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Connecticut Property Management Laws

Managing property can be a serious undertaking, regardless of location. However, as property management laws can differ greatly from one area to another, learning all of the ins and outs, particularly for those who have recently relocated, is often anything but easy. Those hoping to act as property managers in Connecticut need to fully understand real estate laws to ensure all activities and decisions conform to the state's regulatory policies as outlined in the measures set by the Connecticut General Assembly.

This guide exists to offer an overview of Connecticut laws regarding property management, including links to official laws and other resources for a more in-depth education. The following information provides a solid foundation regarding how to list properties for rent, legal obligations of landlords, rules for finding tenants and expectations for maintaining a livable property.

Key Points

  • 1 Property management laws in Connecticut are looser than in some states, with no limits on things like rent increases, late fees or application fees, offering advantages to landlords.
  • 2 Property management companies and most individual property managers are required to hold active broker licenses, which requires over 100 hours in classroom courses on relevant topics.
  • 3 Due to the regulations on property management companies, partnering with a professional is generally recommended to ensure compliance with all state laws.
  • 4 Property investors who choose to partner with property management companies should be sure they are intimately familiar with property management laws and that any contract with a property management firm reflects adherence to these laws.

Note: This guide is intended to be used as an educational resource. The contents within do not constitute legal advice. To obtain information regarding property management laws in your state, consult a local attorney. This guide is based only on property management laws at the state level. Local county and city laws may exist that are not discussed in this guide. Consult a local attorney to obtain information that pertains to your specific location and situation.

Chapter 830 Secs. 47a-1 to 47a-20f Rights and Responsibilities of Landlord and Tenant
Chapter 831 Secs. 47a-21 to 47a-22a Advance Rental Payment and Security Deposits
Chapter 832 Secs. 47a-23 to 47a-42a Summary Process
Chapter 833 Secs. 47a-43 to 47a-49 Entry and Detainer
Chapter 833a Secs. 47a-50 to 47a-67 Public Enforcement of Health and Safety Standards in Tenement and Boarding Houses, and in Rented Dwellings 
Chapter 834 Secs. 47a-68 to 47a-74 Court Proceedings on Housing Matters

Property Management Licensing Laws

In Connecticut, property management companies are required to have a valid broker license as these tasks are considered real estate activities. This covers all companies that engage in any kind of rental of interest in real estate or that collect rents for the use of a property. Salespeople working for these companies are covered by the property management company’s license and do not necessarily need an individual license. Broker licenses are available in two forms: individual and entity. An individual property manager is required to apply for the individual license while management companies must hold an entity-specific license. 

There are exceptions in place for those who are involved with property management but who do not directly take part in real estate activities, which are defined as “acting for another and for a fee, commission or other valuable consideration in the listing for sale, selling, exchanging, buying or renting, or offering or attempting to negotiate a sale, exchange, purchase or rental of, an estate or interest in real estate or a resale of a mobile manufactured home” (Chapter 392, Sec. 20-311 (3)). These individuals do not need to go through the steps required to obtain an individual broker license. 

Who is eligible for a broker license in Connecticut?

To qualify for a broker license in Connecticut, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • 18 or older
  • A 60-hour classroom course on Real Estate Principles and Practices
  • A 15-hour classroom course on Real Estate Brokerage Principles and Practices
  • A 15-hour classroom course on Legal Compliance
  • Two 15-hour elective courses and one 30-hour appraisal course, or evidence of at least 20 real estate transactions within the previous five years, including the execution of a lease agreement or transfer of real property
  • Supervision for at least two years as a real estate salesperson under the supervision of a Connecticut licensed broker

For new legal entities seeking a license, these steps must be completed in advance of an application. Upon completion, entities must submit a New Legal Entity Application to the Department of Consumer Protection.

Rental Application Laws

What application fees are allowed? 

Application fees can be solicited when accepting lease applications from potential tenants. Unlike most states, there are no caps on the amount allowable; property managers can set application fees at any amount they wish. However, county, city or regional rules may require a limit on application fees. 

