Although landlords prepare a lease agreement that guides the conduct of tenants, state laws also regulate landlord-tenant relationships. These laws are specific to each state, and they include how and when a landlord can evict tenants. The eviction process in Connecticut is not different, and for the eviction to be legal, landlords need to familiarize themselves with it.
Should a landlord fail to follow the right eviction procedure in Connecticut, the judge can dismiss the eviction case. In some situations, a landlord might even face more problems like a lawsuit and financial penalties.
This article will guide you through the right Connecticut eviction process and valid reasons for wanting to evict a tenant. Landlords who follow proper eviction procedures will get the results they are looking for.
Landlord Gives a Written Notice to Quit
The eviction process in Connecticut starts with a landlord giving their tenant a notice to quit. It must state at least one reason for the eviction and the date a tenant should vacate the premises. A landlord can give a tenant either an "eviction with cause notice" or an "eviction without cause notice".
A landlord issues an eviction with cause notice if a tenant violates a lease agreement, like late rent payments, or conducts illegal activities within the premises. They can also issue an eviction without cause notice for specific reasons outlined in the law. After a tenant receives a notice to quit, they should leave by the due date that's stated on the notice period. An eviction notice usually gives tenants up to 3 calendar days to pay the rental agreement or vacate. Other notices include:
A 30-day notice is where a landlord issues the notice to tenants without a lease agreement and pay rent on a month-to-month lease basis. These are free-will tenants, and the landlord gives them 30 days to terminate their tenancy.
15-day notice in the Connecticut eviction process is where a landlord serves a tenant notice to quit for violating a lease agreement. The tenant has 15 days to comply or vacate the dwelling unit. But if tenants repeat the same lease violation, the landlord does not have to give them another 30-day notice. Instead, they can issue a 3-day notice to quit and then seek legal help.
A 3-day notice is where a state marshal or officer from the courts gives a tenant 3 days to leave a dwelling unit if they commit unlawful acts or repeat a violation within 6 months.
Prepare and Serve Summons and Complaint
A landlord prepares and serves a tenant with a summon and complaint after the notice period elapses, and the tenant fails to move out or solve the problem. That means the landlord is preparing to go to court and get a summary process action. Filing of the summon happens in the superior or housing court, and it costs about $175. The processing time is usually 30 to 45 days.
Filing an Answer and Appearance
A tenant can file an answer after the landlord files a complaint, and both of them must appear in court. If the tenant fails to file an appearance, the ruling will be in favor of the landlord. An appearance is a written legal document stating that they have received the landlord's complaint and that they know about the court case.
If a tenant fails to file an appearance after 2 days from the due date, the landlord can request and get a default judgment. That means there will be no court hearing, and the court will order the tenant to vacate the rental unit. If a tenant wants to object the eviction, they also need to file a written answer in addition to filing the appearance and attending the hearing.
After a tenant files an answer and an appearance, a court hearing takes place in the next 7-10 days, and the judge makes a ruling. If a tenant fails to show up on the hearing date, then it will be postponed up to the eviction day, and if the ruling favors the landlord, the judge will issue a summary possession execution.
The summary possession execution informs the tenant that they must vacate within 24 hours, and if they don't, the state marshal will physically remove them. Their possessions will be stored at their expense. After a judicial officer has made a decision, a tenant can file an appeal in the next five days. But if there's no appeal, the eviction process will continue. If a tenant fails to appear for the eviction hearing, the judge will make a default judgment, and the landlord will win the eviction case.
The Writ of Execution
After a hearing, the tenant will receive a writ of execution if the ruling favors the landlord. It's the final notice that informs the tenant to vacate and remove their belongings from the premises before a sheriff evicts them forcibly.
Authorities like a sheriff or the state marshal are the right officials to evict a tenant and not the landlord. The authorities will follow the correct eviction process.
Valid Reasons for Evicting a Tenant in Connecticut
A landlord in Connecticut may want to evict a tenant from their dwelling unit for many reasons, including lack of rent payments. But they must have legal grounds to do so and follow proper eviction procedures for them to win an eviction case. Here are valid reasons for starting an eviction process.
