Fair Rent Commission
- 2 year terms
- 5 members
What Are Fair Rent Commissions?
Under Connecticut law (Connecticut General Statute § 7-148b) any municipality has the authority to establish a fair rent commission for the city/town, by an act of the city/town legislative body. A fair rent commission has the authority to receive and investigate rent complaints, issue subpoenas, hold hearings, and order landlords to reduce rents for specific reasons.
When a commission finds that rental housing does not meet the local or state health or safety requirements for housing, the commission may suspend rent payments until the housing is brought into compliance. Also, a commission may order a landlord to stop any retaliation against a tenant who makes a complaint to the commission. A fair rent commission has this authority only within the boundaries of the city/town that established it.
Determining Excessive Rent
Fair Rent Commissions must consider a number of factors when determining whether a rental charge is excessive to the point of being "harsh and unconscionable." The factors include:
- Rents for comparable units
- Amount and frequency of rent increases
- Sanitary conditions
- Number of bathtubs or showers, toilets, and sinks
- Services, furniture, and furnishings
- Bedroom size and number
- Repairs necessary to make the accommodations livable
- Amount of taxes and overhead expenses, including debt service
- Compliance with state and local health and safety laws and regulations
- Renter's income and housing availability
- Utility availability
- Tenant damage to the premises, other than ordinary wear
- The degree to which income from the rent increase will be reinvested in property improvements
What Can a Commission Do?
After holding a hearing on a complaint, a commission can determine that a rent increase is excessive and order "rent be limited to such an amount as it determines to be fair and equitable."
If the housing in question fails to meet local or state health and safety requirements, then the commission can order the suspension of rent payments until the unit meets standards. During the time the rent is not paid to the landlord, it is paid to the commission to hold in escrow and is subject to any provisions adopted by the municipality.
If the commission determines, after holding a hearing, that a landlord has retaliated in any way against a tenant who has complained to it, the commission can order the landlord to cease the retaliation.