The Connecticut eviction process contains a number of specific steps for a landlord to follow to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent, holding over after expiration of the rental agreement or for a material violation of the lease. There are different Connecticut eviction notice requirements depending upon the reason for the eviction. Failure to follow any of these steps as prescribed by Connecticut law could result in the court’s dismissing an eviction action and forcing the landlord to start over.
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Connecticut’s Different Eviction Notices
3-Day Notice to Quit
Connecticut eviction is also called a “Summary Process” and begins when the landlord serves a Notice to Quit Possession. In the notice, the landlord must set forth the description of the leased property, the names of all adults living on the premises or characterized as John or Jane Doe if unknown, and the reason for the eviction.
For nonpayment of rent, the Connecticut eviction notice is 3 days and must be served on all tenants by a state marshal. The notice time does not include the first day or the last day, so if the notice is served on April 1, the tenant must comply or vacate by April 5.
15-Day Notice to Quit (Kapa Notice)
For situations in which the eviction reason is for material noncompliance with the rental agreement, the Connecticut eviction notice to the tenant is for 15 days to comply or vacate, also known as a Kapa Notice. Compliance by paying owed damages or correcting some other violation will nullify the breach of the lease provision. Interesting fact: the term “Kapa Notice” comes from a notable Connecticut case where a tenant won because the landlord failed to provide proper notice.
There are cases where compliance is not possible or will not be an option and the tenant can only vacate the property. This includes the creation of a nuisance by the tenant where his or her conduct constitutes a danger to the health and safety of others or who engages in criminal activity on the premises.
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Notices for Month-to-Month Tenancy
For evictions where the lease is month-to-month and the eviction reason is for nonpayment of rent, the notice cannot be served until 10 days after the rent is due. You do not count the due date. Therefore it would be served on the 11th day after the first of the month. It can also be served at any other time during that month and to the end of the following month.
Notice for Expiration of Lease Term
If the eviction is for the tenant having held over after expiration of the lease term, the tenant is also given a 3-Day Notice to Quit but must be given until the end of the time period when he or she would normally be entitled to vacate.
Service of Notice
A Notice to Quit must be served by a process server or by a state marshal who will provide a form called the State Marshal’s Return of Service along with the original notice, to be filed with the summons and complaint if the tenant fails to comply.
Going to Court – Summons and Complaint
If the tenant does not comply with the notice, the next step in the Connecticut eviction process is for the landlord to file and serve a summons and complaint. The tenant will need to obtain two forms—an Appearance Form and an Answer.
- Appearance Form: The summons states a Return Date whereby the tenant is required to file the Appearance Form by that date, which is within 2 days of it. No actual appearance is required on that date; only that the tenant or his or her attorney file the Appearance before the Return Date.
- Answer: The tenant needs to respond to the landlord’s allegations if there are defenses available. There are special defenses on the Answer form that a tenant can check off, if applicable. The answer must be filed within 2 days after the Return Date so long as the tenant has filed the Appearance.
Motion for Use and Occupancy
A tactic that a landlord can use is to file a Motion for Use and Occupancy if the tenant files an appearance. This requires the tenant to pay the last-agreed rent into the court while the eviction or summary process continues.
Motion for Judgment for Failure to Appear
If the tenant does not file an Appearance, the landlord must file a Motion for Judgment for Failure to Appear along with an endorsed copy of the Notice to Quit. The clerk will issue a judgment and an order to vacate to be served on the tenant within one day.
Motion for Judgment for Failure to Plead
Should the tenant fail to file an answer, the landlord must file a Motion for Judgment for Failure to Plead, which is mailed to the tenant who has 4 days to file an answer. If none is received, the clerk will issue a judgment.
Defenses to Connecticut Eviction
There are a variety of defenses available to a tenant in a Connecticut eviction, including the following:
- Improper service of the Notice to Quit or summons and complaint.
- Insufficient Notice to Quit.
- Compliance was made within the notice time.
- Eviction was in retaliation for filing a complaint against the landlord.
- Eviction is for a discriminatory purpose based on the tenant’s constitutionally protected status such as race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, family status or disability.
- The landlord breached the covenant of quiet enjoyment or failed to provide a fit and habitable premises despite written notice to remedy the condition.
- The tenant did not commit any of the acts constituting a nuisance as alleged.
A trial is held within 10 days after all pleadings are filed. Before the trial, the parties will meet with a mediator or housing specialist to work out a settlement or agreement. Most cases are resolved in this manner. The court must approve the agreement and the parties must abide by it or the complaining party can move the court to continue with the eviction process or to allow the tenant a remedy if the landlord is in breach.
Otherwise, the parties will have an opportunity at the trial to present any docummentary or testimonial evidence and to present defenses.
Order of Execution
If the landlord prevails, the court will issue an order of execution to be given to the state marshal for service on the tenant who will have 24-hours to vacate. There is an automatic 5-day stay of the order to allow the tenant to appeal the judgment.
Stay of Execution
A losing tenant may apply for a stay of execution for up to 3-months if the eviction is for nonpayment of rent. They may apply for a stay up to 6-months for any other reason for the eviction, so long as the tenant pays the rent for the stay period, and any unpaid rent and complies with any other court-imposed conditions. The unpaid past due rent must be paid within 5 days of the order for a stay.