Landlords should familiarize themselves with the statewide rules and procedures that govern evictions in the state of Connecticut and understand their responsibilities.
Quick Facts for Connecticut
- Grounds for Eviction: Lease agreement termination, rent nonpayment, breach of statutory duties, violation of lease agreement terms & illegal acts
- Notice Required for Nonpayment of Rent: Tenant has 9 days after rent due date to pay, after which landlord may issue 3-Day Notice to Quit
- Notice Required to Terminate without Cause: Notice to Quit (delivery of which effectively ends lease agreement)
- Notice Required for Lease Violations: Tenant has 15 days to correct, after which landlord may file eviction suit
- Fastest a Landlord Can Evict for Illegal Acts: Length of a Summary Process action (no notice required)
- Duration for Tenant to Appeal Eviction Ruling: 2 days after “return date” is set
How Long Does it Take to Evict a Tenant in Connecticut?
There exists no easy answer to this question. As the eviction process, referred to as the Summary Process in the state of Connecticut, is a multi-phase process that may take a significant amount of time. According to court data, the eviction process in the state of Connecticut will generally take a minimum of 30 days after the tenant is provided with a Notice to Quit.
The eviction process in this state requires several steps and is longer than similar processes in many other states. In the state of Connecticut, the first step in the eviction process is to provide the tenant with a written Notice to Quit Possession. This notice provides the tenant with a minimum of three days to move and must be formally served.
If the tenant fails to move by midnight on the date indicated in the Notice to Quit, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summons and Complaint.
Reasons for Eviction in Connecticut
In the state of Connecticut a tenant may be legally evicted to a variety of reasons. These reasons include:
- End of the lease agreement (C.G.S. 47a-15)
- Failure to pay rent (C.G.S. 47-15)
- Breach of tenant’s statutory duties
- Violation of terms of the lease agreement
- Illegal behavior or creating a nuisance (C.G.S. 47a-15 & 47a-31)
Eviction for Failure to Pay Rent
In the state of Connecticut, a tenant may be evicted for failing to pay rent in a timely fashion. A tenant has nine days beyond the due date of rent to pay the rent in full. If the tenant fails to pay rent within nine days of the due date, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement. At this point, the landlord must provide the tenant with a written Notice to Quit. This notice gives the tenant three days to move out of the rental property. If the tenant remains beyond the three days provided in the notice, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summary Process Action with the court.
Eviction if Rent has Been Paid
In the state of Connecticut, a landlord may evict a tenant at the end of a lease or rental agreement even if rent has been paid in a timely fashion. Generally, the landlord may evict a tenant at the end of a lease or oral rental agreement with no cause. However, it should be noted that, in the state of Connecticut, a tenant 62 or older, a tenant suffering from blindness, or living with a disability may not be legally evicted from a rental property where there are five or more rental units unless there is further cause (CGS 47a-23c).
Evicting a Tenant For Violation of Rental Agreement/Lease
If the tenant has violated the terms of the lease, he/she has 15 days within which to correct the violation. According to Connecticut law, the tenant has fifteen days in which to provide payment for damages or correct the violation. If the tenant corrects the issue within the 15 days or pays for damages, the landlord may not proceed with the eviction process unless the tenant committed a similar breach within the past six months. If the tenant fails to correct the situation within the 15 days provided, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summary Process Action with the court.
If a tenant has committed the same lease violation within a six-month period of time, the landlord is not required to allow the tenant to remedy the situation. In this case, the landlord may provide the tenant with a Notice to Quit. This notice provides the tenant with three days to move from the property. If the tenant fails to move by the end of the three-day period, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summary Process Action with the court.
Evicting a Tenant for Illegal Behavior
There are times when the landlord may proceed with the eviction process without allowing the tenant to correct the cause for eviction (C.G.S. 47a-15 and 31). Under these circumstances, the lease becomes void and the landlord is not required to provide the tenant with notice.
Illegal acts for which eviction may be sought include:
- Committing acts of prostitition on the rental property
- Committing illegal gambling acts on the property
- Selling intoxicating liquors on the property
In the case of an illegal act, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing Summary Process Action with the court.
How Does a Landlord Evict a Tenant When There is no Lease?
If an “at will” tenant (a tenant renting without the benefit of a written lease) fails to pay rent on time, the landlord may provide the tenant with a Notice to Quit. In this instance, the rental agreement is terminated at the moment the Notice to Quit is delivered, regardless of whether the tenant rents month-to-month or week-to-week. If the tenant fails to move by the date indicated on the Notice to Quit, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summary Process Action with the court.
When Can a Tenant Not Be Evicted in Connecticut?
It is illegal in the state of Connecticut for a landlord to evict a tenant for asking the landlord to fix issues in the apartment within the past six months. It is also illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for filing a complaint with the health department, Fair Rent Commission, or housing code office, or for joining a tenant’s union.
It is also illegal for a landlord to discriminate against a tenant based on race, national origin, religion, familial status, sexual orientation, disability, or gender identity.
Once a Summons and Complaint is Filed
If the landlord files a Summons and Complaint, the court clerk will set a “return date.” This date will serve as a reference for future court proceedings. The tenant then has two days after the “return date” to file an appearance in the court to contest the eviction. If no appearance is filed by the 3rd day following the “return date,” the landlord may return to the clerk’s office and request a Default Judgement for Failure to Appear.
If the tenant files an appearance with the court but provides no response to the landlord’s Summons and Complaint, the landlord may return to the clerk’s office to file a Motion for Default Judgement for Failure to Plead. This motion allows the tenant three days to respond. If no pleading is filed in response, the judge will file a Default Judgement in favor of the landlord.
If a response is filed, the landlord will receive a copy of the response. If the tenant has filed an Answer and Special Defense(s), the landlord will then need to file a Reply to the Special Defense(s) with the court.
If the tenant answers the complaint, a trial will be held within 10 days. There is an attempt prior to the court date to mediate the issue. If this is ineffective, the case will be settled in court. Both sides are provided the opportunity to present their case. If the court rules in favor of the landlord, the court will issue an Order of Execution after the period of 5 days. This provides the tenant time to appeal the court decision. Ultimately, a marshal will serve the Order of Execution, giving the tenant 24 hours to remove themselves from the rental property.
Once Eviction Occurs
Once the Order of Execution has been served, the tenant must vacate the rental property and remove all personal property within 24 hours. Any possessions remaining after this 24-hour period may be physically removed to a town-designated storage facility by the marshal at the expense of the tenant.
Once an eviction judgement has been made, the court will hold a hearing to determine financial issues. Any personal possessions not claimed by the tenant within 15 days of eviction may be sold at public auction. All proceeds from this sale will be released to the tenant after all reasonable charges for storage are deducted. If the tenant fails to seek payment of these proceeds within 30 days of the sale, the proceeds will be given to the town treasury (C.G.S. 47a-42).
Make sure to read the Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. §§ 47a-15a, 47a-23, as well as the Landlord and Tenant Act before starting the eviction process. Landlords should make sure to educate themselves on their rights and responsibilities on this topic.