CT Legislature holds public hearing on bill that would lower security deposit amounts

CT Legislature holds public hearing on bill that would lower security deposit amounts
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 6:27 PM EST
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - All this week, we’ve been telling you about your rights as a renter, and the legislature is looking at taking action.

After a marathon hearing earlier this week on a bill that would cap annual rent increases, lawmakers are considering a task force that would study the pros and cons of implementing what’s called rent stabilization.

They’re also looking at lowering the amount a landlord can ask for, in a security deposit.

Lawmakers said that these bills are geared toward the bad actors in housing.

They heard testimony from both landlords and tenants on several housing bills Thursday afternoon.

One of the bills, called an act expanding renters’ rights, got a lot of pushback.

“It’s so difficult to find apartments because of the requirements that they have, it’s ridiculous.

Quanishe Flippen of Hartford has 3 kids, two jobs, and she’s still been searching for a new apartment for almost a year.

“I’ve probably applied to like 20 different apartments and I haven’t gotten accepted, for anything,” says Flippen.

She came to speak to the housing committee in support of rent stabilization and a bill that would lower the amount a landlord can ask for in a security deposit.

If the bill passes, landlords could only ask for the equivalent of one month’s rent. Right now, it’s two months.

Flippen says that would really help tenants across Connecticut.

“I can save up for that but also, it’s the cost of moving. Not only does it cost me the $2,000 to save up for the security deposit, I have to think about the money to get the furniture there, to pay people to help me move in,” says Flippen.

But landlord Rick Bush says the bill would only hurt tenants in the long run, because they take less risk on tenants that might have been willing to work with before.

“Landlords are going to increase the percentage of income to rent, they’re going to need to guarantee that tenants are going to be able to pay, longer employment history, increase credit score,” says Bush.

Bush says he personally works with applicants to see what they can afford, but not every landlord will or can do so.

The Renters Rights’ bill would also increase the amount a landlord could be charged for failing to fix a violation that code enforcement writes them up for.

Most landlords who testified agreed that that part was okay.

“If you’re treating your tenants’ rights and maintaining your property and giving them a sanitary place to live, this is not going to affect you,” says Eli Sabin, CT Voices for Children.

As for the task force that would study both the effect rent caps would have on the state and the effects of evictions on landlords, everyone was in support.

The next step is to see whether the bills are voted out of committee and move on.

All week long, the I-Team has been looking into Renters’ Rights. To take a look at our stories, you can visit here: https://www.wfsb.com/news/investigate/