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H.436

Introduced by Representatives McGrath of Ferrisburg, Carmolli of Rutland City, Mazzariello of Rutland City and Moore of Rutland City

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject: Court procedure; eviction; rental agreement; termination

Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to revise the court procedures relating to payment of rent into court when there is an eviction or termination of a rental agreement.

AN ACT RELATING TO EVICTION AND TERMINATION OF RENTAL AGREEMENTS

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. 12 V.S.A. § 4853a is amended to read:

§ 4853a. PAYMENT OF RENT INTO COURT; EXPEDITED HEARING

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(b) If the complaint and motion are filed at the same time, *[a hearing on the motion shall be scheduled to be held 10 days after the date the answer is due]* the defendant shall pay into court all rent due at the same time the answer is due unless the tenant requests a hearing on the motion. A hearing shall then be held within ten days of the date of request. If the motion is filed after the complaint is filed, *[a hearing on the motion shall be scheduledto be held 10 days after the date the memorandum in opposition is due]* the tenant shall pay into court all rent due within 20 days of the date the motion is filed unless the tenant requests a hearing on the motion. A hearing shall then be held within ten days of the date of request.

(c) Any *[memorandum in opposition filed by the defendant pursuant to Rule 78(b) of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure]* request for hearing filed by the defendant shall be accompanied by affidavit setting forth particular facts *[in support of the memorandum]* stating payment of the rent or reasons why the rent is not due.

(d) *[If]* At the hearing, if the court finds the tenant is obligated to pay rent and has failed to do so, the court shall order *[full or partial payment into court of rent]* all past due rent to be paid into court within five days of the date of the hearing and order full or partial payment of rent to be paid into court as it accrues while the proceeding is pending.

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(h) If the tenant fails to request a hearing or if the tenant fails to pay rent into court in the amount and on the dates ordered by the court, the landlord shall be entitled to judgment for immediate possession of the premises. The court shall forthwith issue a writ of possession directing the sheriff of the county in which the property or a portion thereof is located to serve the writ upon the defendant and, no sooner than five days after the writ is served, or, in the case of an eviction brought pursuant to chapter 153 of Title 10, 30 days after the writ is served, to put the plaintiff into possession.

Sec. 2. 12 V.S.A. § 4854 is amended to read:

§ 4854. JUDGMENT FOR PLAINTIFF; WRIT OF POSSESSION

If the court finds that the plaintiff is entitled to possession of the premises, the plaintiff shall have judgment for the possession thereof and for rents not exceeding $5,000.00 with costs. A writ of possession shall issue *[accordingly; or if the court has entered judgment for the plaintiff on default or on a motion for summary judgment, the writ of possession shall be issued ten days after the date judgment is entered,]* on the date of judgment unless the court for good cause orders a stay. The writ shall direct the sheriff of the county in which the property or a portion thereof is located to serve the writ upon the defendant and, no sooner than five days after the writ is served, to put the plaintiff into possession.

Sec. 3. 9 V.S.A. § 4467(a) is amended to read:

(a) Termination for nonpayment of rent. The landlord may terminate a tenancy for nonpayment of rent *[on or after the first day of the next succeeding rental period. The landlord shall give notice by certified mail or by having the notice served by any law enforcement officer at least 14 days prior to the termination date specified in the notice]* by giving notice by certified mail, by having the notice served by any law enforcement officer, or by giving notice both by posting on the dwelling unit door and mailing to the last known address that the tenancy will terminate 14 days after the receipt of the notice. The rental agreement shall not terminate if the tenant pays or tenders all arrearages prior to the termination date. A tenant may not defeat a notice to terminate by payment of arrearages more than three times in *[twelve]* 12 months. Acceptance of partial payment of rent shall not constitute a waiver of the landlord's remedies for nonpayment of rent.