In general, the repairs and alterations clause in the Vermont lease is almost identical with most other states. The tenant may not make any repairs or alterations to the premises without prior written consent from the landlord and, if applicable, the homeowner’s association. The repairs and alterations must comply with a professional standard of quality; any repairs or alterations done by the tenant become the property of the landlord; and the tenant is not entitled to any compensation for their work. In addition, regarding keys and security systems, the tenant cannot replace or alter any lock or security system without approval from the landlord; and if alterations are made to the locks and/or security system, the tenant must provide a key for the locks and instructions to safely disarm the security system to the landlord.
Where Vermont’s laws differ from others’ is in the tenant’s right to repair and deduct. Per 9 V.S.A. § 4459, if given 30 days’ notice and the landlord does not repair any minor defect in order to comply with the law or provision within the lease, the tenant may repair the defect themselves and deduct the cost from the next month’s rent, as long as the cost of repair doesn’t exceed one-half of one month’s rent. The tenant must also provide the landlord with a notice of the repair cost as soon as the cost is deducted from the rent. The tenant may not use this remedy if the cause of the defect was due to negligence or deliberate act or omission of the tenant or person on the premises with the tenant’s permission.