§ 4761. When maintainable; parties
A person having claim to the seisin or possession of lands, tenements or hereditaments shall have an action of ejectment, according to the nature of the case, which shall be brought as well against the landlord, if any, as against the tenant in possession of the premises; and, if otherwise brought, on motion, the same shall be abated. Tenants in common of lands may join in an action concerning their common interest in such lands.
§ 4762. When judgment shall not prejudice landlord
When the plaintiff neglects to join the landlord, if any, with the tenant in such action, or by collusion with the tenant recovers judgment against him for the seisin of lands, such landlord shall not be prejudiced thereby, but shall be held to have the prior possession in a trial thereafter had of his right to such lands against the person so recovering, or a person deriving claim from him.
§ 4763. When all tenants are not sued; disclaimer
The writ in the action of ejectment shall not abate because all the tenants are not sued, but those on whom service is made shall answer for such part of the premises only as they set forth in their answer, and disclaim as to the remainder. If a defendant disclaims as to the whole, he shall recover his costs, unless the plaintiff proves such defendant in possession of all or part of the premises demanded at the commencement of the action.
§ 4764. Recovery according to right
On trial in an action of ejectment, the plaintiff shall recover on the merits, according to his right.
§ 4765. Damages; transfer of title pending action
If judgment is rendered for the plaintiff in an action of ejectment, he shall recover his damages and the seisin and possession of the premises. If the title of the plaintiff expires or is conveyed by him after the commencement of such action, the suit shall not thereby fail, but the plaintiff may recover judgment for his damages for the detention of the premises during the continuance of his title, with costs.
§ 4766. Effect of judgment
While remaining in force, the judgment recovered in an action of ejectment shall be conclusive against the parties thereto, their heirs and assigns.
§§ 4767-4772. Repealed. 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 237, eff. March 29, 1972.
§ 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 a writ of possession is executed, if the defendant pays into court all rent due through the end of the current rental period, including interest and the costs of suit, the action shall be discontinued. A defendant may not defeat an ejectment action by payment of all rent in arrears, interest, and court costs more than one time in 12 months. The 12-month period shall begin on the day the payment is made. (Amended 2007, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 50.)
§ 4811. When and for what maintainable
When the plaintiff commences an action of ejectment, the defendant shall counterclaim for the value of the improvements made upon the land by him or by those under whom he claims, if he or his predecessors in title purchased the land recovered in the action, supposing the title to be good in fee at the time of the purchase, or if he or his predecessors in title took a lease of the land supposing that lease to convey the title and interest therein expressed at the time the lease was accepted. Recovery on the counterclaim shall be contingent on the plaintiff's recovery on the claim for ejectment. The increase in the value of the land in consequence of betterments so made shall be held to be the value of the betterments. (Amended 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 131, eff. March 29, 1972.)
§ 4812. Repealed. 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 237, eff. March 29, 1972.
§ 4813. Proceedings in ejectment stayed; lands charged
Final judgment shall not be entered upon the claim for ejectment until entry of final judgment on the counterclaim. The lands recovered by plaintiff shall be held to respond to any judgment on the counterclaim for defendant as if those lands had been attached on mesne process. (Amended 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 132, eff. March 29, 1972.)
§ 4814. Improvements considered
The damages in the action of ejectment arising from mesne profits shall be such only as are just and equitable, in view of improvements made upon the premises by the defendant or those under whom he claims.
§ 4815. Execution to issue against land only
Execution on a judgment rendered on a counterclaim for betterments shall issue only against the land recovered in the action of ejectment, and not against the body or the other lands or the goods and chattels of the plaintiff in that action. (Amended 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 133, eff. March 29, 1972.)
§ 4816. When execution or writ of possession may issue
When the defendant recovers judgment on his counterclaim for betterments, execution shall not issue thereon until four months from its rendition. The writ of possession in the action of ejectment shall be further stayed for the same time, unless the plaintiff in the action pays to the defendant therein or to the clerk of the court to the use of the defendant the full amount of the judgment on the counterclaim for betterments. In that case, a writ of possession may immediately issue. (Amended 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 134, eff. March 29, 1972.)
§ 4817. When entry was under contract
Sections 4811-4816 of this title relating to betterments shall not extend to a person who has entered on land under a contract made with the legal owner, unless it appears on trial of the counterclaim for betterments that the owner has not fulfilled the contract. (Amended 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 135, eff. March 29, 1972.)
§ 4818. Remedy against voucher
Sections 4811-4817 of this title shall not deprive a person of cause of action against his voucher, and the voucher may present evidence, in mitigation of damages, of the recovery of the defendant for betterments. (Amended 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 136, eff. March 29, 1972.)
§ 4819. Dismissal by plaintiff
Further proceedings shall not be had on the counterclaim for betterments when the judgment is awarded to the plaintiff on his claim of title and he, within thirty days of the rendition of judgment, shall lodge with the clerk a warranty deed to the defendant of the lands so recovered and the plaintiff dismisses the action. (Amended 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 137, eff. March 29, 1972.)
§ 4820. Valuation determined
After such deed is so lodged, the court shall appoint a committee of three disinterested persons from the vicinity in which the land lies, who, on oath, shall ascertain what would then have been the value of such land if betterments had not been made thereon, and make and return a report thereof in writing to the clerk of the court within thirty days from the date of the determination of the matter.
§ 4821. Value paid; no further proceedings
Further proceedings shall not be had on the judgment rendered in the action of ejectment, when the defendant pays to the plaintiff or to the clerk of the court for the use of the plaintiff or his legal representatives, the sum reported by the committee, with the costs of suit and after-proceedings, and the interest thereon, within four years from filing the deed as aforesaid, in four equal and annual payments, of which the first shall be within one year from the time of filing the deed.
