Connecticut Eviction Process
October 23, 2023
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Eviction in Connecticut
If you own and rent properties in the state of Connecticut, you are responsible for complying with Connecticut eviction laws. In this article, we break down each step of the legal eviction process in Connecticut.
Connecticut’s eviction laws can be found at CS § 47a-43-49.
Eviction Process in Connecticut
- Landlord serves a three- or 15- day eviction notice.
- Landlord files an eviction lawsuit with the court.
- Court serves tenant the summons.
- Tenant files an appearance and answer.
- Landlord and tenant attend court hearing and receive judgment.
- Tenant gets 24 hours to move out.
- State marshal arrives to forcibly remove the tenant.
In Connecticut, tenants can be evicted for violating the lease agreement, failing to pay rent, causing a public or serious nuisance, holding over after the lease expires, refusing to accept a rent increase, or otherwise failing to comply with their responsibilities as listed in CS § 47a-11.
It’s important to note that accepting the rent during the eviction process does not interfere with the legal action, so long as the landlord includes a disclaimer informing the tenant of this fact in the termination notice (CS § 47a-23(e)). If no disclaimer is included, acceptance of overdue rent during the eviction process constitutes a waiver of the landlord’s right to terminate the lease for that reason (CS § 47a-19).
1. Landlord Serves a Three- or 15-Day Eviction Notice
If the tenant commits any of the above lease violations, the landlord’s first step is to serve a Connecticut eviction notice. There are four possible eviction notices a landlord may send in Connecticut:
- Rent Demand Notice: 3 days to pay or quit. If rent is unpaid when due, the landlord must deliver this notice stating the amount of unpaid rent and late fees required to remedy the breach and the date on which the lease will terminate if they are not paid (not less than three days after receipt of the notice) (CS § 47a-23(a)).
- Lease Violation Notice: 15 days to cure or quit. If a tenant commits a material noncompliance that affects the health and safety of other tenants, threatens the physical condition of the premises, or breaches any other condition of the lease or the law, the landlord may deliver this notice. The notice should describe the breach, what is required to remedy it, and the date on which the lease will terminate if the tenant does not cure the breach (not less than 15 days after receipt of the notice) (CS § 47a-15).
- Repeat Violation Notice: 3 days to quit. If the tenant commits substantially the same violation as a previous one within six months, the landlord may send a three-day quit notice with no opportunity to cure or fix the violation (CS § 47a-15).
- Unconditional Notice to Quit: 3 days to quit. This notice gives no opportunity to “cure” the violation and applies if the tenant commits one of the following “serious nuisances” on the leased premises as per CS § 47a-15 and § 47a-23a:
- Inflicts bodily harm to another tenant or the landlord
- Threatens to inflict real harm
- Substantially and willfully destroys of part of the property
- Presents an immediate and serious danger to others’ safety
- Uses the premises or allows the premises to be used for prostitution or the illegal sale of drugs
All notices should be served to the tenant in writing or left at the rental unit by a state marshal, but they can be delivered any day of the week (CS § 47a-23(c)).
2. Landlord Files an Eviction Lawsuit with the Court
If the tenant has not cured the breach by the end of the notice period (or if the violation is uncurable and the notice period expires), the landlord can then file an eviction complaint at the Connecticut Superior Court in the judicial district where the rental property is located (CS § 47a-43).
- The landlord and tenant’s names
- The judicial district, town/city, and return date
- The lease start date, type (oral or written), and term
- The rental property address
- The rental rate and date due
- The date the tenant failed to pay rent (for nonpayment cases)
- The date the landlord served a Notice to Quit (End) Possession
- The landlord’s signature and the date
The landlord should attach a copy of the Notice to Quit to the complaint and submit a copy of the written lease to the court separately as an Exhibit. The landlord will also need to pay a filing fee of $175 at this time.
3. Court Serves Tenant the Summons
After the landlord files a claim, the judge of the court will issue a summons and direct it to a state officer to be served. The Summons—Summary Process (Eviction) form (downloadable here) will ask the tenant to appear in court at a specified time and place. The summons also provides directions for the tenant regarding how to properly respond to the summons (see next section).
