Connecticut is by far a tenant-friendly state. It can take many, many months to evict a deficient tenant and the laws generally do not favor the landlord. However, there is always a silver lining and Connecticut can bring in substantially higher rents and the overall vacancy rate has been dropping since 2009.
At a Glance:
Late Fees: In Connecticut, a late fee may not be imposed until the rent is not received before the end of at least ten days (weekly renters have five days.) of its due date.
Security Deposit: The security deposit including any prepaid rents may be no more than an amount parallel to two months’ rent unless you are over the age of 62, where only an amount equivalent to one month is permitted.
Returned Payment Fee Limit: There is no statute regarding the limitation of the amount a landlord may charge a tenant for a payment returned by a bank.
Notice to Enter: Except in the case of an emergency, a landlord may enter the rental unit with an advanced written or verbal notification.
Late Fee/Returned Check Fee:
Late Fee Limit: Even though there are no limits placed on what a landlord may charge a tenant for being late with the rent, the landlord must wait until ten days have passed from the due date before charging one and in the case of a weekly renter, the waiting period is five days. WARNING: It is not permitted for a landlord to provide an incentive to the tenant to pay before the ten days either.
Returned Check Fee Information: When a tenant produces a payment that is returned, a landlord may charge a fee on top of the rent owed. There are no limits stated in the law regarding the amount.
Limit: Connecticut is pretty tough on security deposit regulations. No matter what you call it, anything that is collected as a deposit or prepaid rent is legally considered a security deposit. The landlord may not collect any more than two months total. If the rental is for anyone 62 years or older, the landlord may not collect more than one month total. Landlords are required to pay interest on security deposits. However, a tenant forfeits their right to interest if they pay their rent late unless a late charge is agreed upon in the lease agreement. The interest rates are set annually by the Banking Commissioner.
Return: The landlord has either 30 days or 15 days, depending on whether the tenant provided a forwarding address. If a tenant provided a forwarding address, the landlord has 15 days to return the entire security deposit including interest unless there are damages. If there are damages, the landlord must furnish an itemized statement to the tenant describing the damages and including the charges for each line item. If there is no forwarding address provided, then the landlord will have 30 days and will send it to the last known address on record.
TIP: There are no stated laws restricting the collection of non-refundable fees at lease signing. Be careful however, and when in doubt, get legal advice.
Right of Entry:
The state of Connecticut has precise landlord entry rules. According to Chapter 830, Sec 47a – 16, a tenant may not withhold consent for the landlord to enter the rental unit if there is a good reason for repairs, inspections, to show to prospective buyers, tenants, contractors, or mortgagees. It goes on to say that if there is an emergency, a landlord may have access without notice or consent as is the same when there is a court order or if the tenant abandons or surrenders possession. Furthermore, a landlord never should abuse the right to enter. It could be construed as harassment and there are hefty fines for this.
Before filing in court to evict a tenant for any reason, notice must be provided. Changing locks, removing a tenant’s stuff from the apartment or shutting off utilities is not allowed. Nor is harassing the tenant with nasty calls, emails or texts. Tactics such as these will surely backfire and at the least slow down the progress of an eviction. The Connecticut government has an excellent publication: A Landlord’s Guide to Eviction which provides easy to understand and useful guidelines for eviction.
Questions? Ask an Attorney!
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