Vermont Tenant Screening
Last Updated: February 9, 2015
The independent state of Vermont issued its own coinage from 1785 to 1788 and operated a statewide postal service. The state was obliged to solve conflicting property ownership disputes with New Yorkers. Vermont petitioned Congress to become a state in the federal union. Congress acted on February 18, 1791 to admit Vermont to the Union as the 14th state as of March 4, 1791 and become the first to enter the Union after the original 13 colonies.
How to Screen a Tenant in Vermont
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Step 1: Know Your Rights & Responsibilities
Landlords and property managers are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF] (FCRA) during the tenant screening process. Additionally, Vermont has laws that affect the tenant screening process. You can find the current Vermont Housing Codes on the Vermont State Legislature website. If you are finding the formalities of the state code daunting, you might want to check out these friendlier sites:
- Overview of Landlord-Tenant Laws in Vermont
- Vermont Agency Of Commerce And Community Development – Resources For Renters And Landlords
Recent Law Changes
New Vermont law helps protect tenants from water shut off. The law allows municipalities to request payment of one past due billing cycle, but tenants may also deduct those payments from their rent. Renter in Barre helped change statute:
Step 2: Required Forms & Disclosures
Tip: before you rent for the first time, consider hiring a lawyer to review all of the documents you will use during the application and rental process to ensure that you are protected to the fullest extent of the law.
- Rental Application [PDF] (this must be completed in full by the applicant prior to screening)
- Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF]
- Consumer Report Disclosure [PDF]
If you are ACCEPTING an applicant:
- Move-In Checklist [PDF]
- Lease Agreement (written), containing or attaching the following information:
- Owner/Agent Identity – this should include name and address, and if the owner/agent is out-of-state it must include contact information for a resident of the COUNTY in which the rental is located that can act as an agent for the purposes of serving notices and process.
- Security Deposit – this must include the amount of the deposit and the conditions under which some or all of the deposit may be withheld. It must also include the name and banking institution holding the deposit.
- Non-refundable Fees – explicitly describe any non-refundable fees, and state clearly that they are non-refundable.
- Fire Protection & Safety Information: You must disclose the available fire protection and safety information specific to the unit you are renting, including smoking policy, evacuation plans, and who to notify in case of emergency.
If you are DECLINING an applicant:
- Adverse Action Notice [PDF]
Step 3: Order a Tenant Screening Report
What You’ll Need
- A completed rental application signed by the applicant.
- Some details about your applicant:
- Email address
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Previous address
- Bank account number (optional)
- Bank routing number (optional)
What Will Be Covered
- Package Options
- Background Report Coverage for Vermont:
- Criminal, OFAC/Patriot Act & Sex Offender Records – A nationwide search is always performed. These jurisdictions specifically are available in Vermont: VT Department Of Corrections, VT Department Of Corrections Court, VT Sex Offender Registry.
- Eviction Records – records are available from the following counties: Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, Orelans, Rutland, Washington, Windham, Windsor.
- Bankruptcies, Liens & Judgments – records are available from the following counties: Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Washington, Windham, Windsor.
- Social Security Number validation, Death Index, credit checks, previous addresses, alias names, and the Rent Check Advisor include all information available regardless of location.
Resources for Vermont Landlords
- Vermont State Bar Association Lawyer Referral
- Vermont Courts Directory
- Law Enforcement Agencies in Vermont (Wikipedia)