Rent increases may be a common point of contention between Connecticut tenants and landlords. Disputes over rental increases are common, so it is important for landlords and tenants to understand the legal ramifications of changing rent. Violations of the law can lead to unnecessary conflict and expense.
According to the Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants in Connecticut, landlords may raise the rent at any time. However, the increase may not take place within the time frame of the written lease agreement. For example, if a tenant signs a 6-month lease with the agreement of paying $1,000 a month in rent, the landlord may not raise the rent during that 6-month period. Additionally, the landlord may raise the rent without giving tenants any prior notice.
On the other hand, renters may reject paying the amount if they think it exceeds the fair market value. In this instance, they have the option of either paying their current rent amount or paying an amount above that, which they believe to be the fair market value, even though it is less than what a landlord requests. Under these circumstances, a landlord may not be able to successfully evict a tenant for non-payment of rent. The landlord may still be able to evict the tenant on other grounds.
Another option some Connecticut renters have is to file a complaint with a Fair Rent Commission. There are various communities throughout the state that have created these commissions. They are often empowered to investigate excessive rent claims.
Fair Rent Commissions may hold public hearings when necessary. The purpose of the hearings is to determine whether the rent increase aligns with the fair market value. According to the Hartford FRC, there are several factors taken into account when determining fair market value. These include an apartment’s health and safety conditions, the landlord’s taxes as well as bedroom sizes and numbers. The existence of these commissions and their prior findings places pressure on landlords to understand fair market value and be prepared to answer questions about rent increases that do not fall squarely beneath that figure.