McGee Shepherds Tenants' Rights Bills Through Committee Process

March 10, 2020

The Housing Chair lauds a series of measures receiving favorable reports out of committee and looks forward to debate on the floor of the House and Senate.

Hartford, Conn. – Housing Committee Co-chair Brandon McGee (D-Hartford) celebrates several reforms passed out of committee that seek to strengthen tenant protections.

“In all of the work that I do, I look to promote equity in housing for residents across Connecticut,” said. Rep. McGee. "These bills provide tenants with more of a voice and better protections in our legal system. From support for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors to assistance with voter registration efforts, these bills collectively help to redefine what it means to live in Connecticut, and I am proud of what we have accomplished as a Committee."

The following bills now head to the floor of the General Assembly for debate:

HB 5122 AN ACT CONSIDERING OPPORTUNITIES FOR JUSTICE IMPACTED INDIVIDUALS. Vote Tally: 9-5.​

According to testimony from the Partnership for Strong Communities submitted in favor the bill, close to 50 percent of those unhoused have been impacted by the criminal justice system. This legislation would allow formerly incarcerated individuals the chance to leave their past behind and not be discriminated against when applying for housing.

HB 5126 AN ACT CONCERNING INSPECTIONS OF RENTAL PROPERTY PRIOR TO OCCUPANCY OR TERMINATION, LATE RENTAL PAYMENTS AND DESIGNATION OF A RENTAL HOUSING OMBUDSMAN. Vote Tally: 10-4.

This reform would allow renters to request an inspection of a property prior to occupancy and vacancy; it would put in place a cap on late fees for rental payments; and it would create a rental housing ombudsman in the Department of Housing, all of which provide transparency and protections for tenants.

HB 5244 AN ACT CONCERNING ADDITIONAL HOUSING PROTECTIONS FOR A VICTIM OF FAMILY VIOLENCE OR SEXUAL ASSAULT. Vote Tally: 8-3.

This measure empowers those affected by domestic violence and sexual assault. The bill allows an individual with an order of protection to request a landlord change the locks of their home and requires they respond within two business days. CCADV Director of Public Policy and Communications Liza Andrews testimony said HB 5244 is a "meaningful measure of safety and peace of mind for victims, while not making the lock change overly burdensome on landlords or have them bear the expense."

HB 5124 AN ACT REQUIRING LANDLORDS TO NOTIFY TENANTS OF FORECLOSURE PROCEEDINGS. Vote Tally: 8-5.

HB 5124 would provide transparency to tenants by requiring that landlords notify tenants of foreclosure proceedings. State Representative Joe Gresko (D-Stratford) testified on behalf of a constituent in favor of the bill, saying; "Transparency in a rental agreement is paramount and that should include tenants being notified of pending foreclosure on the property they will call home."

HB 5120 AN ACT REQUIRING HOUSING AUTHORITIES TO PROVIDE VOTER REGISTRATION APPLICATIONS TO PROSPECTIVE TENANTS. Vote Tally: 9-5.

HB 5120 aims to increase voter registration through the institutionalization of the delivery of registration forms to new renters. LWV of CT Election Law Specialist Yvonne Senturia testified in favor of the legislation, calling it "especially beneficial to those new to voting rolls and to those previously registered who have recently moved within the state."