Under Vermont law, any town or municipality can institute security deposit laws that are in addition to the state laws found here.
It is necessary to check with your local statutes, therefore, to make sure you are in compliance with the expectations regarding these deposits in your community.
Here is an overview of the state expectations for landlords and tenants.
1. There Are 4 Allowable Claims Against a Security Deposit.
Landlords are permitted to deduct past due rent from a security deposit.
They may also use it to pay for damage to the rental property, to pay utility costs and other charges when the tenant was required to pay the landlord for them, and the expenses required to remove abandoned property.
2. Landlords Have 14 Days To Return a Security Deposit.
If a tenant moves out of a rental unit, then a landlord has 14 days to make sure that the deposit or its remainder is returned. Any claims against the deposit must be itemized and in writing.
Failing to meet this deadline requires the landlord to forfeit any claims they could make on the amount.
If this deadline is willfully not met, then the landlord may be liable for up to 2x the amount of the deposit for damages.
3. Seasonal Residences Have a Different Rule.
When a rental unit is serving as a seasonal dwelling and does not serve as a year-round primary residence, then landlords have up to 60 days to return a security deposit and/or issue an itemized list of claims against the deposit.
4. Security Deposits Transfer With The Sale Of a Property.
If a landlord sells a rental unit, then the security deposit transfers to the new owner.
Tenants are required to be given a written notice of the new landlord's name and address with a statement that the security deposit has been transferred.
Tenants who do not receive this notice may have additional legal rights they may be able to enforce.
5. Landlords Can Use The Last Known Address Of a Tenant.
If a tenant does not provide their landlord with a forwarding address, then the deadlines listed here can be met by simply mailing the deposit remainder and an itemized list of claims to the last known address of the tenant – even if that happens to be the rental unit they have left.
The Vermont Security Deposit Law for Landlords and Tenants is designed to help each party protect their best interests.
Check state statutes, local statutes, and ask for professional legal help if you have additional questions that are not covered by this guide.
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