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COVID-19 Information for Vermont

The purpose of this page is to provide apartment industry professionals with an overview of the issues affecting our industry with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The page is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute, and should not be construed as, legal advice. This resource is not intended to provide a mandatory standard of care for the industry.

State Legal and Regulatory Information

We highly suggest you contact a local attorney before you decide to initiate an eviction action against a resident in the current environment as overlaying federal, state and county laws or restrictions on the judicial process may apply. This includes: issuing a notice to vacate, initiating any eviction-related action, or assessing fees or penalties on residents for nonpayment of rent or other lease violations. In addition to the below, you can access NAA's statutory information on late fees, eviction laws and other policy issues.

Reopening Order

Vermont has largely resumed modified operation for non-essential businesses closed due to COVID-19. Vermont has issued industry specific guidance for the real estate sector which can be found here

Face Mask Mandate

Governor Scott began requiring that any person over the age of 2 wear a face covering in a public indoor or outdoor space. The order will remain in effect until at least Tuesday, September 12, 2020.

State of Emergency 

Governor Phil Scott declared a state of emergency on March 13, 2020.

Eviction

Status: Eviction Cases and Enforcement Suspended

VT S. 333

  • Action: On May 14, 2020, the Governor signed S. 333 into law. The bill establishes a moratorium on ejectment and foreclosure actions during the COVID-19 emergency.
  • Scope: Suspends the service of notices, suspends hearings, stays judgments and writs of possession, and suspends enforcement of new orders of eviction.
  • Duration: Effective until 30 days after the termination of the state of emergency.
  • Exceptions: Criminal activity, illegal drug activity, acts of violence, or other circumstances that seriously threaten the health or safety of other residents.
  • Residents Responsible for Rent: Yes

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Governor Phil Scott, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the Vermont State Housing Authority and the Vermont State Housing Finance Agency announced $30 million in housing assistance to those affected by COVID-19. The programs, first proposed by the Administration and amended and passed by the Legislature, utilize federal CARES Act funding to provide relief for those tenants unable to pay rent, landlords suffering from a loss of rent payments and those lower income homeowners needing assistance in paying their mortgages.

These relief programs will be available starting Monday, July 13 through two different programs.

The Vermont State Housing Authority, an agency that manages federal rental assistance programs statewide, will administer the $25 million rental assistance program. Applications, additional program eligibility requirement, and answers to FAQs will be available on July 13 at www.vsha.org/rental-housing-stabilization-program/.

The Vermont Housing Finance Agency, an agency that finances affordable housing statewide, will administer the $5 million mortgage assistance payments, providing some relief to lower income homeowners who could otherwise face foreclosure.

More information on these programs will be available at accd.vermont.gov.

Rent Freeze

No rent freeze is in effect at the state or local level. Vermont is a Dillon’s rule state, meaning all authorities granted to local government are determined by the state government. See American Legislative Exchange Council for more details. 

Price-Gouging Law

Under Vermont Code § 2461d, it is unlawful to charge unconscionable high prices for petroleum and gas products during a market emergency declaration. Rental housing and shelter are not indicated as covered under the protections of this statute.