October 15, 1998 98-R-1247
FROM: Sandra Norman-Eady, Senior Attorney
RE: Landlord and Tenant Laws—Recent Changes
You asked for a summary of recent changes in the landlord and tenant laws.
During the past five years, the General Assembly has passed 21 acts affecting landlords and tenants. Following is a brief description of the landlord and tenant provisions in each act passed during the past three sessions in chronological order by year; other unrelated provisions are not included in this report. We have enclosed OLR reports 95-R-0608, 94-R-0610, and 93-R-0981 that contain summaries of the laws passed during the 1993, 1994, and 1995 legislative sessions.
LANDLORD AND TENANT LAWS
PA 98-61—sSB 604
AN ACT CONCERNING ATTACKS ON GUIDE DOGS OF BLIND OR DISABLED PERSONS AND THE EVICTION OF PERSONAL CARE ASSISTANTS EMPLOYEED BY BLIND OR DISABLED PERSONS
This act exempts from landlord and tenant laws the living arrangement between a disabled person and a personal care assistant or other person employed to assist and support the disabled person in daily living activities or housekeeping chores. This exemption applies if the personal care assistant is provided living space in the disabled person's personal residence as a benefit or condition of employment.
PA 98-107—HB 5732
AN ACT CONCERNING LANDLORD AND TENANT
This act establishes a new offense of third degree criminal damage of a landlord's property. To commit this offense, a tenant must recklessly cause damages in excess of $250 to a landlord's tangible property with no reason to believe he had a right to do so. The act makes it second degree criminal damage of a landlord's property for a tenant to recklessly cause damage in excess of $1,500. Third degree criminal damage is a class B misdemeanor; second degree is a class A misdemeanor.
The act makes the $20 per day penalty for property owners who fail to obtain a certificate of occupancy applicable to each apartment or dwelling unit in the building. The act limits to 200 days the maximum length of time during which the owner is liable for the fine and extends the limitation to owners who fail to obtain a certificate of apartment occupancy.
PA 98-114—sHB 5450
AN ACT CONCERNING AN INCOME EXCLUSION FOR CERTAIN HOUSING TENANTS AND EVICTIONS FROM HOUSING PROJECTS FOR THE ELDERLY
This act allows housing authorities and other entities operating state-assisted elderly and elderly congregate housing projects to evict occupants convicted of selling or possessing illegal drugs anywhere while residing in the project. The entities must comply with the eviction statutes when evicting occupants for these reasons and they can use the other remedies those statutes provide. The act bars anyone convicted of selling or possessing illegal drugs in the past two years from moving into these projects.
The act limits the extent to which housing authorities and other entities operating state-assisted multi-family housing projects can increase rents for families whose employment income increases while they are still receiving general or public assistance.
PA 98-176-—sHB 5236
AN ACT CONCERNING LIMITS FOR MODERATE RENTAL HOUSING AND AUTHORIZING THE TRANSFER OF RICE HEIGHTS
The act allows moderate rental housing developers or housing authorities to propose to the Department of Economic and Community Development commissioner maximum income limits for tenants renting their units.
PA 98-220-—sHB 5073
AN ACT CONCERNING NUISANCE ABATEMENT AND QUALITY OF LIFE
This act allows state's attorneys to file civil suits, and the Superior Court to order a broad array of temporary and permanent relief, when three or more arrests for crimes such as prostitution, running a vehicle chop shop, or illegal liquor or drug sales are made on a piece of property within one year. At the state's attorney's request the court may appoint a receiver to manage and operate the property while a nuisance action is pending. The court must order the receiver to:
1. repair and maintain the property; and
2. collect rents, issues, and profits and apply them to (a) the costs of abating the nuisance; (b) reasonable operation and management expenses; and (c) unpaid taxes, assessments, water and sewer rents, and penalties and interest owed on them.
PA 97-161-—sHB 6836
AN ACT CONCERNING AN ACTION FOR PRIVATE RECEIVERSHIP OF A RENTAL HOUSING PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT DEEMED A COMMON NUISANCE
This act makes rental housing where illegal drugs are frequently used, kept, or sold a common nuisance. The act applies to any privately owned dwellings with six or more units, if none are owner-occupied and at least one unit is available for rent.
The act authorizes (1) courts to appoint rent receivers for the property and (2) a state's attorney acting on behalf of the tenants to ask for a court-appointed receiver to correct the conditions that created the nuisance.
PA 97-231-—sHB 7050
AN ACT CONCERNING LANDLORD AND TENANT
1. allows a landlord to collect rent if he fails to obtain a certificate of occupancy but makes him civilly liable for the failure;
2. reduces the notice to quit from five to three days;
3. makes it a “serious nuisance,” and thus a ground for eviction, for tenants to sell drugs within 1,500 feet of any housing authority property in which they reside;
4. establishes a new procedure for executing an eviction against, and disposing of the abandoned property of, tenants in nonresidential property;
5. allows a landlord to include in a writ, summons, or complaint for possession of nonresidential property, a forfeiture claim for possessions and personal effects remaining on the premises after conviction;
6. authorizes a sheriff who executes an eviction from residential property to remove a tenant or occupant bound by a summary process judgment from the property;
7. allows landlords to include a claim for past due rent in any civil action for damages based on a breach of a rental agreement; and
8. reduces, from 30 to 15 days, the earliest day for terminating a lease for noncompliance.
PA 96-74—CGS §§ 53a-117e and -117f
AN ACT CONCERNING LANDLORD AND TENANT
This act makes it a crime for a tenant to intentionally damage a landlord's tangible property without reason to believe he had a right to do so. It is first degree criminal damage to property when damages exceed $1,500 and second degree when damages exceed $250. First degree criminal damage is a class D felony and second degree is a class A misdemeanor.
The act reduces the mandatory stay of execution in eviction cases from 15 to five days for people evicted for any reason other than nonpayment of rent. It also reduces, from 20 to five days after judgment is entered, the time tenants have to apply for a discretionary stay of execution. The mandatory stay of execution in all other eviction actions is five days.
The act requires a court to schedule a hearing or conduct an ex parte review (one based solely on the motion, without testimony) when a motion is made to open or set aside an eviction judgment.
Lastly, the act makes landlords who return tenants' security deposits within the statutory time frame but fail to pay the required interest liable for twice the amount of accrued interest, instead of twice the amount of the security deposit.
PA 96-138-—CGS § 29-315
AN ACT CONCERNING THE INSTALLATION OF FIRE SPRINKLER SYSTEMS IN RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS OCCUPIED BY ELDERLY PERSONS
This act requires automatic fire sprinklers approved by the state fire marshal on each floor of a residential building occupied primarily by or designed primarily for elderly occupants if the building has more than 12 dwelling units and is issued a building permit for new occupancy or is substantially renovated.