Working With Connecticut Residential and Commercial Landlords and Property Developers Seeking to Enforce the Terms of a Lease or Evict Problem Tenants
Financial success as a landlord, whether a multi-state company or an small LLC with a few units, depends in large part on ensuring that your properties are used in ways that maximize their value and that the rent is paid on time. Often this involves the enforcement of the terms of your lease and the ability to remove tenants who are negatively affecting your rental income through nonpayment or driving down the value of your property.
As a landlord, it is extremely important to understand your rights and to stay informed about new (and continuously evolving) developments in Connecticut’s landlord-tenant law. To help you achieve this goal, we have provided an easy-to-search catalog of hundreds of articles on legal issues of interest to landlords and property managers.
To discuss your specific case with an attorney familiar with the relevant law in the state, call Landlord Law Firm today at (203) 874-4747 or send us an email through our online contact form.
Nonpayment of Rent
While your lease may cover the way the property will be used, the essence of your lease agreement is that you will allow the tenant to occupy your property in return for periodic (typically monthly) rental payments. As a result, the nonpayment of rent is among the most egregious—and unfortunately, the most common and vexing—violations of a lease agreement, and landlords should do everything they can to enforce their rights when the rent has stopped coming in. In many cases, addressing the nonpayment of rent as soon as possible can rectify the problem before it gets out of control and can mitigate any losses that you could potentially sustain.
Connecticut law allows landlords to begin eviction proceedings against tenants just a few days after the rent was due. The law states that the rent is immediately late and that, after a brief grace period, the landlord may charge late fees and initiate legal proceedings to address the late payment. If your informal attempts to collect the rent as dictated by your operational policies prove unsuccessful, you may use the legal process to enforce your rights, including a complete eviction if necessary.
If you choose to evict a tenant for unpaid rent, understand that both landlords and tenants have rights, and failure to follow the legal procedures associated with eviction can result in your tenant raising legal defenses to eviction that may allow him or her to stay in the unit—while still not paying rent. Commonly raised defenses to eviction include:
- The rent has been paid in full
- The rent was tendered by the tenant and refused by the landlord
- Improper service of a notice to quit
- The landlord engaged in self-help eviction
- The unit was not adequately maintained by the landlord
It is critically important that you act swiftly—and accurately. Your failure to act promptly can eliminate your ability to use the legal system to enforce your lease and protect your rights.
The terms of your lease protect your interest in your property in many ways. For example, a residential landlord may have a “no pets” policy that is intended to minimize the amount of time or money you need to spend cleaning or updating a unit when you are getting it ready for a new tenant. Likewise, a commercial landlord may have clauses in a lease that promise tenants not to rent to competitor businesses or that restrict business activities with a high likelihood to cause property damage.
As is the case with situations involving past-due rent, Connecticut law and your lease terms allow landlords and property managers to protect their interests in the property and the lease through the use of what the Connecticut Housing Courts call “summary process.” This is designed to get cases into the court and before a judge on a much faster timeline than traditional court cases might follow. If your efforts to address violations of the terms of the lease directly with the tenant prove fruitless, it is advisable to retain an attorney who can initiate legal action quickly and protect your interests throughout the entire court process.
Serious Nuisance Violations
Some lease violations meet the statutory definition of a serious nuisance on your property. For example, if you suspect that the tenant is using your property for illegal purposes or engaging in conduct that threatens the safety of your other tenants, begin the process of eviction as soon as you can. When you do, you follow all relevant procedures to ensure that your legal rights as a landlord are fully protected. Failure to do so may result in your problem tenant staying in the property longer, potentially exposing you to financial losses and even legal liabilities in the event that your other tenants are harmed as a result of the problem tenant’s actions.
Call the Landlord Law Firm to Speak with a Connecticut Eviction and Lease Enforcement Attorney Today
Dealing with problem tenants can be complicated and frustrating, especially when you are not completely aware of your legal rights. If you’re a landlord or property manager who’s considering evicting a tenant or believe that a tenant is in violation of a lease, speak to an experienced landlord attorney as early as possible. At Landlord Law Firm, we focus our entire practice on providing effective and solution-based counsel and representation to landlords throughout Connecticut. We’ve successfully handled nearly 20,000 summary process and eviction cases spanning every housing court in the state. To schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at (203) 874-4747, or send us an email through our online contact form.