COVID-19 Legal FAQs for Renters in
This page has local legal information on residential (not commercial) renters’ issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not legal advice, and you should check with your local legal aid and courts for current information. Your local city or county may have additional protections for renters.
This page was last updated on July 7, 2020. It was reviewed by our volunteer attorney experts.
Its information is taken from these sources:Connecticut CourtsCT Fair HousingCT utilityConnecticut Governors orderPrinceton Eviction Lab's COVID Policy ScorecardsColumbia Law School COVID-19 Eviction Moratoria analysisEnergy and Policy Institute Utility Disconnect TrackerCT court extending stay of eviction executions 5/15/20
- Are there any special eviction protections for Connecticut renters during COVID-19?
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has put in place a number of protections preventing evictions from being issued to tenants. New evictions cannot be issued at this time. This order is set to expire on August 22, 2020, and it may be extended. Check here for more updates. If you already went to court and lose your eviction case, you cannot be physically removed from your house until at least August 3, 2020.
You may also be eligible for national protections, read more below to see if you are.
- What do the eviction protections mean for Connecticut renters?
The Connecticut protections mean that for most renters through August 22th:
- Your landlord cannot give you a notice to quit.
- Your landlord cannot file an eviction claim against you. There is one exception: landlords can file an eviction for serious nuisance, for example if you physically harm another tenant or the landlord.
- Hearings on eviction are likely suspended, but you should sign up for notifications about your case from the court.
- The court cannot issue a new order, judgment, or writ of eviction against you.
- Law enforcement cannot enforce an existing eviction order against you, to remove you from your home.
These protections do not apply if the landlord can show that the renter has posed a serious nuisance, such as physically harming another tenant or the landlord.
- Do I still have to pay rent during COVID-19?
Yes, Connecticut renters still need to pay rent during the emergency.
However, Connecticut renters have several additional protections:
- You have a 60-day grace period to pay April rent and you can request an additional 60-day grace period to pay May rent. You should make this request in writing to your landlord as soon as possible.
- Your landlord cannot charge you late fees.
- If you paid a security deposit for more than one month's rent, you can ask your landlord to use the deposit for missed rent in April, May or June. You should make this request in writing to your landlord as soon as possible.
Also 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:
- 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 help here for drafting and mailing a letter to your landlord. You can also use this letter-writing tool here.
- 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.
- Check for help: If you need financial assistance for housing costs, you may be able to get help.
- Can my landlord evict me during the COVID-19 in Connecticut?
Most Connecticut renters cannot be evicted during the emergency. The one exception is if the eviction was for a serious nuisance, for example if you physically harm another tenant or the landlord. Otherwise, landlords cannot file new evictions, and courts have temporarily paused hearings on eviction cases that were filed before the emergency. If you had lost an eviction case before the emergency, the writ of execution against you has been postponed until at least August 22, 2020.
Once the emergency period ends, landlords can begin to sue renters for eviction and enforce eviction judgments against renters once again.
If you receive a notice to quit from your landlord, or an eviction lawsuit, reach out for legal help.
- Can my utilities be shut off during COVID-19?
No, utilities in Connecticut cannot be shut off for nonpayment until further notice. Check regularly for updates.
Renters must still pay their utility bills. 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 you eligible for U.S. national protections against eviction?
Renters in 3 categories have special national protections against being evicted during the Emergency Period of March 27, 2020 to July 24 or 25, 2020. These national protections add onto any state and local protections you have.
Do you fit in any of these 3 categories?Your home’s owner has a federally backed mortgage loan or other guarantee (like through Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae). Search if your home is covered.You pay rent through a federal assistance program like the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, Rural Development Voucher, or other 'covered housing' program.You live in Public Housing, where the government is your landlord.
If you are a renter in one of these 3 categories, the federal CARES Act section 4024 gives you these protections. (Remember, these protections add onto any state and local protections you have)
- Your landlord cannot file a new eviction lawsuit against you for not paying your rent during the Emergency Period. They can still evict you for other behavior, like drug abuse, other criminal activities, or other lease violations.
- Your landlord cannot charge you new fees or penalties for not paying your rent during the Emergency Period.
- After the Emergency Period ends, your landlord may not be able to evict you immediately.(Different states interpret the protections ending on July 24 or 25. Check with local lawyers to see about your state). If you have not paid your rent in full during the Emergency Period, your landlord must wait until the period ends before giving you a notice to vacate. For example, they may give you a notice on July 26, and you must be allowed until at least August 25 to leave the property.