Connecticut proposal would cap annual rent increases at 2.5%

Measure introduced by state Sen. Gary Winfield would also eliminate no-cause evictions

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

A Connecticut state senator has submitted a bill before the legislature that would cap yearly rent increases at 2.5 percent, and eliminate no-cause evictions, CT Insider reported.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Gary Winfield (D-New Haven), would cap increases between landlords and tenants as well as agreements between tenants. Owner-occupied properties with one to four units would be excluded.

State law only provides good-cause-eviction protections — preventing no-fault of retaliatory evictions following tenant complaints about maintenance — to people over the age of 62 and those living with disabilities, the outlet reported. The law prevents landlords from issuing no-fault evictions or retaliatory evictions following a tenant’s complaints about maintenance issues.

Tenant advocacy groups are supporting the measure in light of rents soaring an average of 20 percent in the past two years, according to CT Insider.

“This is an important and historical time in our world, where we have real opportunities for change,” Greta Blau, a Hamden Tenant Union leader, told the outlet. “Ending no-cause eviction will ensure that many more Connecticut residents will have housing security for years to come.”

Since pandemic protections have ended in Connecticut, there has been a sharp rise in the number of eviction filings, according to the CT Mirror.

The outlet reported that a 9 percent increase in people becoming unhoused was associated with a $100 increase in rent.

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At least some landlords, however, believe the proposed legislation is misplaced.

.”I think that they haven’t thought it through. They’re not understanding the economics of housing,” David Haberfeld, a Bristol landlord who owns about 57 apartments, told WFSB. “Our labor costs have gone up, our material costs are up, our taxes, our insurance, the prices of the properties.”

Haberfeld said there are already protections in place for tenants and capping rent increases will lead to landlords cutting corners elsewhere.

“Landlords that don’t fix their apartments and keep them up, that is definitely not okay. But we already have something in place to combat that and that’s code enforcement,” he told WFSB.

Nationwide, advocates have called for greater tenant protections amid the pandemic.

In California, for example, Santa Ana — Orange County’s first city to adopt rent control and eviction protections — will create a Rental Housing Board and a registry of rentals.

The new seven-member board, to launch by July, will oversee enforcement of the city’s rent control law and offer tenants and landlords a place to resolve disputes outside of court.

— Ted Glanzer