Author Archive

Year in review: the best of 2018

Written by Lucas Hall on . Posted in For Landlords, For Renters, General

2018 Year in ReviewWelcome to the new year! As we dive into 2019, we’d like to take a moment and reflect the highlights of the past year. Whether you’re a landlord or a renter, we’re glad you’re here. Please enjoy the best articles of 2018.

2018 summary:

We’re proud to be a part of an amazing community of real estate investors, landlords, managers, and renters. Thank you for being there with us.

Without further ado, here are the best articles from last year, based overall on quality, popularity, engagement, and traffic.

Best articles of 2018:


JANUARY

How many pets are too many?

Some landlords believe that even one pet is one pet too many in their rental property. But if you allow pets, you should have a plan on how many to allow. It’s a good idea to have a pet policy in your lease that you go over with your tenants before they move in.


FEBRUARY

Umbrella insurance: can it replace an LLC?

Did you know there’s an alternative to an LLC that protects your finances? It’s umbrella insurance. Landlords can protect themselves from lawsuits with a simple umbrella insurance policy and avoid the problems involved with an LLC.


MARCH

Offer incentives to current tenants so they stay

If you do your job properly when it comes to taking care of the tenants, they’ll ultimately take care of you by wanting to stay. After all, every renter wants and deserves a good landlord and a well-kept property.


APRIL

Cleaning and repair rules when you move out

If you leave your rental in bad shape when you move out, your landlord can hold the cleaning costs from your security deposit. After all, it’s your mess. But the security deposit is your money. You want as much of it back as possible, right? So what are your responsibilities?


MAY

Withholding rent

When can you withhold rent?

Tenants will learn when it is legal to withhold rent when the landlord is not making proper repairs. But this can be a very risky move for tenants: it can result in eviction.


JUNE

Rental application fees: what you need to know

Experienced landlords, particularly those who’ve been burned by less-than-exemplary renters, always screen future tenants. And that costs money. Thus, the application fee, which pays for background checks and credit reports for each person on a lease.


JULY

9 maintenance issues tenants are responsible for

A landlord is required to provide a safe and habitable residence, but landlords and tenants share responsibility for keeping it that way. Tenants should maintain sanitary conditions and contact the landlord whenever repairs are needed.


AUGUST

Tenant move-out letter plus two other free templates

When your tenant plans to move, you should make the move-out process as smooth as possible. This benefits you and your tenant—when your tenant knows what to expect, they’re more likely to meet your expectations. Here are some templates you can use when your tenants’ leases are about to end.


SEPTEMBER

What to do when your tenant is locked out… again

If you don’t mind being on call 24/7 to deal with every Mr. and Ms. Forgetful you rent to, don’t worry about it. But if you appreciate peace of mind and wish your tenants would learn to be more responsible, there’s a few things you can do about those lost-key situations.


OCTOBER

Should I accept credit card payments as rent?

Is it a good choice to pay rent with a credit card? Learn the pros and cons of which payment method makes the most sense for your finances.


NOVEMBER

When is rent considered received?

It’s best not to push the limits on your monthly rent calendar if you want to avoid landlord-tenant friction, or worse yet, eviction. Although many mortgage companies offer a payment grace period beyond the listed due date, the same is usually not true for rental payments.


DECEMBER

A basic guide to landlord and tenant responsibilities

Landlord and tenant responsibilities can be complicated. This guide will outline which party is responsible for common landlord/tenant issues.

Wyoming Rental Laws

Written by Lucas Hall on . Posted in Laws & Regulations, Step 1 - Perform Research

This article summarizes some key Wyoming Landlord-Tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

We’ve used the Official State Statutes and other online sources cited below to research this information and it should be a good starting point in learning about the law.

With that said, our summary is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice. Laws and statutes are always subject to change, and may even vary from county to county or city to city.

You are responsible for performing your own research and complying with all laws applicable to your unique situation.

If you have legal questions or concerns, we recommend consulting with the appropriate government agencies and/or a qualified lawyer in your area. Your local or state bar association may have a referral service that can help you find a lawyer with experience in landlord-tenant law.

