New Connecticut Law Changes Tenant Screening Process

July 21, 2023

Connecticut recently passed a new law that would significantly change the tenant screening process. These changes occurred due to a hotly contested housing omnibus bill recently signed into law by Governor Ned Lamont.

The new law would seal certain eviction records and introduce new measures. These measures originated from Senate Bill 998, containing wide-ranging changes for landlords and tenants. Examples of the measures include anti-discrimination regulations, changes to application fees, and security deposits. It also removes specific court records related to evictions.

However, several measures mentioned in the initial mockup did not make it into the bill as the session ended. Despite this outcome, many supporters have high expectations for it. They believe it would still provide significant protections for tenants within the state.

The new legislation would task Connecticut’s Judicial Department to address specific records and eviction cases. According to the measure, the Department would remove internet-based records and identifying information from these cases. The affected records include dismissed, withdrawn, and cases that favored the tenant. This section of the law will become effective July 1, 2024, requiring the Judicial Department to remove the information within 30 days.

This regulation also accounts for databases maintained by background check providers that receive data from the state. Under this law, the Judicial Department cannot include removed records in the sale or transfer of case data. For example, it cannot provide such information to tenant screening providers.

Furthermore, the bill states that “[n]o person or entity shall, for any commercial purpose, disclose any record or identifying information concerning any summary process action that has been removed from the Judicial Department Internet website pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.” These commercial purposes include any use determining the suitability of any prospective tenant.

The bill will also provide protection beginning January 1, 2024, against eviction and rent increase for certain protected classes in apartments with five or greater units. Protected classes include individuals over 65 and those with intellectual or physical disabilities. Such cases require landlords to provide notices that explain their protected status.

Regulations concerning background checks are continuously changing, impacting employers’ and landlords’ ability to screen employees and tenants reliably. The best way to comply with these ever-shifting regulations is to partner with an experienced screening provider. The right partner can help employers keep abreast of local, state, and federal background check laws.

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