Connecticut Landlord Tenant Laws
Connecticut has adopted many of the provisions of the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act, but does have some of its own unique requirements. Special care of security deposits is required of Connecticut landlords, as the upper limit for which tenants can sue if the deposit is not properly returned is greater than in most other states, and payment of interest is also required.
What Laws Cover Landlord-Tenant Relationships in Connecticut?
The primary state statute that covers rental agreements in Connecticut is Chapter 830, Sec. 47a-1 to 47a-74. These sections in Chapter 830 cover just about everything that residential landlords and tenants need to know, and the state publishes a Rights and Responsibilities pamphlet that summarizes the basic requirements. The state also publishes separate summary guides for both landlords and tenants regarding their rights and responsibilities in an eviction proceeding.
The one remaining statute that tenants and landlords should be familiar with is Chapter 926, which covers various statutes of limitations pertaining to private property and recovery of damages.
Security Deposit Rules
There are limits on the maximum security deposit that a landlord can ask for, and they vary by age (as established by Sec. 47a-21). If a tenant is age 62 or older, then a landlord may only request the equivalent of one month’s rent as a security deposit. Landlords may ask the equivalent of two months of rent from younger tenants.
Connecticut also requires that security deposits be held in a certain type of interest-bearing bank account, according to Sec. 47a-21. The account must provide interest at a rate that is set annually by the state’s Banking Commissioner. Landlords are not allowed to increase the rent specifically to equal the amount of this interest. Tenants can lose their right to the interest for any month in which their payment is more than 10 days late, unless they had already been charged a late fee. The Banking Commissioner requires that landlords provide the bank name and account number where the security deposits are held within seven days of the start of the lease.
The statute also puts hard limits on what the security deposit can be used for. It can only be used for damage to the unit or to cover unpaid rent or utility payments. An itemized list of charges and a written description is required if the landlord retains any of the security deposit. The deposit must be returned within 30 days, or within 15 days of the landlord receiving the tenant’s forwarding address. The landlord can be held liable for twice the amount of the security deposit, or twice the amount of the owed interest if that was the only money that was not returned. The Banking Commission may also investigate and fine the landlord if unlawful withholding of security deposit monies occurs.
The state has no specific statute for pet deposits or non-refundable fees.
Lease, Rent and Fee Rules
Sec. 47a-3a stipulates that rent is due on the first of the month if no other date has been specified in the lease. There is a nine day grace period from this date in which the tenant can still pay the rent without eviction proceedings being initiated (or four days in the case of week-to-week leases). The landlord is also not allowed to begin charging a late fee until this period of nine days has passed. There is no statute on rent increase notices or terms of prepaid rent.
There is no statute addressing fees for returned checks, or for fees regarding abandonment and early termination of the lease. Penal Code Ch. 925 stipulates that landlords cannot recover civil damages if the tenant pays with a check that bounces.
Under Sec. 47a, tenants are given the right to withhold rent for failure to provide essential services. The tenant is required to give notice of the specific violation in advance, and they may then procure the service on their own and deduct it from the cost of the rent. The tenant may also legally withhold rent until the landlord remedies the situation. Tenants are allowed to go to the local Housing Court for legal recourse if the landlord refuses to provide the service. There is no specific statute that addresses withholding rent for repairs, but this situation may be covered by the previous statute depending on the circumstances.
Landlords may recover attorney and court fees under certain circumstances where damages can be proven in court to be caused by the tenant. The lease is not allowed to include any stipulation that requires the tenant to pay an excess of more than 15% of the landlord’s actual court and attorney costs, however.
Notice and Entry Rules
Sec. 47a-23 covers the circumstances of required notice to terminate a lease early. Tenants are required to provide three days notice in virtually all cases. Landlords are also required to provide three days notice of termination of the lease after the nine-day rental payment grace period has expired. Terminations for a lease violation require a 15-day written notice that specifies the violation.
Sec. 47a-16 deals with notice before entry, but for the most part the language of the law does not set specific time limits. Landlords are only required to give “reasonable” oral or written notice, and may only enter at “reasonable” times, though no formal definition of what is considered reasonable is given. This includes entry for showings and for needed maintenance and repairs. Emergency entry is also broadly allowed without notice, and the landlord can enter the unit to verify continued habitation and the state of the unit if the tenant is absent for an extended period of time.
Lockouts and utility shutoffs are entirely disallowed under Sec. 47a-13.
Required Disclosures and Notes
Sec. 47a-6 and 47a-7 cover a landlord’s various responsibilities and duties. The name and address of either the landlord or the property manager must be provided to the tenant prior to the start of the lease. The landlord is also required to perform various duties such as providing water and trash receptacles and keeping the property clean and repaired. Landlords may also not require electronic funds transfer as the sole form of payment. Connecticut law also protects tenants from retaliation and requires that landlords disclose if any lead paint has been used on the premises.
Sec. 47a-11 outlines various duties of the tenant. The tenant must not engage in unlawful activity, respect the quiet enjoyment of other people on the property, and keep the property as clean and safe as circumstances will permit.
The small claims court limit in Connecticut is $5,000, with the aforementioned exceptions for recovery of unreturned security deposits and interest, which can be double the original amount owed to the tenant. Evictions are not handled by the small claims courts in the state. The directory linked below lists the contact information for all of the different small claims courts in the state.
Connecticut Realtor Associations
- Connecticut Association of Realtors
- Connecticut Property Owners Alliance
- Connecticut Real Estate Investors Association
- Greater Bridgeport Board of Realtors
- Greater Fairfield Board of Realtors
- Greater Hartford Association of Realtors
- Greater New Milford Board of Realtors
- Greenwich Association of Realtors
- Mid Fairfield County Association of Realtors
- New Haven Middlesex Realtors Association
- Northern Fairfield County Association of Realtors