Official Rules, Regulations, and Guide

Details

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No statute.
  • Security Deposit Interest: No statute.
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No statute.
  • Non-Refundable Fees: There is no statute governing what sort of non-refundable fees a landlord can charge a tenant. However, if there are non-refundable fees, the rental agreement must state whether any portion of the security deposit is non-refundable. The landlord must also given written notice regarding the non-refundable fees included in the security deposit when the tenant pays the deposit (Wyo. Stat. § 1-21-1207).
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 30 days after the termination of the rental agreement or 15 days after the landlord receives the tenant’s new mailing address, whichever is “later.” If the rental unit has been damaged beyond normal wear and tear by the tenant, the period to return the deposit is extended by an additional 30 days (Wyo. Stat. § 1-21-1208(a)). Utility deposits must be repaid within 10 days of the tenant proving that all utility charges have been paid. For information regarding deadlines for when such proof is not shown and when the landlord must make utility payments, see statute. (Wyo. Stat. § 1-21-1208(b)).
  • Permitted Uses of the Deposit: Landlords may use a portion or entirety of the security deposit to pay for past due rent, damages made by the tenant beyond normal wear and tear, cleaning costs, “and to other costs provided by any contract.” (Wyo. Stat. § 1-21-1208(a)).
  • Security Deposit can be Withheld: Yes. (Wyo. Stat. § 1-21-1208(a)).
  • Require Written Description/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes (Wyo. Stat. § 1-21-1208(a)).
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: The landlord must provide an itemized list of deposit withholdings and mail it to the tenant along with the security deposit (Wyo. Stat. § 1-21-1208(a)).
  • Failure to Comply: Tenants may recover the full amount of the security deposit and court costs if the security and utility deposits are not return within the deadlines set in statute. (Wyo. Stat. § 1-21-1208(c)).

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent is Due: No statute.
  • Payment Methods: No statute.
  • Rent Increase Notice: No statute.
  • Late Fees: No statute.
  • Application Fees: No statute.
  • Prepaid Rent: No statute.
  • Returned Check Fees: Landlords can charge a fee not to exceed $30 (Wyo. Stat. § 1-1-115(b)).
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): No. Tenants are prohibited from withholding rent, for any reason, under Wyoming law. If the tenant does withhold rent, the landlord is legally allowed to initiate eviction proceedings. If any essential services are cut off or repairs need to be made to the unit, the tenant must notify the landlord of the problem, via writing, and allow the landlord “reasonable time” to make the repair. Tenants must be current on their rent payments in order to make such requests. The landlord has the legal right to refuse to make the repair and dispute the tenant’s claim. For more information, see the statute (Wyo. Stat. §§ 1-21-1203).
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Tenants are allowed to make repairs but they cannot deduct rent. The only situations in which a tenant may make repairs is after the tenant has notified the landlord of the needed repair and “reasonable time” has passed since the notification. The tenant can also send the landlord a “notice to repair or correct condition” demanding the repairs be made.  The renter may also sue the landlord in civil court and be “awarded costs, damages and affirmative relief. For details on the details to include in the notice, see the statute (Wyo. Stat. § 1-21-1206).
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney’s Fees: Yes (Wyo. Stat. § 1-21-1211(b)).
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Re-rent: No statute.

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No statute. Typically, no notice is given as the lease simply expires.
  • Notice to Terminate Any Periodic Lease of a Year or More: No statute.
  • Notice to Terminate a Periodic Lease – Month-to-Month: No statute.
  • Notice to Terminate a Periodic Lease – Week-to-week: No statute.
  • Notice to Terminate Lease due to Sale of Property: No statute.
  • Notice of date/time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute.
  • Eviction Notice for Nonpayment of Rent: Three days (Wyo. Stat. § 1-21-1002).
  • Eviction Notice for Lease Violation: Three days (Wyo. Stat. § 1-21-1002).
  • Required Notice before Entry: No statute.
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Yes. In general, tenants are prohibited from “unreasonably” denying access to the rental unit or refusing a landlord entry (Wyo. Stat. § 1-21-1205).
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Yes
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: Yes.
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute.
  • Lockouts Allowed: No statute.
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No statute.

