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BILL AS PASSED BY SENATE 2007-2008

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S.372

AN ACT RELATING TO EVICTIONS, UNPAID RENT, AND ABANDONED PROPERTY IN RENTAL PROPERTY

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

Sec. 1.  9 V.S.A. § 4451(1) is amended to read:

(1)  “Actual notice” means written notice hand-delivered or mailed to the last known address.  A notice under this subdivision is presumed received if the sending party can prove that it was sent by certified United States mail.

Sec. 2.  9 V.S.A. § 4461(c) is amended to read:

(c)  A landlord shall return the security deposit to a tenant within 14 days from the date on which the landlord discovers that the tenant vacated or abandoned the dwelling unit, or the date the tenant vacated the dwelling unit, provided the landlord received notice from the tenant of that date.  The landlord shall return the security deposit along with a written statement itemizing any deductions.  In the case of the seasonal occupancy and rental of a dwelling unit not intended as a primary residence, the security deposit and written statement shall be returned within 60 days. 

Sec. 3.  9 V.S.A. § 4462(d) is added to read:

(d)  Any personal property remaining in the dwelling unit or leased premises after the tenant has vacated may be disposed of by the landlord without notice or liability to the tenant or owner of the personal property, provided that one of the following has occurred:

(1)  The tenant provided actual notice to the landlord that the tenant has vacated the dwelling unit or leased premises.

(2)  The tenant has vacated the dwelling unit or leased premises at the end of the rental agreement.

Sec. 4.  9 V.S.A. § 4465(c) is added to read:

(c)  If a landlord serves notice of termination of tenancy on any grounds other than for nonpayment of rent within 90 days after notice by any municipal or state governmental entity that the premises are not in compliance with applicable health or safety regulations, it may be presumed that any termination by the landlord is in retaliation for the tenant having reported the noncompliance.

Sec. 5.  9 V.S.A. § 4467 is amended to read:

§ 4467.  TERMINATION OF TENANCY; NOTICE

(a)  Termination for nonpayment of rent.  Termination for nonpayment of rent.  The landlord may terminate a tenancy for nonpayment of rent by providing actual notice to the tenant of the date on which the tenancy will terminate which shall be at least 14 days after the date of the actual notice.  The rental agreement shall not terminate if the tenant pays or tenders all arrearages prior to the termination date.  A rent due through the end of the rental period in which payment is made or tendered.  Notwithstanding 12 V.S.A. § 4473, a tenant may not defeat a notice to terminate by payment of arrearages more than three times in 12 months.  Acceptance of partial payment of rent shall not constitute a waiver of the landlord’s remedies to commence or continue an ejectment action pursuant to chapter 169 of Title 12 for nonpayment of rent.

(b)  Termination for breach of rental agreement.

(1)  The landlord may terminate a tenancy for failure of the tenant to comply with a material term of the rental agreement or with obligations imposed under this chapter, by actual notice given to the tenant at least 30 days prior to the termination date specified in the notice.

(2)  When termination is based on criminal activity, illegal drug activity, or acts of violence that threaten the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents, the landlord may terminate the tenancy by providing actual notice to the tenant of the date on which the tenancy will terminate which shall be at least 15 days from the date of the actual notice.

* * *

(e)  Termination by landlord for no cause under terms of written rental agreement.  If the landlord terminates a tenancy in accordance with the terms of there is a written rental agreement, the notice to terminate for no cause shall be at least 30 days before the end or expiration of the stated term of the rental agreement, if rent is payable on a monthly basis and the tenancy has continued for two years or less. The  and the notice to terminate for no cause shall be at least 60 days the rent is paid on a monthly basis and before the end or expiration of the term of the rental agreement if the tenancy has continued for more than two years.  The If there is a written week-to-week rental agreement, the notice to terminate for no cause shall be at least seven days, if rent is payable on a weekly basis; however, a notice to terminate for nonpayment of rent shall be as provided in subsection (a) of this section.

