Housing Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-153

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING SECURITY DEPOSITS FOR AGE-RESTRICTED PUBLIC HOUSING.

Vote Date:

3/8/2016

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

2/23/2016

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Housing Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

Current law requires state-funded housing authorities and corporations to return a security deposit of an elderly or disabled tenant within one year of collection. This practice could force a housing authority or corporation to use existing funds opposed to security deposits when repairing a damaged unit, resulting in possible rent increases.

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE:

The substitute language shifts authority from the Commissioner of Social Services to the Commissioner of the Department of Housing.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Evonne Klein, Commissioner, State of Connecticut Department of Housing; supports the bill which requires state funded public housing to allow elderly and disabled individuals to pay their security deposit in installments. Housing authorities and corporations will no longer be required to return security deposits after one year, instead at the end of tenancy.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Kathleen Flaherty, Executive Director, Connecticut Legal Rights Project; supports the initiative allowing security deposits to be paid in installments. However, she has concerns regarding tenants who been residing in an apartment prior to January 1, 2013. These tenants should have their security deposit returned at a rate of 4 percent.

John Rumberger, Vice President, Connecticut Chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials; supports the bill which allows a tenant's security deposit to be held for the durations of their residency.

Francis Pickering, Executive Director, Western Connecticut Council of Governments; supports the bill because she believes the law works against affordable housing for seniors.

Cathy Forcier, Executive Director, Wethersfield Housing Authority; supports allowing security deposits of elderly and disabled individuals on fixed incomes to be held until tenancy is terminated.

Raphael Podolsky, Attorney, Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut; took no position on the bill. He believes more housing authorities will require low-income elderly and disabled tenants to produce a security deposit. However, there are still some critical protections available for the tenant.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Jessica Olander, Executive Director, Connecticut Apartment Association; opposes the bill because the cost of administering the disbursement would exceed the interest returned to tenants. Furthermore, in some cases the security deposit is not large enough to cover damages created by the tenant upon termination of the lease.

Eric Polinsky, Assistant Development Director, Carabetta Companies; opposed the bill in that in many cases, the security deposits are not large enough to cover damages. The bill may have unintended consequences of increased rents for low to moderate-income families due to increased administrative cost.

Bob DeCosmo, President, Connecticut Property Owners Alliance; echoed the same remarks as Jessica Olander and Eric Polinsky.

Mag Morelli, President, Leading Age Connecticut; oppose the bill because allowing a security deposit to be paid over a twelve-month period would be burdensome to calculate monthly interest deposits.

Reported by: Vincent Camilli

Date: 03/14/2016