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Name and Addresses: No statute.
  • Copy of the Lease: No statute, though it is strongly recommended that tenants ask and receive a copy of the lease.
  • Domestic Violence Situations: Landlords cannot terminate rental agreements solely based upon the reason that a tenant, or a tenant’s family member, is a victim of domestic or sexual violence (Wyo. Stat. §  1-21-1303).
  • Early Termination Rights: Yes. For details, see Wyo. Stat. §  1-21-1303
  • Proof of Status: Landlords can request proof–including court documents or copies of police records–showing that a tenant, or a family member, is a victim of domestic or sexual violence (Wyo. Stat. §  1-21-1303).
  • Landlord’s Duties: Wyo. Stat. § 1-21-1202 & Wyo. Stat. § 1-21-1203(a)(i-iv).
    • Compliance: Landlords must keep rental units in a condition that is safe, sanitary, and fit for human occupancy;
    • Repairs: Landlords are not statutorily obligated to make repairs “which do not materially affect the physical health or safety of the ordinary renter.”
    • Common Areas: maintain the rental unit’s common areas so that they are sanitary and reasonably safe;
    • Maintenance: Maintain electrical systems, plumbing, heating, and hot and cold water, as well as other appliances and facilities as specified in the rental agreement.
    • Trash: No statute.
    • Water: No statute.
  • Tenant’s Duties: Wyo. Stat. § 1-21-1202 ; Wyo. Stat. § 1-21-1204 ; Wyo. Stat. § 1-21-1205
    • Compliance: Maintain the residential rental unit occupied in a clean and safe condition and not unreasonably burden any common area;
    • Cleanliness: Tenants cannot destroy or damage, in any way, any part of the residential rental unit or knowingly permit other person to do so;
    • Trash: Dispose of all garbage and other waste in a clean and safe manner;
    • Plumbing: Maintain all plumbing fixtures in a sanitary condition;
    • Appliances: Reasonably use all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating and other facilities and appliances;
    • Lawful Activity: No statute.
    • Quiet Enjoyment: Tenants may not disrupt other tenants’ “peaceful enjoyment” of their home.
  • Retaliation: No statute.
  • Lead Disclosure: Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License required: No statewide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.

State agencies & regulatory bodies

Housing Authorities

Realtor, and Landlord and tenant associations

Montana Rental Laws

Written by Lucas Hall on . Posted in Laws & Regulations, Step 1 - Perform Research

This article summarizes some key Montana Landlord-Tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

We’ve used the Official State Statutes and other online sources cited below to research this information and it should be a good starting point in learning about the law.

With that said, our summary is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice. Laws and statutes are always subject to change, and may even vary from county to county or city to city.

You are responsible for performing your own research and complying with all laws applicable to your unique situation.

If you have legal questions or concerns, we recommend consulting with the appropriate government agencies and/or a qualified lawyer in your area. Your local or state bar association may have a referral service that can help you find a lawyer with experience in landlord-tenant law.

Official Rules, Regulations, and Guide

Details

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No statute.
  • Security Deposit Interest: No statute.
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No statute.
  • Non-Refundable Fees: No. Any fees for cleaning or damages is considered part of the security deposit (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-25-101(4))
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: If there are no damages, the landlord must return the security deposit within 10 days, via mail to an address provided by the tenant or the tenant’s last known address (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-25-202(1))
  • Require Written Description/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: The landlord must provide the tenant with a written list of any damages, cleaning charges, and unpaid rent within 30 days of the tenancy’s termination. The list must be accompanied with payment of the difference between the charges and the security deposit. (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-25-202).
  • Permitted Uses of the Security Deposit: Deductions can be taken from the security deposit to pay for unpaid rent, late charges, unpaid utilities, “penalties due under lease provisions,” any other money owed to the landlord, as well as the cost of cleaning expenses, “including a reasonable charge for the landlord’s labor” (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-25-201(1)). Cleaning charges cannot be conducted until written notice is given to the tenant specifying the cleaning not done and still needs to be done in order for the premises to be brought to the condition in which it was originally rented. For more details, see Mont. Ann. Code §§70-25-201(3).
  • Receipt of Security Deposit: No statute.
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No statute.
  • Failure to Comply: Landlords who do not provide such a list to the tenant forfeit their right to withhold any part of the security deposit (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-25-203).

