Covid 19

Housing FAQ's

FAQ's for Tenants

What do I do if I don't have enough money to pay rent? 

Call and speak directly with your landlord or property manager to let them know your situation (e.g. laid off, furloughed, etc). Pay what you can by the due date and make a plan to pay the unpaid amount when you are able. The key is to keep the line of communication open between you and the landlord. Do not avoid them and be honest. The following resources may be able to assist with any housing issues you are having: 

 

  • Burlington Resource and Recovery Center: 802-755-7239 or email recovery@burlingtonvt.gov

  • CVOEO Housing Assistance Program: 802.863.6248 ext. 4

  • COTS Housing Resource Center: 802.861.0110 - let them know you would like financial assistance for rent. They will complete an intake and walk you through the application process. 

What if my landlord threatens me with an eviction? 

An eviction is a legal process that involves the court system. The courts in Chittenden County are not hearing cases that have not already been started or are not urgent/emergency type concerns. Eviction hearings for non-payments are not emergencies and are not being heard until the end of the judicial emergency (currently May 31st). Destruction of the property, drug trafficking, and other illegal activity may constitute urgent or emergency type concerns. You should contact Vermont Legal Aid for more information about navigating the eviction process: 802.863.5620 or https://www.vtlegalaid.org

My lease ends May 25th and my landlord is telling me I need to be out early.  What should I do?

The current stay at home order is in effect until May 15.  No one should be moving during this time.  As soon as there is guidance from the state, there will be an update here. No one should be moving in or out. 

I am a UVM student who was told to leave and go home when the school shut down.  Do I have to pay my rent? 

If you live in an apartment owned by an independent landlord (i.e. off-campus housing not connected to the school and you have a signed lease), the short answer is yes. A lease is a contract and you should access legal assistance; there is a lot of information about this on the VT Legal Aid website https://www.vtlegalaid.org (802.863.5620). The VT Bar Association has a referral service https://www.vtbar.org/LRS/ if you prefer a private attorney or do not qualify for Legal Aid.

If you live in an on-campus dormitory, the agreement is between you and the school.  Call their emergency information line for guidance.  802.656.HELP or 656.4357

My landlord refuses to fix anything during the stay at home order and I am continuing to pay rent.  What can I do to get things repaired?

It depends on whether it is an emergency or not.  If you do not have water, it is an urgent matter and should be addressed as soon as possible. If it is a minor repair like the hinge on a cupboard door is broken, it does not need to be repaired until after the stay at home order is lifted.  If you have any questions relating to the health and safety of your rental unit, call Housing/Code Enforcement at 802.863.0442 and leave a detailed message including the address and a return phone number.

If you have general questions regarding rights and responsibilities as a tenant, contact VT Tenants, phone 802.864.0099, email vttenants@cvoeo.org, or refer to https://www.cvoeo.org/fileLibrary/file_212.pdf.

Where can I find emergency shelter? 

Refer directly to VT Economic Services Division: Please visit the ESD website for their current status.  

They are asking folks to call their Benefits Services Center at 1‐800‐479‐6151.  

Service users can complete the application/interview over the phone when ESD returns their call. 

There are no longer any periods of ineligibility. 

They are no longer referring clients to the emergency shelter first before placing them in a motel through GA. ESD expanded its motel capacity so folks can still access the GA motel voucher program when seeking emergency housing. 

I am facing eviction, what do I do? 

If you have been ordered to pay rent into court, you need to keep making these payments. Vermont courts are severely limiting who enters their buildings beyond the lobby. Call your courthouse and ask how they would like to get your rent-into-court payment (by mail or in a dropbox in the lobby, for example). If you get a Writ of Possession, contact VT Legal aid right away to ask for help.  
 
While many in-court appearances are postponed, it is still possible for a property owner to file a Complaint to start the eviction process. If that happens, you still have to respond by filing an Answer within 21 days. Filing deadlines are still in effect.  

Can property owners show my apartment to other people?

If you do not want people in your home during this coronavirus outbreak, there are a couple of options for how to handle it. Please refer to Vermont Legal Aid's FAQ page on Landlord Visits for further guidance. We advise people who have health issues that make them at extra risk of exposure to make a reasonable accommodation request. Send a letter to your landlord to ask them not to come to your home during this public health crisis. You can find a sample letter on Vermont Legal Aid's Reasonable Accommodation page. Normally, the property owner needs to give 48 hours' notice before coming to your home. Learn more about the Property Owner Access Law

FAQ's for Landlords

 During this time, we ask that all landlords work with their tenants, keeping open communications, to prevent misunderstandings that would put health and safety at risk.

I only own 1 rental unit in BTV, have a mortgage on the unit and my tenant didn’t pay all of their rent in April.  What should I do?

  • Call the tenant and create an open, direct & honest line of communication. During this challenging time, it is hard for everyone and most tenants want to be able to pay their rent.  Find out what their plan is going forward.
  • If you have not contacted your mortgage company, do so.  Many banks and lenders are offering reduced or zero interest.  Some are allowing 1 or 2 missed payments and adding the principle to the backside of the mortgage. 
  • The new federal CARES Act provides some help if you have a mortgage that is federally backed. This includes Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Federal Housing Administration (FHA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Veterans Affairs (VA) home loans.
  • Call your insurance company and see if they are offering any programs, discounts, or deals to reduce your expenses.
  • If you are unable to pay your property taxes as a result of the current situation, you may apply for property tax relief through the City.  https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/covid-19/propertytaxrelief

My tenant has informed me they are unable to pay next month's rent.  What can I do? 

