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After a hearing earlier this week on capping rising housing rents, state lawmakers heard even more Thursday about renters’ rights. Specifically on security deposits and landlord housing maintenance.
“It’s so frustrating,” said Quanishe Flippen, a tenant and mother of three. Flippen told lawmakers she can’t afford a two months’ security deposit or more. “They want you to make three times the rent – I make three times the rent. They want you to have a decent credit score – my credit score’s not the best, but it’s pretty decent. It’s like low 600s. I still can’t find an apartment,” said Flippen.
Gov. Ned Lamont wants to change the current two months security to one month for everyone. Landlord Rick Bush has a problem with that. “Landlords are going to increase the percentage of income to rent, they’re going to need to guarantee that the tenants are going to be able to pay. They’re going to require longer employment history. They’re going to increase the credit score,” said Bush.
The committee brought up the idea of considering a compromise of 1 1/2 months’ security deposit. But they agree the law should change the current landlord fines on neglected maintenance from $250 to $1,000 per violation.
“Because this fine for housing code violations is so low, many landlords appear to be comfortable paying the fine rather than doing proper and consistent maintenance,” said Eli Sabin with Connecticut Voices for Children.
Some tenants’ rights groups have gone after landlords who failed to upkeep their properties. “We forced them to do much-needed repairs, and we’re talking about basic repairs. Some were in the tune of $2.5 million,” said Paul Boudreau with Cap The Rent Connecticut.
These requests could take effect by the end of the year. Right now, only tenants 62 years of age or older are required to pay a one month’s security deposit.