Connecticut Landlord/Tenant Laws and Eviction Procedures
In Connecticut landlords and tenants’ rights and responsibilities are governed by section 47a of the Connecticut General Statutes. This section of the statutes lists the responsibilities of both parties, providing remedies for landlords when their tenants breach their duties. A landlord cannot change the locks or remove a tenant without following the proper steps. If your tenant has failed to timely pay rent, the lease has lapsed or the tenant has breached their statutory duties, The Lebedevitch Law Firm is here to help with all aspects of the eviction process.
The Eviction Process
The only way that a landlord can legally remove a tenant from the property is through a court eviction called summary process. An eviction can be started for a number of reasons:
- Lapse of time – the lease term has expired and the tenant has not moved out;
- Nonpayment of rent – Rent has not been paid when due or within the grace period;
- Violation of the terms of the lease or of a tenant’s duties and responsibilities;
- Nuisance or serious nuisance (conduct that substantially interferes with the comfort or safety of other tenants or other more serious conduct);
- The tenant has no right or privilege to stay in the premises; and
- The tenant’s right or privilege to stay in the premises has ended.
To start the eviction proceeding, a landlord must serve the tenant with a notice to quit. The notice is properly served by a state marshal or an indifferent person. It gives the date that the tenant must voluntarily leave the apartment and the reason for the commencement for the eviction. Landlords must give tenants a notice to quit at least three days before terminating a lease agreement. This requirement can be waived if included in the lease (CGS § 47a-25).
If the tenant has not moved out by the date given on the notice to quit, the landlord can have a marshal serve a summons and complaint on the tenant.
The summons is an official court form that tells the tenant that an eviction is being brought against him or her. The return date on the form tells the tenant when to file papers with the court, such as an appearance and answer, not when to go to court for a hearing.
The complaint sets forth facts justifying a judgment for immediate possession or occupancy of the premises and makes a claim for possession or occupancy of the premises.
The tenant has two days after the return date listed on the summons and complaint to file an appearance with the court or he or she may lose the case by default.
If after a landlord gets a court judgment against their tenant, and the tenant has still not moved out of the premises, the landlord can apply for an execution. A landlord may get an execution which allows a state marshal to physically remove a tenant and his or her belongings in as little as five days after the date of judgment. Sundays and legal holidays are not included in counting the five days.
The Court Proceedings
In Connecticut, when a landlord brings an eviction to court, they will be given a hearing date to present their claims to the court and potentially get a judgment for possession of the premises. Prior to this hearing, all housing matters are heard by a mediator who will attempt to work with both parties to come to an amicable resolution to the matter. If no agreement can be reached, the case will be brought before a judge for a hearing.
The parties are under no obligation to reach an agreement, and have a hearing before the court. At this hearing, the parties will present evidence of the lapse of the lease agreement, evidence of nonpayment of rent, or breach of the tenant’s statutory duties. If the court finds for the landlord, the court will give a final stay of execution, and date the tenant must be out by. If the tenant does not leave by this date, the landlord can move for an execution.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Eviction Proceedings
The current pandemic has caused the governor to issue a moratorium on the filing of evictions in the state of Connecticut. For all the details about how COVID-19 has impacted eviction proceedings in Connecticut, read our recent blog post.
Free Consultations for Connecticut Eviction Proceedings
Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, The Lebedevitch Law Firm handles eviction cases throughout Fairfield and New Haven Counties. Contact The Lebedevitch Law Firm today to schedule your free consultation.