There are a number of resources available to tenants depending upon their individual situations. Provide them the link to the City of Burlington’s Resource and Recovery Center (RRC) - there is a lot of information on the website that can guide them to such resources as CVOEO, VT Legal Aid, and VT Tenants: https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/Resources

My tenant moved out and left the place a mess!  Can I clean the unit during the Stay Home/Stay Safe shutdown?

If the unit is vacant, yes, the unit may be cleaned for turnover however all recommended precautions for social distancing must be followed.  No more than 1 or 2 people working in the unit at a time.  Workers should be wearing face masks while in the presence of a second person with whom they do not live. All recommended precautions (CDC Guidance) for minimizing the risk of spread should be observed.

I have a vacant unit that is ready for occupancy and a new tenant ready to move in immediately.  May I allow the new tenant to move in?

All moving activity should wait until the stay at home order is lifted, if possible. Once the unit has been vacated and cleaned, following all social distancing protocols, and Governors orders around allowable work, a tenant may move in. If the tenant is from out of state they must self-quarantine for 14 days. Moving in or out must not violate social distancing rules, or put others in a building at risk.

I have tenants getting ready to move out at the end of May and want to show their unit.  May I?

Unfortunately, at this time, no.  If the unit was vacant, you could show the unit as long as accepted social distancing guidelines could be followed. 

I have a unit that is being destroyed by the current tenants and need to get them out to preserve the integrity of the unit and my investment but have heard there are no evictions allowed right now.  Is there anything I can do?

Yes - Contact a private attorney, reach out to the VT Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service https://www.vtbar.org/LRS/ or the VT Landlord Association https://vtlandlord.com/ for legal guidance on how to proceed and have your case heard before a judge. New routine eviction hearings for non-payment of rent are not generally being heard in Chittenden County however an emergency hearing may be an option.

FAQ's for Homeowners

I can’t pay my mortgage will I face foreclosure? 

If you are impacted by COVID-19 and you are not able to make mortgage payments, contact your mortgage servicer/lender. If you can get more time to pay, be sure to ask: 

  • if you will be charged late fees 

  • if postponed payments will be recorded in your credit report 

  • if you need to send any documents to show you are experiencing hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for homeowners for at least 60 days. More than 60% of mortgages are FHFA-owned/guaranteed. The best way to determine if you have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan is to go to each agencies’ loan look-up tool: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

If you have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan, call your mortgage servicer to ask for help. If you cannot reach your mortgage servicer, you can call: 

  • Fannie Mae Disaster Response Network at 1-877-542-9723. 
    Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. EST 
    Call will be answered by “Porchlight Disaster Recovery Assistance Team.” 

  • 1-800-FREDDIE (1-800-373-3343) 
    Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. EST 
    Select option 2 to be connected to an agent for help. 

Also, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced a 60-day suspension of foreclosures and evictions for single-family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages. Contact your mortgage servicer/lender. 

USDA’s Rural Development has placed a foreclosure and eviction moratorium (temporary stop) on all USDA Direct and Guaranteed Home Loans for 60 days effective March 19, 2020. 

VA (Veterans Affairs) strongly encourages servicers of VA Home Loans to impose a 60-day foreclosure moratorium beginning March 18, 2020. 

Where can I drop off my trash? 

The City of Burlington only arranged recycling pickup that is continuing. Trash pickup is arranged by private haulers. A list of private haulers can be found on CSWD.net 

 Burlington and South Burlington facilities are closed. Only Williston facility is open per CSWD: 

We agree that hanging on to trash for too long is a health hazard. What typically makes it a hazard is the food waste. To minimize the health risk, we encourage everyone to start separating their food scraps from their trash and managing it separately. We accept food scraps at no charge at our Green Mountain Compost facility on Redmond Road in Williston. We understand that this is a significant decrease in an essential service. The Governor’s Orders asks that the public minimize all unnecessary activities. In light of this order, we ask that our customers hold onto their trash and recycling and not visit our facilities as frequently. This will help with minimizing exposure and controlling crowds at our only open Drop-off Center. 

$10 Flat Fee 

The flat fee was developed to minimize exposure to our customers and staff.  CSWD carefully considered the economic impact of the fee on our customers. Our new fee allows up to four bags or barrels of trash of any size for $10. Our normal rates are $2.75-$7.50 per bag or barrel depending on the size. Four of any size container would cost more than $10 under our normal rates. This flat fee encourages our customers to consolidate their trips to get the best value and to minimize the risk of exposure for themselves and our employees.  

I have to make emergency repairs to my home, can I get a building permit? 

In cases where the state has allowed a contractor to work, and are making emergency repairs on a house, the City may issue building permits. Contact the building inspector directly through email or leave a voicemail:     

BBiggie@Burlingtonvt.com 

802-540-1739