Renting is a two way street. A successful rental relationship is much more likely when both renters and owners understand their rights and responsibilities. To help Vermonters better access this information, the Department of Housing and Community Development contracted with the Vermont Tenants program and the Vermont Apartment Owners Association, to create Landlord Tenant Educational Materials.
The following materials will help landlords and tenants understand everything one needs to know about renting a home in Vermont. They are designed based on the understanding that a rental relationship works best when both tenants and landlords understand their rights and responsibilities under Vermont law. The materials were co-created for the Department of Housing and Community Development by Vermont Tenants and the Vermont Apartment Owners Association. Vermont Tenants is a statewide, tenant advocacy program run by the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO). The Vermont Apartment Owners Association is a trade association that helps landlords throughout Vermont. The materials created as part of this project include a comprehensive guidebook, three tri-fold brochures, a video on the legal eviction process, and four classroom modules.
Finding Common Ground: the Definitive Guide to Renting in Vermont; 2nd edition. This extensive handbook covers everything that landlords and tenants need to know about Vermont’s landlord-tenant laws. Finding Common Ground puts information for landlords and tenants into one place and explains the meaning of Vermont’s statutes surrounding the housing rental relationship. It also includes strategies for working through problems with a tenancy and a collection of tools and resources.
Designed for easy distribution of basic renting information, these three tri-fold brochures provide an overview of 1) landlord-tenant responsibilities, 2) what to expect during a health inspection and 3) Vermont’s fair housing anti-discrimination laws.
Renting 101: the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in Vermont
This tri-fold is intended to provide basic information that a tenant and a landlord should know about Vermont’s law before entering into a rental agreement. It also underscores that a rental agreement is a business relationship and suggests best practices for each party to ensure that the rental experience is beneficial to all. References to additional resources are also included.
Rights During an Inspection
When there is an alleged violation of the Rental Housing Health Code, it is most often the Town Health Officer or municipal Code Inspector who will be the first authority contacted. This Tri-Fold explains what landlords and tenants should expect in the case of a health code inspection. It also outlines the limitations of the Town Health Officer’s authority and is a great tool for the Town Health Officer to have when doing a residential rental inspection.
Fair Housing Law
Written for use by landlords, the Fair Housing Law tri-fold covers the basics of Vermont’s anti-discrimination laws including what is prohibited in advertising and introduces Reasonable Modifications and Reasonable Accommodations with references for more detailed information.
The four classroom modules go into depth on numerous topics of interest to Vermont landlords and tenants. While best experienced as part of a presentation by Vermont Tenants and the Vermont Apartment Owners Association, these modules are designed to be useful for interested people to self-teach at their own pace.
Vermont’s Renting Laws
Based on the collective experience of the Vermont Apartment Owners Association and Vermont Tenants, this module examines some of the commonly held myths about Vermont’s landlord-tenant laws and potential remedies for violations. It aims to debunk long-held myths and provides accurate information about what is and is not required in a rental unit, valid lease terms and legal remedies.
Rent and Rent Issues for Landlords and Tenants [Court Process]
The Legal Eviction Process can sometimes seem confusing and even frightening; this class module explains what the eviction process should look like and steps that can be taken to avoid making it a more costly and time-consuming process. In three parts, the Rent Issues module discusses things both parties need to know, and then focuses specifically on landlord considerations with a section advising tenants on the eviction process from their perspective.
Warranty of Habitability
This module covers the minimum health and safety requirements for a unit to be legally rented in Vermont. It breaks down the meaning of statutes surrounding habitability into plain English and includes a discussion on landlord obligations and tenant remedies. The module also describes Town Health Officer inspections and what a landlord can do when a tenant is causing a health code violation.
Fair Housing Law
The Fair housing module discusses Federal Fair Housing Law and protections that are specific to Vermont. It includes discussion of anti-discriminatory advertising and best practices for landlords to use in order to ensure that they are not engaging in discriminatory behavior when advertising a rental unit or screening potential tenants.
The Court Eviction Process in Vermont
This 20-minute video covers what landlords need to know about the legal eviction process. It includes information about what is and isn’t grounds for eviction, how the process works, what the statutes dictate around abandoned property, and more. The video includes suggestions for best practices in order to ensure that the eviction process follows the legal path and it cautions about common reasons an otherwise legal eviction may be dismissed from court.
For more information about availability of materials, contact Shaun Gilpin at the Department of Housing and Community Development