Vermont Security Deposit
Vermont Security Deposits

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In Vermont the  landlord must return your whole security deposit or send you a letter saying why he is not returning all or part of it Your landlord must do one of these things within 14 days after you move out. Your landlord must hand deliver or by mail your full deposit or the letter to the last address he has for you. If your landlord sends you a letter instead of your deposit, the letter must list the amount he is taking and each reason or item he is taking money for. Your landlord must give you back whatever money is left over.

Your landlord must return your whole deposit or send you a letter within 14 days from when he knew you left the home you rented. Did your landlord keep part or all of your deposit? 

Did your landlord send you a letter that explains how much he is keeping and why? 

If your landlord kept your deposit but didn't send you a letter within 14 days, he is required to return your whole security deposit to you.


I still have not received my security deposit back or a written itemized list of deductions.

Pursuant to chapter 137, section 4461 of the Vermont state statutes, if a landlord fails to return a security deposit and/or a written list of deductions within 14 days from the date the tenant vacates the unit, the landlord forfeits the right to keep any of the deposit. Furthermore, "if the failure is willful, the landlord shall be liable for double the amount wrongfully withheld, plus reasonable attorney's fees and costs."

I request that you return my deposit to me immediately. You may mail it to the following address:


If the Vermont  Landlord Won't Return the Security Deposit?
Did your landlord not send you your security deposit or a list of deductions within 14 days? Do you believe your landlord wrongfully kept all or part of your deposit? Do you want to get all or part of your deposit back? If so you can write a demand letter seeking return of the deposit. You should also be able to sue the landlord in Small Claims Court.

Preventative Steps to Take to Ensure a Deposit Return
A tenant must meet all of the above conditions to ensure a refund of the deposit, but meeting those conditions is not all the tenant should do. The chances of receiving return of the deposit will be increased if the following suggestions are also followed:

Move-in Inventory Inspection. When you move in your home or apartment, make a list and take photos of the apartment and any damage. Typically, you should do a walk through with the owner or manager prior to moving in. Get them to sign an acknowledgement of the damage and note what (if anything) will be done. This will help you when you move out.

Move-Out Notice.
A lease may require that the tenant give the landlord 30 days written notice prior to move-out in order to get the security deposit back. Even if the lease does not require it, notify the landlord  prior to moving.

Move-out Inventory Inspection. When the tenant prepares to move, the apartment or home should be cleaned and the landlord asked to appear for a move out inspection. The tenant should fill out another inventory form, similar to the move-in inventory. Ideally, you should have a copy of the original move in form - for both your use and the landlord.

Turn in the Keys. The keys should be turned in on the exact day the tenant vacates the premises. If the keys are turned in later, the landlord may be able to charge the tenant additional rent or other charges under the lease. A tenant's actual move out date is often considered to be when the keys are turned in.

What Can the Landlord Deduct from the Security Deposit?
A landlord cannot legally deduct for normal wear and tear. This refers to deterioration which occurs during regular, daily, intended use of the rental unit, for example nail holes in the walls from pictures or paintings. See our guide.

Deductions from the Security Deposit
If the landlord makes any deductions from the deposit, a written, itemized accounting of how much is being charged for each item must be sent to the tenant. If the landlord fails to provide such an accounting within 30 days after the tenant moves out, the landlord may forfeit the right to withhold any part of the deposit. Furthermore, the deductions taken from the deposit must be for actual damages suffered by the landlord.

How to Dispute Deposit Deductions
If a tenant receives a list of deductions, it is possible to dispute items on that list. The deductions should be addressed by the tenant in a letter sent to the landlord. The demand letter should include a response to each of the deductions, explaining which charges are being disputed and why. The tenant should keep a copy of the letter and send the original by certified mail, return receipt requested.

If the tenant receives a partial refund along with the list of deductions and wants to dispute some or all of the deductions, the tenant may want to refrain from cashing the check. If the tenant must cash the check then the tenant should tell the landlord in the letter that even though the check has been cashed, it does not mean the tenant agrees with the amount of the check.

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