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent is Due: Rent is due, without demand or notice, at the beginning of the month and must be paid in monthly installments (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-201(2)).
  • Payment Methods: Rent can be paid via check or electronic funds transfer to a bank account designated for rent payments (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-201(2)).
  • Rent Increase Notice: There is no specific statute regarding rent increases. However, Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-311 allows landlords to adopt “a rule concerning the tenant’s use and occupancy of the premises.” If such a rule is adopted after a rental agreement is created between a tenant and a landlord, the landlord must provide 30 days’ written notice before the rule takes effect. (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-311)
  • Late Fees: No statute.
  • Application Fees: No statute.
  • Prepaid Rent: No statute.
  • Returned Check Fees: A person who issues a bad check or electronic funds transfer is liable to pay a fee no greater than $30, and the payee to whom the check or payment is made out to can also pursue damages. For more details, see Mont. Ann. Code §§27-1-717(2)(3).
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes. If a landlord does not provide water, heat, electricity, gas, or other services, whether by negligence or on purpose, the tenant may provide written notice to the landlord, procure their own utilities, and deduct the costs from the monthly rent (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-408). Tenants who pursue this course of action cannot terminate the rental agreement, obtain damages and obtain injunctive relief, as stipulated in Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-406(2), for any noncompliance by the landlord.
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Yes. Tenants can perform repairs that do not cost more than one month’s rent and deduct the cost from rent, provided that the tenant has given the landlord written notice and the landlord has not made the repairs (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-406). Tenants who live in a one-, two-, or three-bedroom residence may also reach agreements, in writing, with their landlords allowing the tenant to perform “specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations, or remodeling” so long as the landlord is not evading their obligations. For more details, see the statute. (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-303)
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney’s Fees:  Yes. (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-427)
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Re-rent: Yes. (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-426(3))

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No notice is required as the lease simply expires.
  • Notice to Terminate Any Periodic Lease of a Year or More: No statute.
  • Notice to Terminate a Periodic Lease – Month-to-Month: 30 days’ written notice (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-441).
  • Notice to Terminate a Periodic Lease – Week-to-week: 7 days’ written notice (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-441).
  • Notice to Terminate Lease due to Sale of Property: No statute.
  • Notice of date/time of Move-Out Inspection: Either the landlord or tenant may request that the rental unit be inspected within one week of the tenancy’s expiration (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-25-201(2)).
  • Eviction Notice for Nonpayment: The landlord may terminate the rental agreement once three days have passed since providing written notice of the tenant’s failure to pay rent when it is due. (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-422(2)).
  • Eviction Notice for Lease Violation: Landlords can evict tenants for having an unauthorized pet or unauthorized people living in the unit, as well as for damaging the unit. For more details regarding specific violations and notice times, see (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-422).
  • Required Notice before Entry: Landlords must give at least 24 hours’ notice before entering the premises and may not “abuse the right of access” to harass a tenant. (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-312)
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Yes, but the landlord must give at least 24 hours’ notice before entering the premises. (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-312)
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Yes. (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-312)
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: Yes, no notice is required during an absence of the tenant in excess of 7 days or more. (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-426(2))
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute.
  • Lockouts Allowed: Tenants cannot remove, replace, or add locks that are not supplied by the landlord without the landlord’s written permission. If the tenant does remove and change the lock, the tenant must supply the landlord with a key (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-312). If the tenant does not supply a key, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-33-424). The law also prohibits landlords from changing the locks or adding new locks to keep the tenant out (see: Landlord-Tenant: Know the Rules–Montana Department of Justice).
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: Landlords are prohibited from shutting off any utilities as a means to forcing a tenant to vacate the premises, pay unpaid rent, and so on. (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-428)

