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INFORMATION ABOUT THE AREA
Upper Valley Almanac
WHEN SHOULD I LOOK FOR HOUSING?
Late April is the best time to begin looking; VLS students are often still around, so it is the easiest time to ask student tenants questions about the rentals and the landlords. There are often a wide variety of apartments still available in June. By mid-July and August you can still find housing but it will be limited if you have pets, are on a strict budget, or want to be within walking distance of school.
WHAT KIND OF HOUSING IS AVAILABLE?
Our housing list is for rental units only. We list a wide variety of housing types, including rooms in local homes with house privileges, studios, apartments, mobile homes and full size houses. Most homes are older. About two dozen new apartments within walking distance of VLS have been built in the last few years.
TIPS ON LEASES
Before signing a lease, be sure to ask landlords for the phone numbers of current tenants, then ask the tenants about the property and about the landlord. If you are bringing a car, be sure that a parking space on site is included with your rental unit. Read your lease carefully. If you think you may be away for a semester, make sure the lease gives you the ability to sublet your rental. 12 month leases are common; 9 month leases may better suit your situation; we do not recommend three year leases. Go to the VT Tenants, Inc. web site for sample leases.
WHERE ARE THE RENTALS LOCATED?
Most of our listings are within a thirty mile radius of VLS. Some of these towns include Tunbridge, Sharon, Randolph, Quechee, Woodstock, Norwich, and Bethel, as well as our own South Royalton (www.royaltonvt.com).
IS THERE ANY SCHOOL OWNED HOUSING?
VLS does not have student housing.
WHAT SERVICES DOES VLS PROVIDE?
We maintain rental listings on a computerized program that is put on the web and updated as we receive new listings. Students are responsible for contacting and making all arrangements with the landlords.
HOW CAN I FIND ROOMMATES?
Vermont Law School offers a roommate website for VLS students only. You will need to complete a
roommate questionnaire (ask Rachel for the login) about yourself and your housing preferences. After you complete the roommate form and it is activated by VLS Housing staff, you will be sent a URL. The URL will include a list of students who have joined the roommate finder service. You can then contact potential roommates with shared lifestyles from this list.
You can also rent a house or large apartment yourself, and join the roommate finder service to recruit roommates to share it with you. Without joining the roommate finder service, you may be able to find a shared living situation by going to the searchable VLS Housing List (above) and search for Rooms, Shared Houses or Shared Apartments. These shared situations may be with current law students or with local families.
WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH MY LANDLORDS?
Before signing a lease, ask the landlord for the name and phone number of a recent tenant for the same property. Ask the tenant about the landlord and the property.
The Vermont Law School Mediation Project trains second and third year law students, who are supervised by an experienced attorney and mediator. The Mediation Project operates a Campus Mediation Program for disputes, including housing issues, that arise between students and landlords. Campus Mediation services are provided on a case by case basis as disputes arise. Contact Professor Robin Barone, 802-831-1263.
Tenant Resources: Vermont Tenants, Inc. has a free booklet called Renting in Vermont. Call 1-800-287-7971 to request a copy. The full booklet is available
here. It provides comprehensive information on the legal rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants.
If you have reason to believe your landlord is violating health and/or safety codes, go to VT's Rental Housing Health Code on the VT Department of Health's web pages: http://healthvermont.gov/regs/Rental_Housing_Code.pdf If you believe that your landlord may be in violation of state code, you may contact the town health officer. There is a list on the VT Dept of Health website
http://healthvermont.gov/local/tho/tho_list.aspx. If you believe the town health officer is not effectively addressing the situation, you can call the local district office for the VT Dept. of Health.
Royalton Health Officer: Robert Hull
288 Otto Merrill Rd.
(w) 763-7967 (h)763-8999
White River Junction District Office, VT Dept. of Health: 888-253-8799
CAN I BRING MY PETS?
It is more difficult, but not impossible, to find housing that accepts pets. Some landlords accept pets only with a pet deposit and pet insurance. Some landlords welcome mature pets but will not allow tenants to have or acquire puppies or kittens.
Dogs and cats must be licensed and have proof of current rabies shots. In South Royalton, call the Town Clerk’s office to license your pet. Most towns also have leash laws. If your dog is off your premises, it must be on a leash. Dogs are not allowed on the town green, on church property, or on the local public school grounds. Out of respect for the health and safety concerns of your neighbors, be considerate of where you walk your dog. Clean up after your pet: bring a pooper scooper with you when you walk.
If you are having a difficult time finding housing that allows your pet, some excellent ideas can be found on the Humane Society’s Web page on Renting with Pets,
www.rentwithpets.com, including model references from veterinarians and landlords.
HELPFUL HINTS FOR RURAL LIVING
Vermont's Mud Season is famous! You can avoid the 'pitfalls' of mud season by making sure that you live on a paved road, or a Class 3 (or better) road. Ask the landlord if the road is on a school bus route, as they have priority for plowing and maintenance. Don't hesitate to talk to the current tenants or landlord and ask about road conditions in winter and early spring. Front wheel drive vehicles are recommended, even if you don’t live on a dirt road. Some of the more remote properties may require a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
Some winters, we get a lot of snow. Other winters, we get hardly any at all. Talk with your landlord about snow removal and plowing. If plowing is included, find out from if you need to call for plowing or if it will automatically be done, and the best place to park to help with plowing if you know a storm is coming. Find out who to contact in advance if you really need to get out and your car is snowed in.
If you live surrounded by lawns or fields, talk with the landlord about who is responsible for mowing. If you are responsible, include in the lease how often you should mow, as your standards and the landlord’s may differ.
Contact the Housing Coordinator.
Call the Switchboard, ask for Housing Coordinator: (802) 831-1000
Summer hours (May 24 to Registration week) Monday - Friday, 8:00 - 4:30
Winter hours (Registration week to mid May) Monday - Friday, 8:30 - 5:00