Summary of Notice Periods for Termination of Tenancy
- Nonpayment of Rent - 14 day written notice.
- Breach of the Rental Agreement - 30 day written notice.
- Criminal/Drug activity – 14 day written notice.
- For No Cause (only for a month-to-month or week-to-week tenancy) - 60 day written notice if renting monthly, or 21 days if renting weekly. 90 day written notice if the tenant has resided in the premises continuously for over two years and rents monthly.
- In Burlington: For “No Cause”, WITH NO WRITTEN LEASE - 90 day written notice if tenant has resided in the home for less than two years. 120 day written notice if tenant has resided in the home for over two years.
- Under the Terms of a Written Rental Agreement - Whatever time period the parties agree on in the lease agreement, but no less than 30 days if renting monthly, and no less than 7 days if renting weekly. No less than 60 days if renting monthly and the tenant has resided in the premises continuously for over two years.
- Renting in the Landlord’s Home - 15 days written notice from either party.
- Sale of the Building – (This only applies if there is no written lease or if a written lease specifically allows for early termination of tenancy.) - 30 day written notice from the person selling the building (only if a contract to sell has been signed), or - 60 day written notice from the buyer after purchase of the building, or 90 days if the tenant has resided in the premises continuously for over two years. (Same as regular termination of tenancy for no cause.)
Termination Notice for Nonpayment of Rent
A landlord may, with 14 days written notice, terminate a tenancy for non-payment of rent any time after the tenant falls behind in the rent.
In an eviction process for nonpayment of rent the landlord must begin by providing the tenant with a written termination notice giving the tenant at least 14 days to pay in full or to leave. The notice must specifically state how much rent is due. The tenancy will continue if the tenant pays all rent due through the end of the rental period in which the tenant pays. If the date given in the termination notice for the tenant to leave passes, and the tenant has not paid the required amount of rent, the landlord can continue the eviction process for nonpayment of rent by taking the next step, which is having a legal document called a summons and complaint served and the tenant must respond to the summons and complaint.
Termination of Tenancy with Sale of Building
Tenants are entitled to at least 30 days written notice to vacate from a current landlord who is selling the building, if the tenants are renting month to month. A landlord who recently bought a building is not entitled to this shortened notice requirement. Only the landlord who has contracted to sell a building can give 30 days notice to vacate; once the new owner takes over, he or she has to give the tenant normal “No Cause” eviction notice if he or she wants the tenant out due to no fault of the tenant (see below, “For No Cause”). However, if there is a written rental agreement, it is binding and will be transferred to the new owner.
Eviction for Breach of the Rental Agreement
If the tenant violates the lease or the landlord/ tenant law, the landlord may terminate the tenancy by giving the tenant at least 30 days written notice. The notice must specifically state what actions of the tenant are the cause(s) for the eviction.
(The following is a new category for termination notice based on criminal activity that became effective July 1, 2008.) If a termination is based on “…criminal activity, illegal drug activity, or acts of violence any of which threaten the health or safety of other residents…” then the notice of termination can be 14 days. (Vermont Statutes, Title 9, § 4467 (b) (2))
Termination of Tenancy for “No Cause”
Under Vermont state law if a landlord is terminating a tenancy for none of the reasons explained above or for no given reason (called a termination for “no cause” in legal language), and the tenant is renting by the month, the tenant is entitled to at least 60 days written notice, or 21 days written notice if renting by the week. Tenants who have resided continuously in the same premises for more than two years, and who rent by the month, are entitled to a ninety (90) day notice for a termination for no cause. However, if there is a written rental agreement for a set period of time, a tenancy may not be terminated for no cause before the end of the lease period unless the lease specifically allows it. (See section below on Termination of Tenancy for “No Cause” Under Terms of a Written Rental Agreement.)
If a tenant receives a no cause termination notice and decides to move out earlier, he or she must still give the landlord a full rental payment period notice of moving. (See: Chapter 4, “Moving Out”)
Termination for “No Cause” In Burlington:
In Burlington if there is no written rental agreement, a tenancy cannot be terminated for no cause without ninety (90) days notice if the tenancy has lasted for under two years or one hundred twenty (120) days if the tenancy has lasted over two years. In Burlington, if there is a written rental agreement, a notice for termination for no cause would simply have to follow the state law for termination for no cause under terms of a written rental agreement. (See below.)
Termination of Tenancy for “No Cause” Under Terms of a Written Rental Agreement
For all of Vermont, including Burlington: If there is a written rental agreement the lease may state that the landlord or the tenant can terminate the tenancy for no cause or for any reason on which the parties agree. Such a written provision may reduce the notice period required for a no cause termination to less than (60) days, but under no circumstances may the written agreement allow the landlord to give a tenant less than thirty (30) days notice of termination for no cause if rent is payable monthly, or seven (7) days if payable weekly.
If a landlord intends to terminate a tenancy for no cause at the end of a written lease that defines a fixed time period (e.g. a one year lease) and the tenant pays rent monthly, the landlord needs to give the tenant a termination notice of (60) days if the tenant has resided continuously in the same premises for more than two years or (30) days if the tenant has resided in the apartment less than two years.
Termination of Tenancy If Renting In the Landlord’s Home
If the tenant rents one or more rooms in the landlord’s personal residence that includes the shared use of any of the common living spaces, such as the living room, kitchen or bathroom, then either party may terminate the tenancy by giving written notice of at least 15 days if rent is payable monthly and at least seven days if rent is payable weekly. At this point it is not clear what effect this law will have in situations where there is a written lease that does not allow for early termination, or that has a different time frame for termination.
Eviction of Farm Workers
Farm workers who receive housing as a benefit of their employment may not just be thrown out of their homes if they lose their job. They are protected by landlord/ tenant law just as any other tenant, and if the farmer wants the farm worker to leave the housing the farmer must follow proper legal procedures. The law does, however, allow the farmer a speeded up process to evict the farm worker, if the farmer can show hardship.
To evict the farm worker, the farmer must have the worker served with a notice of termination of tenancy at the same time as a summons and complaint is served. The court will schedule a hearing not less than 10 days after the worker is served. At the hearing, if the farmer can show that he or she will suffer actual hardship if the worker does not leave, the judge will issue an order giving the worker from between five and 30 days to move out. If the judge decides that the farmer has not proven actual hardship, the farmer will then have to start regular eviction proceedings to evict the worker, just as with any other tenant.
A farmer who wants to evict a worker should contact an attorney in order to properly comply with the requirements of this law, and can also contact the Vermont Farm Bureau at (802) 434-5646 for general advice on farmers’ rights and responsibilities.
Farm workers with questions should call their local Legal Aid office or Vermont Tenants They can also contact the CVCAC Farm Worker Program (a statewide program) at 1-800-639-8710 for general information and assistance. If a farmer tries to throw a worker out without getting a court order, the worker should also contact the local police immediately, as it is an illegal eviction. In Vermont state law, see: (V.S.A., TITLE 9, Chapter 137, § 4469. Termination of occupancy of farm employee housing)