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Nuisance Conduct by Connecticut Tenants

Representing Landlords When Addressing Tenants Who Become Nuisances

Many people think the term nuisance refers to annoying or bothersome people. However, nuisance is also a legal term that refers to a party who engages in specific types of actions that affect others’ abilities to use and enjoy their properties. Private property owners can bring nuisance claims in civil court to stop the behavior, but dealing with a tenant who becomes a nuisance can be a different matter for a Connecticut landlord.

If you believe you have a tenant who engages in nuisance conduct, you should not delay in discussing your options for addressing the matter with an experienced landlord rights attorney. At the Landlord Law Firm, we have helped hundreds of property owners with more than 50,000 units successfully, efficiently, and cost-effectively deal with a wide range of problematic tenant behaviors.

Common Examples of Nuisance Conduct

Connecticut landlord-tenant laws have a specific provision in Section 47a-32 that defines the term “nuisance” in the landlord context to mean “conduct which interferes substantially with the comfort or safety of other tenants or occupants of the same or adjacent buildings or structure.” Examples nuisance behaviors include:

  • Excessive noise due to music, partying, or arguments
  • Foul odors due to pets, smoking, or other causes
  • Excessive waste or trash
  • Harassment of others

In addition to the above, Connecticut law defines certain tenant behaviors as “a serious nuisance,” which allow for an expedited summary process to remove the tenant. Such behaviors include:

  • Inflicting physical harm or threatening to do so (with the apparent ability to cause harm) on a landlord or another tenant.
  • Willful and significant destruction of the premises or building.
  • Any other conduct that creates the risk of serious and immediate danger to the landlord or other tenants.
  • Using the property to sell illegal drugs or for prostitution. (Note that drug sales that take place within 1,500 feet public housing are considered a serious nuisance).

How you handle nuisance conduct as a landlord will, of course, depend largely on the nature and severity of the conduct in question. Our attorneys at the Landlord Law Firm will evaluate your specific situations and help you devise plans to handle your nuisance tenants.

How to Address Nuisance Tenants

Some nuisance tenants may not be harmful, but their bothersome behaviors may simply cause complications with your other tenants. Such tenants may not realize that their behaviors are issues until you warn them of the possible consequences of continuing their behaviors—which could include terminating their lease agreements.

In certain situations, giving tenants informal verbal warnings that continued behavior will lead to eviction is enough to get them to stop the offending behaviors. Trying this approach first whenever possible can save all of you time, money, and stress—they do not have to find new places to live and you do not have to find new tenants.

If the behavior continues and is not considered a “serious nuisance,” our attorneys can help you prepare and serve a pre-termination notice, which, in certain situations, gives tenants a period of time to repair the damages or pay for their repairs. Otherwise, this notice serves as a necessary prerequisite for taking further legal action should the behaviors continue or the tenants fail to remedy the situations.

However, if behaviors in question constitute a serious nuisance under the law, you may not need to provide a preliminary notice to the tenants. Instead, you may choose to serve them with a Notice to Quit that only gives them three days to voluntarily vacate the premises. In such situations, you want to be as careful as possible during these three days in case the tenant reacts by again engaging in harmful, criminal, or threatening behavior.

By discussing your tenant’s nuisance conduct with a knowledgeable landlord attorney, you can find the right solution to resolve the matter in the most efficient manner possible. Sometimes losing a nuisance tenant can actually increase profitability in the long run because it makes your property a more enjoyable place to live for other tenants.

Representing You in Eviction Proceedings When Needed

Whether tenants pose a nuisance or a serious nuisance, they may fail to leave the premises upon request or demand. In such situations, you must turn to the courts to obtain an eviction judgment and serve your tenants with a Complaint and Summons. Whether you obtain a default judgment or must go to trial, our landlord attorneys will represent you through every stage of the legal process.

Consult With a Highly Skilled Connecticut Landlord Attorney for More Information

Having any type of problem tenant is always stressful, and it is understandable that a landlord may not want to immediately resort to eviction unless it is absolutely necessary. Eviction means that you will lose rental income and have to go through the process of turning your unit and finding and screening new tenants. With the Landlord Law Firm, you can trust that we will explore every possible solution to resolve your problem before resorting to eviction—unless the situation is serious enough to warrant immediate eviction.

Our skilled legal team commits their entire practice to being advocates for landlords in Connecticut. We have a catalog of articles on hundreds of landlord advocacy topics available for you to browse or search. However, if you have specific questions or concerns regarding your particular circumstances as a landlord, never hesitate to contact one of our landlord lawyers directly to discuss your situation and your options. Please call the Landlord Law Firm at (203) 874-4747 or write to us through our website to learn more about how we can help you today.