Last Updated on November 6, 2023 by Kelvin Nielsen
Under Connecticut landlord-tenant law, a guest can become a tenant after staying in a rental property for at least 14 days within a 6-month period. This is commonly referred to as the “14-day rule”.
The rule is based on the fact that a tenant is only supposed to host their guest for a short period of time. The guest shouldn’t have any intention of establishing a permanent residency in the rental property.
Under Connecticut law, the maximum length of time a guest can stay in a rental property is 14 days within a 6-month period. After that, the guest automatically becomes a tenant and acquires the same inherent rights as a tenant who has an agreement with the landlord.
As such, as a landlord, it’s important to understand this part of the law to prevent potential issues with guests later on. The following is everything you need to know regarding the topic.
What is the Difference Between a Guest and a Tenant in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, a tenancy agreement between a landlord and a tenant can be established in either of three ways. That is, via a written document, a verbal agreement, or after the landlord accepts a payment as rent.
A guest, on the other hand, is someone who stays in a rental property for a short period of time, typically less than 14 days in a 6-month period.
The following is a table summarizing the major differences between a guest and a tenant.
|Lives on a property for a short period of time (less than 14 days in a 6-month period).||Has a tenancy agreement with the landlord.|
|Isn’t protected by CT landlord-tenant laws.||Is protected by CT landlord-tenant laws.|
|Doesn’t have their own bedroom or furniture in the property.||Has their own bedroom(s) and furniture.|
|Doesn’t receive mail or packages at the property.||Receives mail and packages at the property.|
|Has no responsibility to pay for rent or utilities.||Is obligated by the lease to pay rent and utilities.|
What Happens if a Guest Becomes a Tenant in Connecticut?
Once a guest surpasses fourteen days in a rental property, they automatically obtain certain rights and responsibilities under the law. Specifically, the following are some of the rights you’ll need to honor as a landlord.
#1: Right to live in a habitable property.
The tenant will have a right to demand for repairs from the landlord and expect the repairs to be done within a reasonable time. If you fail to do so, the tenant may even be able to sue you in court for damages.
#2: Right to proper notification before eviction.
Removing a guest is pretty straightforward. As a landlord, you’d only need to call law enforcement personnel to remove the guest from the dwelling. However, before removing the guest from your property, law enforcement personnel will usually conduct due diligence to confirm that indeed the person is a guest and not a tenant.
Removing a long-term guest, however, is a different cause. After the tenant has surpassed 14 days in a 6-month period, you’d have to go through the state’s eviction process. And the removal process is the same regardless of whether the rental unit is a room within a single-family residence or an apartment in a multi-unit building.
#3: Right to privacy.
You must respect the tenant’s right to privacy. Among other things, you’ll need to provide the tenant with reasonable notice, enter for a legitimate reason, and only enter during normal business hours.
What A Landlord Can Do to Prevent a Guest From Becoming a Tenant in Connecticut?
As already mentioned, removing a guest can be difficult and time-consuming. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for a tenant removal process to take months in Connecticut. The following are some of the things you may want to do to prevent guests from acquiring a tenant status.
- Have a guest policy in place. Require tenants to abide by certain rules when it comes to guests. Let them know that it’d be a serious lease violation to allow a guest to stay for a certain number of days.
- Require a guest to sign a guest agreement. In the agreement, have the guest state that they are a guest and not a tenant, and would leave after a certain number of days.
Guests can become tenants in Connecticut after staying for 14 days in a 6-month period. And after they have become tenants, they automatically acquire certain rights and responsibilities under the law. Luckily for landlords, you may be able to prevent guests from becoming tenants by having a strong guest policy.
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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.
Hi, I’m Kelvin Nielsen, an experienced landlord and accomplished real estate lawyer. My focus is on answering your questions about renting in the hopes of making your life as a renter or a landlord a bit easier.