Connecticut Rental Laws

Written on November 9, 2015 by , updated on August 30, 2018

flag-of-connecticutThis article summarizes some key Connecticut landlord-tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

The Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information. All sources are cited appropriately.

With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing, and may even vary from county to county. You have a responsibility to perform your own research and cautiously apply the laws to your unique situation.

If you have a legal question or concern, I only recommend contacting a licensed attorney referral service that is operated by the state bar association. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice.

Official Rules and Regulations

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: Two months’ rent maximum for tenants age 62 or younger. One month’s rent maximum for tenants older than 62 years. Tenants who are older than 62 years may request a refund for any security deposit that exceeds one month’s rent. (§§ 47a-21(b)(1) and (2))
  • Security Deposit Interest: Required, and to be paid at a rate set annually by the Banking Commissioner. The tenant forfeits their right to interest for any month in which rent is late more than 10 days, unless a late fee agreed to in the lease is charged. Landlord also shall not increase the rent because of the requirement to pay interest on the deposit. (§§ 47a-21(i))
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: Required (§§ 47a-21(h))
  • Pet Deposits: No statute
  • Non-Refundable Fees: No statute
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 30 days, or within 15 days of the tenant providing their forwarding address, whichever is later. (§§ 47a-21(d)(2))
  • Permitted Uses of the Deposit:
    • To cover unpaid rent that is due under the lease;
    • Utility payments owed to the landlord;
    • Damage caused by the tenant’s failure to comply with their obligations (§§ 47a-21(13) and (d))
  • Require Written Description/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes (§§ 47a-21(d)(2))
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No statute
  • Receipt of Deposit: Receipt required for cash payments is required, stating the amount, date and purpose of the payment. Also, the Banking Commissioner may request that the landlord provide to the Banking Commissioner, within seven days, the name of each bank where deposits are held, and the account number of each escrow account. (§§ 47a-3a(c) and §§ 47a-21(h))
  • Failure to Comply: If the landlord fails to comply with the rules for returning the deposit in §§ 47a-21(d)(2), the landlord is liable for twice the security deposit. The exception is that if the violation is for failing to return the interest, the landlord is liable only for twice the interest. Also, the Banking Commissioner is empowered to investigate claims of violations and may fine the landlord for each offense, the amounts differing for different violations. See statute for details. (§§ 47a-21(d)(2) and (j) and (k))

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent Is Due: As agreed to in the lease, or if not agreed to otherwise, at the beginning of any term of one month or less, and for terms of more than one month, at the beginning of each month. (§§ 47a-3a(a) and (b))
  • Rent Increase Notice: No statute
  • Rent Grace Period: If rent is not paid within nine days of when rent is due, or within four days for week-to-week leases, the landlord may move to terminate the lease and evict, in accordance with state rules for eviction. (§§ 47a-15a)
  • Late Fees: Landlord may not charge a late fee until nine days after rent is due. (§§ 47a-15a and §§ 47a-4(8))
  • Prepaid Rent: No statute
  • Returned Check Fees: No statute regarding fees that banks may charge for processing overdrawn checks. Fees will vary from bank to bank. If the check is for rent, the tenant is not liable to the landlord for civil damages under Penal Code Ch. 925 §§ 52-565a. (Penal Code Ch. 925 §§ 52-565a(d))
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Tenant must first give notice specifying the violation and then may procure the service and deduct the cost from the rent. The lease shall not permit the receipt of rent for any period during which the landlord has failed to comply with their legally required duties. If the landlord fails to satisfy their legally required duties, an individual tenant may also submit a detailed complaint to the local Housing Court to compel the landlord to satisfy their duties, and then arrange to pay rent into a court-controlled escrow account. If the landlord fixes the violation, they may request the termination of rent payment into court. The court will decide how to distribute any money held, and may order rent returned to the tenant. See 47a-14h for details. (§§ 47a-13 and §§ 47a-4a and §§ 47a-7(a) and §§ 47a-14h)
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: No statute specifically defining a process for “repair and deduct.” See above for situations in which the landlord isn’t meeting their legally required obligations.
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees:In certain cases, such as if the tenant refuses the landlord entry to the premises and the landlord goes to court to gain entry, the landlord may recover actual damages and reasonable attorney fees. Also, the lease may not include any provision where the tenant agrees to pay the landlord’s attorney fees in excess of 15 percent of any judgment against the tenant. (§§ 47a-18 and §§ 47a-4)
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: If the tenant abandons the premises, the landlord shall make reasonable efforts to rent it at a fair rental to mitigate damages. (§§ 47a-11a)
  • Abandonment/Early Termination Fee: No statute

