Lawmakers in Connecticut do their best to balance legal protections for landlords with protections for their tenants. Security deposit law is kind of like a tightrope walk that attempts to both protect landlords from non-paying tenants or damage to their property while also trying to protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords who will keep their money without true justification.
Once you understand security deposit laws in Connecticut, it will be easier for you to advocate for yourself whether you are a landlord who needs to retain that deposit or you are a tenant who wants their deposit back.
What does a landlord have to do if they want to keep a security deposit?
Connecticut law allows a landlord to charge up to two months rent for a security deposit. They should put these funds in a special interest-bearing account, and the tenant should receive both the deposit and the interest accrued on the deposit back unless the landlord can make credible claims regarding unpaid rent or damages to the property.
Tenants have an obligation to notify their landlord in writing of their forwarding address once they intend to leave the rental unit and end their lease. Once the tenant vacates the unit, the landlord has 30 days in which to provide them with a written statement about any damages to the unit or other justifications for keeping some or all of the security deposit. The tenant can then respond to them and potentially counter their claims with their own documentation.
If the landlord does not have proof of unpaid rent or damage to the property, they must return the security deposit. However, if the tenant did not provide a forwarding address as required, the landlord can hold the funds until they do. Once they have the address, the landlord will still have the obligation to return the security deposit within 15 days in most cases.
What can you do if there's a disagreement about the deposit?
There are certainly circumstances where a tenant views damage to the property as standard wear and tear or depreciation, while the landlord views it as damage that they should be able to recoup through the security deposit.
In some cases, these situations can result in both parties heading to court. Getting help with your security deposit issue can make it easier for you to advocate for yourself and secure a positive outcome.