About the Fair Rent Commission

Term Length: Three Years, Staggered Terms Initially with one member serving for one year, two for two years and two for three years
# of Members: Five with Two Alternates
Appointing Body: Board of Selectmen with approval of the Representative Town Committee
Party Balance Required?: Yes, No more than three from same political party
Defined In:

Defined in Chapter 87 of the Town Code

Description and Duties: 

The Fair Rent Commission has the power to: (1) to conduct studies and investigations, (2) hold hearings, (3) receive rent complaints (except on units rented on a seasonal basis), (4) require people to appear at hearings under oath, (5) issue subpoenas, and (6) issue orders regarding rent increases. “Seasonal basis” means housing rented for not more than 120 days a calendar year.  The Fair Rent Commission is also authorized to enforce provisions of the landlord tenant statute (§ 47a-20) regarding prohibited retaliatory actions by landlords. This section prohibits retaliation for a tenant making a good faith (1) effort to bring the dwelling in compliance with state and local laws and regulations, including filing a complaint; (2) request for reasonable repairs; and (3) effort to require the landlord to meet his legal responsibilities.

In making a determination as to whether a rental charge is excessive to the point of being “harsh and unconscionable” The Commission may consider factors such as: (1) rents for comparable units; (2) the amount and frequency of rent increases; (3) sanitary conditions; (4) number of bathtubs or showers, toilets, and sinks; (5) services, furniture, and furnishings; (6) bedroom size and number; (7) repairs necessary to make the accommodations livable; (8) amount of taxes and overhead expenses, including debt service; (9) compliance with state and local health and safety laws and regulations; (10) renter's income and housing availability; (11) utility availability; (12) tenant damage to the premises, other than ordinary wear; and (13) the degree to which income from the rent increase will be reinvested in property improvements.