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New legal protections for Connecticut renters

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2024 | Landlord-Tenant Law

Last year, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed into law a sweeping package of changes passed by the state legislature. They are intended to increase renters’ rights and improve opportunities for obtaining housing.

Some changes took effect in 2023. Others are becoming effective during 2024. The following are among the most notable.

Limiting fees

The new law limits “repeat” fees that landlords can charge tenants and prohibits others. For example, landlords can no longer charge tenants more than one late fee if rent is overdue.

Further, they can no longer charge a rental application processing fee (although they can still require a security deposit and key fee as well as first month’s rent). These changes align with the federal government’s actions to cut “junk fees” of all sorts.

Some fees are being capped as well. For example, landlords can no longer charge more than $50 for a screening report.

Sealing of eviction records

An eviction action, even if a renter wasn’t forced to leave their home, can affect a person’s ability to rent an apartment or home ever again. Beginning in July, eviction records will not be accessible to the public if:

  • A landlord withdraws their filing.
  • The case is dismissed.
  • The renter prevails in the case.

Further, it will be illegal for anyone to sell an eviction record to a credit-screening company or any third party.

An official with a legal aid group that helps low-income people says, “Records of eviction filings are…one of their primary obstacles to safe and adequate housing.” She notes that women and Black and Latino families are disproportionately affected by evictions. However, it can happen to anyone. She adds, “After July 1, 2024, at least families who won their evictions, or got them dismissed or withdrawn, will no longer be penalized unfairly in tenant screening reports.”

While most people have too much on their plate to keep up with new laws, adjustments can have a significant effect on your rights. This latest package is a clear example of an effort that can be a game-changer for renters. Unfortunately, you can’t count on all landlords to keep up with the law – or to follow it if they do. Seeking legal guidance can help you level the playing field.