against tenants who have taken one of the following protected actions:

  • Complaining to the landlord or government about failure to safely maintain the property.
  • Participating in a tenant organization.

If the property is found violating a health or safety law and the landlord tries to terminate the rental agreement within 90 days of getting government notice about the violation, there’s a presumption the landlord is retaliating. In such a case, the landlord must prove the intention was not retaliatory.

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