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: Three-day notice required. See statute for restrictions and required form of notice. (§§ 47a-23)
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Yearly Lease with No End Date: Three-day notice required. See statute for restrictions and required form of notice.(§§ 47a-23)
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: Three-day notice required. See statute for restrictions and required form of notice. (§§ 47a-23)
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: Three-day notice required. See statute for restrictions and required form of notice. (§§ 47a-23)
  • Termination of Tenancy with 24 Hours Notice: No statute for 24-hour lease termination. Three-day notice is required to terminate a lease. See statute for restrictions and required form of notice. (§§ 47a-23)
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute
  • Notice of Termination of Week-to-Week Leases for Nonpayment: Three-day notice required, which can be given if rent is not paid with the four-day statutory grace period for week-to-week leases. For week-to-week leases, a notice to quit terminates the lease for that week and converts the tenancy to a “tenancy at sufferance,” which lays the grounds for eviction. See statute for restrictions and required form of notice. (§§ 47a-23(d))
  • Notice of Termination of All Other Leases for Nonpayment: Three-day notice required, which can be given if rent is not paid within the nine-day statutory grace period. For month-to-month leases, a notice to quit will terminate the lease for that month and convert the tenancy to a “tenancy at sufferance,” which lays the grounds for eviction. See statute for restrictions and required form of notice. (§§ 47a-23(d))
  • Termination for Lease Violation: 15-day written notice specifying the violation required. (§§ 47a-15(a))
  • Required Notice before Entry: Reasonable written or oral notice required, and entry allowed only at reasonable times. (§§ 47a-16(c))
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Yes (§§ 47a-16(a))
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: Yes (§§ 47a-16(a))
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: (§§ 47a-16(b))
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: Allowed. Tenant must give notice of any anticipated extended absence, and landlord may enter at reasonable times to inspect the premises, make repairs, alterations or improvements, supply necessary or agreed services or show the unit to prospective purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, or contractors. (§§ 47a-16a)
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No, the only legal way a landlord can remove a tenant is through a court eviction process, called “Summary Process.”
    (Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants in Connecticut (Page 16) (pdf))
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No. If the landlord willfully fails to supply essential services, the tenant may terminate the lease and sue for up to two months’ rent or double damages, whichever is greater. (§§ 47a-13)

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Name and Addresses: The name and address of the landlord or property manager must be provided to the tenant in writing prior to the start of the lease. (§§ 47a-6)
  • Copy of the Lease: No statute
  • Domestic Violence Situations:
  • Early Termination Rights: If a tenant reasonably believes it is necessary to vacate the premises due to fear of imminent harm to the tenant or a dependent of the tenant because of family violence or sexual assault, the tenant may terminate the lease without penalty with written notice of at least 30 days.
  • Proof of Status: The notice required for early termination must include a statement affirming that the tenant or a dependent of the tenant is a victim of family violence or sexual assault, as well as either a copy of a police report or court record detailing an act of family violence or sexual assault. (§§ 47a-11e)
  • Landlord’s Duties: (§§ 47a-7(a))
    • Compliance: Comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety.
    • Repairs: Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition, unless unfit condition was intentionally caused by the tenant.
    • Common Areas: Keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition.
    • Maintenance: Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied.
    • Trash: Provide and maintain appropriate receptacles for the removal of trash and other waste related to occupancy, and arrange for removal.
    • Water: supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times and reasonable heat except if the building which includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose or if the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant or supplied by a direct public utility connection.
  • Tenant’s Duties: (§§ 47a-11)
    • Compliance: Comply with all obligations primarily imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety.
    • Cleanliness: Keep the premises that tenant occupies and uses as clean and safe as the condition of the premises permit.
    • Trash: Dispose of all garbage and other waste in a clean and safe manner.
    • Plumbing: Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the tenant as clean as their condition permits.
    • Appliances: Use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances including elevators in the premises.
    • Lawful Activity: Not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove any part of the premises or knowingly permit any person to do so.
    • Quiet Enjoyment: Conduct himself and require other persons on the premises with tenant consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
  • Retaliation: Landlord must not terminate or refuse to renew a lease to a tenant who has filed an official complaint to a government authority, or has been involved in a tenant’s organization. Other actions are prohibited. Read §§ 47a-20 and §§ 47a-33 for more information.
  • Lead Disclosure: Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.
  • Payment Options Other than Electronic Funds Transfer: Landlords are prohibited from requiring electronic funds transfer as the exclusive form of payment. (§§ 47a-4c)

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License Required: No statewide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.
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