* * *

(i)  Multiple notices.  All notices authorized under this section shall be valid and binding on the tenant and shall be a basis for commencing and maintaining an action for possession pursuant to this chapter, chapter 153 of Title 10, chapter 14 of Title 11, or chapter 169 of Title 12, notwithstanding that the notices may be based on different or unrelated grounds, dates of termination, or that the notices are sent at different times prior to or during an ejectment action.  A landlord may maintain an ejectment action and rely on as many grounds for ejectment as is allowed by law at any time during the eviction process.

(j)(1)  A landlord’s acceptance of full or partial rent payment by or on behalf of a tenant after the termination of the tenancy for reasons other than nonpayment of rent or at any time during the ejectment action shall not result in the dismissal of an ejectment action or constitute a waiver of the landlord’s remedies to proceed with an eviction action based on any of the following:

(A)  The tenant’s breach of the terms of a rental agreement pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.

(B)  The tenant’s breach of the tenant’s obligations pursuant to subsections 4456(a), (b), and (c) of this title.

(C)  For no cause pursuant to subsections (c), (d), (e), and (h) of this section.

(2)  This subsection shall apply to chapter 153 of Title 10, chapter 14 of Title 11, and chapter 169 of Title 12.

Sec. 6.  10 V.S.A. § 6204(c) is amended to read:

(c)  To the extent that they are consistent with this chapter, the provisions of chapter 137 of Title 9 (residential rental agreements) and the provisions of subchapter 3 of chapter 169 of Title 12 (eviction) shall apply to the occupancy and rental of a mobile home but not to the rental of a mobile home lot, except the rental of a mobile home lot shall be subject to the provisions of chapter 169 of Title 12, relating to payment of rent into court.


Sec. 7.  12 V.S.A. § 4773 is amended to read:

§ 4773.  EJECTMENT FOR NONPAYMENT OF RENT; PROOF;

               PAYMENT

In actions of ejectment for nonpayment of rent, the plaintiff shall not be required to prove a demand of the rent in arrear or a stipulation for reentry on nonpayment of rent or a reentry on the premises, but shall recover judgment as if the rent in arrear had been demanded and reentry made.  Before final judgment a writ of possession is executed, if the defendant in such action pays into court the rent in arrear with all rent due through the end of the current rental period, including interest and the costs of suit, such the action shall be discontinued.  A defendant may not defeat an ejectment action based on nonpayment of rent if the landlord has sent a termination notice based on nonpayment of rent more than three times in 12 months, provided the landlord has sent actual notice no earlier than seven calendar days from the date the rent is due for each notice under this section.

Sec. 8.  12 V.S.A. § 4853a(a), (b), and (d) are amended to read:

(a)  In any action against a tenant for possession brought in accordance with this chapter, chapter 137 of Title 9 or, chapter 153 of Title 10, or chapter 14 of Title 11, the landlord may file a motion for an order that the tenant pay rent into court.  The motion may be filed and served with the complaint or at any time after the complaint has been filed.  The motion shall be accompanied by affidavit setting forth particular facts in support of the motion.

(b)  A hearing on the motion shall be held any time after 10 days notice to the parties.  If the tenant appears at the hearing and has not been previously defaulted, the court shall not enter judgment by default unless the tenant fails to file a written answer within 10 days after the hearing.  Any rent escrow order shall remain in effect notwithstanding the issuance of a default judgment.

(d)  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 as it accrues while the proceeding is pending and prorated rent for the month in which the hearing is held rent accrued from the date of filing with the court the complaint for ejectment or the date the summons and complaint for ejectment were served on the tenant pursuant to Rule 3 of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure, whichever occurs first.

Sec. 9.  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 possession and rents due, damages and costs, and when a written rental agreement so provides, the court may award reasonable attorney fees.  A writ of possession shall issue ten days after on the date judgment is entered, 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 ten days after the writ is served, to put the plaintiff into possession.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us