The Connecticut General Statutes Chapter 830 Section 47a-14h gives the tenant the right to withhold rent using the following procedures if a landlord fails to perform his or her duties under the law or fulfill the obligations provided in a residential lease agreement:
Tenant’s Right to Enforce Landlord’s Responsibilities
Payment of Rent Into Court
(a) Any tenant who claims that the landlord has failed to perform his or her legal duties, as required by section 47a-7 or 47a-7a or subdivisions (1) to (13), inclusive, of subsection (a) of section 21-82, may institute an action in the superior court having jurisdiction over housing matters in the judicial district in which such tenant resides to obtain the relief authorized by this section and sections 47a-7a, 47a-20 and 47a-68. No tenant may institute an action under this section if a valid notice to quit possession or occupancy based upon nonpayment of rent has been served on such tenant prior to the institution of an action under this section or if a valid notice to quit possession or occupancy based on any other ground has been served on such tenant prior to such tenant making the complaint to the agency referred to in subsection (b) of this section, provided any such notice to quit is still effective.
Court Complaint Must be Filed
(b) The action shall be instituted by filing a complaint, under oath, with the clerk of the court. The complaint shall allege
- (1) the name of the tenant;
- (2) the name of the landlord;
- (3) the address of the premises;
- (4) the nature of the alleged violation of section 47a-7 or 47a-7a or subsection (a) of section 21-82; and
- (5) the dates when rent is due under the rental agreement and the amount due on such dates. The complaint shall also allege that at least twenty-one days prior to the date on which the complaint is filed, the tenant made a complaint concerning the premises to the municipal agency, in the municipality where the premises are located, responsible for enforcement of the housing code or, if no housing code exists, of the public health code, or to the agency responsible for enforcement of the code or ordinance alleged to have been violated, or to another municipal agency which referred such complaint to the municipal agency responsible for enforcement of such code or ordinance. In the case of a mobile manufactured home located in a mobile manufactured home park, such complaint may be made to the Commissioner of Consumer Protection. The entry fee shall be twenty-five dollars, which may be waived in accordance with section 52-259b. Such entry fee shall be a taxable cost of the action. If, on the same day, more than one tenant from the same building or complex institutes an action under this section and pays the entry fee for such action, unless such fee is waived, the actions shall be treated as a single action. No recognizance or bond shall be required.
Hearing and Inspection
(c) Upon receipt of the complaint, the clerk shall promptly set the matter down for hearing to be held not more than fourteen days after the filing of the complaint or the return of service, whichever is later, and shall cause a copy of the complaint and the notice of the action to be sent separately by certified mail, return receipt requested, to
- (1) each landlord named in the complaint and
- (2) the director of the municipal or state agency to which the tenant has alleged, pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, that a complaint concerning the premises has been made. At such hearing, the agency notified pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection shall submit to the court the inspection report prepared as a result of the complaint made by the tenant.
Proof of Service is Required
(d) If proof of service is not returned to the clerk, the complaint shall be served by the plaintiff in accordance with section 52-57.
Court Ordered Relief
(e) The complainant may seek and the court may order interim or final relief including, but not limited to, the following:
- (1) An order compelling the landlord to comply with the landlord’s duties under local, state or federal law;
- (2) an order appointing a receiver to collect rent or to correct conditions in the property which violate local, state or federal law;
- (3) an order staying other proceedings concerning the same property;
- (4) an award of money damages, which may include a retroactive abatement of rent paid pursuant to subsection (h) of this section; and
- (5) such other relief in law or equity as the court may deem proper. If the court orders a retroactive abatement of rent pursuant to subdivision (4) of this subsection and all or a portion of the tenant’s rent was deposited with the court pursuant to subsection (h) of this section by a housing authority, municipality, state agency or similar entity, any rent ordered to be returned shall be returned to the tenant and such entity in proportion to the amount of rent each deposited with the court pursuant to subsection (h) of this section.
Counterclaim by Landlord May be Filed
(f) The landlord, by counterclaim, may request and the court may issue an order compelling the tenant to comply with his duties under section 47a-11.
Court May Designate Use of Collected Funds
(g) The court, in ordering interim or final relief, may order that accrued payments of rent or use and occupancy held by the clerk be used for the repair of the building or be distributed in accordance with the rights of the parties.
Rent to be Deposited with the Clerk of the Court
(h) On each rent due date on or after the date when the complaint is filed with the clerk of the court, or within nine days thereafter or, in the case of a week-to-week tenancy, within four days thereafter, the tenant shall deposit with the clerk of the court an amount equal to the last agreed-upon rent. If all or a portion of the tenant’s rent is being paid to the landlord by a housing authority, municipality, state agency or similar entity, this requirement shall be satisfied if the tenant deposits an amount equal to such tenant’s portion of the last agreed-upon rent with the clerk. The court may make such entity a party to the action. The clerk shall accept such payment of rent and shall provide the tenant with a receipt. Payment to the clerk shall, for all purposes, be the equivalent of having made payment to the landlord himself. No landlord may maintain an action against a tenant to recover possession for nonpayment of rent if an amount equal to the rent due has been received by the clerk. When the complaint and notice of the action are served pursuant to subsection (c) or (d) of this section, the clerk shall promptly notify the landlord of the receipt of any such payment and of the prohibition against maintaining an action to recover possession for nonpayment of rent. If the complainant fails to make such payment of rent, the court may, after proper notice, upon its own motion or upon motion by the landlord, dismiss the complaint.
Landlord May Request Funds from the Court
(i) The landlord may, at any time, move for the termination of payment into court and the clerk shall promptly schedule a hearing on such motion. If the court finds that the violations of section 47a-7 have been corrected, it shall enter a judgment with respect to the rights and obligations of the parties in the action and with respect to the distribution of any money held by the clerk.
(j) Nothing in this section and sections 47a-20 and 47a-68 shall be construed to limit or restrict in any way any rights or remedies which may be available to a tenant, to the state or to a municipality under any other law.
(k) The judges of the Superior Court may, in accordance with the provisions of section 51-14, adopt rules for actions brought under this section and sections 47a-20 and 47a-68, including the promulgation of a simplified form for the bringing of such actions.
Mobiles Home Parks are Included
(l) For the purposes of this section, “tenant” includes each resident of a mobile manufactured home park, as defined in section 21-64, including a resident who owns his own home, and “landlord” includes a “licensee” and an “owner” of a mobile manufactured home park, as defined in section 21-64.
Conn. Gen. Stat. Title 47a Ch 830 Sec 47a-14h.
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