Overview of Landlord-Tenant Laws in Connecticut

A rundown of the key laws every Connecticut landlord and tenant needs to know.

By , Attorney ● UC Berkeley School of Law
Updated 3/18/2024

Connecticut laws govern much of the landlord-tenant relationship, including security deposits, late rent, and evictions. Here's a breakdown of key laws that affect nearly all Connecticut landlords and tenants.

Connecticut Rental Application and Tenant Screening Laws

Connecticut landlords aren't allowed to charge rental application fees, nor can they charge move-in or move-out fees. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-4d (2024).)

Tenant Screening Reports

A tenant screening report is a credit report, criminal background report, employment history report, or rental history report that a landlord uses to determine whether an applicant would be an acceptable tenant.

Connecticut landlords can obtain tenant screening reports for prospective tenants, but can't charge more than $50 (adjustable for inflation) for the report. Any landlord that charges a fee for a tenant screening report must provide the tenant with a copy of the report and a copy of the receipt from the entity that conducted the screening report. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-4d (2024).)

Fair Housing Laws

All landlords need to follow federal and state antidiscrimination laws when screening applicants for a rental. Federal fair housing laws prohibit landlords from discriminating on the basis of:

Connecticut law also bars landlords from discriminating on the basis of:

  • creed
  • ancestry
  • marital status
  • age
  • lawful source of income
  • status as a veteran, and
  • status as a victim of domestic violence.

(Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-64c (2024).)

Connecticut is also one of the only states to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of a past conviction for possession of a cannabis-type substance or for a past conviction for possession of four or fewer ounces of cannabis plant material. (Landlords can prohibit smoking or vaping of cannabis at the rental, but can't prohibit its possession or consumption.) (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-9a (2024).)

For more information about Connecticut's fair housing laws, check out the website for the Connecticut Fair Housing Center.

Connecticut Security Deposit Laws

Connecticut caps the amount of security deposit a landlord can collect based on the tenant's age.

  • For tenants who are under age 62, landlords can charge no more than two months' rent.
  • For tenants who are age 62 or older, landlords can charge no more than one month's rent.

(Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-21(b) (2024).)

Security Deposit Return

Landlords must return the security deposit in full, plus interest, the later of no more than 21 days after the end of a tenancy or 15 days after receiving written notice of the tenant's forwarding address.

If the landlord keeps any of the security deposit to cover unpaid rent or damage to the rental, the landlord must provide the balance of the security deposit (if any) after the deductions, along with an itemized statement of the deductions.

If the landlord violates these laws, they are liable for two times the amount of the security deposit. (However, if the landlord only fails to pay interest, the landlord is liable for $10 or twice the amount of the accrued interest, whichever is greater.) If the failure to return the security deposit is intentional, the landlord can be liable for up to $250. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-21 (2024).)

Required Landlord Disclosures in Connecticut

In many states, landlords must disclose specific information to tenants and potential tenants. Connecticut landlords must disclose information about:

  • Common interest communities. When a rental is in a common interest community, the landlord must give the tenant written notice before signing a lease or rental agreement. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-3e (2024).)
  • Owner or agent identity. Before the beginning of the tenancy, the landlord must disclose the name and address of the person authorized to manage the rental and the person who is authorized to receive all notices, demands, and service of process. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-6 (2024).)
  • Bed bugs. Landlords may not advertise a unit that the landlord knows or reasonably suspects is infested with bed bugs. Before signing a lease, landlords must tell prospective tenants whether the unit (or any contiguous unit owned or subleased by the landlord) is infested. If asked by tenants or prospective tenants, landlords must disclose the last date on which the rental was inspected for bed bugs and found to be free of any infestation. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-7a (2024).)
  • Fire systems. When renting a unit in a building required to have a fire sprinkler system, the landlord must include notice in the rental agreement as to the existence of nonexistence of an operational fire sprinkler system. The notice must be printed in at least 12-point font. If there is an operational fire sprinkler system, the rental agreement must also state the last date of maintenance and inspection in at least 12-point font. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-3f (2024).)
  • Well water testing. If the rental uses water from a private or semi-private well constructed after October 1, 2022, the landlord must submit water quality tests to the Department of Public Health and tell applicants about the availability of literature on the Department's website. The leasing agent or landlord must give the tenant copies of the Department's recommendations for testing. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-37 (2024).)
  • Just cause eviction protection and rent increase limits. In buildings with five or more units, landlords must give tenants the notice prepared by the Commissioner of Housing that advises tenants of their just cause eviction protections and the requirement that any rent increase be fair and equitable. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-23c (2024).)

Landlords must also offer the tenant the opportunity to conduct a walk-through of the rental at or after the time of signing a lease, but before the tenant moves in. The landlord must fill out a walk-through checklist prepared by the Commissioner of Housing. Both the landlord and tenant must sign the checklist, and each must get a copy. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-7c (2024).)

Landlords in all states, though, must follow federal lead-based paint disclosure rules.

