The most common reason for evictions in Vermont is non-payment of rent. However, if a landlord does not follow the proper legal framework for evicting a tenant, they set themselves up for costly, time-consuming trouble.
If a tenant has not paid rent by the due date required by the written lease agreement, the landlord can provide a 14-day notice to pay rent to the tenant on the business day following the rent's due date. This notice must include the date the of the notice, the name(s) and address of the tenant(s), the amount of rent owed, a statement that the tenant has 14 days to pay the amount owed before the landlord terminates the tenancy and proceeds with an eviction lawsuit, and a service certificate explaining the method of the notice's delivery.
When serving the notice, the landlord or their agent can deliver the notice by hand to the tenant, or the landlord can mail it to the tenant at the address of the rental property.
After the 14-day term defined by the written notice expires, if the tenant has not paid the rent owed in full, the landlord may proceed with an eviction lawsuit in court. The landlord must file a complaint and summons with the superior court, stating the reasons the landlord wants to evict the tenant, and explaining that the tenant has failed to pay rent, even after being issued a written notice.
Upon completion of the paperwork, it is the landlord's responsibility to ensure that the tenant receives copies of the summons and complaint. The summons will set a time and place for the eviction hearing before a judge.
At the hearing, a judge will hear both sides of the story, from the landlord and the tenant. The judge will then make a ruling, either in favor of the landlord or the tenant. If the landlord wins the case, the judge will issue a writ of possession to the landlord. The writ of possession gives the county's sheriff the authority to remove the tenant from the rental unit.
It is important that the landlord never attempt to forcibly remove the tenant from a rental property. If a landlord tries to remove a tenant from a rental unit, the tenant may sue the landlord. The only person with the authority to remove a tenant from a rental property is the sheriff, only after the judge decides in favor of the landlord at an eviction hearing.
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