Last Updated on November 4, 2023 by Amanda Rose
Under Connecticut landlord-tenant law, landlords have a right to ask for a security deposit from tenants. Be that as it may, there are a number of rules that they must abide by when doing so.
They must charge the right amount, make appropriate deductions (if any), and return the deposit on time, among other things. Landlords who fail to observe such rules can suffer significant penalties. Including, having to pay the tenant up to 2X the wrongfully withheld amount, plus court and attorney fees.
The following are answers to commonly asked questions regarding security deposit rules in Connecticut.
What is the Connecticut law on security deposit?
Landlords in Connecticut must not charge a deposit exceeding the equivalent of 2X the monthly rent. If the monthly rent is, say, $1,300, then the landlord must not charge you a deposit exceeding $2,600.
Can a landlord ask for first, last and security deposit in CT?
Yes, a landlord in Connecticut may be able to ask for first and last month’s rent in advance. That said, landlords can only collect two additional months’ rent in advance, whatever they call it – whether “last month’s rent” or “security deposit.”
However, if you’re 62 years or older, the landlord can only charge you one additional payment.
Unlike in most other states, “last month’s rent” is considered as a security deposit under law. Consequently, landlords have a duty to treat it with the same rules.
How do I sue my landlord for a security deposit in CT?
If the landlord has wrongfully withheld your security deposit in Connecticut, you may be able to sue them in court. Here is a step-by-step process which you must follow to get your deposit back.
- Write your landlord a demand letter. In the letter, make sure to be as detailed as possible. Let the landlord know of the security deposit amount, date you moved out, and when you expect them to have paid the deposit back. Also, let the landlord know that you will suing them if they fail to honor the demand letter within the notice period.
- File a lawsuit in a small claims court. In Connecticut, you can sue up to $5,000 in money damages. It offers a relatively inexpensive and informal way to resolve disputes. Do this within 30 days of sending the demand letter.
- Serve the landlord with a copy of the lawsuit. You can do this in various ways. Including, serving the notice in person, by mail, or using the help of a sheriff.
- Prepare for a court hearing. The judge will give both you and the landlord an opportunity to present your case for determination. If the judgment is in your favor, the landlord will have to pay you the amount you were suing for, plus interest and court costs.
How Long Does A Landlord Have To Return A Security Deposit In CT?
Under the new tenancy laws in Connecticut, landlords have 21 days to return their tenant’s security deposit, minus any lawful deductions. Examples of lawful deductions in Connecticut include the following.
- Unpaid rent
- Unpaid utility bills
- Cost of cleaning the property
- Cost of replacing damaged or missing keys
- Cost of fixing damage exceeding normal wear and tear
Under Connecticut law, normal wear and tear is the gradual deterioration that a property undergoes over time due to normal, everyday use. Damage, on the other hand, is any damage that exceeds normal wear and tear. It results from a tenant’s negligence or carelessness.
The following table provides a summary between normal wear and tear versus damage.
|Normal Wear and Tear||Damage|
|Worn carpets||Stained or damaged carpets|
|Minor scratches on walls and floors||Holes in walls from punching or kicking|
|Minor scuffs on tiles||Missing or damaged tiles|
|Loos door knobs||A missing door|
|Faded countertops||Burned countertops|
Can landlord keep security deposit for breaking lease in Connecticut?
Breaking a lease is a serious lease violation of your contractual obligation. This is especially true if you don’t have a legally justified reason for breaking it. Such as, breaking your lease after buying a home, relocation for job or school, or after a seperation or divorce.
Any of these reasons won’t be able to help you break your lease without penalty. As such, your landlord would still be able to hold you accountable for all the remaining rent due under the lease.
So, back to the original question – can a landlord keep your deposit for breaking the lease? Yes! Your landlord may keep part or all of your deposit to cover the cost of re-renting the unit. However, state law also requires landlords to mitigate losses, such as by trying to find another tenant themselves.
Your landlord cannot penalize you for breaking your lease for legally justified reasons, though. Examples of such reasons include the following.
- If joining active military service.
- If involved in domestic violence.
- If the unit becomes uninhabitable, such as fails to meet the state’s heating requirements.
What Is The Interest Rate On Security Deposits In Connecticut?
Landlords in Connecticut are required to store their tenants’ security deposits in an interest-bearing account. The Banking Commissioner is responsible for setting the interest rate, which is equal to that offered by commercial banks savings deposit rate.
For 2023, the interest rate is 0.27 percent.
The landlord must pay the interest rate accrued on the security deposit annually. They can do so either directly to you, or they can credit it towards your next month’s rent payment.
There you have it – a basic overview of the Connecticut landlord-tenant law on security deposits. If you have a specific question, please leave a comment below for expert help!
Disclosure: The content herein isn’t a substitute for advice from a professional attorney. It’s only meant to serve educational purposes. If you have a specific question, kindly seek expert attorney services.
Amanda Rose is a seasoned landlord with 13+ years of expertise in overseeing diverse properties. Her adept management spans single and family homes, along with multi-family apartments and condos, across Wyoming and South Dakota. Her commitment and proficiency have cemented her status as a thriving property management professional.
She is a member of the following organizations: Wyoming Landlord’s Association, National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM), Wyoming Apartment Association, South Dakota Multi-Housing Association (SDMHA), and South Dakota Landlord Association (SDLA).