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How to Deal with a Challenging Tenant in Connecticut

It’s something that every landlord has stressed about: tenants who end up creating enormous stress through nonpayment, noise violations, property damage, or some combination of these things. In fact, stories of less-than-perfect tenants can sometimes be so harsh that would-be landlords are often deterred from even getting started as rental owners. Some level of trepidation in this area makes sense; a bad tenant can definitely cause serious stress, and can even lead landlords into severe financial hardship.

Every landlord wants to know: if one of these scenarios arises, what should I do? In this post, we will discuss how landlords can deal with a challenging tenant. Even if you deal with things perfectly on your end, a bad tenant can still create quite a bit of drama. But if you follow these general principles, you should be able to minimize the damage in most cases.

Violations

Lease violations can take many different forms; everything ultimately depends on the precise content of your agreement. Lease agreements typically include requirements on noise levels, property alteration, number of occupants, and so forth. It’s not uncommon to have a tenant violate one or more terms of the lease. In these situations, you have remedies.

If your tenant has violated the lease, you must give that tenant an opportunity to correct the problem before seeking an eviction. You need to give the tenant a 15 day written notice, and if the tenant hasn’t corrected the behavior during this window, then you may move forward with the eviction process.

Nonpayment

When a tenant fails to pay a portion or all of his or her rent, this can be even more frustrating than lease violations. Many Connecticut landlords depend on rental income to pay fixed expenses, and a nonpaying tenant can quickly become a serious problem. Tenants in Connecticut have a 9 day grace period to pay rent. This means that, after this grace period, landlords may move forward with the eviction process and issue the 3 day notice to quit. If the tenant fails to move out after the third day, summary process may then be commenced.

Evictions are always messy, and in some cases they can set you back financially in a substantial way. Before moving forward with the eviction process, it may be in your best interest to approach your tenant gently and attempt to resolve the matter informally. This can be done by establishing a payment plan, or by allowing your tenant to perform maintenance work for a discount, or finding some other arrangement. If you are unable to settle the matter through an alternative arrangement, then you should move forward with the eviction process. As mentioned, this involves posting a 3 day notice to quit after the expiration of the grace period, and then obtaining a court order through the normal channels. 

Remember to Avoid “Self-Help”

Whatever you do, be sure that to avoid taking any sort of “self-help” actions. As you may recall from our previous discussions, self-help actions refer to any attempts to remove the tenant (or forcibly encourage the tenant to leave) independently without utilizing the proper eviction procedure. This is heavily frowned upon here in Connecticut, and doing so can even jeopardize your eviction. 

Contact the Apex Law Firm for Additional Information

Challenging tenants are just that…challenging. The key, however, is to remain calm and then exhaust all attempts to rectify the situation in a straightforward, financially prudent way. Then, move forward with an eviction if you have no other remedy. If you’d like additional information, reach out to the Apex Law Firm today.