Vermont Tenant Friendly or not?

5 Replies

Hi all, I'm an investor over here in NH and I'm looking for larger multis, under 30 units right now. I have a 8 unit under contract and that's about all I can find that's big enough and still cash flows decently with a value add component. I have started to look into VT, specifically Springfield as there is a decent inventory with properties that seem to cash flow. I don't know much about VT Landlord tenant laws but another investor told me to stay away from VT as they are incredibly tenant friendly. Also, does anyone have any input on Springfield as a market to invest in?

Thanks for any input!

Hi Shaun, I have lived in Springfield for over 30 years. My wife and I have owned two single family investment homes that we rented. We were incredibly blessed with great tenants in both. Both of these homes are now sold. One was a home that we purchased from our son, so that he and his family could purchase a larger home and not be strapped with two mortgages. The other was a house that did not redeem from a tax lien sale.

However, to answer your question, I would proceed with caution. Yes, Vermont is a very tenant friendly state. If you were put into a position to have to evict a tenant, you could very well have your hands full. Especially, if children are involved and it is in the cold weather months. 

I am not saying that there are not some opportunities. However, we have an excellent local attorney and he has advised against us investing in Vermont regarding rental property. Hope this helps.

Thanks for the response, I definitely appreciate it. Your response echoes the same responses I have been hearing. I read through the tenant landlord handbook online and it’s pretty wild how tenant friendly it is. Definitely gives me something to think 

The state has a great pdf if you google it. Lays out the laws clearly. Tenant friendly.

@Shaun Geary   I just saw a list the other day that showed Vermont as the #1 tenant friendly state.  You can't charge late fees, you have to give a 14 day notice to vacate for non payment, 60 day notice to raise rents.  you have to hold all possessions left behind by a tenant for 60 days. Evictions can drag on for months and months.

That being said, all of these things only hurt you when you get a bad tenant.  So if you do your due diligence in screening and place a good tenant the "tenant friendly" stuff won't hurt you.  I've been a landlord in Vermont for 2+ years now and I've had no issues.  Granted at some point I will get a bad tenant but i figure if I am screening very carefully it will be insignificant.  

I also own rental property in New Hampshire and I will say what I like about Vermont is you can charge as much as you want for a security deposit whereas in New Hampshire you can only charge an amount equal to one months rent (regardless of if you call it a security deposit or last months rent), meaning you can charge First, Last and security. 

As far as Buying property in Springfield, I live 45 minutes south in Brattleboro. I look at the MLS listings for multi-families in Springfield on occasion. The prices are attractive but I know Springfield is struggling economically and I'm thinking there is a good inventory at low prices because they can't keep them rented. Checkout Springfield Craigslist apartment listings, It looks like those listings stay up for a very long time, not like in Brattleboro where I can have an apartment rented in 3 days to a qualified tenant.

I'm from California and some cities rent control are far worse than Vermont. Now living in Springfield, I've not had much luck finding acceptable, creditworthy tenants. But my goal was to be able to convert them into buyers.

So I furnished the houses for Airbnb rentals and mostly good results. They prepay with a credit card, no worries about evictions as a bnb falls under hotel type laws. Traveling nurses, doctors have rented 2-3 months at a time. Also skiers I.e. one house was rented 3 months for ski season by a young Connecticut couple who only use it on weekends.

But it is more management intensive and for small units. But properties I believe are undervalued and can be very profitable.

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