Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 5246

February Session, 2010

 

LCO No. 1174

 

*01174_______HS_*

Referred to Committee on Human Services

 

Introduced by:

 

(HS)

 

AN ACT CONCERNING DISTRIBUTION OF THE MARRIAGE LICENSE SURCHARGE AND CHANGES TO THE LANDLORD AND TENANT STATUTES TO BENEFIT VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 7-73 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2010):

(a) To any person performing the duties required by the provisions of the general statutes relating to registration of marriages, deaths and fetal deaths, the following fees shall be allowed: (1) For the license to marry, ten dollars; and (2) for issuing each burial or removal, transit and burial permit, three dollars.

(b) A twenty-dollar surcharge shall be paid to the registrar for each license to marry in addition to the fee for such license established pursuant to subsection (a) of this section. The registrar shall retain one dollar from each such surcharge for administrative costs and shall forward the remainder, on or before the tenth day of the month following each calendar quarter, to the Department of Public Health. The receipts shall be deposited into an account of the State Treasurer and credited to the General Fund for further credit to a separate nonlapsing account established by the Comptroller for use by the Department of Social Services for shelter services for victims of household abuse in accordance with section 17b-850 and by the Department of Public Health for rape crisis services funded under section 19a-2a. Such funds shall be allocated for these purposes by the Office of Policy and Management in consultation with the Commissioners of Social Services and Public Health based on an evaluation of need, service delivery costs and availability of other funds. The Commissioners of Social Services and Public Health shall distribute such funds to the recipient organizations in accordance with such allocations not later than October fifteenth, annually. No such [moneys] funds shall (1) be retained by the Office of Policy and Management, the Commissioner of Social Services or the Commissioner of Public Health for administrative purposes; or (2) supplant any state or federal funds otherwise available for such services.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2010) (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of chapters 830 and 831 of the general statutes, for rental agreements entered into after December 31, 2010, a tenant who is a victim of family violence may terminate the rental agreement for the dwelling unit that the tenant occupies at the time he or she is a victim of family violence upon giving five calendar days' written notice to the landlord. For purposes of this section, "family violence" means an incident resulting in physical harm, bodily injury or assault, or an act of threatened violence that constitutes fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault between family or household members. Verbal abuse or argument shall not constitute family violence unless there is present danger and the likelihood that physical violence will occur. Such notice shall include: (1) A statement that the tenant is a victim of family violence; (2) a statement that the tenant intends to terminate the rental agreement; and (3) a copy of: (A) A protective order; (B) a restraining order; (C) a standing criminal restraining order; (D) documentation from an employee, agent or volunteer of a victim services organization, an attorney, a member of the clergy or a medical or other professional service provider from whom the tenant or a member of the tenant's family or household has sought assistance in addressing family violence and the effects of family violence; (E) a police record; (F) a court record; or (G) other document that establishes that the tenant is a victim of family violence.

(b) If the tenant terminates the rental agreement pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the landlord shall not require the tenant to pay more than one-half of one month's rent or retain more than one-half of the tenant's security deposit, whichever is less, due to early termination of the rental agreement, provided rent has been paid in accordance with the terms of the rental agreement during the twelve-month period, or the period of time since the commencement of the term of the rental agreement if less than twelve months, prior to the landlord's receipt of the tenant's notice under this section.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2010) Notwithstanding the provisions of chapter 830 of the general statutes, for rental agreements entered into after December 31, 2010, a tenant who is a victim of family violence may notify the landlord that the tenant is seeking a one-time deferral of the payment of up to one month's rent that is due on the next rent due date. For purposes of this section, "family violence" means an incident resulting in physical harm, bodily injury or assault, or an act of threatened violence that constitutes fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault between family or household members. Verbal abuse or argument shall not constitute family violence unless there is present danger and the likelihood that physical violence will occur. The tenant shall give notice to the landlord not later than five calendar days before the due date of the rent payment for which the tenant seeks deferral. Such notice shall include: (1) A statement that the tenant is a victim of family violence; (2) a statement that the tenant seeks deferral of one month's rent payment and agrees to make the payment in full not later than six months from the date of the notice; (3) a statement that the tenant does not intend to terminate the rental agreement; and (4) a copy of: (A) A protective order; (B) a restraining order; (C) a standing criminal restraining order; (D) documentation from an employee, agent or volunteer of a victim services organization, an attorney, a member of the clergy or a medical or other professional service provider from whom the tenant or a member of the tenant's family or household has sought assistance in addressing family violence and the effects of family violence; (E) a police record; (F) a court record; or (G) other document that establishes that the tenant is a victim of family violence. If the rent has been paid in accordance with the terms of the rental agreement during the twelve-month period, or the period of time since the commencement of the term of the rental agreement if less than twelve months, prior to the landlord's receipt of the tenant's notice and the tenant has provided notice in accordance with this section, the landlord shall defer the payment due on the next rent due date. The landlord shall not take any adverse action against the tenant, including any action under section 47a-15 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, because of failure to pay rent. In the case of a month-to-month lease, the landlord shall automatically renew the lease for the subsequent month upon receipt of notice in accordance with this section. The landlord shall permit the tenant a period of six months from the date of such notice to pay the deferred rent payment.

