Legal FAQs for Renters in Connecticut

This page has local legal information on residential (not commercial) renters’ issues. It is not legal advice, and you should check with your local legal aid and courts for current information.

This page was last updated on Aug 25th, 2023. It was reviewed by our volunteer attorney experts.

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Problem with your Landlord?

Can I break my rental home lease in Connecticut?

You may be able to break your lease if you can come to an agreement with your landlord.

You can talk to your landlord to see if they will agree to let you leave early. If they agree, be sure to get the agreement in writing.

Also, you can review your lease. It may have a part that lets you end the lease early in times of financial difficulty. If your lease has this kind of part, you might be able to break the lease, in some cases penalty-free.

Find legal help to get advice for your situation.

What do I do if my landlord tries to evict me from my rental home in Connecticut?

Contact a legal help organization to help defend yourself.

It is illegal in Connecticut for your landlord to evict you without first going to court and getting an eviction order. To remove you from your home, a landlord must take you to court by filing an eviction lawsuit, win the case, and getting an eviction order from the court.

Legal aid groups might be able to provide you with full representation, or other legal organizations can give you information or brief advice.

Find legal help to protect your rights.

Behind on Rent?

Who can help me with rent that I owe?

If you are behind on rent, you can get help from your local Rental Assistance program. This is a government service to help people who owe rent or utility bills.

Especially if you are behind on rent because of COVID-19 hardships, your local Rental Assistance (or Rent Relief) program can help you.

Find your local Rental Assistance program at your Get Help page here.

Am I eligible for rent relief?

Local governments set the rules about who is eligible for rent relief. Most programs focus on people who have suffered COVID-19 hardships. You can talk to your local Rental Assistance program to learn their eligibility rules.

You may have to show your household income, or if you are on other benefits programs like SNAP.

You may also have to show that you are at risk of homelessness or eviction if you don't get rental assistance. Check with your local Rental Assistance program to see if you are eligible.

Does immigration status matter for rent relief?

Many local Rental Assistance programs are open to everyone, regardless of immigration status. Many programs do not even ask about immigration status.

Check with your local Rental Assistance program to make sure about eligibility rules and immigration.

Can a landlord apply for their renter, to get rental assistance?

Most Rental Assistance programs let landlords apply. Either a renter or a landlord can start the application.

The landlord will have to fill in as much information they have about the amount of money needed, and the eligibility for the program. The tenant may have to fill in the rest of the information. Check with your local Rental Assistance program about the steps to follow to apply for rent relief.

Received a Warning Notice about Eviction?

What if the landlord has just told me, face-to-face or over the phone, that I need to leave my home in Connecticut?

A verbal conversation doesn't count as an "eviction notice". To be legal, the notice must be written down and given to you in the correct way.

Reach out for legal help if your landlord is trying to make you leave without going through the court process. This is illegal and a lawyer may be able to help you protect yourself. Find local legal help here.

My eviction notice says that I will be evicted unless I pay back-rent I owe in Connecticut. What if I can't afford to pay it?

You still have time to reach out for rental assistance, and stop the eviction from moving forward.

Be sure to let the local group know that you have received an eviction notice and what its deadline is. They may be able to help you pay the rent you owe, or work with your landlord to reduce the amount or put you on a payment plan.

Find local financial help here.

Do I have to leave my home by the time of the eviction notice's expiration date in Connecticut?

No, you do not have to leave (or 'quit') your home by the date listed on the eviction notice. You do not have to leave your home until you have been brought to court, and a judge has ordered that your landlord can make you leave.

After the date on the eviction notice passes, then your landlord may file an eviction lawsuit in court against you. You will be able to go to court and present defenses to protect yourself. Find local legal help here.

How long do I have after I receive an eviction notice to pay back the rent to stop the eviction in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, you have a minimum of 3 days between your landlord giving you a notice and them filing a lawsuit against you in court to evict you.

The notice should tell you how many days the landlord is giving you. If they are giving you less than three days, then you may be able to challenge it as illegal.

Reach out for legal help if you think the notice isn't giving you the required time to make your payment. Find local legal help here.

My landlord gave me a notice to "pay or quit" my rental home in Connecticut. What should I do?

You do not have to leave your home yet. In Connecticut, your landlord must give you an official notice that they may bring you to court to evict you for not paying your rent (or other reasons). The notice should give you time to either pay your rent or prepare defenses against eviction.

This official notice must follow some rules to be valid. If it doesn't follow these rules, then you can challenge it and stop an eviction.

These are Connecticut’s requirements for an eviction notice:

  1. The notice must be written down.
  2. It must include at least one reason for eviction -- whether it is for non-payment of rent, a lease violation, or other reason.
  3. The notice must include the names of all adults living on the premises.
  4. The notice must allow the tenant at least three full days to move.
  5. The notice must include the exact name and address.
  6. The notice must be formally served by a state marshal.

Reach out for legal help if you think the notice isn't correct, or if you need assistance in defending yourself against the eviction. Find local legal help here.

Facing an Eviction Lawsuit?

Do I have to do anything after I get an eviction Summons and Complaint in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, you are required to respond to the eviction lawsuit, if you want to avoid the eviction.