Are property managers allowed to prescreen candidates?

Property managers are permitted to prescreen candidates in Connecticut, using measures like background checks, credit checks, income checks and other measures deemed necessary. All prospective tenants must agree to the terms of a background check in writing before any kind of screening measures can be implemented, so be sure this is a part of the application process. 

It is important to note that the results of screenings cannot be used as a pretext to discriminate based on protected characteristics, like age, race, gender, familiar status or any other factor covered under the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968. Discrimination is also prohibited by Title 46a of the Connecticut General Statutes.

Security Deposit Laws

Is there a limit on the security deposit amount that can be charged? 

Yes. In Connecticut, security deposits can be no more than two months’ rent (Chapter 831, Sec. 47a-21b) and no more than one month’s rent for those over the age of 62 (Chapter 831, Sec. 47a-21 b2). If a landlord requests an amount equal to two months’ rent as a security deposit for an individual over 62 years of age, the tenant has the right to request the return of this additional deposit at any time, and landlords must comply. 

Does the landlord have to hold the security deposit in a specific way during occupancy? 

Landlords are required to hold security deposits in specially established escrow accounts and cannot withdraw funds except to return them to a tenant or to transfer them to another escrow account at a different financial institution (Chapter 831, Sec. 47a-21 h1-2).

How long does the landlord have to return the security deposit after move out? 

Landlords must return security deposits within 30 days of a tenant moving out of a rental property or 15 days of receiving a tenant’s forwarding address, whichever is later (Chapter 831, Sec. 47a-21). Interest must be paid on the amount held in an amount in line with the Federal Reserve Board Bulletin, rounded to the next .01%. If a tenant does not provide a forwarding address or bank account routing information, a good faith effort must made to return the deposit. 

What are the reasons why a landlord can withhold part or all of the security deposit?

Landlords can withhold part or all of a security deposit to use to repair damages and clean properties, depending on the condition in which a tenant left a property. The amount and description of damages, and the amount of payment withheld, needs to be provided to the tenant within 30 days (Chapter 831, Sec. 47a-21).

What is the penalty if the landlord doesn’t return the security deposit? The penalty for failing to return a security deposit in the time frame specified is a fine of no more than $250 if this mistake was made in good faith, or a fine of no more than $500 and imprisonment of no more than 30 days if withholding of a security deposit was intentional (Chapter 831, Sec. 47a-21 k1-2). 

Laws About Leases and Lease Termination

What types of lease terms are allowed? 

Lease terms in Connecticut are flexible and landlords can set a start and end date based on landlord preference. A year lease is standard. Unless a fixed term is specified, tenancy is assumed to be month-to-month, unless a tenant pays weekly, and then it is assumed to be week-to-week (Chapter 830, Sec. 47a-3b)

What happens if the tenant violates the lease? 

A breach of a rental agreement by a tenant can result in a landlord’s right to take action for damages for the breach, like pursuing unpaid rent money. This code section permits any legal or equitable claims, counterclaims, defenses or set-offs as deemed reasonable (Chapter 830, Sec. 47a-11c). Landlords may also issue a quit notice, giving tenants three days to move out (Chapter 830, 47a-23, 47a-15, 47a-15a).

How much notice is required for a month-to-month lease termination? 

Connecticut state law does not provide any required notice period for month-to-month leases. However, county, city or regional rules may apply. 

When can a tenant terminate a term lease without penalty? 

Tenants can terminate a lease term without penalty under the following circumstances: 

In Connecticut, a landlord has a duty to find a new tenant. This means that if a tenant breaks a lease agreement early, the landlord is required to make a good faith effort to find a new tenant before pursuing the departing tenant for rent owed. If no new tenant can be found, back rent can be demanded up to $5,000 (Chapter 830, 47a-11a).

How and when can a landlord evict a tenant? 

In Connecticut, renters have a nine-day grace period to pay due rent (Chapter 830, 47a-15a). After this point, property managers can terminate the lease and provide a three-day quit notice. If tenants still have not evacuated the premises, a landlord may begin eviction process, which requires a court order from a judge. 