Sec. 4. Section 47a-15 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2010):

Prior to the commencement of a summary process action, except in the case in which the landlord elects to proceed under sections 47a-23 to 47a-23b, inclusive, to evict based on nonpayment of rent, on conduct by the tenant which constitutes a serious nuisance or on a violation of subsection (h) of section 47a-11, if there is a material noncompliance with section 47a-11 which materially affects the health and safety of the other tenants or materially affects the physical condition of the premises, or if there is a material noncompliance by the tenant with the rental agreement or a material noncompliance with the rules and regulations adopted in accordance with section 47a-9, and the landlord chooses to evict based on such noncompliance, the landlord shall deliver a written notice to the tenant specifying the acts or omissions constituting the breach and that the rental agreement shall terminate upon a date not less than fifteen days after receipt of the notice. If such breach can be remedied by repair by the tenant or payment of damages by the tenant to the landlord, and such breach is not so remedied within such fifteen-day period, the rental agreement shall terminate except that (1) if the breach is remediable by repairs or the payment of damages and the tenant adequately remedies the breach within such fifteen-day period, the rental agreement shall not terminate; or (2) if substantially the same act or omission for which notice was given recurs within six months, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement in accordance with the provisions of sections 47a-23 to 47a-23b, inclusive. If a tenant is a victim of family violence and defers rent under section 3 of this act, the tenant's nonpayment in accordance with section 3 of this act of up to one month's rent shall not be considered material noncompliance with the rental agreement. For the purposes of this section, (A) "serious nuisance" means [(A)] (i) inflicting bodily harm upon another tenant or the landlord or threatening to inflict such harm with the present ability to effect the harm and under circumstances which would lead a reasonable person to believe that such threat will be carried out, [(B)] (ii) substantial and wilful destruction of part of the dwelling unit or premises, [(C)] (iii) conduct which presents an immediate and serious danger to the safety of other tenants or the landlord, or [(D)] (iv) using the premises or allowing the premises to be used for prostitution or the illegal sale of drugs or, in the case of a housing authority, using any area within fifteen hundred feet of any housing authority property in which the tenant resides for the illegal sale of drugs; and (B) "family violence" means an incident resulting in physical harm, bodily injury or assault, or an act of threatened violence that constitutes fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault between family or household members. Verbal abuse or argument shall not constitute family violence unless there is present danger and the likelihood that physical violence will occur. If the landlord elects to evict based upon an allegation, pursuant to subsection (g) of section 47a-11, that the tenant failed to require other persons on the premises with his consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not constitute a serious nuisance, and the tenant claims to have had no knowledge of such conduct, then, if the landlord establishes that the premises or, in the case of a landlord that is a housing authority, the premises or any area within fifteen hundred feet of any housing authority property in which the tenant resides has been used for the illegal sale of drugs, the burden shall be on the tenant to show that he had no knowledge of the creation of the serious nuisance.

Sec. 5. Section 47a-15a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2010):

If rent is unpaid when due and the tenant fails to pay rent within nine days thereafter or, in the case of a one-week tenancy, within four days thereafter, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement in accordance with the provisions of sections 47a-23 to 47a-23b, inclusive, except the landlord may not terminate the rental agreement because a tenant is a victim of family violence and has invoked the tenant's right to defer payment of up to one month's rent under section 3 of this act. For purposes of this section, "family violence" means an incident resulting in physical harm, bodily injury or assault, or an act of threatened violence that constitutes fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault between family or household members. Verbal abuse or argument shall not constitute family violence unless there is present danger and the likelihood that physical violence will occur.