The summons, together with a copy of the complaint, must be served to the tenant by a state marshal, a constable, or another authorized officer (CS § 52-50). The officer must serve it via personal delivery to the tenant or by leaving a copy at the rental property. This must be done at least six days prior to the eviction hearing (CS § 47a-43(c)).
4. Tenant Files an Appearance/Answer
After receiving the summons, the tenant must file two documents: an Appearance form (downloadable here) and an Answer to Complaint form (found here). Failing to file either will result in a default judgment against the tenant.
The appearance is an acknowledgement that the tenant received the complaint and the hearing information. If the tenant does not file an appearance within two days after the return date on the summons, the landlord can request a default judgment against the tenant, meaning no court hearing will be held and the landlord will automatically get possession of the property back (CS § 47a-26).
If the tenant wants to contest the eviction and have a chance of winning the case, they must also “plead,” or file a written answer. The answer explains why the tenant believes they should not be evicted or why the case against them is invalid. The tenant must file the answer within the same two-day period or else the landlord can pursue a default judgment. If the tenant still hasn’t filed a plead within three days after this motion, the court will enter a default judgment against the tenant (CS § 47a-26a).
5. Landlord and Tenant Attend Court Hearing and Receive Judgment
The eviction hearing will be scheduled for no more than eight days after the filing date.
On the day of the eviction hearing, the landlord should bring copies of the lease agreement, the eviction notice with proof of service, the complaint, and any evidence of the lease violation. Both the landlord and tenant will present their cases and any evidence to the judge, who will afterwards issue a judgment. If the judgment is in the landlord’s favor, the Superior Court will issue an order for the landlord’s restitution of the property. A second, separate hearing will be held to determine any monetary judgments (CS § 47a-26f).
The issuance of the writ of restitution (aka Order of Restitution, downloadable here) will be automatically stayed (delayed) for five days, excluding Sundays and legal holidays. The tenant must move out within that five-day period (CS § 47a-35(a)). If they do not, the sheriff will post the writ, stating that the tenant must leave or be forcibly removed.
The tenant may file a motion for a stay of execution with the court if they need additional time to move out. To do so, the tenant must file an application in triplicate with the clerk of the Superior Court, and the execution of the judgment will be postponed until a decision is made on the application. After the motion is filed, the court will either grant the motion, deny it, or schedule a hearing on it within one court day after (CS § 47a-26i). The tenant can also appeal the judgment, but they must do so within the five days immediately following the judgment (CS § 47a-35(b)).
6. Tenant Gets 24 Hours to Move Out
If the tenant does not move out within the five days before the writ issues, the landlord may request a state marshal to forcibly remove the tenant (CS § 47a-42(a)). To do so, the landlord will need to obtain a Summary Process Execution for Possession (Eviction) form (downloadable here) from the clerk’s office, complete the form, pay a fee, and give it to a state marshal for service to the tenant.
The state marshal will then serve the execution form upon the tenant or post a copy on the rental premises. Once it is served/posted, the tenant gets at least 24 hours’ final notice to vacate the property or else be forcibly removed.
7. State Marshal Arrives to Forcibly Remove the Tenant and Their Property
If the tenant remains in the rental unit once the 24 hours are up, the state marshal will return to execute the writ, forcibly remove the tenant, and restore possession of the property to the landlord.
Upon execution, the marshal will also deliver the tenant’s personal property to a storage place designated by the chief executive officer after first making a reasonable effort to locate the tenant and serve them notice of the eviction/removal of their property. The landlord will have to pay a fee to the state marshal to remove the belongings, but the costs of removal and storage are at the tenant’s expense (the landlord can recover costs).
If the tenant does not reclaim their property and pay the chief executive officer for the cost of storage within fifteen days after the eviction, their belongings may be sold at a public auction. The chief executive officer will deliver the net proceeds of the sale to the tenant (after deducting reasonable storage costs), unless the tenant does not demand the net proceeds within thirty days, after which they should be turned over to the town treasury (CS § 47a-42(c)).
