Connecticut Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Connecticut Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Last Updated: February 24, 2023

Tenants in Connecticut have the legal right to repairs for issues that place the property in violation of state health and safety standards. To exercise this right, they must properly notify the landlord in writing and allow 15 days for the repairs to be made.

Connecticut Landlord Responsibilities for Repairs

Connecticut landlords are responsible for keeping all of the following in good working condition:

  • Plumbing
  • Electricity
  • Heating
  • Hot water
  • Provided appliances
  • Garbage containers and service
  • Common areas
  • Anything impacting health, safety, or habitability

If any of the above stops working properly, and the tenant isn’t at fault for the damage, the landlord is the one responsible for making the repairs necessary to fix it.

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What Repairs Are Tenants Responsible for in Connecticut?

Connecticut tenants are responsible for repairing any damage they cause to the property which affects health and safety.

The landlord and tenant can agree in writing that the tenant must maintain heating, water, and garbage (both containers and removal), and make specific repairs or improvements. For single-family homes and duplexes only, they can agree case by case for the tenant to handle repairs which don’t involve basic habitability.

Requesting Repairs in Connecticut

Connecticut tenants must start the repair request process by notifying the landlord in writing about the issue that needs fixing. After receiving written notice, the landlord has 15 days to fix the issue.

How Long Does a Landlord Have To Make Repairs in Connecticut?

Connecticut landlords have 15 days to make repairs after getting written notice about an issue.

Can the Landlord Refuse To Make Repairs in Connecticut?

Connecticut landlords cannot refuse to make repairs that are their responsibility. However, unlike many states, a landlord’s failure to repair does not excuse the renter failing to pay rent or otherwise breaching the rental agreement.

Do Landlords Have To Pay for Alternative Accommodation During Repairs in Connecticut?

Connecticut landlords only have to fund alternative accommodation (up to the monthly rental price) during repairs, if they have failed to supply heat, utilities, or other essential services to the property. Whatever the reason, however, a tenant who must temporarily move out doesn’t have to pay rent for that period.

Tenant’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in Connecticut

Connecticut tenants can cancel the rental agreement if the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs, depending on the situation. They can also sue for damages, get an injunction to force repairs, or get a rent abatement to reduce or refund some of their rental payments.

If the failure to repair interrupts utility services, the tenant can sue the landlord for related expenses, or for an amount equal to two months’ rent (whichever is greater), for each violation. The tenant can also recover court costs and attorney fees.

Can the Tenant Withhold Rent in Connecticut?

Connecticut tenants can’t withhold rent unilaterally. They can start a court action to pay rent into a supervised escrow account if they think the landlord is violating his legal responsibilities. However, even if the landlord is violating the lease, the tenant still has a duty to make rent payments.

Can the Tenant Repair and Deduct in Connecticut?

Connecticut tenants are only allowed to arrange for repairs and deduct from the rent as absolutely necessary to restore heat, utilities, or other essential services that the landlord fails to provide.

Can the Tenant Break Their Lease in Connecticut?

Connecticut tenants can break leases 15 days after written notice, for failure to repair issues that weren’t the tenant’s responsibility, or other uncorrected breaches of the rental agreement. They can also end the lease when a landlord’s interference is substantial enough to create a constructive eviction.

When a habitability issue recurs within six months, tenants can move out and end the lease on 14-30 days’ notice without providing an opportunity for repairs. They can also move immediately when the premises are severely affected by casualty that wasn’t the tenant’s fault (e.g., a hurricane).

Can the Tenant Sue in Connecticut?

Connecticut tenants can sue when the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs. Tenants can sue to force repairs or recover monetary damages.

Can the Tenant Report the Landlord in Connecticut?

Connecticut tenants can report landlords to the local inspections or code enforcement department, for code violations that affect health or safety. If an inspecting officer finds a violation, the tenant could cancel the rental agreement, or sue to force repairs.

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Landlord Retaliation in Connecticut

Connecticut landlords usually aren’t allowed to raise rent, reduce services, or evict when tenants in good faith, within the past six months, have taken one of the following actions:

  • Tried to remedy health and safety violations
  • Requested repairs from the landlord
  • Sued the landlord for breach of rental duties
  • Participated in a tenants’ union

The law allows a few exceptions. Landlords can raise rent, reduce services, or evict when they are covering substantial increases in operating cost, recovering a personal residence, or when the tenant is breaching the lease.

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