Connecticut Tenant Screening
Last Updated: January 9, 2015
The name Connecticut originates from the Mohegan word quonehtacut, meaning place of long tidal river. Connecticuts official nickname, adopted in 1959, is The Constitution State, based on its colonial constitution of 1638-39 which was the first in America and, arguably, the world. Unofficially, but popularly, Connecticut is also known as The Nutmeg State. The origins of the nutmeg connection to Connecticut are unknown. It may have come from its sailors returning from voyages with nutmeg.
How to Screen a Tenant in Connecticut
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Step 1: Know Your Rights & Responsibilities
Landlords and property managers are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF] (FCRA) during the tenant screening process. Additionally, Connecticut has laws that affect the tenant screening process. You can find the current Connecticut Housing Codes on the Connecticut State Legislature website. If you are finding the formalities of the state code daunting, you might want to check out these friendlier sites:
- Overview of Landlord-Tenant Laws in Connecticut
- Rights And Responsibilities Of Landlords And Tenants In Connecticut
Recent Law Changes
Connecticut multi-unit property owners haven’t been in a rush to charge commercial and residential tenants for their individual energy use since the state approved the practice, known as submetering, in mid-July. However, that could change quickly as the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority finalizes the state’s submetering regulations before the end of this year, and third-party providers begin to enter the market to encourage landlords to make the switch. Hartford Business Journal
Step 2: Required Forms & Disclosures
Tip: before you rent for the first time, consider hiring a lawyer to review all of the documents you will use during the application and rental process to ensure that you are protected to the fullest extent of the law.
- Rental Application [PDF] (this must be completed in full by the applicant prior to screening)
- Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF]
- Consumer Report Disclosure [PDF]
If you are ACCEPTING an applicant:
- Move-In Checklist [PDF]
- Mold: Under CGS 47a-7, landlords must make all repairs and do whatever is needed to put and keep their premises in fit and habitable condition, except where they are intentionally made unfit or uninhabitable by the tenant, a member of the tenant’s family, or other person on the premises with the tenant’s consent. Landlords also must comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety.Connecticut Mold Options
- Lease Agreement (written), containing or attaching the following information:
- Owner/Agent Identity – this should include name and address, and if the owner/agent is out-of-state it must include contact information for a resident of the COUNTY in which the rental is located that can act as an agent for the purposes of serving notices and process.
- Security Deposit – this must include the amount of the deposit and the conditions under which some or all of the deposit may be withheld. It must also include the name and banking institution holding the deposit.
- Non-refundable Fees – explicitly describe any non-refundable fees, and state clearly that they are non-refundable.
- Fire Protection & Safety Information: You must disclose the available fire protection and safety information specific to the unit you are renting, including smoking policy, evacuation plans, and who to notify in case of emergency.
- Common Interest Community: When a Connecticut rental is in a common interest community, the landlord must give the tenant a written notice before signing a lease. (Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. 47a-3e)
- Owner Or Agent Identity: Before the beginning of the tenancy, Connecticut landlords must disclose the name and address of the person authorized to manage the premises and the person who is authorized to receive all notices, demands, and service of process. (Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. 47a-6)
If you are DECLINING an applicant:
- Adverse Action Notice [PDF]
Step 3: Order a Tenant Screening Report
What You’ll Need
- A completed rental application signed by the applicant.
- Some details about your applicant:
- Email address
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Previous address
- Bank account number (optional)
- Bank routing number (optional)
What Will Be Covered
- Package Options
- Background Report Coverage for Connecticut:
- Criminal, OFAC/Patriot Act & Sex Offender Records – A nationwide search is always performed. These jurisdictions specifically are available in Connecticut: CT Department Of Corrections, CT Sex Offender Registry.
- Eviction Records – records are available from the following counties: Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, Tolland, Windham.
- Bankruptcies, Liens & Judgments – records are available from the following counties: Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, Tolland, Windham.
- Social Security Number validation, Death Index, credit checks, previous addresses, alias names, and the Rent Check Advisor include all information available regardless of location.
Resources for Connecticut Landlords
- Connecticut State Bar Association Lawyer Search
- Connecticut Courts Directory
- Law Enforcement Agencies in Connecticut (Wikipedia)