If a tenant violates any part of a lease agreement, like having a dog in a pet-free unit, landlords must provide notice stating that tenants have 15 days to rectify the violation or evacuate the property (Chapter 832, 47a-23). If the tenant corrects the violation but makes the same violation within the next six months, landlords do not have any obligation to provide notice and may begin the eviction process as soon as desired. 

How Does Eviction Work? To begin the eviction process, landlords can submit a writ, summons or complaint to the applicable court in the judicial district in which the property is located (Chapter 832, 47a-23a). In most locations, this will be the housing court or superior court. The court will then set a hearing date and notify the tenant and the landlord. At the hearing, the judge will make a final decision regarding the eviction request. Tenants have the right to challenge an eviction, but if this is unsuccessful, they may be required to pay attorney fees for the landlord. 

Laws About Rent and Late Fees

When can a landlord increase rent? 

Landlords can increase rent at the end of a rental period, which generally coincides with the end of the lease. In the case of a month-to-month or oral lease, landlords can increase rent at any point. There may be limits on the increase of rent in a month-to-month contract on a city, regional or county level. 

Is there a maximum amount of rent that a landlord can charge tenants? 

No. However, tenants who feel that the rent increase imposed is unfair can make a complaint to their local Fair Rent Commission. A landlord is not permitted to raise rent while a complaint is pending, if a tenant has requested repairs that have not been made or joined a tenants’ union (Chapter 830, Sec. 47a-20) or within six months of any of these actions as this can be seen as retaliatory. Local, county or regional law may limit how rent increases are applied. 

Is there a state-mandated grace period that landlords must give tenants before charging a late fee? 

Tenants have nine days after a rent due date to make a payment. After nine days, landlords can charge a late fee (Chapter 830, 47a-15a) or, if desired, begin the initial stages of the eviction process. 

Is there a limit on how much of a late fee the landlord can charge tenants?

There is no limit on late fee amounts. However, county, city or regional rules may apply.

Legally Required Disclosures

What types of disclosures are landlords required to supply regarding ownership of the property?

Disclosures must be made in a number of circumstances in Connecticut:

Unlike many other states, Connecticut does not require landlords to disclose information about mold or lead paint, but these may be required on a county, city or regional level. 

What disclosures related to bed bugs are landlords required to supply?In Connecticut, landlords must disclose to tenants if the current unit or contiguous units are infested with bed bugs (Chapter 830, 47a-7a). Landlords are not required to disclose a prior history of bed bugs within a rental unit. 

Landlord Responsibilities

How much notice does the landlord have to supply before entry? 

Landlords must provide reasonable advance notice, written or orally, prior to scheduled entry and may only enter at reasonable times (Chapter 830, 47a-16c). There is no set time frame for entry notification. 

When can the tenant refuse to allow the landlord entry? 

Tenants can refuse entry at inappropriate times or if a landlord is attempting entry to harass or intimidate a tenant. Otherwise, it is unlawful for a tenant to unreasonably bar entry for necessary duties like inspections, repairs or supply other essential services (Chapter 830, 47a-16). 

What steps must the landlord take to keep the property habitable? 

Landlords must comply with all requirements of Chapter 368o and all applicable housing and building codes (Chapter 830, 47a-7), including:

  • Keeping common areas clean and safe
  • Maintenance of all “electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating and other facilities and appliances and elevators”
  • Providing a place to dispose of refuse
  • Supplying running water and sufficient hot water

On a local level, landlords may be required to provide additional services, like providing fire exits, maintenance of stairwells, extermination services and notification of the presence or lack thereof of smoke detectors. 

Does the landlord have to supply a certificate of inspection? 

Connecticut landlords must supply a Certificate of Occupancy before tenants are permitted to move in. Failure to do so can result in a penalty of no more than $20 a day for no more than 200 days (Chapter 830, 47a-5). 

Is the landlord required to supply locks and keys?

