Tenants Rights and ResponsibilitiesLeases Laws and Good Ideas Made for Champlain College: Living Off Campus By Robin Guillian
Signing A Lease• A lease is a legally binding contract (rental agreement) between the tenant and landlord. By entering into a lease, a tenant binds him or herself to certain obligations, including the obligation to pay rent and to stay in the apartment for a certain period of time.• Any rental agreements may be: for a set period of time, such as for one year• for an open ended period of time, either month-to- month or week-to-week• There is usually a financial price to pay for a tenant "breaking a lease" early.
DepositsLandlords must return the deposit or give thetenant a written, itemized list of the deductionswithin 14 days of the day the tenant moves out.Some reasons Landlords will keep your deposit:• Non payment of rent or utilities!• Damage other than normal wear and tear!• Abandoned items: Take all your stuff! Your Deposit Cannot Be Used For Your Last Months Rent!
Breaking The LeaseIf the tenant breaks the lease for a reason that is not the fault of thelandlord, the tenant can be held liable for the rent until the leaseexpires or the apartment is re-rented, although the landlord has anobligation to make a good faith effort to re-rent the apartment asquickly as possible.Note: Each person can be held responsible for the whole amount!Discuss with your roommates what will happen if someone must leaveearly (Roommate agreements)
Move In Move Out Inspection• This form is designed to assist in recording the condition of a rental unit upon moving in and moving out. To be most useful, it should be filled out in the presence of the property owner and the tenant, and each should retain a signed and dated copy.• You have the right to a Habitable Safe Living Environment• Landlords do not have the legal right to evict because you report them
Good Ideas If you pay cash, get a receipt!Always pay rent on time: saves late fees, establishes goodreferences, and good creditChoose responsible roommates: Fill out a roommate agreementform (see sample)Take care of the property: Your deposit is usually equal to onemonths rent, you want it back!If there is a problem, inform the landlord!Keep track of correspondence.
Roommate Agreement FormHelps keep things clear by defining:How the rent gets paidWhat happens if someone doesn’t payHow the security deposit gets divided and returnedWhat happens if someone leaves earlyHow utilities get paid
Resources for Information• Burlington Housing Authority:www.burlingtonhousing.org802 864 0538CVOEO Vermont Tenants:www.cvoeo.org802 864 0099Renting in Vermont Handbook: Describes the VermontLandlord/Tenant Laws