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2000 State Legislative Report - Vermont

I CIVIL ACTIONS
Statute of Limitations
Act 83

Bianchi III. The Legislature closed the ongoing discussion of whether the failure to obtain (as opposed to the failure to comply with) a required municipal land use permit fell within the 15 year statute of limitations contained in 24 V.S.A. § 4496(a). The Act makes it clear that the 15 year statute of limitations applies to both the failure to obtain or comply with the terms and conditions of any required municipal land use permit, effective April 19, 2000.

II ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
III. ESCROWS
IV. INSURANCE / BUSINESS ISSUES
V. STATUTORY LIENS
VI. TAXES
VII. PUBLIC ENTITIES
VIII. REAL PROPERTY INTERESTS
Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions
Act 88

Residential Housing Standards. The Act adds 21 V.S.A. § 286 that requires any residential construction (one family or multifamily dwellings) shall be built to certain standards. These standards are designed to provide access to these aging and those with disabilities. The Act shall apply to residential construction begun after July 1, 2001.

F. Husband & Wife/Community Property
Act 91

Civil Unions. This Act creates the first recognizable "civil union" in the nation. Chapter 23 is added to 15 V.S.A. starting at § 1201. 10 V.S.A § 5006 requires town clerks to publish in the annual town report records of civil unions, and § 5007 requires the town clerks to receive and file certificates of civil unions. 10 V.S.A. § 5008 further require the town clerks to file for record and index in volumes all certificates of civil unions. 15 V.S.A. § 1204 states that parties to a civil union shall have the same benefits, protections and responsibilities under law . . .as are granted to spouses in a marriage. This language indicates that parties to a civil union would be capable of holding (and arguably presumed to hold) real property as tenants by the entirety (although perhaps under a slightly different wording). The Act is generally effective July 1, 2000.

IX. DEEDS AND SECURITY INTERESTS
Mortgages/Deeds of Trust
Act 105

Liability of Mortgagees for Failure to Provide Payoff Statements and Discharge Mortgages. This Act amends 27 V.S.A. § 464 to require mortgagees to provide a written payoff statement within five (5) business days after receipt of a written request. The Act provides for the holder and any servicer to be jointly and severally liable for the failure to comply with this section for civil damages of $25.00 per day up to an aggregate maximum of $5,000.00 for all aggrieved parties. 27 V.S.A. § 464(a). 27 V.S.A. § 464(b) provides requires the mortgagee to execute and deliver a valid and complete discharge within thirty (30) days after full performance of the conditions of the mortgage. The section provides for damages of $25.00 per day, to a maximum of $5,000.00. The Act also provides that the mortgagee shall be liable for consequential and punitive damages, court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees to any aggrieved party who substantially prevails in an action under this section. 27 V.S.A. § 464(d). The Act applies to all requests for payoffs and mortgage discharges received on or after October 1, 2000.

Financing Statements
Act 106

UCC Article 9 - Secured Transactions. The Act amends Vermont’s Uniform Commercial Code Article 9, which provides a set of rules that governs every transaction, other than a finance lease, that involves the granting of credit coupled with a creditor’s interest in a debtor’s personal property. The Act expands the scope of property available for secured transactions, and both modernizes and simplifies the filing system for financial statements. Improvements include a commitment to centralized filing in the Secretary of State’s office and a filing system that will utilize electronic filing. The Act is effective July 1, 2001.

G. Leases
Act 115

Nonpayment of Rent and Termination of Residential Tenancies. 9 V.S.A. § 4467 is amended to provide the landlord may terminate a tenancy for nonpayment of rent by providing actual notice to the tenant of the date on which the tenancy will terminate which shall be at least 14 days after the date of the actual notice. The section also provides for requirements for the termination of a tenancy for no cause. 9 V.S.A. § 4467(c).

X. RECORDING
Secretary of State
Act 106

The Miscellaneous Fee Bill (House Bill H.854) relates to the adoption of Act 106, the revised Article 9 UCC Act. It increases the fee for filing and indexing a UCC Financing Statement (with the Secretary of State) from $10.00 to $15.00. The increase in the fee will be used to upgrade the capacity of the Office of the Secretary of State to file and index all financing statements electronically.



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