Sec. 6. Section 47a-20 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2010):

A landlord shall not maintain an action or proceeding against a tenant to recover possession of a dwelling unit, demand an increase in rent from the tenant, or decrease the services to which the tenant has been entitled within six months after: (1) The tenant has in good faith attempted to remedy by any lawful means, including contacting officials of the state or of any town, city or borough or public agency or filing a complaint with a fair rent commission, any condition constituting a violation of any provisions of chapter 368o, or of chapter 412, or of any other state statute or regulation, or of the housing and health ordinances of the municipality wherein the premises which are the subject of the complaint lie; (2) any municipal agency or official has filed a notice, complaint or order regarding such a violation; (3) the tenant has in good faith requested the landlord to make repairs; (4) the tenant has in good faith instituted an action under subsections (a) to (i), inclusive, of section 47a-14h; [or] (5) the tenant has organized or become a member of a tenants' union; or (6) the tenant is a victim of family violence as defined in section 46b-38a and has invoked a right under section 2 or 3 of this act.

Sec. 7. Subsection (d) of section 47a-21 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2010):

(d) (1) [Within] Except as provided in section 2 of this act, within the time specified in subdivisions (2) and (4) of this subsection, the person who is the landlord at the time a tenancy is terminated, other than a rent receiver, shall pay to the tenant or former tenant: (A) The amount of any security deposit that was deposited by the tenant with the person who was landlord at the time such security deposit was deposited less the value of any damages which any person who was a landlord of such premises at any time during the tenancy of such tenant has suffered as a result of such tenant's failure to comply with such tenant's obligations; and (B) any accrued interest due on such security deposit as required by subsection (i) of this section. If the landlord at the time of termination of a tenancy is a rent receiver, such rent receiver shall return security deposits in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (3) of this subsection.

(2) [Upon] Except as provided in section 2 of this act, upon termination of a tenancy, any tenant may notify his landlord in writing of such tenant's forwarding address. Within thirty days after termination of a tenancy, each landlord other than a rent receiver shall deliver to the tenant or former tenant at such forwarding address either (A) the full amount of the security deposit paid by such tenant plus accrued interest as provided in subsection (i) of this section, or (B) the balance of the security deposit paid by such tenant plus accrued interest as provided in subsection (i) of this section after deduction for any damages suffered by such landlord by reason of such tenant's failure to comply with such tenant's obligations, together with a written statement itemizing the nature and amount of such damages. Any such landlord who violates any provision of this subsection shall be liable for twice the amount or value of any security deposit paid by such tenant, except that, if the violation is the failure to deliver the accrued interest, such landlord shall only be liable for twice the amount of such accrued interest.

(3) (A) Any receiver who is authorized by the court appointing him receiver to return security deposits and to inspect the premises of any tenant shall pay security deposits and interest in accordance with the provisions of subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection from the operating income of such receivership to the extent that any such payments exceed the amount in any escrow accounts for such tenants. (B) Any rent receiver shall present any claim by any tenant for return of a security deposit to the court which authorized him to be a rent receiver. Such court shall determine the validity of any such claim and shall direct such rent receiver to pay from the escrow account or from the operating income of such property the amount due such tenant as determined by such court.

(4) Any landlord who does not have written notice of his tenant's or former tenant's forwarding address shall deliver any written statement and security deposit due to the tenant, as required by subdivision (2) of this subsection, within the time required by subdivision (2) of this subsection or within fifteen days after receiving written notice of such tenant's forwarding address, whichever is later.

Sec. 8. (Effective July 1, 2010) The sum of ____ dollars is appropriated to the Department of Social Services, from the General Fund, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, for the purpose of making grants to domestic violence programs to provide on-site staffing at their emergency shelters twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2010

7-73

Sec. 2

October 1, 2010

New section

Sec. 3

October 1, 2010

New section

Sec. 4

October 1, 2010

47a-15

Sec. 5

October 1, 2010

47a-15a

Sec. 6

October 1, 2010

47a-20

Sec. 7

October 1, 2010

47a-21(d)

Sec. 8

July 1, 2010

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To require distribution of the marriage license surcharge and to provide assistance in the area of housing to victims of domestic violence.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]