Handling a Tenant's Property in Connecticut: After an Eviction
Learn the rules landlords in Connecticut must follow to deal with property abandoned by a tenant after an eviction.
If you’ve won an eviction lawsuit in Connecticut, you may feel like tossing the tenant’s belongings out into the street. But Connecticut law sets out specific procedures for dealing with a tenant’s property after an eviction. You may be surprised to learn that the town where the rental property is located -- not you-- bears most of the responsibility for the tenant’s abandoned possessions.
The tenant moved but left property behind. Can I clear out those belongings myself?
No. In the past, Connecticut law allowed a landlord to put an evicted tenant’s possessions out on the sidewalk, where the town would pick them up and put them in storage. Now, a state marshal must collect the tenant’s abandoned property. (See Connecticut General Statutes § 47a-42(a).)
What happens after I ask the state marshal to remove the tenant’s property?
First, the marshal will try to find the tenant to tell them when the eviction will occur and that their property may be sold. If the marshal can’t find the tenant, the marshal will give the town’s chief executive officer 24-hours' notice of the day, time, and place of the eviction, plus information about any property to be removed. Finally, at the time of the eviction, the marshal will remove the tenant’s property and deliver it to a storage facility chosen by the town. (See Connecticut General Statutes § 47a-42(b).)
How long does the tenant have to reclaim the stored property?
The tenant has 15 days to pay the storage costs and reclaim their belongings from the town. After that, the town can initiate the process of selling the property at a public auction. (See Connecticut General Statutes § 47a-42(c).)
It’s not your responsibility to handle the storage or the sale. If the tenant gets in touch with you, tell them to contact the town.
Will the town notify the tenant before selling their belongings?
Yes. If the tenant doesn’t pick up the property within 15 days, the town must:
- try to locate the tenant to tell them that the property will be sold, and
- post a notice for one week on a public signpost near the eviction location, if possible, or outside the town clerk’s office.
When the town sells the tenant’s property, who gets the money?
If possible, the town will give the money to the tenant, holding back the costs of storing the property. If the tenant doesn’t collect the sale proceeds within 30 days, the money goes to the town treasury. (See Connecticut General Statutes § 47a-42(c).)
To read Connecticut’s landlord laws, see Title 47a of the Connecticut General Statutes.
If you want a comprehensive legal and practical handbook for residential landlords, check out Every Landlord’s Legal Guide, by Marcia Stewart, Ralph Warner, and Janet Portman (Nolo).