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This past legislative session of the Connecticut General Assembly saw assorted legislation that collectively seeks to further regulate the conduct of landlords, who already must navigate an often cumbersome and confusing array of laws and regulations, particularly with regard to those landlords who engage in multi-family residential leasing. A handful of new laws involving security deposits, foreclosed leasehold interests, substitute housing and the disposition of deceased tenant’s belongings have been signed by the governor and will become law on October 1, 2017.
Under Connecticut law, a security deposit is any advance rental payment, except for an advance rental payment for the first month’s rent or a deposit for a key or any special equipment. In the case of a residential tenant under sixty-two years of age, a landlord cannot demand a security deposit in an amount that exceeds two months’ rent. For a tenant sixty-two years of age or older, a landlord cannot demand a security deposit that exceeds one month’s rent. Under Public Act 17-236
Importantly, there is no stated right in this Act to inspect the premises prior to returning the excess security deposit to the tenant, and it does not appear as though this requirement can be waived by the terms of the lease. Thus, if a tenant makes a request for the return of the excess security deposit, the landlord must comply. As with the return of security deposits generally, violating this Act could lead to punitive damages and potential criminal charges.
Public Act 17-26
Public Act 17-171
*Possessions of Deceased Tenants*
It has long been the case that the disposition of a deceased tenant’s belongings is not an easy task for a landlord. Public Act 17-22
Landlords should strongly consider requiring the identification of an emergency contact in all residential lease forms. By naming an emergency contact, the landlord can potentially save the costs of having to secure and pay for additional services in the removal, storage and sale of the possessions which, invariably, wind up being charged to the landlord without real recourse for the landlord to recover his or her costs.