Basic Points of Connecticut Housing Law

The law which governs landlord-tenant relationships (also referred to as ‘housing law’) is a complex branch of Connecticut jurisprudence. There are many statutes, local ordinances and regulations which apply to and govern landlord-tenant relationships in the State of Connecticut. Each section or topic within Connecticut housing law can be broken down and analyzed at considerable length. In this post, however, our goal is simply to convey the most basic concepts of this large body of law. We will look at a few of the major aspects of landlord-tenant law in Connecticut. In future posts, we will likely return and analyze one or more of these sections in greater detail. For instance, we may return and discuss rules pertaining to late fees under Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. §§ 47a-3a and 47a-4(a)(8) 47a-15a.

Landlord Disclosures

One aspect of Connecticut landlord-tenant law pertains to the disclosures which landlords are required to make pursuant to a lease or rental agreement. For example, landlords are required to disclose whether there is any known presence of lead on the property. Landlords must also provide tenants with information about where the tenant’s security deposit is being held and the account details. This of more often overlooked and few tenants are unaware of the requirement and fail to request such disclosure.

Security Deposits

Connecticut landlord-tenant law also lays out rules pertaining to security deposits. The law provides limits on the ceiling amount for security deposits, as well as the deadline for when deposit money must be returned to former tenants. The ceiling for security deposits in Connecticut is capped at two month’s rent. This includes a pet deposit where applicable. So, a landlord cannot ask for two months security deposit and a pet fee too. The deadline for returning security deposit money is the latter of either 30 days after move out or within 15 days of receiving the tenant’s new address. Security deposits must include any accrued interest paid on the balance.

Late Fees & Rights to Withhold Rent

Connecticut landlord-tenant law also governs late fees for rent, as well as tenant rights to withhold rent under certain conditions. For instance, under current Connecticut law, renters may withhold paying rent when certain repairs aren’t made following a request. For instance, if a heater breaks down and isn’t fixed, then this may furnish grounds for withholding rent. Or, tenants may conduct their own repairs to broken items and then subtract the costs from future rents. Connecticut law lays out the specific rules for these circumstances in detail, so a tenant should never just withhold rent before speaking with an experienced attorney or fully understanding the law.

Termination & Eviction

Connecticut law also gives particular rules pertaining to the termination and eviction of tenants. Certain actions (or failures) may provide grounds for termination or eviction, but landlords cannot simply terminate or evict a tenant for no reason. For instance, if a tenant behaves in a manner which violates a specific aspect of a lease agreement, then this may give grounds for termination. Or, if a tenant fails to pay rent, a landlord can serve a Notice to Quit which terminated the lease and allows the landlord to file an eviction to remove the tenant. The law pertaining to termination and eviction is vast, which makes sense because these areas are sensitive and deal with many controversial issues.

Contact Apex Law Firm for Additional Counsel

Again, this is merely a very basic introduction to the landlord-tenant laws of the State of Connecticut. As mentioned, this body of law is quite large, and so we will need to cover this law in at least a few more posts before our readers can really get a sense of how landlord-tenant rules operate. For now, if you’d like more information, or if you have a particular issue with a landlord or tenant at the present time, contact the Apex Law Firm today. Call us at 860-900-0900 and we can discuss your case right away.

How Will Parenting Plans be Impacted by The Coronavirus?

Divorced parents in Connecticut and other parts of the country are faced with challenges related to parenting plans in the midst of an unprecedented Covid-19 crisis. Serious health concerns, regional lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders are forcing co-parents to adjust their routines for their minor children and modify their child custody and visitation schedules.

Wherever the co-parents share a relationship of mutual cooperation, it gets easier to manage their parenting plans in the current situation. But where the relationships are estranged and old wounds are still raw, the stressful situation created by the coronavirus pandemic can become even harder for the parents as well as child.

Disruption of Routines

Logistics present one of the key hurdles for many divorced parents at this time. If the co-parents reside in close vicinity, they may be used to exchanging children at the workplace, school or a shopping center. Most of these facilities are temporarily shut down.

Parents who reside afar or in different towns, they may risk violating the local shelter-in-place order if they decide to pick-up or drop-off their child. Where parents are based in separate states, the challenge is even bigger because they would probably not want to let the children fly down to meet the other parent in the present circumstances.

Safety and Medical Concerns

In the backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic, non-custodial parents are likely to have high concerns about the health and safety of their child. They may wonder about how far the custodial parent is committed about maintaining social distancing, following the best hygiene practices, and keeping the child safe.

Worries would increase the former spouse has a new partner, and there is no way to know how that person is keeping herself or himself safe to prevent the child from infection risks. The lack of control for the non-custodial parent becomes a serious issue in these times. It is important for the custodial parent to continually update and reassure the other parent that the child’s best interests are foremost on their mind at all times.

Current Custodial Orders Remain in Force

One of the hurdles for many divorced parents during the pandemic is that the family courts in the state and county are mostly closed and will only deal with unavoidable emergency matters such as child abuse or endangerment. Child custody modifications may not be a priority matter for the courts right now.

Therefore, even where the co-parents are willing to modify their current child custody agreements legally, they may not be able to do so. In this situation, it is best for the parties to consult with an experienced family law attorney in Connecticut.

If the co-parents are making some adjustments to the original custody agreement to cope with the prevailing Covid-19 situation, they should do it in writing under the advice of their lawyer. Physical copies of any correspondence in this regard should be preserved.

Interpretation of divorce laws are equally vague in Connecticut, where attorneys are advising clients to put any temporary tweaks to the original custody agreement in writing, save hard copies of all correspondence about changes to the agreement, and embrace flexibility on both sides.

