At LandlordStation.com, we want you to learn everything you can about CT landlord tenant law so you can proactively improve your rental relationship. We have provided a good summary of the laws covering landlords, tenants, and lease agreements in this state for you to get started. This information is meant purely as an educational reference guide and is not meant to be legal advice. To obtain legal advice regarding your situation and Connecticut landlord tenant law, we encourage you to seek the counsel of a qualified licensed attorney.
There is one place that covers the landlord tenant law. CT governs this type of law under 47a C.S. § 830 – 834, which is also referred to as the Connecticut Landlord and Tenant Act. These are the laws that both you, as landlord, and your attorney will refer to when trying to troubleshoot the relationship between you and your tenant. One of the best ways to proactively protect yourself, and your tenant, from conflict is to take measures allowed by these laws before, or during, the process of putting a rental agreement in place.
For instance, as the landlord, you have a right to make rules regarding who can rent your property and what they must do as a tenant. As long as the rules are the same for everyone, you are allowed to refuse rental to potential lessees who lack adequate income, have previously been evicted due to destruction of property or rent nonpayment, or have a pet when you have a no pet policy in place. You can also require potential renters to provide credit references, former landlord references, pass a criminal background check, and pay a security deposit that matches an amount equaling up to two months of rent.
Note that under landlord tenant law, Connecticut prevents you from charging any person that is 62 years of age or older a security deposit that is more than the amount that equals one month of rent. It is also important to remember that having a rule that doesn’t apply to everyone is likely discrimination. Illegal discrimination in Connecticut is when you refuse a tenant their right to choose where they live or treat them differently because of their race, religion, national origin, color, family status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. Examples of illegal discrimination include having special rules for Section 8 renters (i.e. must pay in cash), or charging higher rent for families.
Once you have screened tenants in a legal fashion and decided to move forward into a lease agreement with one or more tenants, there are other steps you can, and should take, in order to proactively avoid conflict or tension. For instance, under landlord tenant law, Connecticut permits both oral and written leases, as well as rental agreements for defined and undefined terms. Since oral agreements are not easily proved in court, and their exact terms are not always remembered by both parties, a written agreement is always ideal. Even better is a written agreement that outlines as many specifics about the lease as possible, including length and what notice should be given if the lease term is undefined.
Any lease in Connecticut, whether defined or undefined, written or oral, may not circumvent or preclude any federal statutes, state laws, county codes, or city ordinances that apply to the lease agreement between you and your tenant. For instance, under state law landlords and tenants will always have certain obligations and rights. A Connecticut landlord, for example, will generally always have a right to:
• Have rent paid on time, which is before midnight on the ninth day after the agreed due date
• Receive notification of any damage made, or repairs needed, whether or not the condition was caused by the tenant, tenant’s family, or tenant’s guests
• Have reasonable access to the rental unit during practical hours for inspections or repairs when proper advance notice has been given
• Be informed of tenant’s anticipated extended absence from unit so that extra watch can be kept over the unit during that time
• Be given proper advanced notification of a tenant’s intent to move out
By these same terms, a tenant is obliged under CT landlord tenant law to keep the rental unit in reasonably good and clean condition, always maintain a noise level that is considerate of his or her neighbors’ right to peaceful residence, make every effort to return the rental premises at move-out to the same condition it was in at move-in (less normal wear and tear), and promptly returning the key to the landlord upon move-out.
Conversely, Connecticut landlord tenant law also generally gives your tenant specific rights. These rights usually pertain to the habitability of the rental unit and include the right to:
• A clean apartment upon move-in
• Clean common areas
• Appropriate lighting in all hallways and entryways
• Properly functioning plumbing and heating, which includes hot and cold water
• A rental unit, its related buildings and common areas which adheres to all related health and safety laws
• Have repairs made within a reasonable amount of time
• The provision of trash containers and trash removal arranged by landlord
• Reasonable privacy, and advanced notice from the landlord when he or she needs to enter the unit for any reason
• Inhabit the premises until a legal court order for eviction is obtained
If you fail to fulfill your responsibilities as a Connecticut landlord, or if you block your renter’s rights, he or she can sue you, pay his or her rent to the court, and ask the court to order a refund. The tenant may not, however, stop paying rent until specifically instructed by the court. In Connecticut, if your lessee is disabled, he or she has additional rights than the standard tenant rights. These include the right to reasonable unit modifications like grab bars or ramps and exceptions to no pet rules with regard to service animals.
When it comes to evicting a tenant, it is important for you to remember that eviction is a very strict legal process. It may be your right as landlord to give notice of and file for eviction, but you may not force a tenant out of the rental unit yourself. Do not, under any circumstances in which the court isn’t involved, go to extremes like changing the locks on the unit or cutting off the utilities in order to drive your tenant out of the unit. It is crucial that you follow the legal eviction process under CT landlord tenant law in order to avoid harsh ramifications.
Now that you have read a basic summary of Connecticut landlord tenant law, Landlord Station hopes you are inspired to learn even more regarding this law. A thorough understanding of this subject can help you become a better landlord by empowering you with the tools you need to both prevent, and troubleshoot, conflict in a CT landlord-tenant relationship. As this summary is not legal advice, we encourage you to go a step further and seek legal advice regarding your specific situation from an experienced lawyer licensed in Connecticut law.
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