Kelly DeMatteo and Morgan Miller

Rental living is a choice for many Connecticut residents of all ages and incomes — from empty nesters and downsized retirees to young families and students — and the supply of safe, quality, affordable, reliable apartment homes should meet those needs. It does not.

The Connecticut Apartment Association (CTAA) and our member housing providers represent over 70,000 apartment homes in Connecticut. We are part of the foundation of Connecticut living.

This year at the State Capitol, we joined many lawmakers, organizations, and residents in pursuing the goal of boosting Connecticut’s supply of rental homes. We are happy to have made some progress. What began as an over-simplified debate pitting renters against landlords gradually gave way to conversations educating lawmakers that:

  • Rent controls are unsustainable reflex actions that undermine investments in new housing and available rental living options;
  • Rent should fairly represent the cost of providing housing — including maintenance, repair, upkeep, utility, property taxes, insurance, labor costs, and capital investments in updates and improvements;
  • Only about 9 cents of every rent dollar is returned to owners as profit
  • When the supplies of market-rate and affordable workforce housing are balanced, each helps sustain the other, and;
  • The best way to break the cycle of dependence on unscrupulous landlords is to build more housing and give people better living options.

Arbitrary, artificial caps and controls on rent and application fees will not grow the 89,000 affordable and available rental homes that Connecticut needs.

It was discouraging that the legislature scrambled to cobble together an unworkable last-ditch, 70-page housing bill that short-circuits the rental application process and makes things more complicated — not easier — for Connecticut’s rental home providers and residents. “Beat the clock” desperation does not build good policy.

That said, now that the legislative session has ended, we have unfinished business to do. CTAA members found great interest in working together with legislators of all political stripes to achieve the goals of growing the housing supply and helping Connecticut’s individuals and families find—and stay in—quality, affordable rental living that works for every budget. So let’s get to work!

State government can help by increasing the likelihood of success in permitting housing by streamlining the permitting process and providing incentives for the production of affordable housing. It is simply unacceptable that there are projects in the state that have taken close to 10 years from application to a shovel in the ground.

The state can also help boost the infrastructure needed for additional housing in the state. The electrical grid, water, and natural gas delivery systems need critical investment. Let’s get to it.

Let’s make sure residents can report poor housing conditions without the fear of retaliation. Increasing local fines for substandard housing conditions was a good start. Additional resources at the city/town level for inspectors and enforcement will go a long way to solve the problem of bad landlords and help bring housing standards up to current codes and acceptable living standards.

Overall, let’s make sure state laws attract — not turn away — investment in renovation and new construction.

We thank the legislators who worked so hard all session to help solve Connecticut’s housing crisis. We will stay at the table with you to craft a long-term and sustainable response and build what Connecticut deserves — a stronger supply of multifamily housing that meets the needs of all ages and incomes.

Kelly DeMatteo is President of the Connecticut Apartment Association and Vice President, Property Management at Trio Properties.

The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of

Morgan Miller is a Connecticut Apartment Association Director at-large.

The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of