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Name and Addresses: The landlord, or whomever else enters into a lease agreement with a tenant must provide the tenant, in writing, the names and addresses of the people authorized to manage the rental unit and the unit’s owner, or the person authorized to act on the owner’s behalf. (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-301)
  • Copy of the Lease: No statute.
  • Domestic Violence Situations: No statute.
  • Early Termination Rights: No statute.
  • Proof of Status: No statute.
  • Landlord’s Duties: (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-303)
    • Compliance: Landlords must comply with the requirements of all applicable building and housing codes that materially affect the health and safety of tenants; may not knowingly allow any tenant or other person to engage in any activity on the premises that creates a reasonable potential that the premises may be damaged or destroyed or that neighboring tenants may be injured;
    • Repairs: make all repairs and do whatever necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;
    • Common Areas: keep all common areas of the premises clean and safe;
    • Maintenance: maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators;
    • Trash: provide and maintain appropriate receptacles to remove ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste;
    • Water: supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times. Between October 1 and May 1, the landlord must also supply “reasonable heat.” For exceptions, see the statute.
    • Carbon Monoxide detector: shall install in each dwelling unit an approved carbon monoxide detector that is in good working order.
  • Tenant’s Duties: (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-321)
    • Compliance: Tenants must comply with all obligations primarily imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building and housing codes that materially affect health and safety;
    • Cleanliness: Keep the rental unit and any other part of the premises used by the tenant “reasonably” clean and safe, as the premises’ conditions permit. The tenant must also use the premises and its’ various rooms–bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, etc. –“in a reasonable manner, considering the purposes for which they were designed and intended,”
    • Trash: Dispose of all ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste in a manner that is clean and safe;
    • Plumbing: Keep all plumbing fixtures used by the tenant as clean as their condition permits;
    • Appliances: Use, “in a reasonable manner,” all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, in the premises;
    • Lawful Activity: Tenants may not destroy, deface, damage, impair, or remove any part of the premises or permit any other person to do so. Tenants may not engage in, or knowingly allow another person, to engage in unlawful activity.
    • Quiet Enjoyment: Conduct oneself and require other persons on the premises with the tenant’s consent to conduct themselves in a manner, that will not disturb the tenant’s neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises; and
  • Retaliation: Landlords cannot retaliate against tenants for complaining of a lease violation, communicating with a government authority, or becoming involved with a tenant organization. (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-431).
  • Lead Disclosure: Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License required: No statewide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.

State agencies & regulatory bodies

Housing Authorities

Realtor, and Landlord and tenant associations

Vermont Rental Laws

Written by Lucas Hall on . Posted in Laws & Regulations, Step 1 - Perform Research

Flag of VermontThis article summarizes some key Vermont Landlord-Tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

We’ve used the Official State Statutes and other online sources cited below to research this information and it should be a good starting point in learning about the law.

With that said, our summary is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice. Laws and statutes are always subject to change, and may even vary from county to county or city to city.

You are responsible for performing your own research and complying with all laws applicable to your unique situation.

If you have legal questions or concerns, we recommend consulting with the appropriate government agencies and/or a qualified lawyer in your area. Your local or state bar association may have a referral service that can help you find a lawyer with experience in landlord-tenant law.

Official Rules, Regulations, and Guide

Details

Security Deposit

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No statute.
  • Security Deposit Interest: There is no statewide statute dictating interest accrued by a security deposit. However, towns and municipalities in Vermont are allowed to adopt ordinances authorizing the payment of interest. For more information, see 9 V.S.A. § 4461(g).
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No statute.
  • Non-Refundable Fees: No statute.
  • Pet Deposits and Additional Fees: No statute.
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: Landlords must return the security deposit, along with a written statement explaining any deductions, within 14 days of the tenant vacating the rental unit. If a tenant is renting a unit seasonally, the security deposit and accompanying statement must be returned within 60 days (9 V.S.A. § 4461(c)).
  • Permitted Uses of the Security Deposit: Landlords can use all or a portion of the security deposit in order to pay for:
    1. nonpayment of rent;
    2. damage caused by the tenant beyond normal wear;
    3. nonpayment of utility charges the tenant would pay directly to the landlord, and
    4. expenses related to removing a tenant’s abandoned possessions (9 V.S.A. § 4461(b)).
  • Security Deposit can be Withheld: Yes.
  • Require Written Description/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes, such a list must accompany the security deposit when it is returned to the tenant (9 V.S.A. § 4461(c)).
  • Receipt of Security Deposit: No statute.
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No statute.
  • Failure to Comply: If landlords fail to return the deposit within 14 days, the landlord forfeits the right to withhold any part of the security deposit. And if landlords willfully fails to return the security deposit, landlords can be liable for twice the amount of the security deposit, plus attorney’s fees and related costs. (9 V.S.A. § 4461(e)).

