In Connecticut, a landlord’s obligation for providing a habitable living space is primarily governed by Conn. Gen. Stat. §47a-7. This legal requirement, commonly known as the “implied warranty of habitability”, also outlines the rights of tenants when repairs are not made in a timely manner.
|Landlord Responsibilities||Hot/Cold Water, HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Sanitation Facilities, Trash Can, Stairs/Railings, Floors, Fire Exits, Smoke Detector|
|Time Limit for Repairs||15 Days|
|Tenant Recourse Options||
Applicable Dwelling Types in Connecticut
The implied warranty of habitability in Connecticut does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are and aren’t included.
|Dwelling Type||Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?|
|RV parks||Not specifically addressed|
|Mobile home parks||Only if person in mobile home is a renter, not owner|
Tenement/boarding homes have their own set of applicable rules regarding habitability and are not dealt with in this article.
Landlord Responsibilities in Connecticut
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.
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 and inspected.
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.
Tenant’s Right to Repairs in Connecticut
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. If the material noncompliance is not remedied and is affecting the health and safety of the tenant, the tenant may terminate the rental agreement.
- 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 in Connecticut
If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.
- Withhold Rent – In Connecticut, tenants may withhold rent until repairs are made
- Repair and Deduct – If it is a single-family dwelling, the landlord and tenant may agree in writing that the tenant perform some of the landlord’s duties which may include repairs, maintenance, remodeling, or alterations. If it is a dwelling unit other than a single-family residence, the landlord and tenant may agree in writing to perform the duties above but the work cannot cure a noncompliance violation.
- Substitute Housing – Tenant is entitled to a substitute housing 48 hours after the landlord’s noncompliance. If the same breach occurs within six months, the tenant may seek substitute housing immediately.
- Lawsuit – Tenants can exercise their legal right to take action to get the landlord to fulfill their responsibilities.
- 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 in Connecticut
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 six months of the tenant exercising their legal rights in response to habitability issues:
- Increasing rent.
- Recovering property from the unit.
- Decreasing services.
- Refusing to renew a lease.