Connecticut Tenant's Rights After Domestic Violence

How Are Victims of Domestic Violence Protected in Connecticut?

In the state of Connecticut, tenants who have been victims of domestic violence have certain rights. Protections are offered for both victims of family violence and for victims of sexual assault. Landlords must offer these tenants certain rights which are not afforded to other tenants because it is in the interest of protecting the safety of the tenant. Here are a tenant’s rights in Connecticut after domestic violence.

What Is Family Violence?

Connecticut’s law protects tenants who have been victims of any type of family violence. Family violence includes any physical act of bodily harm or injury or threatened bodily harm or injury of a member of the tenant’s family or household. Verbal assault is not included in this category unless it brings with it the threat of imminent physical harm.

Members of the family or household could include current or former spouses, parents and their children, parties who are dating, parties who have a child together, parties who are at least 16 years of age or older and are currently or have previously lived together and adults 18 years of age or older who are related by blood or marriage

What Is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault means forcing an individual to engage in a sex act against their consent, including those who are mentally unable to consent or are not of a legal age to consent.

There are different types of sexual assault, such as first degree, second degree, third degree, forth degree and aggravated sexual assault, depending on the nature of assault. Sexual assault does not only occur among strangers, even spouses can be guilty of sexual assault.

Right to Terminate Lease Agreement

Tenants in Connecticut who have been victims of family violence or of sexual assault have the right to terminate their lease agreement.

The tenant must have a legitimate fear that they, or a member of their household, will be harmed again in the near future. However, they must follow certain rules when doing so.

Written Notice

In order to terminate a rental agreement on the basis of family violence or sexual assault, a tenant must provide the landlord with written notice stating the tenant’s desire to terminate the lease agreement. This notice must include:

1. A statement made under oath that the tenant or a member of the tenant’s family is a victim of family violence or sexual assault.

2. The tenant’s desire to terminate the lease agreement due to family violence or sexual assault.

3. The date the tenant intends to terminate the rental agreement.

4. The tenant agrees to remove all of their personal possessions from the unit and vacate the unit by the date of termination.

5. A copy of either of the following:

 a.) A police report or other court record which describes the act of violence or assault against the tenant or member of the tenant’s household. For the police report or court order to be valid, it must be dated no more than 90 days before the tenant provides the landlord notice to terminate the lease agreement.

OR

b.) A signed written statement from an employee at either the Office of Victim Services or the Office of Victim Advocate which describes the act of violence or assault against the tenant or a member of the tenant’s household.

This statement must be dated no more than 30 days before the tenant provides the landlord notice to terminate the lease agreement.

Timeliness of Notice

The tenant must provide the landlord with the written notice to quit at least 30 days before the desired date of lease termination.

If Tenant Does Not Remove Their Possessions

If the tenant has provided written notice to the landlord that he or she wishes to end their lease agreement, then the tenant has agreed to remove all of his or her personal possessions from the unit. If, by the date of the lease termination, the tenant has not removed all of their personal possessions, the possessions will be considered abandoned, and the landlord can dispose of them as necessary.

Landlord Right to File for an Eviction

If the tenant has sent the landlord a notice to terminate the rental agreement and has included a date of lease termination, then it is the tenant’s responsibility that he or she and every member of their household has vacated the unit by that date.

If the tenant or any member of the tenant’s household is not out of the unit by that date, the landlord has a right to file for an eviction.

Landlord Right to Injunctive Relief

If the tenant has failed to meet any of the necessary qualifications in order to terminate their lease agreement based on family violence or sexual assault, then the landlord has the right to file for injunctive relief to prevent the lease from being terminated with the Superior Court of the state.

Tenant Responsibilities Regardless of Victim Status

Even if the tenant has become a victim of family violence or sexual assault, it does not exclude them from responsibilities to financial debts they have to the landlord. The tenant will still be responsible for:

1. Any rent the tenant owes the landlord before the date of lease termination.

2. Payment for any damages the tenant or member of the tenant’s household has caused to the property.

Connecticut’s Law on Domestic Violence

If you would like to view the text of the law governing domestic violence in the state of Connecticut, please consult Connecticut General Statutes Annotated §§ Sec 46b-38a, Sec. 47a-11e.  and Sec. 53a-70, 53a-70a, 53a-70b, 53a-71, 53a-72a, 53a-72b and 53a-73a.