Tips for getting your security deposit back

Contributed by Jonathan Bond, Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity: 


When moving in, take careful inventory of the condition of the place. Record any existing damage and check all appliances to make sure they work properly. Ask the landlord to sign and date the inventory and be sure to keep a copy.

Carefully document the condition of the unit.

  • Walk through the apartment with the landlord to record existing damages and check all appliances.
  • Take pictures before you move your things in, save a copy of the pictures,


  • Ensure that you and your guests uphold the lease and take care not to damage the unit.
  • Report repair needs promptly.
  • Give proper notice before moving out: if you break your lease by moving out before the lease is over, you may be liable to the owner for rent until the owner can re-rent the unit.
  • Ask your landlord to do a walk-through with you 2 weeks before you move out to identify any repairs you should make to get your full deposit back.
  • Take pictures of the condition of the unit when you move out.


If you think your landlord has wrongly withheld your deposit or you have not received a letter or deposit return in 14 days:

  • Write your landlord a letter requesting the deposit.
  • In most parts of the state, you can take your dispute to Small Claims Court. It is best to have clear, written, and photographic documentation of the unit’s condition at move in and move out.
  • If an owner willfully withholds a deposit, they can be held liable to return double the deposit amount by either Small Claims court or by a Housing Board of Review. It is up to the renter to prove willfulness.
  • If the home was in Burlington or Barre, you can file a complaint with your local Housing Board of Review: In Burlington, call 802-865-7122. In Barre, call the City Manager’s Office at 802-476-0240.

Revisions proposed to Vermont Electrical Safety Rules

The Vermont Department for Fire Safety is in the process of updating the electrical rules, with a proposed effective date of October 1, 2017. If you have an comments, please send them to Bob Patterson, Program Manager at

Seeking input on changes for Vermont’s Fire and Building Code

The Division of Fire Safety welcomes your input as it begins reviewing the 2012 Fire & Building Code. The Division intends to update Vermont’s Fire & Building Code in the coming months. National codes are updated on 3-year cycles.

Contact temporary Program Manager Bob Patterson to discuss proposed changes, deletions and clarifications.


Phone: 802-479-8614

Final hearing on plumbing rules set for June 11, 2015

A final hearing to review the revised Vermont Plumbing Rules with the Vermont Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules has been scheduled for June 11, 2015 at 10 am.

The latest version of the rules is available on the VT Division of Fire Safety website at

The new rules are likely to take effect on August 1, 2015.

Registration for free fair housing accessibility training opens

FH accessibility first


When:   June 2, 2015, 8:00 a.m. – 4:15 p.m..

Where: Red Schoolhouse, Vermont Technical College, 46 So. Randolph Rd, Randolph Center, VT

This free training is presented by the Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST Program, which provides training and technical assistance on the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act with assistance from HUD. The training is sponsored by VT Housing and Conservation Board and co-sponsored by the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, the Vermont Human Rights Commission, Vermont Center for Independent Living, and Vermont Legal Aid.

The training will focus on the design and construction aspects of the Fair Housing Act.  The presenter will be Jack Catlin, FAIA, a partner at LCM Architects and former chair of the U.S. Access Board. This information is crucial for developers and architects who need to understand the details of the Fair Housing Act’s design requirements and will include:

Read more and register.  If you have questions, please contact Grace Sonnabend at LCM Architects

Vermont plumbing rules under revision

The Vermont Department of Public Safety is currently accepting public comment on an annotated version of the Vermont Plumbing Rules.

A public hearing regarding the rules is scheduled for:

April 27, 2015
VT Department of Public Safety
Rutland Regional Office
56 Howe Street
Rutland, VT

Division of Fire Safety updates Vermont plumbing rules

The Vermont Division of Fire Safety in the process of updating the 2015 International Plumbing Code and Vermont Plumbing Rules.

Check out the annotated, proposed 2015 Vermont Plumbing Rules on-line.


Fire risk management and protection strategies training offered in Burlington

fire_steepleBurlington’s Certified Local Government will be hosting Nick Artim (Heritage Protection Group) and Jack Watts Ph.D. (Fire Safety Institute) for a daylong seminar on Fire Risk Management and Protection Strategies March 6, 2014 at Main Street Landing.

The seminar is aimed at owners and operators of historic properties, code officials, preservation architects, first responders and firemen, contractors, property managers and caretakers, planners, and anyone interested in fire safety, safe practices, and effective strategies to mitigate fire risk.

Read more. 

Rental housing tool expanded to locate buildings with smoke-free policies

doarhWith building fires and the dangers of second-hand smoke in the news too frequently, many apartment-seekers are interested in finding buildings that have adopted 100% indoor smoke-free policies.

To help Vermont renters make more informed decisions about where they live, the on-line profiles of rental housing that receives project-based public subsidies have been expanded on the Vermont Directory of Affordable Rental Housing to include information on smoke-free policies.

Planning & zoning statutory changes made by the 2013 Vermont legislature summarized online

The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development has provided a summary of planning and zoning laws and amendments enacted during the 2013 legislative session on its website.

Highlights include:

  • Flood Resilient Communities Element Required in Municipal and Regional Plan (this requirement goes into effect on July 1, 2014)
  • New Neighborhood Development Area Designation (The VT Neighborhoods designation is replaced with the new Neighborhood Development Area (NDA) designation).
  • Energy Standards, Zoning Permits and Certificates of Occupancy – free copies of the VT Residential Building Energy Code Handbook are available from the Dept. of  Public Service: Contact