Renter’s Rights: Broken Items

Published: Feb. 23, 2022 at 11:43 AM EST
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CONNECTICUT. (WFSB) - What happens when something breaks inside your rented home?

Crystal Campbell lives in a home on Magnolia Street in Hartford. While it may look fine from the street, if you look closely, you’ll see what’s draining hundreds of dollars from Campbell’s account each and every month.

She has a significant gap between her door and the frame.

“It gets to the point where I have to put blankets down to insulate. To prevent the air from getting in,” said Campbell.

The Director of Hartford’s Blight Remediation Program, Judith Rothschild, has some recommendations if you are in a similar situation.

She said to get the complaint it, then landlords have 21 days to acknowledge the complaint and show they are working to fix it.

If they don’t act in time “The code inspector could issue what’s called a citation, which would allow the imposition of fines on a daily basis for each day the owner does not comply with the order that’s issued. If it’s against the tenant, the same thing,” said Rothschild.

The fines are capped at $7,500 per violation.

Lack of heat is a common complaint. In Connecticut, landlords are required to keep it no colder that 65 degrees, all year round.

If it’s lower than that call your landlord. If there is no response, call the city.

The city will inspect it. If it is too cold, the landlord may be required to provide space heaters or and alternate shelter until it is fixed.

“Code Enforcement agencies throughout the state of Connecticut are very busy responding to these complaints what we call the No Heat Season,” said Rothschild.

When it comes to broken appliances, likes stoves or refrigerators, landlords are responsible for keeping things in working order.

This does not mean the appliances are brand new.

Tenets can be charged if the caused the damage.

In Bristol, Sarah Giannamore’s mailbox is broken.

“My mailbox has not locked properly for the last six months. The door will open randomly. When others go to get their mail, my door will open even when it’s locked,” said Giannamore.

That is causing mail carriers, like Jean Louis, to not deliver.

“If the mailbox is open like this, I will not leave mail,” said Louis.

Giannamore has to drive to the post office to get her mail. What can she do?

Rothschild said she can go to the town, but USPS should be her first stop.

“I believe the obligation of the landlord to have a secure mailbox falls within the US Postal Service,” said Rothschild.