What You Need to Know About Eviction in Vermont

Landlords in Vermont must give their tenants at least 3 days' written notice before they can legally file an eviction lawsuit.
Written by Andrew Biro
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
According to
Vermont’s
civil codes dealing with eviction, your landlord must give at least a 3-day written notice before filing an eviction lawsuit—depending on the city or county you live in, however, you may upwards of two weeks before the lawsuit is filed.
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, inflation and a tough economy have made coming up with the necessary cash every month to pay rent increasingly difficult. Now that these challenges have put countless residents at risk of eviction, every tenant should become familiar with their state's eviction laws.
Eviction can spell disaster for you and your family, especially as we're still in the middle of a global pandemic. That’s why
Jerry
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Vermont eviction 101: the four ways you can be evicted

Vermont's legislature regarding eviction states that a landlord must provide tenants with a written eviction notice at least three days before filing an eviction lawsuit. You may be entitled to more time before the lawsuit is filed depending on the city—Burlington and Barre, for example, require landlords to give at least a 14-day notice before filing.
Ultimately, evictions in Vermont break down into four basic types, primarily defined by cause. In accordance with state law, landlords can threaten eviction for:
  • Failure to pay rent: Should you fail to pay your rent on time—or at all—your landlord may issue an eviction notice at least three days in advance of filing an eviction lawsuit
  • Breach of rental agreement: Similarly, if you in any way violate the terms of your rental agreement, your landlord may threaten to evict you if you do not remedy the violations within a specific time frame
  • Sale of property: While this only applies if there is no written rental agreement, your landlord may evict you if they sell the property to another person or entity
  • Illegal subletting: If you as a tenant sublease a portion of the property you are renting, but your lease expressly forbids such action, your landlord may evict you  
Depending on the circumstances of your rental situation, however, your landlord may not need a valid reason to evict you—this would apply to situations where:
  • A written rental agreement does not exist
  • You are renting a room in the landlord’s home and share common spaces—such as the kitchen, bathrooms, living room, etc.—with them
  • The end date of your written rental agreement has already passed
If you are unable to resolve the issue by coming to an agreement with your landlord, paying rent, or addressing rental agreement violations, your landlord has full legal right to file an eviction lawsuit once the date served in the eviction notice comes to pass.
Key Takeaway Vermont requires a minimum 3-day notice of eviction but depending on your city, you may have up to 14 days before the case is filed with the court. 

A timeline of eviction in Vermont

Alright, so—you're entitled to at least three days' notice before your landlord can file an eviction lawsuit, but just how long will that lawsuit actually take? In the unfortunate event that you are served an eviction notice while renting in Vermont, consult the table below for a breakdown of how long you can expect the process to take:
Step
How long it typically takes
What to expect
Written notice from landlord
3 - 14 days
Before your landlord can evict you, they must give you at least 3 days’ notice—after the notice is issued, an eviction lawsuit may be filed.
Summons and Complaint
60 days
After the eviction lawsuit is filed, your landlord will have a sheriff serve you a court summons.
Tenant response
21 days
You will have 21 days to respond with your answer to both the court and your landlord. Failure to do so may result in a default judgment in the landlord’s favor.
Court hearing
7 - 21 days
A court will rule on your case after hearing your landlord’s reason for eviction and your defense.
Eviction
No sooner than 14 days after the hearing
If you do not remove yourself and your belongings from the property immediately, a sheriff will forcibly remove you no sooner than 14 days after a Writ of Possession is served.
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In some cases, an eviction can be a lengthy process. Depending on how determined your landlord is, you could have anywhere from a couple of weeks to over a month after the initial notice before the sheriff comes knocking at your door. Knowing the process and your rights will give you a leg up if you're ever served an eviction notice.

How to resist eviction in Vermont

Remember, however, that tenants have rights in Vermont—so if your landlord attempts to evict you, there are several ways for you to challenge it:
  • Talk with your landlord: While it may seem like you're talking to a brick wall, the first course of action in resisting an eviction should always be to speak with your landlord. If you're short on cash for a legitimate reason, explaining the situation to your landlord may help you reach an agreement that doesn't involve eviction—at least not immediately
  • Address the cause of eviction: Generally speaking, the easiest way—short of talking with your landlord—to fight an eviction is to simply deal with whatever issue prompted the eviction in the first place. Depending on the cause, this may require you to borrow money to make up for late rent, fix or get rid of something that may violate your rental agreement, or do whatever else your landlord deems necessary to halt the eviction process
  • Point out a mistake in procedure: This is where knowing your state’s eviction laws and guidelines come in handy. If you can catch your landlord making a procedural mistake—such as attempting to remove you without a court case, shutting off utilities, or changing locks—you may be able to get the case dismissed by the court
  • Call out discrimination: Per the Federal Fair Housing Act and the Vermont Fair Housing Act, it is illegal for any landlord to evict a person on the basis of race, nationality, religion, and several other factors. If you suspect—or are certain—that your landlord is using one or more of these protected identities as a reason for your eviction, you may be able to use that as a defense against the eviction
Using any of the defenses listed above, it may be possible to resist your landlord’s eviction lawsuit or even sue your landlord outright. If you end up winning the case, you might be awarded court fees and damages—and you’ll still have a home to go back to.

How to save money on Vermont car and renters insurance

Late rent payments or failure to pay rent entirely are the most common reasons for evictions. But with low minimum wages and rent prices steadily increasing across the nation, scraping together the necessary cash each month can be challenging.
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