Connecticut Late Fees and Other Rent Rules

In Connecticut, rent is due on whatever day the landlord and tenant agree to. However, Connecticut landlords do need to give tenants a grace period for paying rent.

Grace Periods and Late Fees

Connecticut landlords can't consider rent late until nine days after the due date. if the lease or rental agreement gives the tenant a longer grace period for paying rent, the landlord must honor it.

A late fee can be assessed after nine days, but can't be more than the lesser of:

  • $5 per day, up to a maximum of $50, or
  • 5% of the delinquent rent.

The landlord can't assess more than one late charge, regardless of how long the rent remains unpaid. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-15a (2024).) Landlords and tenants can't agree to waive the grace period. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-4 (2024).)

Form of Rent

Connecticut landlords can't require tenants to pay rent via electronic funds transfer—they must give tenants the option of other payment forms, such as cash or check. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-4c (2024).)

Rent Increases

Connecticut landlords can't raise the rent during the term of a lease unless the lease specifically allows them to do so. For month-to-month tenancies, Connecticut doesn't specify an amount of notice landlords must give to raise the rent.

Fair Rent Laws

Although Connecticut doesn't have rent control, towns and cities in Connecticut with populations of 25,000 or more must adopt laws that create a fair rent commission. The purpose of these commissions is to respond to complaints that landlords are charging unfair rents. The commissions consider factors such as the rent for similar units in the area, the size of the unit, and the condition of the unit to determine whether the rent is fair. (Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 7-148b and 7-148c (2024).)

Connecticut Landlords Must Provide Habitable Rentals

Like landlords in all states, Connecticut landlords must provide rentals that are safe and fit for human habitation. Specifically, Connecticut landlords must:

  • follow applicable building and housing codes
  • make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the rental in a fit and habitable condition
  • keep all common areas of the rental in a clean and safe condition
  • maintain in good and safe working condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, and other facilities, elevators, and appliances
  • provide and maintain receptacles for the removal of trash and waste, and
  • supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water and heat except as required by law.

(Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-7 (2024).)

Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent in Connecticut

When a landlord fails to supply heat, running water, hot water, electricity, gas, or other essential service, the tenant must give notice of the problem to the landlord. The tenant can choose to:

  • procure reasonable amounts of heat, hot water, running water, electric, gas, or other essential service and deduct the actual and reasonable cost of the service from the rent
  • find reasonable substitute housing if the landlord doesn't fix the issue within 48 hours (but if the issue is one that happens a second time within 6 months, the tenant can find substitute housing right away), or
  • if the failure to provide the service is willful, the tenant can terminate the tenancy and sue for an amount of no more than two months' rent or double the tenant's actual damages, whichever is greater.

If the tenant chooses to find substitute housing, the tenant doesn't have to pay rent during the time of the landlord's failure to provide the essential service. The tenant can also recover the actual costs of the substitute housing up to an amount equal to their rent. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-13 (2024).)

Small Claims Lawsuits in Connecticut

If you find yourself in a battle over a security deposit or repairs, small claims court is a good place to bring your grievance. Small claims courts in Connecticut can hear cases in which the plaintiff—the person suing—isn't asking for more than $5,000, and is asking the court only for money damages. Tenants who are seeking the return of their security deposit can request more than $5,000, though. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 51-15 (2024).)

Small claims court procedures tend to be simpler than those of regular courts, and although Connecticut allows parties to have lawyers, many people represent themselves.

Connecticut Termination and Eviction Rules

Connecticut landlords must follow very specific rules and procedures in order to terminate a tenancy and then, if necessary, file an eviction lawsuit (also called a "summary process action" in Connecticut).

Notice of Termination for Cause

A landlord who wants to evict a tenant in Connecticut before the lease or rental agreement has expired must have cause—in other words, a legally valid reason to terminate the tenancy.

In Connecticut, reasons to terminate the tenancy before the lease expires include:

  • failure to pay rent
  • violation of a material term of the lease, and
  • serious nuisance (such as criminal activity, illegal drug activity, prostitution, or acts of violence that threaten the health or safety of other residents).

(Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-15 (2024).)

When a landlord wants a tenant to leave for one of these reasons, the landlord must first terminate the tenancy. This is done by giving the tenant notice—the type of notice depends on the situation.

  • 15-day notice to remedy: If the tenant violates the lease or rental agreement, the landlord can give the tenant a 15-day notice to remedy the violation. The notice must inform the tenant that they have 15 days to fix the violation or the landlord will terminate the tenancy. If the tenant fixes the issue within the 15-day period, the landlord can't file an eviction lawsuit. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-15 (2024).)
  • Three-day notice to quit: Landlords must give this notice when the tenant:
    • fails to pay rent on time and the grace period (nine days) has passed
    • has violated the lease or rental agreement and the landlord has previously given the tenant a 15-day notice to remedy (and the tenant failed to remedy the violation), or
    • has caused a serious nuisance (most illegal activities fall under this category, but see discussion of immediate termination in next bullet point) at the rental unit.

This notice terminates the tenancy within three days—if the tenant doesn't move out ("quit"), the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-23 (2024).)

