New law “will improve the quality of life in cities and towns across the state,” the governor said.
In a legislative victory for state Rep. Ken Green (D-Hartford) and tenant activists, Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed a bill last week that would allow cities and towns to require absentee landlords to file their home addresses with the municipality.“Absentee landlords can be very difficult for housing courts to locate when they are cited for poor management, upkeep, health hazards and other housing code violations that exist in or on their properties,” Rell said in a press release. “This law prevents landlords from evading their responsibilities and should help cities and towns fight blight.“Should a city pass an ordinance, absentee landlords would no longer be able to claim in housing court that they had not been served legal process, Green said, because the address they report will automatically count. If a landlord fails to file their address, they could be fined $250 for the first violation, and $1,000 for each additional violation. Green’s legislation passed the state House in May but then stalled in the Senate. But senators unanimously passed the bill on the second to last night of the regular session. The focus now should shift to municipalities so that they pass the necessary ordinances, Green said.