You will have only a few days after you receive the Summons and Complaint to file an Appearance in the case. Filing an Appearance is different from physically appearing before a judge.

If you do not submit this response by the third day after the return date, you may lose your case. The judge may give the landlord permission to file a Default Judgement for Failure to Appear.

In addition to filing an appearance, you should file a summary process answer within two days after the return date.

Reach out to legal help to learn what your rights and defenses are in your eviction case. Find local legal help here.

Can I settle my eviction case without going to court?

You can come to an agreement, but you should still go to court to make sure your case is closed. You can work with your landlord to work out an agreement before the date of the court hearing. This might be a payment plan or other agreement on what needs to happen for you to stay in your home.

Be sure to get this agreement in writing, so that you can prove it exists and that your landlord follows through on it.

Also, you should still go to court for your hearing date, to make sure the court knows about the agreement and closes the lawsuit. If you do not go to court, the lawsuit might still continue and the judge might rule that the landlord can remove you. Go to court yourself to make sure this doesn't happen.

You can reach out for legal help to get assistance in negotiating an agreement with your landlord, and making sure this agreement is being followed

Find local legal help here.

My landlord has filed an eviction lawsuit against me in court in Connecticut. What should I do?

You should make sure that the landlord properly 'served' you with the lawsuit. If they didn't give it to you in the correct way, you can challenge the eviction lawsuit.

In Connecticut, a landlord must follow certain rules to let you know about the lawsuit:

  1. Only certain people can give you the lawsuit's Summons and Complaint. In general, service is made by a state marshal or other authorized process server.
  2. Proof of proper service must be delivered to the court, also referred to “Return of Service,” stating when and how service was completed for each tenant.
  3. The summons and complaint must be delivered directly to you or placed in your usual place of abode.

You should also reach out to local lawyers who can help you prepare for your court hearing so you can protect yourself against the eviction.

Find local legal help here.

Emergency Protections during COVID

What if I need repairs to my rental home during COVID-19?

Tell your landlord about any repairs needed, particularly if they affect your health and safety.

The emergency may delay your landlord's ability to make repairs, but if they are urgent you should call your landlord to make the repairs as soon as possible.

Emergency repairs could be for problems with:

  • Running water or hot water
  • Heat
  • Stove, refrigerator, or oven
  • Electricity
  • Bathroom use
  • Missing doors, locks, or windows
  • Pests

If your landlord doesn't make the repairs promptly, send them a written letter or email about the need for emergency repairs (and keep a copy of this communication). Reach out for legal help for additional guidance.

What do the eviction protections mean for Connecticut renters?

Since the emergency protections have expired, then for renters in Connecticut:

  • Your landlord can give you a notice to quit.
  • Your landlord can file an eviction claim against you.
  • Hearings on eviction may proceed, but you should sign up for notifications about your case from the court.
  • The court may issue a new order, judgment, or writ of eviction against you.
  • Law enforcement can enforce an existing eviction order against you, to remove you from your home.
Can my utilities be shut off during COVID-19 in Connecticut?

Since the emergency period ended, utilities in Connecticut may be shut off for nonpayment. Check regularly for updates.

If you need financial assistance for utility costs, you may be able to get help.

Landlords are never allowed to shut off a renter's utilities in an attempt to force the renter out. This is illegal. Reach out to a lawyer for help if this happens to you.

Are there any special eviction protections for Connecticut renters during COVID-19?

Connecticut's statewide eviction moratorium expired on June 30, 2021. If you are sued for eviction, contact your local legal aid group immediately. The lawyers may be able to help you find protections and services to deal with your eviction.

Connecticut renters may also have been eligible for the national CDC eviction ban through August 26, 2021. That national moratorium has since expired.

Do I still have to pay rent during the COVID-19 emergency in Connecticut?

Yes, Connecticut renters still need to pay rent during the emergency.

Check with your local city or county government to see if they give renters any additional protections if they are struggling to pay rent during the emergency.

If you cannot pay rent, take steps to protect yourself:

  • Apply for rental assistance immediately: If you need financial assistance for housing costs like rent or utiltiy bills, you may be able to get help.
  • Communicate with your landlord: Send a written letter or email to your landlord as soon as possible. You can also try to negotiate with your landlord to make a payment plan or get a temporary rent reduction.
  • Get written records of all communication: Keep copies of any letter or email you send, and any responses from the landlord. Keep receipts for any payments you make, that are signed and dated. If you make a payment plan or rent agreement, make sure to get it in writing.
  • Keep proof of COVID-19’s impact on you: Collect documents about your COVID-19-related employment problems, health care issues, or other issues that affect your ability to pay rent. This includes letters from your employer, doctor, insurance provider, child care provider, schools, etc.(

Find help in Connecticut if you are worried about paying rent.

Are eviction cases still proceeding through Connecticut courts?

Eviction cases in Connecticut have resumed since the emergency period has passed. Look up your case with the courts for more up-to-date information.

Can my landlord evict me during the COVID-19 emergency in Connecticut?

Your landlord in Connecticut may try to evict you, especially after Connecticut's eviction moratorium expired on June 30, 2021.

If you receive a notice to quit from your landlord, or an eviction lawsuit, reach out for legal help.

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