Nonpayment of Rent
A common reason for evictions is nonpayment of rent or tenants not paying rent on time. Rent is considered late in Connecticut if it's 4 days past the due date. This applies to tenants paying rent on a weekly basis. Other rental agreements have a grace period of 9 days, after which a landlord will consider the rent as a late payment.
All the information about the due date and the grace period should be in a written lease. Also, insuring your property can enable you to get unpaid dues. The written lease should also state the type of tenancy, like weekly or month to month payments.
If a landlord wants to evict a tenant on grounds of nonpayment of rent or late rent payments, they must first give them a 3-day notice to quit. The notice gives the tenant 3 days to pay the due rent or vacate the premises. Failure to comply with payment timelines or to pay the required amount means the landlord is free to start the eviction process.
A lease or rental agreement can vary from tenant to tenant, but it also acts as a guideline for the landlords and tenants. Both parties must uphold it, and if a tenant violates the lease agreement they signed, then a landlord has legal grounds to start an eviction process. They will first issue a 15-day notice to quit possession. The notice gives a tenant time to comply with the lease agreement or leave the dwelling unit.
If the tenant fails to comply with the lease agreement within the correct notice period or double the actual damages, the landlord can legally evict them. It's also important to insure your property and get payments for such damages or unpaid rent.
As Frank Valentic @FrankValentic — a leading property consultant, says, "Landlord insurance is very important as it covers you when there are issues at your property".
Some of the lease violations in Connecticut that are legal grounds for eviction include:
- Damaging the rental unit
- Keeping pets in a pet-free building
- Becoming a serious nuisance in the neighborhood
- Smoking in a smoking-free rental unit
Conducting or Supporting Illegal Activities
A landlord can evict a tenant if they discover that the tenant or a guest the tenant is housing is conducting illegal activities in their rental unit. After verifying that what they are doing is against Connecticut law, the landlord is required to give a 15-day notice to quit. Next, the landlord can start a formal eviction process if the tenant refuses to comply with the lease agreement and the eviction notice to quit possession.
The Connecticut law also allows an eviction lawsuit of a tenant who conducts or supports illegal activities in a rental property and other lease violations. Some of the examples of illegal activities that tenants may engage in include:
- Prostitution in the rental property.
- Theft or keeping stolen goods in the rental property.
- illegal possession of firearms in the rental unit
- Substance abuse in the rental property
Non Renewal of Lease
Sometimes a landlord may decide not to renew a rental agreement or a lease, but the tenant refuses to vacate the premises. If the lease ends, then the tenant is supposed to vacate the premises. But a holdover tenant can cause a landlord to start eviction proceedings. This type of tenant overstays in a rental unit and refuses to leave even after the lease ends, and the tenant hasn't arranged for a renewal. A landlord will first issue a 3-day notice to quit, after which the landlord can start an eviction lawsuit from the Connecticut state law courts.
Dispute in Rent Changes
A landlord may decide to raise the rent, but the tenant refuses to pay even when the raise is within the rental market, and it's legal. In such cases, the landlord can start eviction proceedings as long as the raise is in the rental agreement and in line with Connecticut general statutes.
This happens after the landlord has issued a 3-day notice to quit possession, but the tenant refuses to leave or comply with a fair rent commission in the rental unit.
To legally evict a tenant in Connecticut, it's important to fully understand the proper way to start and successfully end an eviction lawsuit. Know the type of written notice you should give each client, and if they do not comply, start the eviction proceedings. Fill out the summons and complaint court forms, serve the tenant, attend the trial on the hearing date and wait for the judgment. Following the right procedure and court order ensures that you have enough evidence and that you will win the eviction case even if it's challenged.
You can also get Steadily Landlord Insurance and insure property including rental apartments, multi-family, and single-family homes against damages like water and fire, protection for your furnishings and any legal liabilities.