Evicting a Squatter in Connecticut
A squatter is a person who moves into a vacant or abandoned property without getting permission from the owner or paying rent. Squatters can usually be charged as criminal trespassers and be evicted like any other tenant. However, some squatters can receive the right to possession by meeting certain state-determined criteria. According to squatters rights in Connecticut, squatters must have lived in the property for 15 consecutive years to invoke Connecticut squatters rights and claim right of possession (CS § 52-575). Their possession must also be:
- Hostile/Adverse—The squatter must not have a valid lease with the owner
- Actual—The squatter must be actively residing on the property
- Open and Notorious—The squatter is openly and obviously living there.
- Exclusive—The squatter does not share possession of the property with anyone else.
- Continuous—The squatter must hold continuous and uninterrupted possession.
While relatively rare, if a squatter meets all these criteria, they have “color of title”: the right of legal ownership without having a written deed to the property. They can file an action for adverse possession in Connecticut to legally obtain the title to the property. However, in most cases, a squatter will not meet the criteria and can be removed. If you think a squatter is living in your vacant property in Connecticut, you should:
- Call local law enforcement.
- Determine whether the person is a trespasser or a squatter.
- If the person is a trespasser, they can be removed immediately by a police officer.
- If the person is a squatter, you must contact the sheriff’s office.
- Send the squatter an eviction notice as per Connecticut eviction law.
- If the squatter does not vacate the premises by the end of the 7-day period, file for eviction and follow the typical eviction process.
- Only the sheriff can physically remove a squatter from your property. You cannot do so, and neither can a police officer.
Connecticut Eviction Cost Estimates
How much does the eviction process cost in Connecticut? This chart shows estimates of the costs of a Connecticut eviction, according to civil procedure in the state and iPropertyManagement. A highly accurate estimate of an eviction is impossible to provide, as cases and circumstances vary so widely. Remember to factor in other losses due to an eviction as well, such as lost rent, time, and stress.
|Service of eviction notice by state marshal||$35-$45|
|Service of court summons||$45-$60|
|Service of writ of restitution||$50|
|Average locksmith fees||$160|
|Tenant turnover costs||Varies|
Connecticut Eviction Time Estimates
The chart below shows an estimate of the duration of each part of the eviction process. Keep in mind that the length of eviction cases varies widely depending on the complexity of the eviction, the court’s current caseload, and whether or not the tenant contests or appeals the lawsuit.
|Eviction notice period||3-15 days|
|Issuance and service of summons to tenant||6 days prior to hearing|
|Tenant response period||2-5 days|
|Eviction hearing||8 days after filing|
|Service of writ of restitution||5 days|
|Time to quit after writ is posted||24 hours|
|Total||4 weeks to 2 months|
- Notice to Quit (End) Possession
- Summary Process (Eviction) Complaint—Nonpayment of Rent
- Summary Process (Eviction Complaint)—Termination of Lease by Lapse of Time
- Summons—Summary Process (Eviction)
- Summary Process (Eviction) Answer to Complaint
- Order of Restitution
- Summary Process Execution for Possession (Eviction)
- Connecticut Superior Court Filing Fees – This site includes information about how much it costs to file various documents with the Superior Court in Connecticut.
- A Landlord’s Guide to Summary Process (Eviction) – This handbook is a guide to the eviction process for landlords in Connecticut.
- A Tenant’s Guide to Summary Process (Steps in an Eviction Action) – This handbook is a guide to the eviction process for tenants in Connecticut.
- Connecticut Judiciary Court Forms – This page has downloadable copies of all the court forms required for evictions in Connecticut.
The eviction process in any state can be long and complex, so hiring an eviction attorney is advised in most cases. It’s also important to note that municipalities and local governments often have stricter laws and requirements for landlords, so be sure to check local statutes as well as state ones. However, by reviewing the legal procedures and Connecticut laws on eviction, you can feel more confident pursuing an eviction in this state.
Innago does not provide legal advice. The content and materials provided in this article are for general informational purposes only and may not be the most up-to-date information.