Archer v. Adams
A presumption of retaliation may exist, if a landlord attempts to evict tenants within six months of the tenants' good-faith complaint about the habitability of the premises. On Aug. 24, 2012, the plaintiff landlord filed a notice to quit possession against the defendant tenants, who have resided on the subject premises on Westland Street in Hartford, Conn. for more than 30 years. The tenants objected that the landlord's civil summary-process suit was retaliatory, because they had complained to the landlord in March 2012 about mice, the light on the front porch, the bathtub and the pantry door. The landlord argued that the tenants did not complain until late August 2012; that he arranged to serve the notice to quit before the tenants complained; that repairs took place within one month; and that the habitability of the premises was not affected. Connecticut General Statutes §47a-20(3) provides, "A landlord shall not maintain an action or proceeding against a tenant to recover possession of a dwelling unit . . . within six months after . . . the tenant has in good faith requested the landlord to make repairs." The court credited the tenants' claims that they made a good-faith complaint in March. A mice infestation can affect habitability. A presumption of retaliation existed, pursuant to C.G.S. §47a-20(3), because the landlord filed the notice to quit possession within six months of the date that the tenants allegedly complained to the landlord and requested that the landlord make repairs. The landlord failed to rebut the presumption of retaliation, and the court granted judgment to the tenants.