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent is Due: Rent is due without demand or notice on a date and location the parties agree to. (9 V.S.A. § 4455(a)).
  • Payment Methods: No statute.
  • Rent Increase Notice: Landlords must give 60 days’ notice before increasing rent (9 V.S.A. § 4455(b)).
  • Late Fees: There is no state statute regarding late fees. However, the 1991 Vermont Supreme Court ruling in Highgate Associates, Ltd. v. Lorna Merryfield established a prohibition against late fees that are charged as penalties. Late fees charged as actual compensation for costs incurred by landlords as a result of late rent payments are the only acceptable situations in which a late fee can be charged.
  • Application Fees: Application fees are prohibited by state law (9 V.S.A. § 4456(a)).
  • Prepaid Rent: No statute.
  • Returned Check Fees: No statute.
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes. Tenants can withhold rent for major health code violations after they’ve given notice to the landlord regarding the violation and the landlord has not made the necessary repair or alteration. Tenants can also seek injunctive relief and recover damages, costs and reasonable attorney’s fees (9 V.S.A. § 4458).
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: If landlords fail to make minor repairs within 30 days of being notified of the need for the repair by the tenant, tenants can conduct the repairs and deduct the cost from the monthly rent. The deduction cannot exceed one-half of a month’s rent. The tenant must provide the landlord with information regarding the cost of the repair when rent is being deducted (9 V.S.A. § 4459(a)).
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney’s Fees: Yes (9 V.S.A. § 4456(e)).
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Re-rent: No, however, if the landlord rents the dwelling unit before the expiration of the rental agreement, the agreement terminates on the date of the new tenancy. (9 V.S.A. § 4462).

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: There is nothing in statute, but typically, no notice is needed since the lease simply expires.
  • Notice to Terminate Any Periodic Lease of a Year or More: In the case of no-cause evictions for tenancies of two years or more, at least 90 days is required (9 V.S.A. § 4467(c)(1)(B)). In the case of no-cause evictions for tenancies of two years or less, at least 60 days’ notice is required (9 V.S.A. § 4467(c)(1)(A))
  • Notice to Terminate a Periodic Lease – Month-to-Month: At least 30 days (9 V.S.A. § 4467(e)).
  • Notice to Terminate a Periodic Lease – Week-to-week: 21 days (9 V.S.A. § 4467(c)(2)).
  • Notice to Terminate Lease due to Sale of Property: 30 days (9 V.S.A. § 4467(d)).
  • Notice of date/time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute.
  • Eviction Notice for Nonpayment: 14 days (9 V.S.A. § 4467(a)).
  • Eviction Notice for Lease Violation: 30 days notice for lease violations; 14 days notice if the eviction notice is due to criminal activity (9 V.S.A. § 4467(b)(1) and (2)).
  • Required Notice before Entry: 48 hours, and the landlord is only allowed to enter the rental unit between the hours of 9am and 9pm (9 V.S.A. § 4460).
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Yes (9 V.S.A. § 4460).
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Yes (9 V.S.A. § 4460).
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No statute.
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute.
  • Lockouts Allowed: No statute.
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No. See the Vermont Department of Health’s Rental Housing Health Code, Section 12.1.2.

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Name and Addresses: No statute.
  • Copy of the Lease: No statute.
  • Domestic Violence Situations: No statute.
  • Early Termination Rights: No statute.
  • Proof of Status: No statute.
  • Landlord’s Duties: (9 V.S.A. § 4457)
    • Compliance: Landlords are required to maintain rental units that “are safe, clean, and fit for human habitation” and which are in compliance with all building, housing and health regulations.
    • Repairs: No statute, but landlords are generally expected to make necessary and needed repairs.
    • Common Areas: No statute.
    • Maintenance: No statute.
    • Trash: No statute.
    • Water: Landlords must ensure there is suitable heat and hot water available.
  • Tenant’s Duties: (9 V.S.A. § 4456)
    • Compliance: Tenants are required to adhere to the obligations set forth in building, housing and health codes and regulations.
    • Cleanliness: No statute.
    • Trash: No statute.
    • Plumbing: No statute.
    • Appliances: No statute.
    • Lawful Activity: Tenants shall not deliberately or negligently “destroy, deface, damage, or remove” any part of the rental unit, appliances, fixtures, and so on.
    • Quiet Enjoyment: Tenants are expected to conduct themselves in such a way that does not disturb other tenants’ “peaceful enjoyment” of their homes.
  • Retaliation: Landlords cannot retaliate against their tenants for notifying landlords of violations of landlord-tenant law, complaining to a governmental authority, or joining a tenant’s union. Retaliation is presumed if the landlord negatively reacts within 90 days after the tenant’s action (9 V.S.A. § 4465). For information on the City of Burlington’s Anti-retaliation Law, see the city’s Code of Ordinances, Chapter 18, Section 18(29).
  • Lead Disclosure: Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License required: No statewide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.

