Warranty of Habitability in Vermont

Last Updated: August 16, 2023 by Elizabeth Souza

In Vermont, a landlord’s obligation for providing a habitable living space is primarily governed by  9 V.S.A. § 4457. This legal requirement, commonly known as the “implied warranty of habitability”, also outlines the rights of tenants when repairs are not made in a timely manner.

Quick Facts Answer
Landlord Responsibilities Windows/Doors, Roof/Walls, Cold/Hot Water, Heating, Plumbing, Electrical, Trash Can, Stairs/Railing, Floors, Fire Exits, No Combustible Materials, Sanitation Facilities, Smoke/ Carbon Monoxide Detector
Time Limit for Repairs 30 Days
Tenant Recourse Options
  • Withhold Rent: Yes, for serious habitability issues
  • Repair & Deduct: Yes, if the repair cost is less than one-half of a month’s rent

Applicable Dwelling Types in Vermont

The implied warranty of habitability in Vermont does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are and aren’t included.

Dwelling Type Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single family Yes
Multi-family Yes
Fraternities/Sororities/Clubs Not specifically addressed
RV parks Not specifically addressed
Mobile home parks Only if person in mobile home is renter, not owner
Condos Yes
Hotels/Motels No

Additionally, rental agreements are not allowed to include any provisions that waive the tenant’s right to live in a habitable residence.

Landlord Responsibilities in Vermont

The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability.  Not all of them are requirements in Vermont, as indicated below.

Note: Some of the below items may not be addressed at the state level but may be addressed on a county or city level. It’s always best to check local housing codes to see which additional requirements may apply.

Habitability Issue Landlord Responsibility?
Provide windows and doors that are in good repair. Yes
Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks. Yes
Provide hot and cold running water. Yes
Provide working HVAC equipment. Heating required
Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting. Yes
Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cooking Not addressed
Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet). Yes
Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services). Yes
Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe. Yes
Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe. Yes
Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean. Yes
Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials. Yes
Provide working smoke detectors Yes
Provide a mailbox for each unit. Not addressed
Provide working wiring for one telephone jack. Not addressed
Provide working kitchen appliances. No
Provide working carbon monoxide detector. Yes
Provide a working washer/dryer. No

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Landlords are required to provide a kitchen and a kitchen sink, and floors and countertops must be “non-absorbent.”


Landlords are responsible for providing and maintaining pest and bedbug-free rental units. In addition, rental units must be “rodent-proof.”

Lead-Based Paint

For buildings built before 1978 landlords are required to comply with additional duties meant to protect tenants from possible lead paint exposure including, but not limited to, providing tenants with information on protecting against lead, posting a notice asking the tenants to report chipping, flaking or damaged paint, and completing Essential Maintenance Practices (EMP’s)annually. Check out this link on EMP’s to know more about these requirements.


If the landlord supplies heat as a part of the rental agreement, heat must be supplied when the outside temperature is less than 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The inside of a dwelling unit should be able to maintain at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit.


All dwelling units must include at least one window or door that can be opened to bring in fresh air. Screens should be provided by the landlord for any operable window and doors that are used for ventilation. Common areas that contain hallways or stairways and any bathroom or shower room must be properly ventilated.

Repairs, Recourse & Retaliation in Vermont

If a rental property is in violation of the implied warranty of habitability in Vermont, state laws outline how the repair process works, what tenants can do if repairs aren’t made, and how tenants are protected against retaliating landlords.

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).

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

Vermont renters have the right to repairs for a variety of potential issues, including things that impact health and safety. To exercise their right, renters have to give the landlord written notice about the issue that needs fixing and wait a “reasonable time” (usually up to 30 days) for the landlord to do repairs.

If the issue isn’t fixed by the landlord in a timely way, the renter could end the rental agreement, get a court order for repairs or compensation, repair and deduct, or withhold rent. Read More

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.