STEP 1: Ask your landlord to make repairs.
If the repairs are urgent, call the landlord and tell them right away. Ask when they are coming to make these urgent repairs. Some examples of urgent repairs are
- flooding or leaking water, and
- a broken window or a door that won’t open or close.
It’s best to also ask in writing for repairs to be made. Keep copies of any letters, emails, or text messages that you send. If you see the landlord, ask about the status of your request and make a note in your calendar about what the landlord told you.
If your landlord does not make repairs when you ask, go to Step 2.
STEP 2: Make a complaint to the code enforcement office or health department of the city or town where you live.
Call 2-1-1 or go to www.211ct.org to get the phone number for the code enforcement office in your town. It is also possible that the health department in your town enforces the housing or building code. Call and tell them you want to file a complaint, and ask to have someone inspect your apartment. Make sure to write down the day you called and the name of the person you spoke to.
Make every effort to be home when the inspector comes to your apartment.
- Write down the inspector's name.
- Show the inspector everything that needs to be fixed.
- Ask when you can get a copy of their report.
- Go to the inspector’s office and get a copy of the report.
If you have not heard from the landlord about making the repairs or seen any changes in three weeks, go to Step 3.
STEP 3: Start a lawsuit in court.
You can start your lawsuit if your landlord doesn’t fix the problems within 21 days after you filed the complaint with the code enforcement office or health department in your town or city. Remember: You cannot start a court case without first having an inspection (step 2).
The court can order the landlord to make the repairs. You will pay the rent you would have given the landlord to the court clerk instead. You might also get some of your rent money back because the landlord didn’t make the repairs on time.
If think your landlord may try to evict you, start your case before you get eviction papers. If you already got eviction papers, it may be too late to start your case. Here are some things you can do:
- Call your local Code Enforcement Office right away and ask for an inspection.
- Talk to a lawyer.
- Don't give up. The repairs needed may help you win the eviction case. You can use the landlord’s failure to make repairs as a defense in the eviction case against you.