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Vermont Rent Increase Laws: What Tenants Should Know

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For many, renting a house in Vermont can be a cost-effective and handy choice, but there are drawbacks and uncertainties as well. Rent rises are among the most frequent problems that tenants deal with. How much may the landlord increase the rent you pay? How soon can they accomplish this? As a tenant, what are your options and rights? These queries will be addressed in this post, along with some helpful advice on how to handle rent hikes in Vermont.

When Can a Landlord Raise Rent in Vermont?

In Vermont, landlords are allowed to increase rent for any reason as long as they give the appropriate notice and the increase is not motivated by discrimination or retaliation. This general rule does have several exceptions and limitations, though:

Your landlord cannot increase your rent during a fixed-term lease arrangement, such as one that lasts six months or a year, unless the terms of the lease specifically permit it.

If you reside in a place where rent is controlled, like Burlington, your landlord can be bound by regional regulations that restrict the quantity and timing of rent increases.

Your rent may be modified in accordance with program guidelines and your income if you get subsidized housing assistance, such as Section 8 vouchers.

How Much Notice is Needed to Raise Rent in Vermont?

Before raising the rent in Vermont, landlords are required to provide at least sixty days’ written notice. The notice, which must include the amount and date of the rent increase, must be mailed or handed in person to the renter. This notice time cannot be shortened by a formal leasing agreement.

Some localities, nevertheless, might have requirements for further notice. For instance, before raising the rent, landlords in Burlington are required to provide at least ninety-nine days’ written notice.

How Much Can a Landlord Raise Rent by in Vermont?

There is no state legislation in Vermont that restricts how much landlords can increase rent. As long as they are not breaking any federal fair housing rules or local rent control legislation, landlords are free to set their rent at any amount the market will bear.

Nevertheless, a bill capping annual rent increases at 6% or the state’s average inflation rate, whichever is lower, was presented to the assembly of Vermont in 2023. House measure 135 is a measure that has not yet been passed and may encounter resistance from property owners and landlords.

What Can You Do If You Receive a Rent Increase Notice?

You have a few choices to think about if your landlord gives you a notice of an increase in rent:

Continue residing in the home and accept the rent rise. If you enjoy where you currently live and the rent rise is within your reasonable and affordable range, this can be the simplest and most practical choice.

Ask your landlord to reduce the rent increase or extend the notice period. If you have been a good tenant, have a long-term lease, or have a strong rental market in your favor, you might be able to convince your landlord to lower the amount or postpone the date of the rent rise. In exchange for a smaller rent increase, you might also offer to fix up the home or make some renovations. Any agreement, though, ought to be obtained in writing and signed by both sides.

Get off the land and look for another place to live. If you give your landlord enough notice, you have the right to end your lease and leave the property by the date the rent increases. If you think the rent rise is too big, unfair, or out of your price range, this could be a viable choice for you. But, you should be ready to cover relocation-related fees and expenses, including utility transfers, application fees, security deposits, and moving costs.

You can use mediation or the legal system to contest the rent increase. If you think the rent increase is unlawful, unfair, or retaliatory, you might be entitled to challenge it. You may file a lawsuit against your landlord, for instance, if they increased your rent due to your disability, gender, race, or religion; you may also file a lawsuit if you joined a tenants union or complained about the state of the property. If you live in a mobile home park and the rent increase is more than 8.8%, you can also ask for mediation. But you should be mindful of the dangers and expenses associated with taking legal action, including potential eviction, court charges, and lawyer bills.

Conclusion

In Vermont, raising rent is both permitted and customary, although there are specific guidelines and limitations that must be followed. When faced with a rent rise, tenants should be aware of their rights and options and take appropriate action. Additionally, you should endeavor to settle any disputes with your landlord in a polite and amicable manner and maintain open lines of communication. You can safeguard your interests and have a cozy and safe rental experience in Vermont by doing this.

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