Pursuant to Connecticut law, (Connecticut General Statutes Title 47a) a rental agreement may be written or oral. If there is a valid rental agreement in Connecticut, the law shall automatically grant certain privileges and rights to tenants, for example, tenants have the right to a safe and livable dwelling unit and the right to find proper housing without discrimination.
Landlords also have rights, which include the right to deduct for negligent or deliberate damages to the property that exceed normal wear and tear and the right to collect rent in a timely manner.
Note: These rights exist regardless of a rental agreement stating otherwise.
Landlord Responsibilities in Connecticut
In Connecticut, landlords are required to maintain a habitable dwelling and must make the requested repairs in 15 days. If they do not, then Connecticut tenants may either partially withhold rent or may make the repairs themselves and deduct the cost from future rent. However, a tenant can only take alternative action if they first file a complaint through the local Housing Court.
Here is a list of essential amenities that landlords are or are not responsible for.
|Proper lighting in passageways and stairwells||Yes|
|Electrical wiring and outlets||Yes|
Landlords are not permitted to evict tenants in retaliation for exercising their housing rights (i.e. filing a health and safety complaint with the local housing authority).
Tenant Responsibilities in Connecticut
In addition to paying rent in a timely manner, Connecticut tenants must:
- Keep the unit in a clean and habitable condition.
- Make small repairs and maintenance.
- Promptly inform the landlord of any damage to the apartment that was not the tenant’s fault.
- Allow the landlord to enter the dwelling unit at reasonable times with reasonable notice to make necessary repairs.
- Inform the landlord if the tenant is leaving the premises for a long period of time.
- Keep fixtures clean and sanitary.
- Not disturb other tenants or neighbors.
Evictions in Connecticut
Connecticut landlords are empowered to evict tenants for the following reasons, among others:
- Nonpayment of Rent – If a Connecticut tenant fails to pay rent then the landlord may issue them a 3-Day Notice to Pay. If they do not pay by the end of the 3 days, then the landlord may initiate formal eviction proceedings.
- Lease Violation – If a lease violation occurs, then the landlord may issue a 15-Day Notice to Cure or Quit. If the terms of the notice are not met, then the landlord may begin eviction proceedings.
- No Lease/End of Lease – If a lease ends, tenants must immediately vacate the premises and the landlord shall provide the tenant with a 3-Day Notice to Quit. If they do not, the landlord may file for eviction immediately.
- Owner’s Personal Use – If an owner decides that they no longer want to rent out the dwelling unit and want to reside in the unit themselves, the landlord must provide the tenant with a 3-Day Notice to Quit.
- Discontinuance Use of Rental Unit- If the owner decides that they no longer want to rent out the dwelling unit and the property will sit unused, the landlord must provide a 3-Day Notice to Quit to the tenant.
- Refusals to Accept Rent Increase – If a tenant refuses to accept an increase in the rent that is both fair and equitable, a landlord may give a tenant 3-Day Notice to Quit.
- Illegal Acts – Connecticut law highlights several illegal activities that are grounds for eviction, including the illegal sale of alcohol or drugs. If a landlord has documentation of illegal activities occurring on the property, then they may issue a 15-Day Unconditional Notice to Quit. No notice is required if a tenant is convicted of using the rental unit for prostitution or illegal gambling.
It is illegal for landlords to evict tenants in retaliation or for discriminatory reasons.
Security Deposits in Connecticut
- Standard Limit/Maximum Amount – 2 months’ rent (1 month’s rent if the tenant is 62 years or older).
- Time Limit for Returns – 30 Days.
- Penalty if Not Returned on Time – If a Connecticut landlord wrongfully withholds rent then they may be liable to pay up to double the original value of the deposit as a penalty.
- Allowable Deductions – Connecticut law does not enumerate valid security deposit deductions but it is assumed landlords can deduct for unpaid rent and damages that exceed normal wear and tear.
Lease Termination in Connecticut
Notice requirements. If a landlord wants to evict a tenant on a periodic lease in Connecticut, then they must give the following amounts of notice.
|Rent Payment Frequency||Notice Needed|
Early termination. If a tenant wishes to break a lease early, they may do so for the following reasons:
- Early termination clause
- Active military duty
- Uninhabitable unit
- Lease violation
- Domestic violence
- Senior citizen or health issue
Connecticut tenants are still obliged to pay rent if they break a lease early. Connecticut landlords are legally obligated to make a reasonable effort to re-rent a unit.
Rent Increases & Related Fees in Connecticut
- Rent control. Connecticut law explicitly prohibits rent control policies on a state or local level. As such, Connecticut landlords are free to charge what they wish in rental prices.
- Rental increases. Under current law, landlords are not required to give any prior notice before raising rental prices. However, fair rent commissions are permitted under state law.
- Rent-related fees. Connecticut landlords may charge late rent fees, but only after a state-mandated 9-day grace period. The value of these fees is not limited by law, though. The state does prohibit returned check fees.
Housing Discrimination in Connecticut
Protected groups. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, familial status, religion, or disability. These rules do not apply to owner-occupied homes or homes operated by religious organizations. Connecticut state law adds additional protection for tenants on the basis of marital status, age, ancestry, lawful source of income, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
Discriminatory acts & penalties. Connecticut’s Commission on Human Rights handles housing discrimination complaints in the state. The following behaviors have been identified as potentially discriminatory when directed at a member of a protected group:
- Refusing to rent, negotiate, or sell a house or rental unit
- Falsely denying unit availability
- Providing different terms, conditions, or privileges
- Inducing a tenant to sell for the purpose of personal profit (blockbusting)
- Providing different brokerage or financial services
The Commission does not outline specific punishments. However, they do give infringing landlords a chance to correct their behavior and avoid further action from the Commission.
Additional Landlord Tenant Regulations in Connecticut
Landlord Right to Entry in Connecticut
Landlords in Connecticut must give advance notice before entering a rental property, but the law does not define how much notice. The landlords must also renter only at “reasonable hours.” Landlords are assumed to not need permission to enter in the case of emergencies that threaten the safety or well-being of the tenant.
Small Claims Court in Connecticut
Connecticut small claims court will handle rent-related disputes valued up to $5,000 or less. In some jurisdictions, these claims must be adjudicated by the local Housing Session. Written and oral contracts in Connecticut have a 6-year and 3-year statute of limitations, respectively.
Mandatory Disclosures in Connecticut
- Lead-Based Paint – Landlords that own homes built before 1978 must provide information about concentrations of lead paint used in the building.
- Authorized Authorities – Landlords must also provide the names and addresses of all parties involved in managing the property.
- Common Interest– Landlords must provide a disclosure if the rental unit is located in a common interest community.
- Fire Sprinkler System – Landlords must provide an operative fire sprinkler system notice including the maintenance and repair history.
- Bed Bugs– Landlords must disclose if there is an adjacent property that is infested with bed bugs.
Changing the Locks in Connecticut
Connecticut law does not say whether tenants or landlords may change the locks during the course of a lease agreement. However, landlords are explicitly forbidden from changing the locks unilaterally as a form of eviction (i.e. “lockouts”).
Additional Resources for Connecticut Renters
In addition, check your local county and municipality for additional land-lord tenant regulations. To learn more, please refer to the below digital resources.