§ 4822. Value not paid; writ to issue
When the defendant does not pay an installment of the sum so reported, with costs and interest from the date of the deed, such deed shall be returned to the plaintiff, and the writ of possession and execution for the costs shall issue accordingly.
§ 4823. Rights of a representative
When either party dies pending the proceedings as to betterments, his executor or administrator may do, as to such proceedings for betterments, whatever the deceased party could have done had he been living. A conveyance by an executor or administrator, agreeably to this chapter, shall convey the title of the person whom he represents, to the land recovered.
§ 4824. Previous limitations not to apply
The provisions of this chapter relating to betterments shall extend to the cases therein provided for, as though acts of limitation or sections of such acts had not been passed.
§ 4851. Issuance of process by superior judge
When the lessee of lands or tenements, either by parole or written lease, or a person holding under the lease, holds possession of the demised premises without right, after the termination of the lease by its own limitation or after breach of a stipulation contained in the lease by the lessee or a person holding under the lessee, the person entitled to the possession of the premises may have from the presiding judge of the superior court a writ to restore him or her to the possession thereof. (Amended 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 138, eff. March 29, 1972; 1973, No. 249 (Adj. Sess.), § 28, eff. April 9, 1974; 1989, No. 221 (Adj. Sess.), § 7, eff. Oct. 1, 1990.)
§ 4852. Mode of process; declaration; trial by jury
The process may issue as a summons or writ of attachment, requiring the defendant to appear and answer to the complaint of the plaintiff which shall state that the defendant is in the possession of the lands or tenements in question (describing them), which the tenant holds unlawfully and against the right of the plaintiff. A copy of the rental agreement, if any, and any notice to terminate the defendant's tenancy shall be attached to the complaint. Either party shall have the right to a trial by jury. (Amended 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 139, eff. March 29, 1972; 1973, No. 249 (Adj. Sess.), § 29, eff. April 9, 1974; 1999, No. 115 (Adj. Sess.), § 9.)
§ 4853. Service of process
The process shall be served and notice given as in other civil actions. (Amended 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 140, eff. March 29, 1972; 1973, No. 249 (Adj. Sess.), § 30, eff. April 9, 1974.)
§ 4853a. Payment of rent into court; expedited hearing
Subsection (a) as amended by 2007, Act No. 125 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.
(a) In any action against a tenant for possession, 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.
Subsection (a) as amended by 2007, Act No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 51.
(a) In any action against a tenant for possession brought in accordance with this chapter, 9 V.S.A. chapter 137, 10 V.S.A. chapter 153, or 11 V.S.A. hapter 14, 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 but shall cease upon execution of a writ of possession.
(c) Any memorandum in opposition filed by the defendant pursuant to Rule 78(b) of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure shall be accompanied by affidavit setting forth particular facts in support of the memorandum.
(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 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.
(e) All funds paid into court shall be made payable to the court clerk by money order, certified check, cash or any other means which guarantees the availability of the funds for distribution after a hearing on the merits. The funds shall be distributed forthwith in accordance with the final order from the trial court.
(f) The landlord may at any time by motion apply to the court for disbursement of all or part of the funds paid into court. The motion for disbursement shall be accompanied by affidavit setting forth particular facts in its support. If the court finds that the landlord is in actual danger of loss of the premises or other personal hardship resulting from the loss of rental income it may award all or any portion of the funds under deposit to the landlord.
(g) The tenant may at any time by motion apply to the court to reduce the amount ordered to be paid into court under this section. The motion for reduction shall be accompanied by affidavit setting forth particular facts in its support.
(h) 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 10 V.S.A. chapter 153, 30 days after the writ is served, to put the plaintiff into possession. (Added 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; amended 1993, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 12, eff. May 6, 1994; 1999, No. 115 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2007, No. 125 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2007, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 51.)
§ 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 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 ten days after the writ is served, to put the plaintiff into possession. (Amended 1979, No. 2, § 1, eff. Feb. 14, 1979; 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1999, No. 115 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2007, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 52.)
§ 4854a. Property of tenant remaining on premises after eviction
(a) A landlord may dispose of any personal property remaining in a dwelling unit or leased premises without notice or liability to the tenant or owner of the personal property:
(1) 15 days after a writ of possession is served pursuant to this chapter; or
(2) in the case of an eviction brought pursuant to 10 V.S.A. chapter 153, 40 days after a writ of possession issued for failure to pay rent into court pursuant to subsection 4853a(h) of this title is served.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, if the court stays the execution of a writ of possession issued pursuant to this chapter, then a landlord may dispose of any personal property remaining in a dwelling unit or leased premises without notice or liability to the tenant or owner of the personal property five days after the landlord is legally restored to possession of the dwelling unit or leased premises. (Added 2011, No. 137 (Adj. Sess.), § 11, eff. May 14, 2012.)
§ 4855. Close jail execution, when not to issue
When such judgment includes rent for the use of leased premises prior to the giving of notice to quit, the court shall not certify on an execution issued thereon that the cause of action arose from the wilful and malicious act and neglect of the defendant and that the defendant ought to be confined in close jail.
§ 4856. Judgment for defendant; execution
When the plaintiff's complaint is dismissed or he does not prove his right to the possession, the defendant shall have judgment for his costs, and execution therefor. (Amended 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 141, eff. March 29, 1972.)
§§ 4857, 4858
§§ 4857, 4858. Repealed. 1973, No. 249 (Adj. Sess.), § 111, eff. April 9, 1974.
§ 4859. Repealed. 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 7.