State agencies & regulatory bodies

Housing Authorities

Realtor, and Landlord and tenant associations

New! Automatic late fees in Cozy

Written by Lucas Hall on . Posted in For Landlords, Step 7 - Sign a Lease / Collect Deposit

With Cozy, the company behind Landlordology, you can easily collect rent from your tenants for free, and now you can add automatic late fees. Landlords have been requesting this feature, and we’re happy to give them another tool to help them simplify their rental businesses.

Landlords who don’t enforce late fees can end up chasing down rent and feeling the stress of unpredictable cash flows. Adding automatic late fees not only gives you peace of mind, but helps you enforce the terms of your lease.

Automatic late fees will help encourage your tenants to pay their rent on time, which means you can focus on more important things, like family, friends, and growing your business.

To turn on automatic late fees, sign in to Cozy and visit the “Rental Details” section of any unit where you’re collecting rent. You can add a fixed late fee amount for whenever your tenants fail to make a payment on time, in full, by the due date.

If you have a grace period for paying rent, or your state requires one by law, you can include that in your late fee set up. Some states, like Massachusetts, require a 30 day grace period, while Virginia doesn’t require a grace period at all. Either way, we’ve got you covered.

If you’re not already using Cozy, give it a try. Our core features are free for landlords, including collecting applications, screening tenants, and collecting rent online.

New! Share your rental documents

Written by Lucas Hall on . Posted in For Landlords, For Renters, General, Step 9 - Manage Lease & Collect Rent

We’re excited to announce that now you can share documents, lease agreements, move-in checklists, and more with your tenants in Cozy!

At Cozy, the company behind Landlordology, we build tools to make life easier for our customers and we listen to their feedback. Landlords have been asking us to make it easy to store and share essential rental documents with their tenants, so they can be better organized and more transparent. Now they can.

Quick and convenient

It’s easy to add and share rental documents in Cozy. When you set up payments, you can upload any related documents, which will be there for your tenants when they login to Cozy.

Every time you share a new document, all the tenants on that lease will be notified by email. Then they can access the shared documents from any device. Tenants will conveniently have the lease at their fingertips, so they won’t have to ask you for it again and again.

State law requirements

Every state has its own landlord-tenant laws. Some states have laws to ensure that tenants always receive a copy of the lease. For example, California Civ. Code §§ 1962(4) says that a landlord must provide a copy of the lease to the tenant within 15 days of its execution. In Delaware, a landlord must provide a written copy of the agreement, free of charge (§ 5105 (b)).

Cozy makes it easy to share a lease with your tenants securely and for free.

To learn more about what state laws require, check out our state law rental guides.

Your tenants will thank you

Most tenants want to be self-sufficient. They don’t want to ask you multiple times for a copy of the lease, or find a place to store a stack of important rental documents.

By using Cozy to send and store these documents, you’ll help foster trust and transparency with your tenants. It’s a great way to start a relationship with a new tenant, that hopefully will help pave the way for a long-term resident who treats you and your property with honesty and respect.

Foundation for success

At Cozy, we make renting easier for everyone. Hundreds of thousands of landlords have built their rental business with Cozy, and now they have another tool to make their lives easier. Document sharing in Cozy is one more way you can create a better, more efficient, and more profitable rental business.

If you’re not already using Cozy, give it a try. All our core features are free for landlords, including collecting applications, screening tenants, and collecting rent online.

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