Connecticut
Habitability Laws

QUICK FACTS
  • Landlord Responsibilities. Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating and other facilities and appliances and elevators (read more).
  • Making Repairs. Keep the premises in fit and habitable condition by making repairs and providing maintenance as necessary (read more).
  • Tenant Options. If landlord fails to make repairs within fifteen days upon receipt of written notice, tenants can withhold rent and are allowed to “repair and deduct” (read more).
  • Retaliation. A landlord is prohibited to commit any retaliatory act towards the tenant, such as increasing rent, recovering possessions, or decreasing services (read more).

The implied warranty of habitability in Connecticut does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are & aren’t included.

Dwelling Type Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single family Yes
Multi-family Yes
Fraternities/Sororities/Clubs No
RV parks Not specifically addressed
Mobile home parks Only if person in mobile home is a renter, not owner
Condos No
Hotels/Motels No

Tenement/boarding homes have their own set of applicable rules regarding habitability, and are not dealt with in this article.

Landlord Responsibilities

The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability.  Not all of them are requirements in Connecticut, as indicated below.

Note: Some of the below items may not be addressed at the state level but may be addressed on a county or city level. Check your local housing codes to see which additional requirements may apply.

Habitability Issue Landlord Responsibility?
Provide windows and doors that are in good repair. Not specifically addressed
Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks. Not specifically addressed
Provide hot and cold running water. Yes
Provide working HVAC equipment. Yes
Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting. Yes
Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cooking Not specifically addressed
Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet). Yes
Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services). Yes
Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe. Yes
Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe. Yes
Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean. Yes
Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials. Not specifically addressed
Provide working smoke detectors Yes
Provide a mailbox. No
Provide working wiring for one telephone jack. Not specifically addressed
Provide working kitchen appliances. Yes, if indicated in the lease agreement
Provide working carbon monoxide detector. Not specifically addressed
Provide a working washer/dryer. Yes, if indicated in the lease agreement

In Connecticut, landlords are responsible for ensuring that any common areas of rented or leased multifamily properties are clean and safe.

Sprinklers

In addition to the above requirements, the landlord must provide notice in the rental agreement stating whether a sprinkler system exists, and if so, when it was last serviced.

Bed Bugs

Landlords are prohibited from renting a unit known to have bed bugs. If bedbugs are discovered in a rental unit after it has been rented out, the landlord has five business days from receiving notice of the bedbug infestation to treat the unit.

If a landlord does not treat the unit within five days of receiving notice, the tenant is entitled to $250 or actual damages, whichever is greater, plus any attorney fees.
For all other pests, vermin, and rodents, landlords are required to keep multi-family units free from infestations.

Making Repairs

If tenants request repairs, they must put their request in writing to the landlord.

  • Sending notice – The landlord has fifteen days to make any necessary repairs after receiving written notice from the tenant.
  • Landlord access – Tenants are required to give the landlord access to the property to make necessary repairs. However, the landlord must give tenants “reasonable” notice unless:
    • The tenant no longer occupies the property.
    • It’s an emergency.
    • There’s a court order granting access.
    • The tenant is gone for a planned absence, such as a vacation.

Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made

If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.

  1. Withhold rent – In Connecticut, tenants may withhold rent until repairs are made
  2. Repair and deduct – tenants can also perform the repair themselves or have it repaired by a professional and deduct the cost from their rent
  3. Lawsuit – tenants can exercise their legal right to take action to get the landlord to fulfill their responsibilities
  4. Reporting to Public Officials – tenants can make a report to the housing code enforcement agency if the landlord fails to make repairs and maintain the property in safe and working order.

Landlord Retaliation

It is illegal for a landlord to retaliate in response to a tenant exercising their legal rights such as:

  • availing of self-help strategies allowed by state or local law, including deducting money from the rent to fix defects in the property
  • withholding rent entirely should the landlord fail to make repairs
  • joining or organizing a tenant union
  • complaining to a building inspector, health inspector, or other governmental agency regarding unsafe or unhealthy living conditions

The following actions are considered landlord retaliation if done within 6 months of the tenant exercising their legal rights in response to habitability issues:

  • increasing rent
  • recovering property from the unit
  • decreasing services
  • or refusing to renew a lease.

Sources