Special Protections for Seniors
A. CT Laws that Afford Special Protections for Seniors
a. Tenants who are seniors (elderly persons) or disabled may terminate written leases before the lease expires if accepted into state or federal subsidized housing
i. An elderly peson is defined as someone 62 years or older (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 8-113a(m)).
ii. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 8-116d: permits seniors and tenants with disabilities to terminate written leases before the expiration date if the senior or disabled tenant is accepted into a federal or state subsidized housing unit, provided the senior or disabled person gives thirty days written notice to the landlord.
b. Limit on the amount of security deposit seniors may be charged
i. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-21(b)(2): if a tenant is 62 years or older, the landlord may only charge up to one month’s periodic rent as a security deposit.
ii. If a tenant turns 62 and has tendered a security deposit "in an amount or value in excess of one month’s periodic rent," then the landlord must refund the excess upon the request of the tenant.
iii. The landlord must pay interest on security deposit- The amount of interest equals the average rate paid on savings deposits by insured commercial banks. NOTE: There is not a higher interest rate for seniors.
1. The Department of Banking publishes the deposit index each year. In 2018, the interest rate is 0.09% (see Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-21(i)). The webpage can be found at http://www.ct.gov/dob/cwp/view.asp?a=2247&q=299048
c. Pets may be allowed housing for the elderly
i. State Financed Elder Housing- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 8-116b: "No housing project ... may prohibit the keeping of one pet by any resident in any such housing projects if the residents of any such project, by majority vote, determine that pets shall be allowed in such project." NOTE: The pet must not constitute a threat or nuisance to others.
ii. Federally Financed Elder Housing- 12 U.S.C. § 1701r-1: Prohibits discrimination against applicants and tenants who have common household pets. The law, however, does not prevent a Housing Authority or an owner from seeking to remove a pet that is a danger to health and safety of others.
iii. In buildings where there is a no-pet policy, the senior may make a request for a reasonable accommodation for a service pet.
d. When does summary process apply?
i. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-2- Arrangements exempted from Summary Process
1. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-2 (a)(6)- A disabled person may not have to go through summary process to remove a personal care assistant, who is employed to assist or support a disabled person with daily living activities or housekeeping chores and is provided dwelling space in the personal residence of such disabled person as a benefit or condition of such employment.
ii. Managed residential communities (MRCs) - Provide housing and "core services" to residents. MRCs are affiliated with Assisted Living Service Agencies (ALSAs).
1. Conn. Gen. Stat. 19a-697(a)(18)- Resident’s bill of rights in managed residential community- Each resident has the same rights and privileges afforded to tenants under Title 47a.
iii. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-535- Discharge statute for nursing home residents
iv. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-535a- Discharge statute for residents of residential care facilities
e. Landlord cannot discriminate against a tenant who is disabled by refusing to allow such tenant to make reasonable modifications to the existing premises at the tenant’s expense or by refusing to make reasonable accommodations in its rules, policies or practices to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling
i. CT Fair Housing Act- See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-64c
ii. Federal Fair Housing Act- Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3600 - 3620.
iv. If the housing is federally assisted, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act requires that the owner may have to pay for the costs of any necessary modification or accommodation
f. "Good Cause" to evict seniors
i. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-23c- if a tenant is 62 years or older or disabled and lives in a building of five or more units, then the landlord must have good cause to evict. Permissible reasons are found at Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-23c(b)(1)
ii. In 2012, the CT legislature expanded the definition of "disability" to include mental as well as physical disability.