  • Notice of immediate termination: If the tenant has used the rental for prostitution or illegal gambling, the landlord can immediately terminate the rental agreement without notice and file an eviction lawsuit. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-31 (2024).)

Notice of Termination Without Cause

The process for ending a tenancy without cause depends on the type of tenancy. Here's what needs to happen for month-to-month tenancies, tenancies with a long-term lease, and tenancies without a written lease or rental agreement.

Ending a Month-to-Month Tenancy Without Cause

If the tenant has a written month-to-month rental agreement, and the landlord wants the tenant to move out but doesn't have cause to end the tenancy, the landlord must give one the tenant a three-day notice to vacate. The notice must inform the tenant that the tenancy is ending in three days and that the tenant must move out by this date. If the tenant doesn't move out by the deadline in the notice, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-23 (2024).)

Ending a Tenancy With a Long-Term Lease Without Cause

When a landlord wishes to end a fixed-term lease but doesn't have cause to evict the tenant, the landlord has to wait until the lease has expired before expecting the tenant to move. The landlord isn't required to give the tenant notice of the approaching end of the tenancy unless the terms of the lease require it.

Tenant Defenses to Eviction

Even though a landlord might have a valid reason to evict a tenant, the tenant can still choose to fight the eviction. For example, the tenant could claim that the eviction is the result of the landlord illegally discriminating, or is in retaliation for the tenant exercising a legal right.

Connecticut law also allows special protections for tenants who have experienced family violence or sexual assault. Some of these protections might provide a tenant with a defense against eviction. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-11e (2024).)

A tenant's decision to fight the eviction could increase the costs of the eviction, and it could result in the tenant having more time to remain in the rental. For these reasons, it's often in the best interests of both the tenant and the landlord to try to negotiate a compromise rather than head to court. Mediation is a common way for landlords and tenants to work issues out—check to see if your community has a low-cost or free housing mediation program.

Connecticut also has a statewide right to counsel program that provides free legal representation to income eligible tenants facing eviction.

Illegal Evictions

Under Connecticut law, landlords can't take self-help measures to evict a tenant. For example, a landlord can't cut utilities to a rental, lock out a tenant, or remove a tenant's property from the rental without going through proper judicial process. Any landlord who does this is guilty of criminal lockout, which is a class C misdemeanor under Connecticut law. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-214 (2024).)

Connecticut Rules About Landlords' Access to Property

Landlords can always enter a rental with the tenant's consent or when there's a reasonable belief that there's imminent danger to lives or property.

Otherwise, under Connecticut law, landlords can enter a rental for the following purposes after giving the tenant written or oral notice of their intent to enter:

  • when necessary to inspect the rental
  • to make necessary or agreed-upon repairs, alterations, or improvements
  • to supply agreed-upon services, or
  • to show the property to potential buyers, mortgagees, tenants, workers, or contractors.

(Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-16 (2024).)

Tenant's Extended Absence

Tenants in Connecticut are required to notify their landlord if they're going to be gone from the rental for an extended period of time. During the time the tenant is away, the landlord may enter at reasonable times to inspect the rental, make repairs, or show the property. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-16a (2024).)

Where to Find Connecticut Landlord-Tenant Laws

If you want to read the text of a law itself, such as state security deposit rules, start by checking citations for Connecticut landlord-tenant statutes. To access the statutes themselves, see the state section of the Library of Congress's legal research site or the Connecticut General Assembly's website. You can search the database by citation or, if you don't know the exact statute number, you can enter a keyword that is likely to be in it, such as "nonpayment of rent."

Local Ordinances Affecting Connecticut Landlords and Tenants

Cities and counties often pass local ordinances, such as rent control rules, health and safety standards, noise and nuisance regulations, and anti-discrimination rules that affect landlords and tenants. Many municipalities have websites—just search for the name of a particular city in Connecticut and then do a search when you're on the site.

State and Local Government on the Net and Municode (click on "Code Library" in the main menu) are good sources for finding local governments online. Also, your local public library or office of the city attorney, mayor, or city or county manager can provide information on local ordinances that affect landlords and tenants in Connecticut.

Federal Landlord-Tenant Laws and Regulations

Congress and federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have enacted laws and regulations that apply to the landlord-tenant relationship in Connecticut. These laws and regulations address topics such as discrimination and landlord responsibilities to disclose environmental health hazards, such as lead-based paint.

The U.S. Code is the starting place for most federal statutory research. It consists of 53 separate numbered titles, each covering a specific subject matter. Most federal regulations are published in the Code of Federal Regulations ("CFR"). To access the U.S. Code and Code of Federal Regulations online, see the federal section of the Library of Congress's legal research site.

Nolo Resources on Legal Research and Landlord-Tenant Law

For more information on legal research, check out Legal Research: How to Find & Understand the Law, by Stephen Elias (Nolo). This nontechnical book gives easy-to-use, step-by-step instructions on how to find legal information.

You'll also find a wealth of information in Nolo's landlord-tenant books.

For landlords:

For tenants:

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