Increase Virtual Communication

A knowledgeable divorce lawyer would encourage the co-parents to adapt to the new temporary circumstances and embrace flexibility. They should organize virtual meetings using Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype. This will make up for the lost time for the non-custodial parent and also provide the child an opportunity to interact with the parent during this difficult period.

Video communication between co-parents will always be more effective than a phone call, text or email, and they can arrive at mutual acceptable solutions regarding the parenting plans as long as the crisis lasts. An attorney can encourage the divorced parents to adjust their parenting schedules in such a way that the non-custodial parent gets additional time with the child at a later stage when the pandemic risks have cleared up.

If the custodial parent is a healthcare worker and going through rigorous work schedules while also being exposed to higher risks of infection, they might consider allowing the child to be in the care of the other parent until the situation gets better.

In a high conflict divorce, it may be more difficult to make adjustments to parenting plans during the coronavirus crisis. An uncooperative custodial parent might try to use the pandemic as an excuse to prevent the other parent from interacting with the child.

These are potentially complex situations where it can help if you have a seasoned divorce attorney by your side to provide legal guidance and support.

We are Here to Help

The skilled and compassionate legal team at APEX Law Firm, LLC is here to help you during the Covid-19 crisis and beyond for all your family law issues. If you are concerned about issues such as child custody, visitation and support during these times, our seasoned attorneys will provide you the right legal advice. Call us at (860) 900-0900 today to schedule a consultation with our Connecticut divorce lawyers today.

How Connecticut Neighbors Can Help Each Other During The COVID-19 Outbreak

The coronavirus pandemic has created serious disruptions in virtually every sphere of life across the country. But these are also the times when communities come together as a united force to defeat the crisis and emerge stronger. Connecticut neighbors can help each other in a number of ways during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Donate Blood

The coronavirus outbreak has caused shortages of blood, and the American Red Cross is encouraging people who are healthy and fit to donate blood. If you are a Connecticut resident, you can visit the Red Cross website to know where to donate blood near your home. To learn more about the procedures and requirements for blood donation during Covid-19, you can check out the FAQ section at the Red Cross website. You can also contact your local Red Cross office to schedule a time to donate.

Support a Local Food Bank

You can make a monetary donation to Foodshare.org to enable them to continue the supply of food to needy families and individuals in certain areas in Connecticut.

Foodshare is also seeking volunteers to coordinate with the local grocery stores for the collection of rescued food and its delivery to nearby food banks. You may join their volunteer program called MealConnect if you are able to use your own automobile. You can sign up here to participate as a volunteer.

Alternatively, you may make monetary donations to the Connecticut Food Bank to help them continue food distributions through Litchfield, Fairfax, New Haven, Middlesex, Windham, and New London counties.

Donate Medical Supplies

Medical supplies in Connecticut are falling short because of the coronavirus crisis. If possible, you can donate key medical supplies to the state of Connecticut by completing this online form. The state has partnered with United Way 2-1-1 of Connecticut (a nonprofit) to collect this information. They will make sure that all donations reach the appropriate medical and long-term care facilities.

UConn Foundation and UConn Health are accepting donations of the following medical supplies for their healthcare staff:

  • Disposable face masks
  • N95 respirator masks
  • Goggles and face shields
  • Disinfectant liquids and wipes
  • General-purpose hand cleansers

If you are in a position to donate, you can contact their staff by emailing at: COVID19Donations@uchc.edu and coordinate the time for a drop off. You can also make monetary donations to UConn Health that will be used to provide vital medical supplies and support frontline medical workers for treating Covid-19 patients. Visit here to make a donation.

Hartford HealthCare is accepted donations for PPE (personal protective equipment), including gowns, masks, wipes and hand sanitizers. To make a PPE donation, you can email at: COVIDDonations@HHCHealth.org.

Organizations in Need of Volunteers

  • Healthcare professionals as well as other volunteers can sign up online at the state’s volunteer registry called CTResponds.
  • You can register here to volunteer as a part of the Community Emergency Response Team in your area. You will need to complete an introductory training course before you are sworn in as a new volunteer.
  • Connecticut Food Bank is seeking volunteers to handle the work at its Wallingford warehouse. The work will involve sorting and packing of food. You may also make monetary donations to them here.
  • Join as a volunteer for pantries at Foodshare’s pantries and Mobile Foodshare sites as well as MealConnect, which is coordinating food donations to shelters and pantries.
  • A number of schools are providing meals to students at a time when the schools are closed. Check for volunteering opportunities in your school district. You could get in touch directly with your local school district or contact the state Department of Education to get more information.
  • CT Mutual Aid is seeking volunteers who have previous experience in providing Peer Support. You will be helping with their web-based support program called Life in My Days.

In your neighborhood, you can support those in need by offering to run errands or go shopping for essential goods for people who are more vulnerable to infections. You may purchase gift cards for local businesses that you wish to support. If you visit a local restaurant, try to leave a larger tip than usual to express your gratitude and appreciation for the workers – you can leave a tip to a delivery professional as well.

Help Fight Discrimination and Racism in these Times

Professor Jason Oliver Chang at the University of Connecticut has launched a crowdsourced document that provides resources to help in the fight against racism and discrimination surrounding Covid-19 pandemic. Learn how you can have meaningful conversations about xenophobia and racism that coronavirus issue may bring up.

Consult with an Experienced Attorney for Your Legal Concerns

If you or someone you love is faced with legal issues related to personal injury or family law in Connecticut, speak to the knowledgeable attorneys at APEX Law Firm, LLC. Call us today at (860) 900-0900 for a free consultation.