Lesiak v. Laskowski
Connecticut General Statutes §47a-5 provides a private cause of action to tenants, if a landlord does not possess a certificate of occupancy. The plaintiff tenants sued the defendant landlord, alleging that the landlord did not possess a certificate of occupancy for the premises that the plaintiffs leased. The plaintiffs requested that the court award them $20 per day for 200 days, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §47a-5. The defendant landlord moved to dismiss and argued that the statute does not provide a private cause of action. The statute provides, "In any borough, city or town which requires a certificate of occupancy prior to human habitation of any building located therein, if any building is occupied in whole or in part without such occupancy permit, the owner or lessor of the premises shall be liable for a civil penalty of not more than twenty dollars per day, per apartment or dwelling unit, for not more than two hundred days for such period of unlawful occupation." The court rejected the landlord's claim that the statute does not provide a private cause of action. "This statute," wrote the court, "was plainly for the benefit of the tenants." The plaintiff tenants possess standing to allege that the defendant landlord violated C.G.S. §47a-5 and should pay $20 per day, and the court denied the landlord's motion to dismiss.