Governor Lifts all State COVID-19 Restrictions - 6/14/2021

6/14/2021 - The Governor of the State of Vermont has just lifted all state mandated COVID-19 restrictions.  Federal requirements will still apply.

As of June 15, 2021 at midnight, the State of Emergency will end.  This means the Vermont eviction moratorium will end for all matters in 30 days (July 16, 2021).  Matters for breach of lease can proceed June 16, 2021. 

The re-start court process is more complicated than it appears.  Please consider consulting with an attorney before taking any court action.

The Governor has indicated that he will be issuing an Executive Order to cover a few areas that have gaps.  If anything in the Executive Order involves housing, an update will be provided.


Court Eviction Status - 6/14/2021

6/14/2021 - Governor announces that State of Emergency will end June 15, 2021 at midnight.

The Legislature passed S.333, which created a temporary stay on all eviction actions in the State of Vermont.  The end of the stay tracks the State of Emergency, and will end 30 days after the end of the State of Emergency.

Currently (as of 5/17/2021) the State of Emergency is through June 15, 2021 which means that the eviction stay will end on July 15, 2021.  If the State of Emergency is extended, the stay will also be extended.

The stay does not prevent you from sending termination notices to your tenants or from filing with the court.  Once a case is filed with the court, it is automatically stayed until the date described above.  NOTE: There are still federal requirements for nonpayment of rent notices, including making the termination notice at least 30 days and including the Debt Collection language if you are a property manager or sending a notice for somone other than yourself.

If you have questions on sending a termination notice or regarding the eviction status, please call us at 802-985-2764.


Debt Collection Language - NEW

The federal government has issued new guidelines and requirements under the Fair Debt collection practices Act.  If you are considered a debt collector (i.e. property managers or attorneys sending notices for clients), you must add the following language into your nonpayment termination notices:

Because of the global COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for temporary protection from eviction under the laws of your State, territory, locality, or tribal area, or under Federal law. Learn the steps you should take now: visit www.cfpb.gov/eviction or call a housing counselor at 800-569-4287. 

Please ensure that this language is inserted into your nonpayment notices.


More Information

Vermont Emergency Rental Assistance Program (VERAP) - updated 5/17/2021

5/17/2021 - The Vermont Emergency Rental Assistance Program (VERAP) has launched.  That program is very different than the RHSP in 2020.  Tenants will need to apply and submit certifications and income information.  

Landlords can start their part of the process by uploading your W-9 to the system.  The W-9 and other required documents can be uploaded in the Landlord Portal.  You cannot create your account until you have uploaded the W-9, as that is the information used to set-up your account. 

VT Landlord had an informational seminar on the Landlord Portal on May 14, 2021.  That seminar is being uploaded to the VT Landlord YouTube Channel and covers a lot of the details for what landlords need to know about the program.      


The new Vermont Emergency Rental Assistance Program (VERAP) has launched.  It is a completely different program from the RHSP in 2020.  The requirements and program parameters are required by the federal government and are not Vermont imposed.

Some of the biggest changes (and challenges):

1. This program requires tenant participation.  The tenant has to apply.  There is not a mechanism for the landlord only to apply.

2.  This program requires income information from the tenant.  Tenants will need to provide either their 2020 tax return or current income statements.

For Landlords:

You can create your account.  This is started by uploading your W-9 into the system.  Your account will be created and you will be able to login.  You will be able to link multiple accounts (i.e. if you have multiple LLCs), and you will be able to find/see your tenant applications as they come in.

To go to the Landlord section of the Program, click here.  

We will be hosting an information session about this program on Thursday, May 13, 2021 FROM 12:00PM-1:00PM. Pre-registration is required.


More Information

Landlord-Tenant Mediation Program

PROGRAM HAS CLOSED TO NEW APPLICATIONS

****APPLICATIONS WILL BE AVAILABLE AND ACCEPTED STARTING MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2020***


Program Purpose:  During “mediation,” a neutral third person called a “mediator” helps people discuss and try to resolve disputes.  The purpose of mediation during the eviction moratorium is to help landlord and tenants find solutions to the problems between them.  Problems of non-payment of rent can be solved with the Rental Housing Stabilization Program (RHSP).  Other landlord-tenant disputes can be solved by compromise and agreement.

Through December 20, 2020, Vermont landlords and tenants can use free mediation services to work through and solve disagreements. This program is available virtually through an online platform such as Zoom. Participants will have access to a free professional mediator.  The mediator will conduct the mediation online. A list of participating mediators, along with a short bio, can be found in the application.

Program Process: A Program Application is filled out and signed by the Landlord and Tenant. The completed application is submitted to referrals@vtlandlord.com.

PROGRAM APPLICATION
MEDIATOR BIOGRAPHIES

 Notes:

  • The application must be filled out and signed by both parties (landlord and tenant).
  • Parties must indicate an ability to participate in the mediation on an online platform (most likely Zoom).

Incomplete Application:

1.         An application signed by only one party is considered incomplete and will not be assigned a mediator.

2.         You will be contacted by Vermont Legal Aid or Vermont Landlord Association for help to complete the application.

Complete Application:

  1. A mediator is assigned based on the preferences indicated in the application. 
  2. The Program will send an email to introduce the mediator to both parties or their attorneys (if applicable).  The email will provide instructions and forms.  Please note that many forms provided to you by the Program are for use between the parties and mediator and are not to be returned to the Program.  Forms attached to the email will include:
    1. Mediation Statement Form
    2. Mediation Attendees Form (i.e. who is going to participate in mediation)
    3. Information sheet about various eviction moratoria, basic landlord-tenant law (access statute, warranty of habitability, and reasonable accommodation/modification requests), as well as an outline of all programs that can help the parties (Rental Housing Stabilization Program/Back Rent, Money to Move, Utility Programs).
    4. Online Mediation Guide and Steps for Participants

Mediation:

  1. Once the mediator is assigned and introduced, you will work with the mediator to set the schedule. You will set deadlines for required documentation and other items needed for your mediation.  You will need to sign a Mediation Agreement.
  2. The Parties mediate their issues and/or dispute.
    1. You and the mediator can structure the mediation in a way that suits you.
    2. If issues are resolved, you will create and sign a Settlement Agreement
  3. After the mediation is done
    1. The mediator returns the Mediation Report to the Program along with an invoice for services.  The Program pays the mediator.
    2. The Program will send you (the landlord and tenants) a mediation evaluation form to fill out.  The evaluation helps provide an assessment of the usefulness of the program and the mediators.

Mediation Program Application

Mediator Biographies 

 


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