OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 94

AN ACT CONCERNING THE EQUAL TREATMENT OF RENTERS WITH MENTAL DISABILITIES.

SUMMARY:

The law prohibits landlords from evicting tenants who are elderly or have a physical disability and reside in a building or complex with five or more units or a mobile manufactured home park because their lease expires (i. e. , lapse of time). They may be evicted for other reasons, such as nonpayment of rent (see BACKGROUND). Covered disabilities are those expected to result in death or last continuously for at least 12 months.

This bill extends the protection from eviction to tenants who either have mental disabilities or permanently reside with certain family members who do.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2012

COVERED INDIVIDUALS

Under current law, the protection from eviction covers tenants who (1) are age 62 or older or permanently reside with a spouse, sibling, parent, or grandparent (family members) who has reached that age; (2) are blind; or (3) have a physical disability. Under state law, a person has a “physical disability” when he or she (1) has any chronic physical handicap, infirmity, or impairment, including epilepsy, deafness, or hearing impairment or (2) relies on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device (CGS 1-1f).

The bill extends the protection to any tenant if the tenant or a family member who permanently resides with him or her has a physical or mental disability. Under the bill, a “physical or mental disability" includes mental retardation, physical disability, and people who have a handicap under the federal Fair Housing Act (see BACKGROUND).

BACKGROUND

Grounds for Eviction

By law, grounds for evicting a covered tenant are:

1. lapse of time;

2. nonpayment of rent;

3. refusal to agree to a fair and equitable rent increase;

4. material noncompliance with the tenant's statutory responsibilities, which materially affects other tenants' health and safety or the premises' physical condition;

5. material noncompliance with or voiding the rental agreement;

6. material noncompliance with the landlord's rules and regulations;

7. permanent removal of the dwelling unit from the housing market; or

8. bona fide intention by the landlord to use the dwelling unit as his or her principal residence.

“Handicap” Under the Fair Housing Act

Under the Fair Housing Act, a person has a “handicap” if he or she (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of a person's major life activities, (2) has a record of having such an impairment, or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. The term does not include current, illegal use of, or addiction to, a controlled substance (42 USC 3602).

According to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, a physical or mental impairment generally includes hearing, mobility and visual impairments, chronic alcoholism, chronic mental illness, AIDS, AIDS Related Complex, and mental retardation that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities include walking, talking, hearing, seeing, breathing, learning, performing manual tasks, and caring for oneself.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Housing Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

11

Nay

0

(03/16/2012)