Last Updated on November 3, 2023 by Kelvin Nielsen
Just like tenants, landlords acquire certain rights and responsibilities after establishing a lease. Speaking of a lease, under Connecticut law, a lease can be established in either of three ways. That is, through a written document, a verbal agreement, or after acceptance of a payment as rent.
As a landlord, it’s important to understand what your responsibilities are under CT law (Connecticut General Statutes Title 47A). This way, you’ll be able to discharge your duties well, thereby reducing potential issues with your tenant.
The following is everything you need to know about what responsibilities landlords have under Connecticut law.
What Responsibilities Do Landlords Have in Connecticut?
Once you start renting out a property in Connecticut, you must do the following.
#1: Provide the tenant with a habitable rental property.
This is key. Under Connecticut law, a tenant has a right to live in a habitable rental property. Among other things, you must provide the tenant with heating, hot water, garbage containers, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
#2: Respond to maintenance issues within a reasonable time.
When it comes to maintenance issues impacting the tenant’s habitability, you must respond within a reasonable time. Specifically, Connecticut law requires that landlords do so within 15 days after proper notification by the tenant.
If you fail to do so, the tenant may be able to exercise a few legal options. Including, suing you in court, breaking their lease without penalty, or reporting you to a local health government agency.
#3: Respect the tenant’s right to privacy.
As a landlord, you have a right to enter your tenant’s rented unit under certain circumstances. Be that as it may, you must keep in mind several things.
For one, you must notify the tenant beforehand, especially outside of certain special cases like emergencies. While CT law isn’t specific on the notice requirements, it requires that the notice be “reasonable.”
The reason for entry must also be legitimate. Common reasons for landlord entry in Connecticut include:
- To inspect the unit.
- To carry out maintenance.
- To show the unit to prospective tenants.
- To respond to an emergency.
And last but not least, the entry times must be reasonable.
#4: Return the tenant’s security deposit after moving out.
Connecticut landlords must abide by the state’s security deposit rules. Among these is returning the tenant’s deposit (or whatever amount remains) within 15-30 days. You must return the deposit to the tenant 15 days after they have provided you with a forwarding address. Or, 30 days after the lease end has ended, whichever is later.
That, however, isn’t the only rule you must abide by when it comes to the tenant’s security deposit. You must also:
- Charge the right security deposit amount. It must not exceed the equivalent of 2 months’ rent.
- Hold the tenant’s deposit in an escrow account.
- Provide the accrued interest to the tenant.
- Only make allowable deductions to the security deposit.
#5: Provide the tenant with certain mandatory disclosures.
Before allowing a tenant to move in, you must provide them with certain disclosures. The disclosures include the following.
- Information about lead-based paint concentrations for homes built before 1978.
- Names and addresses of the person or entity authorized to manage the property on behalf of the property owner.
- Disclosure on whether the property is located in a common interest community.
- Disclosure on whether the property is adjacent to a property infested with bed bugs.
- Disclosure about the name and address of the depository where you’re holding the tenant’s security deposit.
In addition to the aforementioned, you also have the following responsibilities under state law.
- Provide a clean unit when the tenant is first moving in.
- Clean and maintain common areas.
- Maintain heating and plumbing systems.
- Provide working locks on every door of the unit.
- Provide properly functioning electrical outlets.
- Comply with the state’s basic health, safety, and building codes.
- Meet the state’s minimum heating requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Landlord Responsibilities in Connecticut
Q: What is the landlord-tenant act in Connecticut?
A: The state’s landlord-tenant act is contained under Title 47A of the Connecticut General Statutes. The act describes the rights and responsibilities each of the party to the lease has.
Q: What is the landlord’s duty to mitigate in CT?
A: Once a tenant signs a fixed-term lease, they have a duty to abide by all its terms, including paying rent, for the entire duration of the lease. And this is regardless of whether the tenant lives on the property or not.
But fortunately for tenants in Connecticut, landlords have a duty to mitigate damages after a tenant breaks their lease. Specifically, you must make reasonable efforts to re-let the premises. This can help minimize the tenant’s cost of damages owed to the landlord.
Q: How much notice does a landlord have to give a tenant to move out in CT?
A: In a periodic lease, you may be able to terminate the lease by serving the tenant with proper notice. The amount of notice to serve will depend on the frequency of rent payments.
For instance, to terminate a month-to-month lease in CT, you’ll need to serve the tenant with a 30 days’ notice. (Here is a guide on CT landlord-tenant law on month-to-month tenancies).
In a fixed-term lease, you’ll need to wait out the lease to evict the tenant. The only exception to that would be in case the tenant violates a term of the lease, such as refusing to pay rent or causing negligent property damage.
Q: Can a landlord retaliate against a tenant in CT?
A: This is illegal as per state law. Retaliation occurs when a landlord takes an illegal action against a tenant for exercising a legal right. Examples of legal rights tenants have include:
- Forming or joining a tenants’ union to advocate for their rights.
- Filing a complaint against you with a local government agency.
- Withhold rent for your failure to provide essential services, such as hot water, heat, sanitary facilities, or other services.
It’d then be illegal for you to take an action like evict the tenant, raise rent, refuse to repair their unit, or disconnect utilities.
Q: How much notice does a landlord have to give when selling the property in CT?
A: If the tenant is on a month-to-month lease, you must provide them with a 30-Day Notice to Vacate if selling the property. This will allow them 30 calendar days to move out. (Here is a guide on the rights tenants have when a landlord sells property).
For tenants on a fixed-term lease, you must wait out the lease. Alternatively, you may consider negotiating with the tenant to pay them to leave.
There you have it. A guide on landlord responsibilities in Connecticut. Understanding your landlording responsibilities is key to a solid landlord-tenant relationship. If you have a 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.
I am a real estate attorney with over 11 years of experience in tenant eviction cases. My mission here at LTRC is to help answer your commonly asked questions on everything regarding real estate laws, especially on eviction matters.
I’m a member of the following professional organizations: Attorneys’ Real Estate Councils of Florida (ARECs), Florida Bar Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section, American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL), and the Florida Association of Community Managers (FACM).