Title 9: Commerce and Trade
Chapter 137: RESIDENTIAL RENTAL AGREEMENTS
9 V.S.A. § 4461. Security deposits
§ 4461. Security deposits
(a) A security deposit is any advance, deposit or prepaid rent, however named, which is refundable to the tenant at the termination or expiration of the tenancy. The function of a security deposit is to secure the performance of a tenant's obligations to pay rent and to maintain a dwelling unit.
(b) The landlord may retain all or a portion of the security deposit for:
(1) nonpayment of rent;
(2) damage to property of the landlord, unless the damage is the result of normal wear and tear or the result of actions or events beyond the control of the tenant;
(3) nonpayment of utility or other charges which the tenant was required to pay directly to the landlord or to a utility; and
(4) expenses required to remove from the rental unit articles abandoned by the tenant.
(c) A landlord shall return the security deposit along with a written statement itemizing any deductions 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. 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.
(d) The landlord shall comply with this section by hand-delivering or mailing the statement and any payment required to the last known address of the tenant.
(e) If a landlord fails to return the security deposit with a statement within 14 days, the landlord forfeits the right to withhold any portion of the security deposit. If the failure is wilful, the landlord shall be liable for double the amount wrongfully withheld, plus reasonable attorney's fees and costs.
(f) Upon termination of the landlord's interest in the dwelling unit, the security deposit shall be transferred to the new landlord. The new landlord shall give the tenant actual notice of the new landlord's name and address with a statement that the security deposit has been transferred to the new landlord.
(g) A town or municipality may adopt an ordinance governing security deposits on dwellings. The ordinance shall be supplemental to and not inconsistent with the minimum protections of the provisions of this section. The ordinance may not limit how a security deposit is held. The ordinance may authorize the payment of interest on a security deposit. The ordinance may provide that a housing board of review constituted pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 5005 may hear and decide disputes related to security deposits upon request for a hearing by a landlord or tenant. The board's actions shall be reviewable under 24 V.S.A. § 5006. (Added 1985, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1987, No. 116, § 2; 1991, No. 229 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2007, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 45.)