No. There is no legal requirement for landlords to supply locks and keys in Connecticut. This may be required on a local level, however, depending on health department regulations. 

Are retaliatory actions prohibited?

Yes. Chapter 830, 47a-20 prohibits retaliatory actions, including increasing rent or decreasing amenities after a resident makes a good faith complaint or inquiry to government officials or a fair rent commission, requests necessary repairs, joins a tenants’ union or reports landlord violations of any requirements under Chapter 368o.

Property Maintenance and Repair Laws

What type of maintenance is the landlord responsible for?

Landlords are required to make repairs to maintain compliance under Chapter 368o, including anything necessary to provide electricity, plumbing, heating, ventilation, refuse disposal, appliances that come with a unit and any other facilities provided on the priority, like elevators (Chapter 830, 47a-7). 

How long does the landlord have to make repairs? 

There is no time limit landlords must adhere to for the purpose of making repairs. However, if repairs are not made, tenants can proceed to make them and deduct these charges against rent without landlord permission (Chapter 830, 47a-13). Further, if changes aren’t made and a property fails to remain compliant, tenants may follow up with relevant local housing authorities and health departments. 

What type of maintenance is the tenant responsible for? 

Based on the terms of a lease, landlords can request that tenants handle any maintenance or repairs that are reasonable and are not required to maintain compliance with standards of livability (Chapter 830, 47a-7d). This can include things like changing light bulbs or touching up paint. 

Is the landlord responsible to fix damage caused by tenants? 

The landlord is only required to fix damage caused by tenants when it involves maintaining compliance or at the conclusion of a lease period and repairs are necessary to ready a unit for new tenants (Chapter 830, 47a-7).

Under what circumstances can a tenant make a repair and deduct the cost from the rent paid to the landlord? 

A landlord must lower rent or deduct costs from rent when a landlord fails to supply essential services and tenants choose to pay for these repairs out of pocket (Chapter 830, 47a-13).

When is a landlord required to pay for relocation assistance?Landlords are not required to pay for relocation assistance. However, Under Connecticut’s Uniform Relocation Assistance Act (Title 8-266), relocation assistance may be available for anyone displaced from a residence due to government action.

Who Is Exempt? 

There are very few exemptions to landlord-tenant regulations in Connecticut. However, there are some circumstances in which guidelines are different. For example, subsidized housing programs require rent to meet, at maximum, one-third of a tenant’s income. Rent cannot be raised to exceed this amount at a property manager’s discretion. The limits on Section 8 rent vary by location. 

Further, most rental rules do not apply to mobile manufactured homes and home parks as well as transient occupancy in a motel, hotel or similar building. (Chapter 830, 47-a2). These rules also do not apply to occupancy by a member of a social or fraternal organization in a building operated for the benefit of the organization or to occupancy of a personal care assistant for the disabled or elderly. 

Additional Rental Law Resources for the State of Connecticut

While the relevant Connecticut state laws that govern landlord-tenant rules, regulations and responsibilities provide an excellent starting point for understanding expectations, these additional resources can provide further information for those in need.

Name Phone Number Description
Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants in Connecticut N/A A summary of the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants in Connecticut
Connecticut Fair Housing Center (860) 247- 4400 or (888) 247- 4401 A resource to ensure tenants do not face discrimination when securing rental housing
Summary Grid of Fair Housing Laws N/A A summary of the different state and federal codes that protect renters in the state of Connecticut
Connecticut’s Discriminatory Housing Practices Act N/A A summary of Connecticut’s Discriminatory Housing Practices Act and how renters should respond in the case of a suspected violation
Moving Forward – Connecticut Renter’s Guide N/A An overview of how to search for housing, including accommodating disabilities, making a budget and outlining priorities to find the right fit

Note: This guide is intended to be used as an educational resource. The contents within do not constitute legal advice. To obtain information regarding property management laws in your state, consult a local attorney. This guide is based only on property management laws at the state level. Local county and city laws may exist that are not discussed in this guide. Consult a local attorney to obtain information that pertains to your specific location and situation.