Evicting a Tenant in Connecticut takes time and is complex. Based on our research, it’s more complex and lengthy than most other States and involves a Marshall. Landlords must follow different steps, according to the perceived rental violation. The eviction process is called a Summary Process and starts with the landlord issuing a Notice to Quit Possession. In Connecticut, Landlords must take care to "dot all the i's and cross all the t's" because a tenant may use a minor detail in the notice, or in the processes to avoid being evicted in a timely manner. The most common reasons to evict in Connecticut include:
- Non-payment of rent
- Violating the original rental/lease agreement
- Not leaving at the end of the rental/lease agreement
The Notice to Quit must include all relevant details: the property's full identification, the names of all resident adults (if known) as well as the clear reason for eviction. Let’s take a look at each possible reason:
- Non-Payment of Rent: The notice must be served by a state marshal, not the landlord. It is a 3-day notice, but those days exclude the day of service and the last day, so it takes a minimum of 5 days, if the tenant complies.
- Violating the Agreement: The notice gives the tenant 15 days to comply, and to correct the violation or to leave. Paying owed damages or otherwise correcting the problem removes the need to vacate. Some violations cannot be corrected, for example, being a danger to others, or engaging in criminal activity. In Connecticut, this 15-day notice is called "A Kapa Notice" and stems from a legal case (Kapa Associates v Flores) which the tenant won because the landlord did not include all necessary details, and so was deemed not to have given proper notice.
- Ending a Month-to-Month Tenancy: If the tenant fails to pay rent for that month, the landlord can give 10 days' notice. The notice begins the day AFTER the rent is due, and may be served at any time from then until the end of the following month.
- Failing to Vacate at the End of a Lease: The tenant gets a 3-Day Notice to Quit.
How to Serve the Eviction Notice
All notices must be served by a state marshal or a process server. The server will deliver a State Marshal's Return of Service along with the landlord's Notice. Both documents must be filed with the summons if the tenant fails to comply. The Court Summons and Eviction Process in Connecticut requires that the landlord file a summons and complaint with a court if the tenant does not comply. The tenant can then use two forms to respond to the summons:
- The Appearance Form. The tenant has 2 days to file this form and may check their defense on it from the list of options.
- The Answer. The tenant uses this form to respond to the landlord's reasons for eviction. The tenant has another 2 days after filing the Appearance Form to return the Answer.
The landlord may demand that the last-agreed rent be paid into court, using a Motion for Use and Occupancy if the tenant does file the Appearance Form, instead of vacating. The tenant cannot, therefore, use the court appearance as a way of avoiding paying any due rent.
If the tenant does not file an Appearance, the landlord should file a Motion for Judgment for Failure to Appear attached to an endorsed copy of the original notice to quit. This triggers the Order to Vacate, which the marshal serves within 1 day.
If the tenant does not file An Answer in the 4 days, the landlord requests a Motion for Judgment for Failure to Plead. The clerk mails it to the tenant who has 4 days to respond. If the tenant still fails to answer, the clerk will issue a judgment.
If the tenant does answer the notice to quit, a trial is held within 10 days. Both parties meet with a mediator or housing specialist before the trial in the hope that the parties can settle or agree without going to court. If they do reach an agreement, the court must approve it, and both parties are obligated to comply with it. If the tenant fails to comply, the landlord may continue with the eviction.
If the case goes to court, without mediation agreement, both parties present their cases. If the landlord prevails, then the court will issue An Order of Execution after 5 days, to give the tenant time to appeal. The marshal serves the Order, giving the tenant 24 hours to vacate.
Stay of Execution
The judgment is not the end of it. A tenant who loses a case may apply for a Stay of Execution. If the court approves the Stay, the tenant may remain for up to 3 months if the eviction was for non-payment of rent, and for up to 6 months for any other reason. The tenant must continue to pay their rent, must bring any arrears up to date within the 5 day appeal period, and must obey any court-issued conditions.
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